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Awakening can be the natural next stage of human development. Awakening is not a rare event limited to those who leave for the monastery or cave. We can awaken in the midst of our daily lives by discovering what Loch Kelly calls "open-hearted awareness." For the past two decades, this innovative psychotherapist and meditation teacher has been helping people from every back Awakening can be the natural next stage of human development. Awakening is not a rare event limited to those who leave for the monastery or cave. We can awaken in the midst of our daily lives by discovering what Loch Kelly calls "open-hearted awareness." For the past two decades, this innovative psychotherapist and meditation teacher has been helping people from every background learn how to access a spacious, natural way of living in tune with a deeper truth. Shift into Freedom presents Loch Kelly's original synthesis of ancient wisdom, modern psychological insights, current neuroscience research, and unique awareness practices for the body, mind, and heart. Written for both first-time and lifelong meditators, here is a training guide filled with simple and effective experiential tools for "unhooking" awareness from our chattering minds and dropping into our awake heart space, expanding our sense of intimacy and interconnection, and embodying inner peace, clarity, and love.


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Awakening can be the natural next stage of human development. Awakening is not a rare event limited to those who leave for the monastery or cave. We can awaken in the midst of our daily lives by discovering what Loch Kelly calls "open-hearted awareness." For the past two decades, this innovative psychotherapist and meditation teacher has been helping people from every back Awakening can be the natural next stage of human development. Awakening is not a rare event limited to those who leave for the monastery or cave. We can awaken in the midst of our daily lives by discovering what Loch Kelly calls "open-hearted awareness." For the past two decades, this innovative psychotherapist and meditation teacher has been helping people from every background learn how to access a spacious, natural way of living in tune with a deeper truth. Shift into Freedom presents Loch Kelly's original synthesis of ancient wisdom, modern psychological insights, current neuroscience research, and unique awareness practices for the body, mind, and heart. Written for both first-time and lifelong meditators, here is a training guide filled with simple and effective experiential tools for "unhooking" awareness from our chattering minds and dropping into our awake heart space, expanding our sense of intimacy and interconnection, and embodying inner peace, clarity, and love.

57 review for Shift Into Freedom: The Science and Practice of Openhearted Awareness

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gail Storey

    The primary question I've been living with for a while is how to make the alleged "shift" from the small me to Awareness, even as I knew that was not the right question, since the small me will never know whether it made the shift or not. Loch Kelly has a series of exercises for what he calls "glimpses" into living from Open-Hearted Awareness. I'd listened to SHIFT INTO FREEDOM, and got a bit tangled up because I had trouble following the glimpse practices without referring to thinking. However, The primary question I've been living with for a while is how to make the alleged "shift" from the small me to Awareness, even as I knew that was not the right question, since the small me will never know whether it made the shift or not. Loch Kelly has a series of exercises for what he calls "glimpses" into living from Open-Hearted Awareness. I'd listened to SHIFT INTO FREEDOM, and got a bit tangled up because I had trouble following the glimpse practices without referring to thinking. However, attending a daylong satsang with him clarified these glimpses into Awareness enormously, and I highly recommend anyone who has the opportunity for a retreat or satsang with him to do so. He uses his hands, voice, and sense of humor in such a delightfully expressive way that I felt a kindred spirit. In particular, I loved his hand/arm motion to signify the interweaving of "Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form" (from the Heart Sutra) in a way that seamlessly resolves the apparent duality/conflict of the two. The whole day was rich with one grounded revelation after another. His teaching method is very participatory, so we called out our experiences in response to each guided glimpse, which was interesting and great fun. Loch Kelly's isn't a sitting meditation practice as such, but a way of living as open-hearted Awareness, beginning with simple, grounded practices that allow for glimpses into our true nature as Awareness, that deepen and expand in spaciousness. He embodies with a lively delight a very natural way of being grounded in everyday life, without getting stuck in transcendence which can be arid if not integrated into our human life. Most of all, there is lots of love in his presence. I feel now I can live from knowing myself as open-hearted Awareness, instead of the mini-me seeking to know myself as Awareness. I look forward to practicing the glimpses in his audio book on a daily basis.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lev Rothenberg

