Awakening the Heart

Awakening the Heart


11 JUNE - 7 JULY, 2019

This brand new course with Senior teacher and Co-Founder of Spirit Rock, James Baraz, includes over five hours of recorded teachings and three hours of live, interactive student-teacher contact. 

A unique opportunity to ask questions, engage in dialogues, practices, and insightful exercises.  

You may have already noticed that opening your heart to become more intimate with life isn’t an easy movement. 

And yet something in us longs for that openness, to feel the full spectrum of our heart.

Living with an unprotected heart, although extremely liberating, can also be very challenging and may leave us feeling vulnerable.  

It’s natural to want to protect ourselves from pain, but over time our heart’s defenses become stronger and can even feel like physical blocks to the heart. 

These blocks can look, feel, and sound different to each of us. 

For example:

  • Never considering ourselves worthy of the love we offer others
  • Comparing ourselves to others and a sense we’re missing something
  • Fear of future heartache in relationship 
  • Envy for the joy we see in others
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the needs of others, or their suffering.

Do you recognise these blocks? 

You will learn here, in community with others, practices to dissolve whatever blocks your heart.  

The practices and teachings that will enable us to cultivate wellbeing, joy and happiness. The wellbeing that emerges as the heart awakens.  

The type of happiness which is sustainable and organically rooted within ourselves.  

In this course, James Baraz expertly guides us through a specific series of heart practices designed to deeply touch into these insights and feelings of freedom, tapping into these transformational and therapeutic practices that facilitate our heart’s unfolding.  

Healing around these blocks as they dissolve, bringing these concepts and practices into our everyday lives is the work and freedom that is available to you right now.  

Here’s just a glimpse of what James offers in this course:

  • Freedom in Relationship: Living with, and relating from, an unprotected and open heart  
  • Loving Ourselves: Appreciating who we are, bringing kindness and love to what we understand to be “me”.  
  • Liberation of Forgiveness: The many levels, directions and benefactors it can include  
  • Love vs Attachment: Learning their subtle differences  
  • The Joy Ride of Mudita: The aliveness we experience within the happiness of others  
  • Vow Practice: Why and how we can tap into the resonance and power of vow practice, by creating our own Bodhisattva vow.  
  • Compassionate Action: How our open heart has tremendous power to impact the world
  • Abundance and Balance: How equanimity sustains our capacity for compassionate action and in finding our centre, becomes the healing environment for others, when that is what’s called for.  

When our hearts begin to open, that process needs care and support too. Join others in finding out how we can do that together, skilfully, kindly and sustainably.  

Holding our awakened hearts, in this profoundly transformational way, gives us the chance to use this momentum to explore in depth this fascinating relationship between compassionate action and liberation.  

This is the work of awakening our hearts. 

Both ours and everyone else’s.  

We look forward to you joining us, as we practice together, from the comfort of our own homes.  

About James Baraz

James has been a meditation teacher since 1978. He leads retreats, workshops and classes in the United States and abroad.

James is a founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center where he continues to lead trainings and programs.

James has been leading the online course Awakening Joy since 2003. In recent years, he has been focusing on Dharma and Climate Change, and serves as an advisor to One Earth Sangha, a website devoted to Buddhist responses to Climate Change. 

His books include "Awakening Joy" (with Shoshana Alexander) and "Awakening Joy for Kids" (with Michele Lilyanna). 

James lives in Berkeley, California with his wife, Jane. He has two sons and three grandchildren.

Course Details

Four Recorded Teachings

Filmed in high definition with teachings and experiential exercises to help you bring the practices into your daily life. Released each Tuesday, these teachings can be watched at your own pace throughout the week. Each recorded teaching is roughly 60 minutes.  

Guided Meditation

James provides guided meditations and practices that can be used as a support for grounding the teachings in direct experience.

Three Live Sessions of 60 minutes

This is a unique opportunity to connect with James live, ask questions, clarify your understanding and share what’s coming up for you in the course. Ask your questions on screen using your webcam, or via text. The power of being included and heard can offer great benefit in your journey with the course material.

