Enjoy this experiential introduction to Effortless Mindfulness to help you immediately shift from your anxious headspace into your timeless, wordless, embodied heart space. Loch offers the foundational principles of EM and micro-meditations which invite you to learn how to look within to shift out of the ego identity and live from your already installed awake loving consciousness. To view a recording of this retreat and other guided meditations visit: https://www.youtube.com/@LochKelly.
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Loch: Awake consciousness is already here within each of us, as each of us, and it's one breath away.
Welcome to today's podcast, which is called The Power of How to Awaken. So I'm hoping to share some tools and a map. To give you direct access to your already awake consciousness, so that you can live a life of freedom and love.
I hope you'll enjoy.
So I want to jump right in and say a little about the premise and the hypothesis of effortless mindfulness, and then we'll do a little micro-meditations and glimpses so that you get a feel for what is possible and then you can report what it's like for you. So it's really, I use the word hypothesis because it's not a one size fits all practice, but there are different doorways that we try to walk around and different people find it easier to access this dimension of consciousness in different ways. But when you do enter those doorways into this awake consciousness, it's similar. And then to have you report what that's like in your own words is the way we often do it when we're together, especially. So that premise, or hypothesis, that makes it effortless rather than deliberate mindfulness is not that it takes no. It takes a little effort, but that what's discovered when we learn how to shift, or drop, or open, or let go, surrender- is an effortless awareness. So shifting out of our chattering mind and self-referencing, which creates an ego manager or ego center, or small self as the primary dimension of consciousness, but there's an ability to shift out of that small, contracted state of mind and into a subtle, timeless, wordless, yet alert and embodied, open-minded and open-hearted presence.
And so the key first principle of the hypothesis is this awake consciousness is already here within each of us, as each of us, and it's one breath away. So we're so habitually used to looking to thought, creating a thinker, and then looking out from the thinker. Or feeling overwhelmed by emotions and feeling this body-mind that keeps us contained in this way that we're caught.
And then we try to work with it by breathing and working with the systems, which are good preliminary practices of calming our body, our breath, our nervous system, calming our mind using positive attitudes. And all of that is relative good practice. But what we're gonna do is see if we can find that which is already always peaceful.
That dimension, which can be with that which is not peaceful or moves up and down and comes and goes. That which doesn't come and go, that we can be aware of, aware as, and then recognize that even the dancing, moving, aliveness is made of this, so there's not two things going on. And then include the world in a new view.
So these are often called orientation instructions. So in some ways it's about location. So we're shifting out of this small head space into awake space and then into embodied heartspace. And looking out of that view, which is dropped and open and inclusive and still has access to all our memory and functioning and is actually optimally functioning like a flow state, but just without the neurotic, anxious dominance.
So that's the basic premise that it's already here that we can learn to shift out of that, rather than trying to manage it or cultivate a positive state, we're gonna see if we can drop an open and include. So what actually does that is the awareness itself is the already awake consciousness, which is this second strange, unique principle that when I ask you, can you allow awareness to unhook and drop, decenter and know your body from within, know your heart space from within, that I'm not talking to you, the ego, I'm actually talking to the already awake consciousness. And this is one of the reasons we've often missed it is because we try to do it with the effort, or the doer, or the seeker or the small-self that is hoping to awaken. But good news to that part of us is we don't have to get rid of the ego or kill it or fight it, that it moves from an ego identity, which currently is what we're looking to looking from, and it becomes a functional part of the team with this awake consciousness or open-hearted awareness or self /no-self with a capital S that feels like it has this compassionate healing of an open mind and open heart toward all the other parts of us that feel good or not so good, or stressed or worried or unhappy or traumatized. And that consciousness, it has capacity to love us back to health because it's already here.
It's already within all of who we are, all of the parts of us that we shuffle around and try to manage with this current operating system. So we're gonna try to show that there's an already installed upgraded system and shift into that and feel what that's like. And it's not just a passive meditation state.
It's actually an awake, embodied, interconnected, responsive rather than reactive place. That once we learn and rewire the brain to get on board with language and functioning, then it really is a joyous, full flow of accessing that implicit memory of all we have in us, but from a new location, from a new view.
All right, so that's the theory. And now for the practice.