    I read this book slowly and experientially. It is full of "glimpse practices" and I spent time on each one and continue to do so. I find this book unique among the "spiritual" and/or "meditation" books I have read. Teachers say that "you are awareness" and although that sounds good, there has always bee a disconnect. This teacher actually provides tools that help me come to that experience - of being awareness. I believe that it still takes a suspension of a level of critical thinking, but it is I read this book slowly and experientially. It is full of "glimpse practices" and I spent time on each one and continue to do so. I find this book unique among the "spiritual" and/or "meditation" books I have read. Teachers say that "you are awareness" and although that sounds good, there has always bee a disconnect. This teacher actually provides tools that help me come to that experience - of being awareness. I believe that it still takes a suspension of a level of critical thinking, but it is entirely likely that with practice, this awareness work will indeed turn around and synthesize critical thinking with open hearted awareness. A key here is not asking "Who am I?" as is common, but rather "Where am I?". This book is part of a reflection group that we will hold at the JCC in about a month. It will be led by a local meditation instructor. I am eager to see how my understanding and practice grows.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Walford

    This book pulled me out of a deepening depression. In the first chapter. I am deeply in Loch Kelly's debt. I read a lot in this area, and it's been a long time since anyone has had such a profound effect on me in such a simple way. Specifically, he is able to shift me effortlessly into a more spacious consciousness. One that I have only tasted briefly in decades of spiritual practice. I'm not established in it, but now I understand what is needed to make that happen. This book pulled me out of a deepening depression. In the first chapter. I am deeply in Loch Kelly's debt. I read a lot in this area, and it's been a long time since anyone has had such a profound effect on me in such a simple way. Specifically, he is able to shift me effortlessly into a more spacious consciousness. One that I have only tasted briefly in decades of spiritual practice. I'm not established in it, but now I understand what is needed to make that happen.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ishmael

    1.5 stars for the writing. 4 stars (for some) of the content. Awful writing and delivery. Decent content. This book was so incoherent, that at times, I felt actual anger. The author doesn't seem to be capable of keeping the thread or structure of a narrative. He doesn't seem to be capable of distinguishing that which is consequential to the narrative from that which is not, constantly going off on tangents and droning on and on about myriad mundane insights he's had as a result of his practice. Her 1.5 stars for the writing. 4 stars (for some) of the content. Awful writing and delivery. Decent content. This book was so incoherent, that at times, I felt actual anger. The author doesn't seem to be capable of keeping the thread or structure of a narrative. He doesn't seem to be capable of distinguishing that which is consequential to the narrative from that which is not, constantly going off on tangents and droning on and on about myriad mundane insights he's had as a result of his practice. Here's a piece of advice. Rather than drone on and on about the effects (mundane insights) of the engine (the praxes), which are endless and myriad, and which one will realize for themself, focus on the narrative and thread of the engine itself. This book constantly feels like it lacks structure. To me, it felt like much of the material belonged in discretized blog posts, rather than in a book, and I felt like that's how it was written aswell. It lacked structure. To me, it seems clear that the author had the knowledge and wisdom in his brain to write a good book, but this writing and delivery is so awful, that it made this painful to read. I was impressed a few times, the author being familiar with some more esoteric matters than I expected. I also like how he emphasized staying connected with life, and developing in the relative world in addition to the absolute, and how sometimes, one can develop spiritually but be stunted in the relative and vice verse. I was impressed quite a few times by some of the authors realizations and insights, although I was often banging my head against the wall at him not being able to distinguish what was important to mention in a book from what was not. I don't like the style. I felt like it was bad pedagogy, but good material. The author should have read a couple of books on writing before writing this. Loch Kelly does seem like a very nice, compassionate and warm hearted person though, who possesses a good deal of insights, and that shines through the text. It's just such a jumbled, incoherent, unstructured mess, that it was extremely unpleasant to read. I will return to the book for the glimpse practices.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    I recently did a weekend retreat with him and read this brilliant book beforehand. G you're a regular meditator (or not), your perceptions of reality, awareness, body, identity will shift within you. Check this out and google him and his technique of glimpsing. Six stars I recently did a weekend retreat with him and read this brilliant book beforehand. G you're a regular meditator (or not), your perceptions of reality, awareness, body, identity will shift within you. Check this out and google him and his technique of glimpsing. Six stars