Live Session Dates and Times

Dates: Interactive 1: Sunday 23 June Interactive 2: Sunday 30 June Interactive 3: Sunday 7 July

Times: 10:30am PT (LA), 1:30pm ET (NY), 6:30pm UK (London), 7:30pm EU (Paris)  

All live sessions will be recorded and made available for those who are not able to attend the live times.  

Online Forum

Join in a virtual online community where we can come together with other like minded souls who are learning and supporting each other as we practice.

Lifetime Access  

The course will be available to you indefinitely so that you may continue to review and practice with the materials as many times as you like.


Here is a glimpse of what you can expect from each module


The Spectrum of the Heart - Awakening Our Potential

In this first module, James helps us begin the process of awaking our hearts. This allows us to start to enjoy and delight in the beauty and the goodness of life.  

Rooted in teachings of the Buddha, as well as recent findings from modern neuroscience, James lays out the principles and direction for how to cultivate an open and awake heart.  

We are generally wired up to notice what can go wrong. It takes practice to change that default setting, but this is where the power of mindfulness enables deep transformation to occur.  

James reminds us of the Buddha's teaching, "Whatever the practitioner frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of their mind." In modern neuroscience the axiom that goes along with this is "neurons that fire together wire together."  

With specific practices, James supports us to change our default setting, and bring attention to the good. The more we start to incline the mind towards love, kindness, clarity and understanding, the heart can't help but open.  

And then our own goodness, love, compassion and peace can become a gift to this world.  


Learning to Love Ourselves

Awakening the heart starts with opening to ourselves. In this module, James reminds us that we all have the capacity and potential to realize our true nature. 

Although it isn't always easy to see who we truly are, there are powerful practices that can help us see the goodness and beauty that is often covered up by our habits and beliefs.

James takes us through a sequence of practices that help us to:

  • see ourselves through the eyes of loving kindness
  • open to a state of forgiveness towards ourselves
  • understand ourselves with compassion
  • and love the whole package of who we are

We come to see that we are each beautiful and unique beings. And, at the same time, we see that we are also an expression of life living through this being, not separate from any other manifestation.

Seeing ourselves from this perspective offers the possibility of immense freedom.


Awakening the Heart Towards Others  

“Love is essentially self communicative. Those who do not have it, catch it from those who do. True love is unconquerable and irresistible.” - Meher Baba  

In this module, James explores how our connections with others serve as as a way to expand the opening of the heart.  

We'll explore what is blocking our hearts, and how to heal these barriers to connection. 

James offers a collection of heart practices to gently guide us, utilising our felt sense as a way to deepen and embody the insights that arise.

The practices we will explore together include:  

  • The Heart of Forgiveness: the many levels, directions and benefactors it can include
  • Loving Kindness and Attachment: their subtle differences 
  • Depth of Loving Kindness: it’s breadth of practice and how to find our way in
  • The Joy Ride of Mudita: the aliveness we experience within the happiness of others  

This third module invites us to explore, with James as our expert guide, the ways in which the heart can gradually make space for all of life.  



Awakening the Heart with Compassionate Action

“Hatred never ceases by hatred. Hatred ceases by love alone. This is an ancient and eternal law” - The Buddha (Dhammapada, verse 5) 

In this final module on compassionate action, James shows us how we are wired up to care, to resonate with others when we sense their suffering. And how important it is to balance our caring heart with the calmness of equanimity so that we don't become overwhelmed.  

We are living through incredibly challenging times. How do we respond to the sorrow, anger, cruelty and greed that we see?  

James teaches that part of the practice of getting in touch with compassionate action is going underneath our reactions of negativity and outrage and anger, which are a natural part of being human, to the place where we care. It hurts so much because we care so deeply.  

The more we come from care and love the more we heal.

Finally, James encourages us to actually express our caring with compassionate action. There is a kind of relief from the anxiety that we feel when we bring our caring into the world.  

He challenges us to find our personal way to express our caring, rather than staying bottled up in feelings of despair and hopelessness.  

The joy of knowing we're making a difference in itself becomes contagious for others to want to do the same.  

In this way, the rippling effect of caring has tremendous power to impact the world. 



Price: $250


Limited Scholarships available Click here for more information 

We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee within 60 days of purchase and will provide a full refund if you are unhappy with the course for any reason.