So we'll do a few little glimpse practices here and see what you find to be true for you. So the hypothesis I gave you now, the experiments, and then you do the experiments or the results. So it's not looking to me or believing me, it's really me pointing back and inviting you to look for yourself.
Within your own consciousness and then settle in. Some will be open-eyed, some will be closed- eyed. Some can be done either way. But ultimately this is about living awake, so we'll play with open-eyed a bit so that you can see that it's possible. Doesn't require retreating into a quiet, noiseless place, but that you can shift into this awake, open-hearted consciousness anywhere, anytime, and then immediately engage and create and relate. So let's do a simple inquiry, which some of you may know. So again, the premise is that our current operating system is this small "I think therefore I am" system, which is listening to what I'm saying and trying to make sense of it.
And that thinker, which has been ego center or manager is trying to keep us safe on all levels and it operates through thought based knowing. So it's scanning for how to be okay and how to solve problems. So is there a problem here? Is there a problem out there? Am I understanding what he's saying?
So that problem solver, by trying to be so helpful. Can actually keep the hamster wheel of our identity going. And if it can relax, and the premise is there's already an upgraded away consciousness that's here and more primary, then perhaps you can discover that, by dropping or moving back. Foreground. Background. Shift.
You can discover the felt-sense of an awareness based knowing from a thought-based knowing to an alert, directly perceiving embodied, open consciousness. But the key is, I'll give you one hint. You can't go back to the mind to check whether you're in it, whether you've shifted into it. You'll go from a thought-based knowing to a not-knowing, to a not-knowing that knows, that's alert in a simple direct way that has to look to itself. The awareness of awareness that's aware of it arising, and directly perceiving with all your senses. So that's giving you the report. So the simple first. Inquiry practice based on that description is this:
So if I were to ask you what's here now, when there's no problem to solve?
Just now, just in this safe, comfortable place. Just when you understand the words with your mind, and then the problem solver can even hear it, and the problem solver can relax. And then let your awareness curiously feel or sense or open. What's this that's aware when the problem solver has relaxed?
Yeah, so just feel not going down to sleep, to rest, not going up to thought, to know. Feeling what's open, spacious, open mind, open heart, awareness-based that you're aware of, and then resting as. Even for a moment is a glimpse - one-thousand one, one-thousand two. Not sleeping, not spacing out, not zoning out, not dumbing down into a calm but clear, like a day sky, stepping out of the cloud into the sky, and then resting as the spacious awareness, and then as the spacious awareness, what's the relationship to moving sensation, vibration, contents, the cloud, your body and the world.
Not remaining in a witness. Opening, stepping out of the cloud into the sky and then realizing, oh, the sky is in the cloud, and the cloud of sensations is made of the sky, is made of awareness, and they're not too. So there's now an interconnected field or feeling of just being that doesn't have to orient a thought.
What's it like to be. Without orienting to thought or creating a meditator?
Without going to sleep, without going to daydream. Back to daydream, without going up to check with thought. What's this fourth dimension? Of awareness and then presence and interconnection, and then flow. Open-hearted. What's it like, even if it's a moment or two, just to be aware of this awareness as this awareness, and then have the view, a new view, a new orientation.
What's the relationship to sensation? Thought, feelings, emotions, parts, and looking out from like an ocean of awareness arising as this wave feeling, this ease of being. And then just noticing, being pulled back to the old habit of, as the train of thought goesby. Keeping - maybe you go back to check, what's that?
What's that? Or there's a kind of a magnet back to a part sitting in the seat of ego center. But just include that happening as one of the movements of consciousness from this new view. Nothing wrong with thoughts or parts of you or emotions or contractions. The question in the focus of effortless mindfulness is not what's arising, but just curiously feeling to whom or to what Is everything arising to? What's that? What's this? That includes everything and welcomes. All because it has a capacity to not identify and react and yet to not be different, not be other,
So that now anything's allowed to arise. Any pleasant or unpleasant thoughts, feelings that than another old contracted system of dualities and opposing parts may arise, but this, it's this kind of continual embracing from this new view.
