Loch Kelly is an educator, consultant, and leader in the field of meditation and psychotherapy who was asked to teach by Mingyur Rinpoche and Adyashanti. He is the founder of the Open-Hearted Awareness Institute and an emerging voice in modernizing meditation and social engagement. He has been collaborating with neuroscientists to study how awareness training can enhance compassion and well-being. You can learn more about Kelly at his website www.lochkelly.org.
In this training manual for practicing what we call the spiritual practice of openness, Kelly writes: "You can choose any time of the day to step off the train of thought and into awake awareness. Once you've done this, you will naturally find new motivation, creativity, kindness, and passion for life."
Mixing insights and exercises from the world's contemplative traditions, psychology, neuroscience, the teachings of William James, and Mahamudra practice from Buddhism, Kelly explores the multidimensional possibilities of "awake awareness," a natural capacity we all possess that enables us to move away from a thought-based knowing to an awakening that encompasses freedom and love. Shifting out of enslavement to ego-identification opens the door to our full development as human beings.
Throughout this paperback, Kelly presents "glimpse practices" (peek experiences or insights) designed to help us embody awakening in all of its depth and diversity. These are imminently practical and doable exercises. As Adyashanti writes in his foreword: "There is no teacher worshiping here, no belief required, no theology to ascribe to — just direct, immediate, and practical guidance that evolved from Loch's vast experience and deep commitment to the whole spectrum of human potential and his desire to awaken to spiritual freedom."
The practices are surrounded with clear and insightful commentaries on the five levels of mind, three shifts of identity, the art of effortless mindfulness, thinking as the sixth sense, the problem of attachment and addiction, and the four stages of spiritual growth.
Kelly excels in his explanations of open-hearted awareness's emphases on love, emotional intelligence, connections, tenderness and vulnerability, empathy, and compassion. He concludes with "waking up, waking-in, and waking-out" as the next stages of human development.
We wrote in our book Spiritual Literacy:
"Openness means going with the flow when the senses are on full alert, the mind is receptive, the body is awaiting new input, and the soul is ready to go sailing on a sea of possibilities."
This important spiritual practice has a special relevance to our times when so many hearts and minds are closed to others and the clenched fist rather than the kiss of peace prevails. We are grateful to Loch Kelly for his thought-provoking and practice-oriented book on open-hearted awareness.