This is a brief course about Effortless Mindfulness, a new secular approach developed by Loch Kelly.
Loch distinguishes between two types of mindfulness: deliberate mindfulness and effortless mindfulness. Some people like both approaches. Others, resonate more with one approach than with the other, so I'd recommend that you learn about both types of mindfulness in order to find out what works and what doesn't work.
In our previous 8-week courses (e.g., Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Unified Mindfulness) we have learnt what might be called “deliberate mindfulness”, a type of mindfulness that requires targeted concentration. In deliberate mindfulness, the meditator focus his attention on a specific object (e.g., the breath). This meditation object becomes primary, whereas everything else remains in the background as secondary.
In this course we’ll learn the way of effortless mindfulness. Loch referred to effortless mindfulness as an opening to a naturally compassionate, non-conceptual awake awareness that is interconnected here and Now. In effortless mindfulness, rather than starting by concentrating on a specific object, we’re opening to awareness as the object and subject. We discover that compassion, loving-kindness, bliss are already here and there’s no need to generate positive feelings. We discover a spacious, contentless awareness from which we’re mindful. Effortless mindfulness feels intimately and energetically interconnected with what we’re aware of in the Now. In the Now, we can be aware of the coming and going of present moments while we make plan for the future or recall the past.
In deliberate mindfulness, you practice different meditations during an extended period of time, in order to get a handle on what is being explained (i.e., formal practice in stillness, formal practice in motion, and informal practices). Here we are doing something totally different. The primary way of learning effortless mindfulness is small glimpses, many times.
A mindful glimpse is a small awakening, a type of shifting, letting go, dropping, or stopping to allow a natural clarity and connectedness to emerge. Glimpses are not insights from our conceptual mind; they are the direct experience of the essential peace, love, and wisdom that’s always been here.
Are you ready? Below you have a list of 20 glimpses. Listen mindfully with an open mind.
Training to Remain
When we discover open-hearted awareness, we realize that our small self is not truly who we are. This small self is composed of different parts, different constellations of thoughts and emotions that compete for our attention, but ultimately, we are the Self with capital S. The Self includes thoughts, emotions, and body sensations, but it is more than that.
What is the Self?
The Self is the ground of our Being, and it has many qualities. The Self is invisible, intelligent, innate, immediate, illumined, inherent, inspired, ineffable. The Self is calm, curious, compassionate, confident, courageous, clear, connected, creative. The Self has patience, persistence, perspective, presence, pure perception, peace, precision, purpose, playfulness.
When we feel disconnected and contracted, we’re operating from the small self. We need to unhook and return to Self, again and again.
How do we train to remain?
This is the hard part. It takes time to get used to it, because functioning from Self feels a little bit weird in the beginning, and there's a propensity to function from the small self, our default operating system.
You need to practice everyday (formally and informally).
Formal practice (in stillness): meditate on the Self, for at least 20-30 minutes everyday. Some people may benefit from combining both effortless mindfulness and deliberate mindfulness practices.
Informal practice (in everyday life):
Recognize that you are caught, attached, or identified.
Apply a glimpse method that has worked for you.
Remain undistracted without effort as Self, the Ground of Being.
Do from Self.
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