So that's the first pointer, the first effortless mindfulness invitation. So that's one of the key distinctions that add - there's a couple of new things that are added in this effortless mindfulness, new locations on the map of consciousness that mindfulness is often easier to be introduced to because it still uses much of what we know. Attention, focusing on an object, focusing on thoughts, feelings, sensations. So this is moving as someone noticed from your small mind, which is thought based to mindless or from small self to no self, because that mind we've taken to be what we consider thought-based mind, which in this North Indian Mahāmudrā or Tibetan-style map, there is small mind, which is thought based and isn't meant to be gotten rid of. Thinking is considered a sixth sense, including our five senses appearing to this bigger mind, which is called Rigpa in Tibetan or Purya in Sanskrit, and then Torya Titta or Bodhicitta is that spacious mind that arises as our body and thoughts and feelings.
So it's more like an ocean and wave feeling of being that we've all felt in our best times of our life when circumstances show us a peak experience or a glimpse of who we are. And so this practice, effortless mindfulness, is saying that's not an exception. That doesn't have to be a peak, meaning occasional or rare, exception.
It's not esoteric in that way. It is actually our natural condition, and it's actually called the nature of mind, this spacious alert awareness prior to thought to which the senses sound, and smell, and taste, and thinking appear. And then there's a choice. Move your hand or to use thought, but that automatic thoughts are moving through because our brain is alive just like sensations.
So automatic thoughts become like mental sensations that arise that we don't have to keep checking on, and we don't have to form a thinker. We can feel this bigger view, this flow consciousness that naturally can do things better. Probably where many people drive a car from, if you like driving a car or do other activities that you choose to do in your free time, that you love. The premise is you do them to drop out of the small mind and into an embodied, interconnected feeling of being in action.
So that's ultimately what this is about. We can discover the tuner through meditation or what I call marination, sometimes, by sitting or guided practice or guiding ourself, but then seeing if we can get up off of the cushion or the chair or the couch and move, and do and type, and talk, and walk, and relate, and create from this new flow, this feeling of being so that it's not a passive state.
It's not just a refresher, like a sauna meditation to calm. It's actually a calm, clear, alert, loving, engaged, mindfulness that is already here effortlessly so that we can be with all of our parts and motions and feelings, rather than just calm them or suppress them or keep a lid on them. We actually find this capacity to be more alive and infinite and intimate.
So connect to something greater, that's essentially who we are. Subtler. Already okay. So that's really the root. There's a dimension that's already okay. It isn't about how I'm feeling moment to moment. It isn't about my history or what I did that relates to past actions growing up, making mistakes, what I do, resume me, memory me, but that those are all here.
And is there also an innocence or a well, That's awareness based, open-hearted, unconditionally loving, that isn't just a meditation state, but actually is getting in touch with who we are essentially, and then including emotions and daily life and things that are going well and not so well? But from this deep, subtle essential. So it's like tuning in, we're dropping into this spacious and deep wellbeing, this ordinary underneath fear and worry and shame is this okayness. That's more the feeling, not just calmness of mind, not just de-stressing. That's the first level. But deeply finding essential mind and essential identity, that is basic goodness is called, or that isn't a belief or something to be believed, but it's a pointer. It's just putting it on the map for you not to have you create it with your imagination. It's not about imagination. It's dropping into feel it just so you don't miss it when it shows up, when you drop everything else or go subtle.
So let's try this next one, which is called dropping from head-space to heart-space or head-mind to heart-mind. And the sense is that one of the locations, one of the habits is creating this sense of a self or a mind, or a thinker in this location, in the middle of our heads, behind our eyes looking out.
Whereas if we're more spacious and then equally embodied like an ocean and a wave and a sky and a cloud, if we drop out and decenter, but stay in our body, stay subtle, go subtle within, we can find what is called the heart-mind, which people around the world go, it's me. This is me. So that is a center or could be your whole body at once, but it's subtler, deeper, wider, and inclusive. It's just another direction to shift out and into this open-hearted awareness. So what I'll be doing is asking you if you can identify with the thinker and then see whether your awareness rather than creating a tentional system of looking from this small self down. If awareness, like a bubble, can open to the space or the awareness can, that's identified with thinking can move itself down.