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marco Ferreira

    I would have loved to give this book 5 stars for the glimpse practices alone, for which i am grateful an found extremely useful. However the overall general writing style and explanation of concepts seemed so disjointed and incoherent that it made the book quite difficult to finish.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    To put it simply, Shift Into Freedom by Loch Kelly is a spiritual book. Though it is quite different in comparison to others I've read. Kelly is a psychotherapist and meditation teacher. In my view to the book, it seems he takes an information based look into meditation. It's a good thing, of course; I appreciate how the author takes a lot of points of view into account. There are references into many different types of religions, as well as examples of practices from each and how they might rela To put it simply, Shift Into Freedom by Loch Kelly is a spiritual book. Though it is quite different in comparison to others I've read. Kelly is a psychotherapist and meditation teacher. In my view to the book, it seems he takes an information based look into meditation. It's a good thing, of course; I appreciate how the author takes a lot of points of view into account. There are references into many different types of religions, as well as examples of practices from each and how they might relate to the reader. Even if you aren't religious, there is still information to obtain from these examples as it takes into account the efforts of others and how they obtain peace and awareness. There are quotes from experts in the field and he's also provided unique stories as to how he aids his students in their own paths to meditation, offering examples into their daily lives. There's obviously a lot of work and research that the author has done. There's a lot of information to gain from the book and, subsequently it is very text-heavy. However, that's certainly not a bad thing; the author takes a very in-depth look into meditation. The information is presented well, I think. Having said that, I think that some might find the amount of information intimidating; it's a book about finding calm and it's a lot of stuff to take in. Some might find it a bit too much information to take in at once. However, if one takes it a bit at a time, I think they'll really appreciate the knowledge. My suggestion, if this is the case, is to simply take the information a little. It's worthwhile to savour the book, rereading if you feel it necessary (there's nothing wrong with doing that for such an in-depth book), and understanding these practices, in relation to yourself. In addition to the paperback copy, I also received a copy of the audio tracks related to the book. It takes, in the author's own voice, a deep look into the meditation and provides exercises. I think it's very useful considering that reading is a different practice than listening. If one is reading the book, they will likely need to put it down in order to begin their exercises. With the audio version, we can simply pop it into a player and then listen to the author guide you, whilst doing whatever feels comfortable. I think that's a great option; not everyone feels comfortable in the same places or positions as another might. The audio is well done. There isn't any white noise (that I can hear) and the author takes his explanations slowly so that the feeling is calm and people are able to understand. I also appreciate the rate of his speaking as it gives people the ability to take in each word or sentence at a reasonable rate (and leaving gaps between some portions), letting us understand each portion before moving on to the next. My only fault to the audio copy is that it might be worthwhile having a content guide with the case, that isn't printed on the discs; one can't always see the content that's printed on the disc if it's in the player. Overall, I feel that this book really does take on a different view to meditation and self help, one that I haven't found in others I've read. There's a lot of information to guide me and the author provides a lot of varying exercises to help me achieve peace. Personally, I don't think I gained all the wisdom I can from just one read, but returning to the book in future will definitely allow me to revise the information and gain new perspective into it, after initial meditation. Everyone learns at different rates, with different examples and information. The author has taken a lot of consideration into this, providing information that will help so many different people. I think it's a well done and quite unique view on meditation and peace. I won a copy of this book via a First Reads giveaway and these are just my honest thoughts on it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dan Hahn

