Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Effortless Mindfulness and Living an Awakened Life
Category:
Spirit

The quest to live an awakened life is filled with numerous discoveries that allow us to become present, mindful of our mental activity and more deeply in touch with our physical being. After reaching that initial state of awakening, another desire may emerge: sustaining it. Leaning in that direction is a lovely goal, but understanding what awakening is also vital.

"Awakening happens with a shift out of our small, separate sense of self to a place where we discover a new view from an awake awareness that really has been there all along,” explains Esalen faculty Loch Kelly, who, along with Anna-Lisa Adelberg, combines unique integrated wisdom practices, neuroscience and psychological research in Effortless Mindfulness: How to Live an Awakened Life.

“An ‘awake aware’ mind is like an operating system that’s already pre-installed, so we just have to access it and then rewire our neuronal network to walk and talk from the new you.

“The experience from awake awareness embodied is that we are inseparable from unconditional love and a remarkable aliveness that is interconnected with everything. We can be with our full humanity.”

But what happens if we already had a glimpse of awakening yet sometimes feel as if we “get it and lose it,” only to find ourselves asking, "What’s next?”

“To sustain that awakening, we then have to ask, ‘How do we learn to return and train to remain?” Loch says. “And what habits revert us back to the old way; the way of the small, self-centered, thought-based ego?’”

It’s a topic Loch has explored at length. As a psychotherapist and leader in the field of embodied awakening, he founded the nonprofit organization Open-Hearted Awareness Institute. It is dedicated to both the teaching of direct methods to access the awake awareness Loch speaks of as well as learning to live from a flow state and effortless mindfulness.

He also collaborates with neuroscientists at Yale University, University of Pennsylvania and New York University to study how awareness training enhances compassion and well-being. Loch dived more deeply into the subject in his best-selling book, The Way of Effortless Mindfulness.

Loch notes that three key things to help sustain change include:

  • Consider meditation as an opportunity to calm the ego and/or appreciate the ego for the ego functioning rather than identify with the ego.
  • Allow awareness to be an opportunity to ask: How do I feel towards the parts of myself that feel repressed; can I see them and listen to them and have compassion for them?
  • Be open to doing shadow work, which is a process of integrating the aspects of your unconscious psyche into your conscious experience, therefore allowing the positive aspects of the shadow to shine through and express themselves.


It's the shadow work that Loch finds particularly fascinating.

"Working with the shadow parts and the ego manager has been an interest of mine from the very beginning,” he says. “So often we see individuals, teachers or gurus reach a first stage of initial awakening, where we temporarily go beyond good and evil and into a place of transcendence, but from there, we can get caught by our adolescence or childhood parts and act out from a place of spiritual bypass, which is a way of using spiritual ideas to avoid emotional and developmental parts of life."

Loch is quick to note that shadow work is vital for creating true awakening and lasting change.

"My experience is that we can not fully grow up unless we awaken to a new sense of Self, however, there is no landing in awakening, it is a continual unfolding that requires us to continue to heal and grow up," Loch says.

"When we access this loving, true nature we now have a greater capacity to bear what seemed to be unbearable and heal parts of ourself that are repressed, hurt or fiercely protective. You can then ask yourself how you feel towards those repressed aspects of yourself. Can you see them, listen to them and have compassion for them?

"By doing that, the shadow parts that are so terrified have more room to just come up and unburden, liberate or what I like to call, 'shake and bake.' Willingness to be sensitive and dialogue with those parts of yourself is key to full embodied awakening. When we can welcome our shadow parts, we have access to new courage, energy and a tender human life."




“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Effortless Mindfulness and Living an Awakened Life

About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Category:
Spirit

The quest to live an awakened life is filled with numerous discoveries that allow us to become present, mindful of our mental activity and more deeply in touch with our physical being. After reaching that initial state of awakening, another desire may emerge: sustaining it. Leaning in that direction is a lovely goal, but understanding what awakening is also vital.

"Awakening happens with a shift out of our small, separate sense of self to a place where we discover a new view from an awake awareness that really has been there all along,” explains Esalen faculty Loch Kelly, who, along with Anna-Lisa Adelberg, combines unique integrated wisdom practices, neuroscience and psychological research in Effortless Mindfulness: How to Live an Awakened Life.

“An ‘awake aware’ mind is like an operating system that’s already pre-installed, so we just have to access it and then rewire our neuronal network to walk and talk from the new you.

“The experience from awake awareness embodied is that we are inseparable from unconditional love and a remarkable aliveness that is interconnected with everything. We can be with our full humanity.”

But what happens if we already had a glimpse of awakening yet sometimes feel as if we “get it and lose it,” only to find ourselves asking, "What’s next?”

“To sustain that awakening, we then have to ask, ‘How do we learn to return and train to remain?” Loch says. “And what habits revert us back to the old way; the way of the small, self-centered, thought-based ego?’”

It’s a topic Loch has explored at length. As a psychotherapist and leader in the field of embodied awakening, he founded the nonprofit organization Open-Hearted Awareness Institute. It is dedicated to both the teaching of direct methods to access the awake awareness Loch speaks of as well as learning to live from a flow state and effortless mindfulness.

He also collaborates with neuroscientists at Yale University, University of Pennsylvania and New York University to study how awareness training enhances compassion and well-being. Loch dived more deeply into the subject in his best-selling book, The Way of Effortless Mindfulness.

Loch notes that three key things to help sustain change include:

  • Consider meditation as an opportunity to calm the ego and/or appreciate the ego for the ego functioning rather than identify with the ego.
  • Allow awareness to be an opportunity to ask: How do I feel towards the parts of myself that feel repressed; can I see them and listen to them and have compassion for them?
  • Be open to doing shadow work, which is a process of integrating the aspects of your unconscious psyche into your conscious experience, therefore allowing the positive aspects of the shadow to shine through and express themselves.


It's the shadow work that Loch finds particularly fascinating.

"Working with the shadow parts and the ego manager has been an interest of mine from the very beginning,” he says. “So often we see individuals, teachers or gurus reach a first stage of initial awakening, where we temporarily go beyond good and evil and into a place of transcendence, but from there, we can get caught by our adolescence or childhood parts and act out from a place of spiritual bypass, which is a way of using spiritual ideas to avoid emotional and developmental parts of life."

Loch is quick to note that shadow work is vital for creating true awakening and lasting change.

"My experience is that we can not fully grow up unless we awaken to a new sense of Self, however, there is no landing in awakening, it is a continual unfolding that requires us to continue to heal and grow up," Loch says.

"When we access this loving, true nature we now have a greater capacity to bear what seemed to be unbearable and heal parts of ourself that are repressed, hurt or fiercely protective. You can then ask yourself how you feel towards those repressed aspects of yourself. Can you see them, listen to them and have compassion for them?

"By doing that, the shadow parts that are so terrified have more room to just come up and unburden, liberate or what I like to call, 'shake and bake.' Willingness to be sensitive and dialogue with those parts of yourself is key to full embodied awakening. When we can welcome our shadow parts, we have access to new courage, energy and a tender human life."




“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 
–Aaron

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
–Karen
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
–Charles
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”
–Steve

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“
–Rainer

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”
–Suzanne

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“
–Peter

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”
–Lori

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
–Steven
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.


Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?



About

Esalen Team

Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Effortless Mindfulness and Living an Awakened Life
Category:
Spirit

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About

Esalen Team

Effortless Mindfulness and Living an Awakened Life

About

Esalen Team

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