So it's not you the doer, or the efforter, or the meditator that's doing it. It's actually awareness that starts to feel and directly perceive your jaw from your jaw, your throat from your throat, your upper body from your upper body, and then drop into your heart space. You're aware of your heart space deep within where, even behind your heart space of the awareness that has your back. And then almost like looking out of feeling out of the eyes of your heart and letting information from the office of your head come down to this more holistic being. So let's try that. So just begin by eyes open or closed on this one. You can just feel, where are you listening to me from? Where is the hearer, where is the thinker? Where whereas that normal felt sense of where you feel is this ego center or this small self that's located in your head. And just feel as if awareness is just the way that's created is by the habit of awareness, identifying with thoughts and your senses coming together, and especially behind your eyes.
And just notice that feel, as if awareness can simply unhook and step back to be aware of the space in the room, from the space in the room. And it can be just a small shift or it can feel like you're just aware of the space in the room all the way to the walls or whatever feels. Notice that what happens when you intentionally dis-identify and become more aware of open mind.
And then intentionally go back to that habit of the seer, the hearer, the thinker, just for a few seconds. And then this time just unhook that awareness. But this time, drop it. Let that awareness like a bubble, decenter, and feel your smile and jaw from within. Then feel as if the center, or that direct perception, that direct knowing can feel and know your throat, your neck, directly from within.
Just check that you're not looking down to know that actually the knowing is embodied still, but now is more directly perceiving, feeling the effervescent aliveness and the space and the awareness from within. So you don't have to go up to check about knowing. Feel as if the knowing can now drop and feel your upper body or your whole body directly from within. So directly perceiving, directly knowing.
You may pop back up, but just start again. Unhook, drop, and directly feel. And as you feel your body, just feel as if this awareness is aware of the aliveness arising and the space. And then feel as if the awareness is now interested in dropping into the subtlest dimension, inside the cells, inside the atoms, to the space within your atoms, like a living stream, becoming subtle.
Into this safe heart-space. Find some, not your physical heart, but your heart mind, which is in the middle, like an open, safe haven. Home, sweet home. And just let yourself be aware of the heart-space. And then as the heart-space rest, and then feel this subtlest dimension opens to this boundless heart.
So you're aware from this heart-space as if the heart-space goes to the side and opens back through your body until it opens behind you to this awareness that has your back. So it goes all the way back until it discovers an awareness that's already aware, and then like an ocean of awareness, it arises as this wave of your body and then almost looks out of, or feels out of the eyes of your heart.
So just unhooked, dropped, opened. An inclusive behind and in front, or just drop all the way within and it'll naturally open. So that your head is still receiving sounds and sight, but it comes down like a periscope or like a wifi to the, to your home in your heart space, or your whole body. Down to your feet and out and around so that you feel fluid and vibrant. Now, almost, as you take a breath in and breathe out, ah, and again, drop now into your body so you feel supple and no big deal, and just effortlessly mindful.
I'm not going up to thought to look at automatic thoughts, anymore than you would go down to your feet to be interested in sensations in your feet. Stay in the fullness and feel this ground of being. As you drop and find a ground, maybe deeper even, what's this ground made of? It's alert, embodied, interconnected. And what's it like to rest here? Is there an okayness, a non-fear? Non-worry... non-shame - to which any other parts that feel worried or have feelings are welcome, but finding that which can bear what's seemed unbearable and you find that it's not coming and going.
From which everything sparkles and dances and comes and goes into pleasant and unpleasant aliveness. What's it like to rest here in this heart-space? Look out of, feel out of this heart-space or this heart-mind.
So what do you say? The curious thing is this meditation state or could this be more the new normal? Could this be your essential already awake consciousness. It's just been rediscovered intentionally. And if it were, could you live from here? Or if you could, would you want to? So that you start to develop a heart's desire or your own motivation to see that it's what's true, what's real, what's possible, and then start to take it. It takes you out for a walk. You start to walk and talk from here.
In this system of effortless mindfulness, that includes neuroscience and psychology, there's an immediate recognition of protective parts of us. So this, we're introducing here, we're going to that, but we come back to the scared part. We come back to the anxious part or the, maybe just the tense part that has been kept us contracted and kept us scared of going a little beyond. So we go a little beyond, but we come right back. So we go to the kitchen to get some food and then we come back to the parts.
