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Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the human mind, society, and current events. The Making Sense podcast was selected by Apple as one of iTunes Best of 2015.

Harris is the author of the best-selling books The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free WillLying, and Waking Up—along with Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue (with Maajid Nawaz). The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics—neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, meditation practice, human violence, rationality—but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.

Harris’s work has been published in more than 20 languages and has been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. He has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere.

Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

Sam Harris's blog and podcast, and much more, can be found at


Jun 18, 2023

In this episode, we traverse a decade of Sam’s conversations on the topic of meditation. 

We start with the very first recorded episode from the archives: a conversation with Sam’s meditation teacher and friend, Joseph Goldstein. Goldstein recalls how his thinking was unlocked—allowing him to fully realize the power of the practice—by the utterance of one single word.

We then hear from author Richard Lang as he guides us towards a strangely obvious insight that came to be known as “the headless way.” Next, philosopher and neuroscientist Thomas Metzinger employs his vast expertise in both neurobiology and meditation to show how our brains generate a model of the world and self, and how meditation can help us catch that process in the act.

Psychiatrist Judson Brewer then shifts the conversation to some very practical applications of mindfulness meditation, addressing the problem of addiction to things like food, smoking, or drugs by retraining the reward centers in our brains. Next, Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson dig into the neuroscience of meditation and discuss how experienced meditators may actually be physically altering their brains. 

We then listen in on Sam’s conversation with author Robert Wright, who defends the claim that “Buddhism is true.” Sam and Wright discuss the validity of this claim while ensuring they keep it separate from the political and moral behaviors of Buddhist nations and individuals.

We conclude with Sam delivering the answer to a question posed by the Belgian neuroscientist Steven Laureys. In doing so, Sam provides a comprehensive tour of his philosophies. He ties together his personal brand of moral analysis, his reverence for science and truth seeking, and his reasoning as to why he still meditates and why he proudly promotes the practice.


About the Series

Filmmaker Jay Shapiro has produced The Essential Sam Harris, a new series of audio documentaries exploring the major topics that Sam has focused on over the course of his career.

Each episode weaves together original analysis, critical perspective, and novel thought experiments with some of the most compelling exchanges from the Making Sense archive. Whether you are new to a particular topic, or think you have your mind made up about it, we think you’ll find this series fascinating.