Joseph Goldstein (Part 3) – 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.

Nirvana is like the peace that comes when the refrigerator stops humming.”

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Topics & Time Stamps – Part 3

  • An ever-deepening understanding of refuge: for Joseph, refuge feels like being held (00:56)
  • In mindfulness, unwholesome states of mind no longer act as distorting filters—they are wholly accepted (04:12)
  • The effects of recognizing aversion and resistance to your experience (07:03)
  • Liberation is impossible as long as there is attachment to the pleasant, aversion to the unpleasant (08:02)
  • Nirvana is like the peace that comes when the refrigerator stops humming; it also describes the mind free of defilements (10:09)
  • What is unique about the experience of nirvana? What gives it the transformative power to uproot defilements? (15:17)
  • Does the path ever end? Who knows! (19:29)
  • It’s the quality of your interest that is key to staying on the spiritual path: “If you want to understand your mind, sit down and observe it” (22:55)
  • Joseph: “The fact that liberation is inevitable gives me a lot of joy.” (25:18)
  • Reflections on how Buddhist teachings apply to the crises of today: the balance of equanimity and compassion make effective response possible (27:39)

Resources & References – Part 3

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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!