And it shows the parts that both we can, by going immediately go to that which they didn't know we could do. And then it shows that we're coming back and not leaving them and not dissociating and not spiritually bypassing. We come back, how you doing? How's this? Do you like this? What do you think of this? How about you wanna check this out? And so that's part of the system of the psychological work that is enfolded into this effortless mindfulness. And then the neuroscience shows that the brain gets on board and balances out and interconnects in ways that isn't just better attentional systems, but actually entire systems of the brain start to open and connect in a way and loosen up. But that psychological part's important.
So once you know those parts by stepping out and coming back, then we can the other way, in longer retreats or courses we can work with those parts immediately ask them, thank them for being protective. See what they're afraid of. Ask them for some space. Ask them, it's okay if we go and find this more spacious, loving, present. And then come back and start to develop this unburdening of these protective parts and show them that what they're protecting is the ego system, the current ecosystem. They're keeping that system in place. So we just wanna work with them.
We don't wanna bypass them. We wanna include them. So let's just do this one simple eyes open practice. That's for more outer types. Usually with hearing, if you hear the sound from your computer or your phone or you hear sounds in the room. Yeah, just listen to sounds, something in the room. So it feels like normally hearing is receiving, so you're receiving sounds from outside, traveling through the air, coming to your ears, but with our eyes because it's connected to our grasping mind.
If I were to say, hold up a pen and say, look at this, now look at this, now look at this. It's almost as if the eyes are like normally wired, like a hand okay, the arrow for hearing goes this way, but the arrow for seeing goes this way. But actually seeing and hearing are the same.
Light reflects off of objects and comes to your eyes. So if you look at the wall or anything else, light reflects off of objects, comes to your eyes. So seeing is receiving. So if you let seeing, come back to the awareness and then simply let your awareness not only rest back, but start to feel with your eyes open, maybe looking a little above the screen, whatever screen.
And just let your awareness open your peripheral vision gently without straining. Just go with slow pace, breathe in the cool air and smile, and then feel as if your awareness is what's moving, not you moving your awareness. Notice what it feels like if you open your view by letting awareness come all the way to the sides of the limits of seeing, and then unhook.
And let awareness feel the space in which sound is coming going, and then somehow open your view to 360 degrees so you're aware of the spacious awareness behind your back, in front. And just open your view and then rest as that spacious awareness. And then as that open-minded, open heart, just be aware of the aliveness.
The embodied presence so that you're equally aware inside and out. So as you take a little deeper breath and let out a sigh, ah, dropped down to that heart, mind, eyes open mind, dropped, embodied, ah, ordinary. No big deal. Not spacious. Not more spacious than embodied, equally-embodied, and interconnected, like an ocean and wave feeling.
So this is the flow, more like a flow consciousness that you can do this kind of practice right before you work on a computer or go out and talk to people or move around in your day and then you can get up from where you are and just walk somewhere and do an activity. And stay home in this open dropped, like a cat just walking easily trusting like you're in a flow without that needing to create a thinker that's moving your body or that's a mindful witness, like a meditator that's looking at it.
So the practice is small glimpses consistently during the day. So learning which ones of these glimpse practices work for you, learn which ones you like, and then you can either remember and do them yourself or listen to a recording of a minute, five minutes, three minutes, and then return, and then go right into activity.
So that's called mixing practice. So you start to mix with the awareness and the aliveness and the activity, and then you start to, over time, you learn to return and train to remain. And the training to remain actually is important to start, not just remain sitting for a long time, but remain sitting just long enough that you feel like, okay, yeah, I'm not operating from the thought-based mini-me.
I'm in this awake, embodied, open-hearted consciousness. Okay, now I'm gonna stand up and move, type or do or walk or make some food or. And start to do it. And then notice when you lose it and go back to the old system. And then you say, no big surprise, just re-recognize, and you don't blame yourself for being out of it.
And then you re-recognize, and then you start to feel the capacity to work with those parts that are protective parts, or parts that are shadow parts, or critic parts or ego identity parts. And you start to let them get to know who you are in action. Because it isn't about just de-stressing, it's really about awakening as the next natural stage of human development.
So it's about being and doing from being.
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