Andy running The Boston Marathon for Dana Farber
Andy running The Boston Marathon for Dana Farber.  Andy Kelley is not your average meditation instructor.  He’s not a Guru, Spiritual Sage or Buddhist.  He’s actually a pretty typical guy.  Some even refer to him as their Blue Collar Buddha.

The Boston Buddha provides a wide range of Attention and Compassion Techniques (ACT trainings) via meditation and mindfulness.  These trainings are designed to cultivate positive qualities of mind – qualities like – (clear sustained attention, compassion, patience, generosity, kindness, willpower, strength perseverance, forgiveness, humor, warmth, and empathy).  We believe that happiness comes from the mental habits you continually practice – moment to moment awareness.  These are our mental push-ups!  We can train the mind to be more like the qualities we admire – so we can get out of our own way – and be happier in our lives.

Andy is a hard working dad and husband – and a diehard Boston sports fan.  He comes from a very large, Irish, Catholic family.  His story is not unlike many others, although it does come with a unique twist.

The Working Man’s Buddha

He’s been called the blue-collar Buddha and a happiness ambassador, and he’s all that and more — the guy you’ve just met but feel like you’ve known your whole life, the guy who has you doubled over laughing within minutes.  And — oh yeah — he’s the guy who can teach you how to enjoy life.

But Andy’s path to Zen didn’t begin on a mountaintop or in a monastery.  He grew up as one of eight kids in a passionate Irish Catholic family right outside of Boston Massachusetts.  His dad worked as a manager at the Carter’s clothing company in Needham, and his mom was an interior designer when she wasn’t managing her substantial brood.  Tragedy struck the clan after she passed away from heart disease at the age of 46.

Andy, just about to enter college as a freshman, instead devoted the next two years helping his older brothers take care of their younger brothers and sisters.  Life, he learned, can change in an instant.

Two of Andy's favorite teachers - his son and Deepak Chopra
Two of Andy’s favorite teachers – his son and Deepak Chopra

He went on to graduate from Roger Williams University (he worked full-time as a bartender to fund college, often studying at the bar). Then came work as a director and producer for various broadcast TV and corporate production outlets.  He looked like a successful professional sprinting up the corporate ladder, but on the inside, he felt disengaged from what he knew really mattered — like spending time with his wife, Catharine, and his son, Hayden and his daughter, Faith.  There were other issues, too: he wasn’t sleeping and couldn’t relax — not the best combo for someone with a family history of heart problems.

Mindful Pioneers - Hayden and Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindful Pioneers – Hayden and Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Boston Buddha was founded in 2009, and in 2010, Andy was able to leave his full time job and focus on teaching everyday people how to relax and recharge through meditation.  The shift might seem rather abrupt, but off-hours, Andy had spent years meditating, researching, studding with the Chopra Center, and finally teaching meditation

He studied under Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. David Simon, co-founders of the Chopra Center – both renowned experts in the field of mind-body medicine, and DavidJi, Dean of the Chopra Center.  Andy is currently a certified instructor of Primordial Sound Meditation for The Chopra Center.  He is also a graduate of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School.

My Meditation Mentor – Davidji

For over 15 years now, Andy teaches his Morning Mindfulness program in the public elementary schools in Milton MA., and teaches workshops for the Middle and High school border students and faculty at Milton Academy, Brookline’s Heath, Lawerence Middle School, and Newton’s Burr and Bigelow Middle School.  Andy conducts numerous educator training workshops and frequently collaborates with schools and organizations to bring meditation and mindfulness courses to children in schools all over the country.

Andy mantra is, “Meditation for Everyone”.  He teaches everyday people how to meditate so they can be more productive in their careers and happier in their lives.

These days, Andy spends most mornings teaching students (and educators) how to meditate and afternoons working with private clients and corporations.  In the evening you can find him teaching a yoga/meditation class or coaching his son’s basketball team.

(bio adapted from boldfacers.com)