    A Most Helpful Read Loch Kelly combines his considerable skills as spiritual teacher and therapist to offer a path out of ego-centeredness with many simple (but not simplistic!) exercises and clear explanations of where he's going and why. The many "Glimpses" he offers --short exercises -- are tremendous, although I recommend you invest in the audio "Shift into Freedom: A Training in the Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness." That way, you can continue to practice and better discern whi A Most Helpful Read Loch Kelly combines his considerable skills as spiritual teacher and therapist to offer a path out of ego-centeredness with many simple (but not simplistic!) exercises and clear explanations of where he's going and why. The many "Glimpses" he offers --short exercises -- are tremendous, although I recommend you invest in the audio "Shift into Freedom: A Training in the Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness." That way, you can continue to practice and better discern which Glimpses work best for you. If you've been on a "mindfulness merry-go-round," being here now once in a while and out there somewhere most of the time, then this is the book for you!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tord Helsingeng

    Great collection of short self-inquiry practices. A good adjunct to "doing nothing" styles like shikantaza or dzogchen. Great collection of short self-inquiry practices. A good adjunct to "doing nothing" styles like shikantaza or dzogchen.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Flessert

    I picked up this book as a recommendation of a book that talks about dzogchen/mahamudra style meditation from a pragmatic/secular point of view. I was interested to see that take and so got the book. I am only about 1/3 of the way through, and I do plan on finishing it, but I've read enough and am looking forward to putting this book past me. The opening of the book got me excited with an introduction of a concept he calls 'awake awareness', as this is a state of mind I've found on the cushion t I picked up this book as a recommendation of a book that talks about dzogchen/mahamudra style meditation from a pragmatic/secular point of view. I was interested to see that take and so got the book. I am only about 1/3 of the way through, and I do plan on finishing it, but I've read enough and am looking forward to putting this book past me. The opening of the book got me excited with an introduction of a concept he calls 'awake awareness', as this is a state of mind I've found on the cushion that is exceptionally refreshing and freeing, and his glimpse of "What is here if there is no problem to solve?" is very good at shifting the mind towards that. The first concern is his downplaying of preliminaries. He briefly acknowledges their importance in Chapter 2: “Our entire mind-body system has been tied in knots by our attempts to defend against the pain caused by our mistaken identity. For this reason, most of us go through a process of unfolding that includes thawing out, detoxing, and gradually rewiring our neural networks.” Indeed. This is a complicated process nearly all people cannot do on their own, let alone based off a few lines in a book. He then downplays them: “Don’t get caught in the trap of only doing preliminary practices; use them until they’ve served their purpose. For instance, do one-pointed meditation only until your chattering mind calms. Practice deliberate mindfulness until you see that you’re not a thought-based, small self. ” Oh if it is so simple to just get to one-pointedness or to eliminate the sense of self... This comes to the second concern, which is clearly this is a book for people who have completed some sort of 'preliminary' and have an understanding of the language, vocabulary, and syntax of non-dual thought. I can only imagine what a casual reader would think of this: “Awake awareness is formlessness and also inherent within form. It is not one or the other; it merely displays diverse appearances. ” Finally, the instructions are so bizarre and vague to both render them useless and encourage people to script their own meditation experience. “Be aware of open space and then notice that open space is aware.” >What?? “Rather than going back up to thought for words, wait and feel the potential to know from open-hearted awareness. Inquire: “What does open-hearted awareness know?” Or, in other words, abandon thought and words, except when you don't. Avoid this attempt to dress up styles of meditation and regurgitate Buddhist philosophy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Greg B

