Joseph Goldstein (Part 2) – 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 forward edge has more to do with the attitude of exploration rather than any particular thing.

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Topics & Time Stamps – Part 2

  • The mysterious arising of compassion and what does this say about the nature of reality? (00:52)
  • Compassion is the manifestation of emptiness; responsiveness is the activity of emptiness (03:00)
  • Understanding bodhicitta (05:47)
  • The near enemy of compassion is sorrow, because in sorrow is aversion (09:57)
  • Moving out of sorrow to compassionate response transfigures sorrow into an uplifting energy: moving from self to non-self (13:52) 
  • How unwholesome mind patterns keep us bound, and uprooting the first 3 fetters/defilements in the 1st stage of enlightenment (17:36)
  • Desire and aversion are uprooted at the third stage of enlightenment but conceit, or some manifestation of “I am-ing,” remains (19:47)
  • The experience of the zero center: when we know unmistakably that self is a construct—still there are still deeply conditioned habits of mind, one of which is the habit pattern “I am” (21:38)
  • The power of recognizing the particular defilement that triggers our suffering (23:50)
  • Don’t conflate clear perception, recognition, with mindfulness—recognizing fear is different from accepting fear (29:59)

Resources & References – Part 2

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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!