From (mistaken) Mind Identification to Open Hearted Awareness

Shift into Freedom – The Science and Practice of Open Hearted Awareness

Loch Kelly has written two books that each won multiple prizes. They contain clear explanations with  practical exercises so that people can shift from their (mistaken) identification with the problem solving mind activity in their head to open hearted awareness.

Our mind evolved into a problem solving machine. It aids us in our surviving and thriving. This constant looking for, and solving problems creates a continuous stream of activity in the back of our head. All too often we identify with that activity of the mind and mistakenly start to believe that we are that activity of the mind. Loch Kelly calls this the misidentification with the Mini-Me.

Step by step Loch Kelly guides people through the various stages of awakening to reconnect us with what we truly are. Awake Awareness.

So close you can’t see it
So subtle your mind can’t understand it
So simple you can’t believe it
So good you can’t accept it

~ Tibetan Buddhist saying

In 5 steps he teaches people how we can shift from the misidentification of the problem solving mind activity in the back of our head towards local awareness, spacious awareness, embodied awareness to open hearted awareness.

In three stages he guides people to “Wake Up” to loose the fear of death, to “Wake In” to loose the fear of life, and to “Wake Out” to loose the fear of love.

In this interview done by Hale Dwoskin from the Sedona Method, Loch Kelly explains a lot of his insights and does various glimpse exercises so people can try out his method immediately for themselves.

Loch Kelly – From Headspace to Heartspace Here a first exercise from Loch Kelly his books so you can try it our for yourself:

Glimpse: No Problem 

This exercise is a direct pointer for shifting out of ego-identification and into awake awareness as your ground of Being. Most people feel a sense of underlying dissatisfaction that leads to craving and aversion, which is created by ego-identification.

From ego-identification, we then try to solve the problem of mistaken identity by changing things in our personality or our environment. This creation of a problem-solver identity is what binds us and blinds us to the freedom that’s already here. It creates a frantic continual search, like looking for your glasses when they’re on your head.

In this practice, you’ll discover that you can shift out of your mistaken identity in a moment. The goal is not to escape the normal issues and choices in your daily life, but to shift out of the mistaken problem-solver identity. When you make that shift and discover awake awareness as the ground of Being, you’ll have fewer troubles and can more easily solve daily challenges.

  1. When you’re ready, with open or closed eyes, say this question to yourself internally: What is here now if there is no problem to solve?

  2. Rest and remain alert to who or what is experiencing.

  3. Who is here? What is aware? What is here when there is nowhere to go and nothing to do? Nothing to know or create or become? What is here, just now, when you are not the problem solver?

  4. Feel into whatever shows up here and now. Who or what is aware? What is here when there is no referencing the past, no going one moment into the future, when you’re not settling into sleep and not going up to thought? What’s here now? What’s it like when there’s no problem to solve just now? What do you notice? What is absent? What essential qualities are revealed?

  5. Again, take a breath and pause. Then ask with a beginner’s mind and curiosity: What is here now if there is no problem to solve?

And if people liked that introduction, they can follow an online workshop to learn more.

Small Glimpses, Many Times: Workshop Effortless Mindfulness with Loch Kelly

Both of Loch Kelly his books excell and at clarity and practicality. With these books and following the exercises in them everyone can reconnect to their true beingness and shift into open hearted awareness.

Another Glimpse exercise from his books:

Glimpse: Awake Awareness Is Aware without Using Thought 

The everyday mind needs an object to remain central. When awareness looks to space, we are free of the everyday mind. Ego-identification needs to look to thought, and from thought, to create a subject. When awareness makes awareness its subject and object, there is no longer a subject (self) that is made of thoughts. Awake awareness has become the primary way of knowing and the ground of Being. 

  1. Simply close your eyes while allowing your awareness to remain open and be within. Begin to feel your breath from within your body. Feel your whole body from within while breathing is happening by itself for three breaths. 

  2. Take a moment to see what is here now. Notice how your body is feeling. Is it uncomfortable, comfortable, agitated, relaxed, tired or neutral? Just let your body be as it is without changing anything. 

  3. Now simply notice the awareness that is already accepting your body as it is. Feel the awareness in which these sensations are happening. 

  4. Become interested in the activity of your mind and thoughts. Just be aware of whether your thoughts are agitated, calm, tired, emotional, anxious, or neutral. Without changing anything, allow your mind and thoughts to be as they are. 

  5. Now notice the space in which thoughts are moving. Be interested in the awareness instead of the thoughts. Notice how awareness allows your mind to be as it is without changing anything. 

  6. Begin to notice that awake awareness is alert, clear and nonjudgmental. See also that awareness is not tired, anxious, or in pain. Notice that awake awareness is all around and inherent within your body and within your mind. Instead of being identified with the states of your body or mind or trying to accept or change them, simply become interested in what is aware and accepting. 