    This book is a practical, secular, and contemporary guide for non-dual awareness practices. I was introduced to the idea of non-dual practices in Sam Harris wonderful book, "Waking Up." Sam helped to open the door to these ideas, and Loch's book is a logical next step for those who want to learn the specifics of the practice. Until recently, these esoteric non-dual awareness practices were shrouded in secrecy and considered advanced mediation practices. Loch has expertely distilled the wisdom of This book is a practical, secular, and contemporary guide for non-dual awareness practices. I was introduced to the idea of non-dual practices in Sam Harris wonderful book, "Waking Up." Sam helped to open the door to these ideas, and Loch's book is a logical next step for those who want to learn the specifics of the practice. Until recently, these esoteric non-dual awareness practices were shrouded in secrecy and considered advanced mediation practices. Loch has expertely distilled the wisdom of these ancient teachings and removed all the unnecessary dogma and religious baggage. I'm also grateful for Loch's deep understanding of science and psychology, and how he weaves in high quality academic research to back up what he is saying. One powerful concept that Loch emphasizes is how this practice can be done in the midst of one's daily life, and doesn't require intensive 3-month retreats to experience (which quickly fades when one gets off a retreat). Finally, a spirituality that is supported by cutting-edge science and doesn't require moving to a monastery or meditating for years in a cave.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rik Jespersen

    The first chapter is brilliant and very promising. The "glimpses" exercises are a very good and helpful variations on classic mahamudra/dzogchen point-out exercises. But unless you've already shifted into recognition, the rest of the book is talking over your head. Odd, I think Kelly greatly reduces his viable readership doing that. I stopped a few pages into the second chapter because there was no point in going on reading about all the lovely discoveries that happen AFTER that. But for many, t The first chapter is brilliant and very promising. The "glimpses" exercises are a very good and helpful variations on classic mahamudra/dzogchen point-out exercises. But unless you've already shifted into recognition, the rest of the book is talking over your head. Odd, I think Kelly greatly reduces his viable readership doing that. I stopped a few pages into the second chapter because there was no point in going on reading about all the lovely discoveries that happen AFTER that. But for many, the quality and encouragement in the first chapter will be worth the price of the book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Veztaro

    Most of it felt like a sort of long ad for the concepts his book promotes. He spends pages and pages talking about the benefits of his system and providing confusing instructions for guided meditations, such as "focus on the space behind your back" "feel your hand from within itself and not from your head". I'm all for spirituality and waking up but there's no simple way to follow this method. For a simpler more understandable path I'd recommend "the mind illuminated" by Culadasa Most of it felt like a sort of long ad for the concepts his book promotes. He spends pages and pages talking about the benefits of his system and providing confusing instructions for guided meditations, such as "focus on the space behind your back" "feel your hand from within itself and not from your head". I'm all for spirituality and waking up but there's no simple way to follow this method. For a simpler more understandable path I'd recommend "the mind illuminated" by Culadasa

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Simmons

    What an incredible book!!! This is a book you DO. I read and listened to both the book and the guided trainings (two different publications, different content) but Goodreads doesn’t differentiate for some reason. It is difficult for me to explain just how impactful this book & training has been for me. These are practices that fundamentally alter how you experience your life moment by moment... and beyond. I deeply appreciate Loch’s emphasis on approaching the topic from a Scientific perspective What an incredible book!!! This is a book you DO. I read and listened to both the book and the guided trainings (two different publications, different content) but Goodreads doesn’t differentiate for some reason. It is difficult for me to explain just how impactful this book & training has been for me. These are practices that fundamentally alter how you experience your life moment by moment... and beyond. I deeply appreciate Loch’s emphasis on approaching the topic from a Scientific perspective. Try it for yourself!

