Waking Up by Sam Harris | Guided Meditation Review (vs Headspace)

How we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the character of our experience and, therefore, the quality of our lives.
— Sam Harris

Guided meditations have taken the app world by the balls.

Before I begin, I can firmly say that my (almost) daily practice of meditation — or, ‘mindfulness’ — has transformed my life. If you want to read that blog post, click here.

This is just another average review.

Cost Difference

Let’s be honest, don’t even begin to tell me about fucking mediation apps until I’ve heard the price, right?

I have used Headspace, a guided meditation app by the brilliant Andy Puddicombe, for the last two years. Shelling out roughly R1500 (I think this is the price, it could be more or less) per year for Headspace ‘premium’ — where you get more features (you know, the usual shit) — is a testament to my love for the app. However, if you are unsure, the first 10 days are free (and provide a great ledge to stand on for beginners).

Waking Up is not so different. I’m not a fan of being tied down with subscription services. It either has to be really worth the money, or more than likely I won’t consider it. At either R59 per month, or R480 per year, Sam’s app is considerably less expensive than Headspace (plus the first 6 days are free).

Andy’s Voice vs. Sam’s

Andy’s insanely calm guided voice over has given me a state of well-being which is hard to comprehend in this digitally distracting void we find ourselves trapped in. But, I have found (at times) Andy’s voice to be a little too…babyish? Like I’m being gently reminded about my inability at times to get stuff right in a completely passive way.

Waking Up, on the other hand, is guided by Sam Harris (who I found out about via Timothy Ferriss, of course). Waking Up is just (for now) Sam being Sam and speaking to you like, I would imagine, he would if you paid for an in-person training.

There seems to be no expectations when listening to Sam. Maybe it’s because it’s new and I’m just over Headspace. Who knows.

Additional Features

Headspace has many animations and single mediations available. I find the animations cool, but it may not appeal to everyone — specially, A-Type driven CEO motherf*ckers who are trying to find peace within themselves and not try and kill any employees.

Waking Up, on the other hand, has ‘lessons.’ These lessons include practical observations and teachings from one of the sharpest minds in the chiselling field. So even if you don’t feel like sitting alone with your thoughts one day, you can just let Sam feed your mind while you make coffee or have a poo.


This is obviously an early review considering I’m only on day ten of Waking Up — but, I seem to be drawn to the simplicity and ripeness of Sam’s new app.

Mediation is similar to Intermittent Fasting, but for the mind. It’s dropping into the present moment —via, counterintuitively, lack of ‘focus’ — in order to function at 100% when shit does inevitably hit the fan during your day.

I truly believe that mediation or mindfulness can be your greatest asset in life.

It can change the game for you, if you let it. See what I said: if you let it. You can’t force it. Meditation is like a fart, if you have to force it, it’s probably shit.

Take it easy and have little to no expectations in the beginning. The simple discipline of practicing each day will out-weigh the actual effectiveness of each individual session.

After day 5 or so you will notice things changing. Things like patience, empathy, resilience and focus will be slipped into your unconscious in a weird, almost freaky, way.

I wish you good going forward. Give this shit a try, you might surprise yourself.

Happy meditating,

Joshy