  7. What is awareness like that is already accepting of things as they are—right here and now? Notice the awareness of the next sound you hear. Does awareness have a location or size? What is it like to be aware of experiences from this pain- and thought-free awareness?

  8. Now simply be aware of the awareness that is free from the contents of your mind and the sensations in your body. Hang out as awareness without going up to thought or down to sleep. Be the awareness that welcomes your sensations and thoughts. Notice that awareness is not separate from thoughts, feelings, and sensations. 

  9. Just let go of focusing on any one thing. See everything without particularizing. Rest as the awareness that is aware without using thought. Can you see how no thought or feeling is solid? Can you see that awareness does not come and go? 

  10. Simply let be and remain uncontracted and undistracted without effort. 

If people are ready to shift into freedom, it is very recommendable to read Loch Kelly his books and start a regular Glimpse exercise practise. Maybe invite some friends and start up a local practise group.

More information:
-) Website Loch Kelly
-) Longer interviews with Loch Kelly online

Related articles:
-) The Human Experience – Beingness is Worthiness
-) A Scientific Approach (cross-cultural & religious) to Fundamental Wellbeing
-) Awakening & Liberation

The Way of Effortless Mindfulness – A Revolutionary Guide for Living an Awakened Life

And a third (bonus) exercise from his books:

Glimpse: Seen, Seeing and Awareness

In this glimpse you’ll use your visual sense to become aware of awareness. You can use the words on this page as the object of focus while you’re reading, or you can learn the exercise first and then try it with another object, like a cup.

  1. Become aware of the words on this page as objects.
  2. Notice your normal way of seeing the words on the page: looking outward from subject (“I”) to object (words). Notice: “I am aware of seeing the words.”
  3. Now reverse the process. Notice the words as the seen.
  4. Next, be aware of light reflecting off the page and coming to your eyes as seeing.
  5. Now follow your awareness back to rest as that which is aware of seeing.
  6. Let your awareness move backwards from the seen… to seeing… and then through the ”I” to rest back as that which is aware of seeing.
  7. Let awareness move back from the page to discover the awareness behind and within that is already aware and looking.

Allow awareness to rest back until it discovers the awake awareness that is effortlessly reading the words. 

If you experienced a shift while doing one of these three glimpses shared here, or while doing one of the exercises in the videos then you have experienced for yourself that this just might work for you. See what happens if you make the various glimpse exercises a regular practice. Glimpse yourself to Inner Peace.


2 thoughts on “From (mistaken) Mind Identification to Open Hearted Awareness

  1. Loch Kelly – Effortless Mindfulness | Elevating Consciousness Podcast #30

    Loch Kelly is an award-winning author, meditation teacher, psychotherapist, and founder of the Effortless Mindfulness Institute. His teachings synthesize the best of ancient wisdom practices, neuroscience, and contemporary psychology. Using an all-inclusive style of dialogue and inquiry he helps people cut through suffering and awaken to their true nature. He has been sharing his teachings in retreats and workshops internationally for over 25 years and is the author of “Shift into Freedom” and “The Way of Effortless Mindfulness.” In this episode, we speak about the differences between deliberate & effortless mindfulness approaches, barriers to recognizing awakened awareness, why we don’t need 10,000 hours of meditation to awaken, integrating psychotherapy & meditation, and a mature understanding of emptiness & nonduality.

    [Show notes]

    0:00 – Introduction
    2:26 – How Loch Kelly discovered Effortless Mindfulness
    9:07 – Is it possible to stabilize awakening without long meditation retreats?
    12:31 – Contrasting deliberate vs effortless mindfulness approaches
    19:59 – Barriers to recognizing awakened awareness
    32:51 – Awakening as the next stage of human development
    36:07 – Why we don’t need 10,000 hours of meditation to awaken
    45:13 – The neuroscience of awakening
    51:04 – Calming the mind is only the first stage of meditation
    54:33 – Democratizing Awakening & the Mindful Glimpses App
    58:51 – Loch guides us through a series of mindful glimpses
    1:17:48 – Integrating psychotherapy and meditation
    1:29:18 – A mature understanding of emptiness & nonduality
    1:38:50 – Can you realize awakening through psychedelics?

  2. Here are also some self inquiry questions that can help people get beyond their mind that are inspired on Loch Kelly his Peer Inquiries from his second book.

    What is here now?

    What is here now that is already accepting of All That Is?

    Is there anything missing in the here and now?

    Is there anything to push against in the here and now?

    What is here before the thought of I arises?

    Where are you aware from?

    What is here before, during and after a thought?
    What is here before, during and after a feeling?
    What is here before, during and after a sensation?
    What is here before, during and after a breath?

    Who is aware of this experience?

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