  15. 4 out of 5

    somethingness

    Utterly exceptional. Having just finished this book, I wholeheartedly recommend it both to those seeking and to those who think they're done seeking but intuit that something still remains to be done. (Hint: what needs to be done can be done from being.) Utterly exceptional. Having just finished this book, I wholeheartedly recommend it both to those seeking and to those who think they're done seeking but intuit that something still remains to be done. (Hint: what needs to be done can be done from being.)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dean

    Awareness teachings and basic practices introduced by LK, which can lead one into becoming more familiar with exploring actual awareness/consciousness.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dor

    DNF. Too incoherent for me, though I appreciated some of the material and practices. The system itself feels incomplete as a path towards freedom.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alex Paul

    Distills some incredible ancient knowledge & practices into a liberating approach that you can take right now.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Jackson

    Amazing.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    beyond my understanding at this point. Therefore, was too frustrated to finish.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nishant Agrawal

    Words cannot describe! Highly accessible and practical introductions to several difficult to grasp concepts. A true gem, thank you for this amazing gift!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Esther Harrison

    My personal opinion? Loch Kelly is a student of Adyashanti, but his meditations are not anywhere near the quality of his teacher's. The meditations might have sounded better had I heard them first, before hearing Adyashanti, but not after. My personal opinion? Loch Kelly is a student of Adyashanti, but his meditations are not anywhere near the quality of his teacher's. The meditations might have sounded better had I heard them first, before hearing Adyashanti, but not after.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    The problem with nearly every direct path book I've read is they have, at most, 3 different pointing out instructions (somewhere near the end of the book, after they're done trying to persuade you that meditation is worth doing and nondual experiences are possible). Loch Kelly gives around 30 here, most of which I haven't encountered before. For that alone, this is an important book in bringing the quality of Western instruction in more esoteric Mahayana/Vajrayana practice up to par with the ubi The problem with nearly every direct path book I've read is they have, at most, 3 different pointing out instructions (somewhere near the end of the book, after they're done trying to persuade you that meditation is worth doing and nondual experiences are possible). Loch Kelly gives around 30 here, most of which I haven't encountered before. For that alone, this is an important book in bringing the quality of Western instruction in more esoteric Mahayana/Vajrayana practice up to par with the ubiquitous Theravadan/Mahasi derivatives.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Hodges

    If you listen deeply to what Loch offers in this collection of audio practices, you might never need to buy another product about meditation again. These practices can facilitate your recognition of a deeply peaceful, loving, wise, and unchanging dimension of your being. Once you glimpse this gem within, a new chapter in the process of your evolution can begin to unfold. These audio practices offer brilliant pointers towards this gem. They are truly a gift beyond words.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pam Thomas

    Its about art and science and our awareness that by using your sixth sense and exploring principles of higher consciousness we can shift awareness and grow in our development and transform ourselves.By using the map and tools contained in the book you can begin the process of awakening with mindful meditation, at the same time detox your thoughts and emotions.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    I received this book, for free, in exchange for an honest review. An above average book on awareness. The author is well versed in Eastern traditions and clearly has done their research. There are exercises scattered about that add much to the book

  27. 5 out of 5

    John Finnegan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Stevens

  29. 5 out of 5

    Yousef

  30. 5 out of 5

    Renée

  31. 5 out of 5

    Endlesscribbles

  32. 5 out of 5

    Janet

  33. 5 out of 5

    Sounds True

  34. 5 out of 5

    Zachary Hodges

  35. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  36. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  37. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  38. 5 out of 5

    Kent Robinson

  39. 4 out of 5

    Juergen

  40. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Paproski

  41. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Dubbels

  42. 4 out of 5

    Deidre

  43. 5 out of 5

    Beram Slaven

  44. 5 out of 5

    Jess Aleigha

  45. 4 out of 5

    Larisa

  46. 4 out of 5

    Helena

  47. 4 out of 5

    Kim Angers

  48. 4 out of 5

    Delaney

  49. 4 out of 5

    Paige Brewster-Kelly

  50. 4 out of 5

    Doe Watson

  51. 5 out of 5

    Syntyché Francella

  52. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  53. 4 out of 5

    Todor Nikolov

  54. 4 out of 5

    Don Demercurio

  55. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Cairns

  56. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

  57. 5 out of 5

    Sue Dribben-dickson

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