Joseph Goldstein (Part 1) – Living on the Spiritual Edge: The Ever-Deepening Healing & Transformative Gifts of Opening to Experience and Life

Joseph Goldstein insight meditation awakening

Joseph Goldstein, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, brilliant spiritual teacher, and prolific author, whose books have been foundational to many people’s understanding of Buddhism, mindfulness, and insight meditation, shares rich nuggets of wisdom stemming from a lifetime of ever-deepening practice. The focus of this conversation remains very much in the present, as Joseph describes how the leading edge of his practice never stops moving forward and how his understanding of the most basic ideas becomes ever more refined and liberating. In sharing his insights, he sheds light on and smooths the path for the rest of us: about the mysterious arising of compassion, made easier the more open we are and the less self-referential, about reframing our experience in a way that frees us, about spontaneous responsiveness, and about awakening being a gradual process—until it’s sudden.

Joseph’s new favorite definition of enlightenment is “lightening up” for the way it conveys a sense of making progress along a journey. And with his humor, humility, and easy, lighthearted manner, Joseph exemplifies and transmits a lighter way of being in the world. He makes it ever so clear that spiritual practice and meditation, examining and investigating our experience moment to moment, naturally leads us to compassionate responsiveness and out of the shackles of what binds us to a self that is ultimately just a construct. Recorded November 2, 2023.

“The fact that liberation is inevitable gives me a lot of joy.”

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Topics & Time Stamps – Part 1

  • Introducing Joseph Goldstein, renowned Buddhist meditation teacher, co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society, and author of many spiritual books (01:05)
  • What’s on the edge for Joseph now? The edge is always about clinging, and as what you cling to changes, the edge changes (03:45)
  • Over time, the understanding of mindfulness becomes more and more refined (04:51)
  • Joseph’s new favorite definition of enlightenment: lightening up (08:53)
  • Don’t waste your suffering! Relate to it with interest (10:58)
  • The ultimate reframe: “I” becomes “no-I” (13:44)
  • How walking meditation can open us to a vivid experience of selflessness (15:06)
  • Our lives are lived in relationship to our overlay on experience, going to the direct experience is itself healing and transformative (18:56)
  • The conceptual level lends some sense of permanence but on the level of direct experience, everything changes, nothing is permanent (20:07)
  • Clinging to things that are impermanent gives you rope burn (21:44)
  • Awakening is always gradual…until it’s sudden: the diminishment of defilements and the uprooting of defilements (22:55)
  • Sudden awakening, gradual cultivation, and the necessity to integrate an awakening experience (26:57)
  • There are 4 stages of enlightenment because we are not able to open to the magnitude of suffering all at once; we have gone beyond belief in self, but there is still desire, aversion, conceit (31:53)
  • Practice is a continual deepening (34:35)

Resources & References – Part 1

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Joseph Goldstein insight meditation awakening

Joseph Goldstein is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist studies, both in Barre, Massachusetts. He is the author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, A Heart Full of Peace, One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism, Insight Meditation and The Experience of Insight. He has also co-authored books with Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield. Joseph has studied and practiced meditation since 1967 under the guidance of eminent teachers from India, Burma, and Tibet, and he leads Insight Meditation retreats around the world.

Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell

Besides his passion for getting the invaluable conversations on the Deep Transformation Podcast out to the world, co-host John Dupuy is also dedicated to encouraging the use of brainwave entrainment technology for its transformative effects. John has been working personally and professionally with brainwave entrainment technology since 2004, and in 2010, he co-founded iAwake Technologies to help create high quality soundtracks using this technology, which supports the healing of emotional/shadow issues, deepens meditation, mental focus, creativity, and flow states, and enhances a daily integral transformative practice.

To experience the effects for yourself, you can download a free sample of the Stealing Flow Warm-up track here, for a 25-minute, full-spectrum, whole-brain workoutWe hope you enjoy it!