Joseph Goldstein is an author, the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, and is one of the most influential and important figures to bring vipassana meditation practices into the American mainstream.
During our conversation, Joseph talks about his journey from Columbia University to the Peace Corps in Thailand to his early meditation training in India, what mindfulness is and how it can help people come to know their own minds, why meditation is a practice that can decrease human suffering, the key observations and insights of the Buddha and the Noble Eightfold Path, and how and why one might begin to practice meditation.
It is impossible to talk to Joseph and not be struck by his decency, his openness, his presentness, and his sense of humor. He has committed his life to mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation, and has attempted to share what he knows and has learned with his students and the general public.
(02:14) Developing interest in Buddhism and meditation
(07:08) Reason for interest in Buddhism and meditation
(11:28) Immersing in the study of the mind
(15:10) The Buddha’s teachings
(20:57) Joseph's psychological state when first exposed to Buddhism and meditation
(23:30) The daily habits, discipline, and rituals to try to achieve Enlightenment
(29:37) Deciding to devote his life to meditation
(32:18) Communicating to his mother his desire to devote his life to Buddhism
(35:24) Metaphysical views pre and post meditation
(40:15) Buddhism is non-theistic
(42:43) What is the Dharma?
(47:12) Integrating Buddhist teachings with practice and The Noble Eightfold Path
(56:06) The first step to use mindfulness to ease psychological suffering
(01:03:49) Awareness versus the weather pattern of one's mind
(01:06:59) Using mindfulness to respond, rather than to react
(01:18:06) Dealing with grief
(01:27:19) How can we improve our lives by being mindful?
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