Joseph Goldstein

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Joseph Goldstein has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and the Forest Refuge. Since 1967, he has studied and practiced different forms of Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Burma, and Tibet. His books include A Heart Full of Peace, One Dharma, Insight Meditation, and The Experience of Insight.

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Deeper Dimensions of Mindfulness, Part 2

Tami Simon speaks with Joseph Goldstein, the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and the Forest Refuge. Joseph has been teaching insight and lovingkindness meditation since 1974, and with Sounds True he has published many programs, including the new book Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening. In part two of a two-part interview, Tami speaks with Joseph about the Satipatthana Sutta’s wisdom on mindfulness beyond the body—mindfulness of feeling, of mind, and of dharma. Joseph also investigated what it means to be mindful of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, and how we can bring an engaged heart to our practice. (53 minutes)

Deeper Dimensions of Mindfulness, Part 1

Tami Simon speaks with Joseph Goldstein, the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society, the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, and the Forest Refuge. Joseph has been teaching insight and lovingkindness meditation since 1974, and with Sounds True he has published many programs, including the landmark audio series Abiding in Mindfulness and the new book Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening. In part one of a two-part inerview, Tami speaks with Joseph about his understanding of mindfulness that goes beyond our experience in the present moment, how the embodied realization of impermanence relates to mindfulness, and the Satipatthana Sutta—the central Buddhist teaching on mindfulness. (68 minutes)

The True Nature of Mindfulness

Tami Simon speaks with Joseph Goldstein, who is the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and has been teaching insight and lovingkindness meditation worldwide since 1974. He is the coauthor of the Sounds True audio learning course Insight Meditation (with Sharon Salzberg), and has recently released the third volume of his landmark audio course of advanced teachings and practical guidance on the Satipatthāna Sutta, Abiding in Mindfulness. In this episode, Tami speaks with Joseph about his study of the Satipatthāna Sutta as the Buddha’s central teaching of mindfulness meditation, the evolution of his own practice over the past four decades, and what it might mean to live without any sense of there being an “I” or a “me.” (60 minutes)

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Give a listen to this inspiring discussion of the embodiment of internal fortitude and wisdom known as sisu; how adversity provides an opportunity for resiliency; post-traumatic growth and positive psychology; the difference between sisu and grit; the visceral, somatic nature of sisu; taking risks instead of giving in to fear of failure; experiencing an initiation into your own strength; life—an ultramarathon we’re all running; flexibility, reason, and the choice to be gentler on yourself; finding harmony between the hard and the soft; journaling your own stories of sisu; self-forgiveness; looking to the future with an action mindset; transforming challenges into the fuel to keep you going; tapping into the intelligence of your body; sisu, leadership, and being kind versus being nice; and why developing sisu is so important for humanity at this time.

The Practice of Presence

PRACTICE ONE PRESENCE

START HERE . . .
I’m starting with love. I’m starting with breath.
I’m starting with stretching my body that carries me despite the aches.
I’m starting with a hand over my heart. I’m starting with forgiveness.
I’m starting with a clean slate.
I’m starting with a cup of tea and a crisp new page. I’m starting with a tearful release.
I’m starting with wind on my face and gratitude on my lips. I’m starting with my eyes up, not down.
Today, life is calling me to take my own path— Go at my own pace,
Stop when needed,
Notice the signs, people, and sights meant for me. Today, life is calling me to show up—
And I take this brave step by declaring . . .
Love is where I’m starting.
May it also be where I am going. Love IS the way.

Ever since I recovered Google Island, the book I wrote as a child, I’ve been making an intentional effort to connect with that younger version of me, the one I now call “my Dreamer Girl.”

This was the “me” who knew at a very early age that lovingly respond- ing to myself and those around me brought me joy. Over the past few years, I’ve spent time remembering what my Dreamer Girl was like.

She couldn’t walk by a stray cat without talking to it.

She marveled at the sounds she made with her violin and bow.

She loved the rush of the wind when she swung as high as she could go.

She freely ran through the sprinkler in her bathing suit, unhindered by her squarish body that held an abundance of freckles.

And most of all, my Dreamer Girl’s joy was found in filling spiral notebooks with observations, stories, and dreams.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I decided these inclinations were not acceptable and therefore needed to be abandoned. I’m pretty sure it was during adolescence when I began assuming the roles that gained the world’s approval—roles like the Planner, the Go-Getter, the Accommodator, the Helper, and the Overachiever—and when accolades took precedence over pleasure.

And those roles were just the beginning. In the twenty or so years that followed, I took on so many roles and expectations that it should have come as no surprise when it all became too heavy to bear.

But it did. I can still see myself at my breaking point—the teacher, the partner, the mother, the daughter, the sister, the volunteer, the completist, the juggler, the people-pleaser, the fixer, all simultane- ously coming undone during a morning jog, my well-crafted roles unraveling so quickly I didn’t even try to hold myself together.

Fueling my breakdown was a question I got a lot: “How do you do it all?” I’d always taken it as a compliment, but not on this particular day. At thirty-eight years old, I’d reached the very frayed end of myself, and that question loomed before me, forcing me to stop and face the answer I’d been running from.

I could “do it all” because I missed out on life—I missed out on the laughing, the playing, the creating, the connecting, the memory mak- ing . . . the living . . . the loving . . . and what I missed I cannot get back.

That truth was so gut-wrenching, I was forced to stop. I collapsed to my knees and I wept for all that I’d lost and the desolate place I was in. It was then and there that I decided to tell the truth. Looking back now, I realize the significance of that response. For once, I did not push the pain and discomfort away. I allowed myself to feel it, to let truth enlight- en me, which is why tears of despair turned into tears of relief.

I’d lost my connection with my Dreamer Girl, the tree climber, the notebook filler, the music maker, the seed planter—but she was not gone. Oh no, she was still with me, in here, hand over heart.

I just needed some time . . . space . . . and permission to reconnect with her.

Dear Soul Shift Companion, does that thought resonate with you? Because here’s the reality: as we grow further and further away from childhood, the demands and stress of life increase. We forget we have the power to say yes to what delights our heart and soul, makes us feel alive, and brings us peace. But in order to live an au- thentic, joyful, and purposeful life, we must remember how to say yes to those very things!

We can do it through the Practice of Presencean intentional choice to temporarily push away distractions and be fully present in the mo- ments of our life.

Within hours of my emotional morning run, I made this choice for myself.

I was in the middle of making lunches. My younger daughter, Avery, who was almost four years old at the time, was on the sofa watching The Lion King. My computer was open, the phone was buzzing, and I was thinking about all the things I needed to do that day. In that moment, I looked up and noticed—really noticed—my child. A clear voice inside me said, “Go be with her. There is nothing more import- ant right now.”

Without closing the bag of bread or looking at the clock, I placed the knife across the jar of peanut butter and went to hold my child.

What happened next was something no one had ever done in my whole life: my daughter brought my hand to her lips and gently kissed the inside of my palm, as if offering a silent but powerful acknowledg- ment of my presence.

This is remarkable, I thought. Tears filled my eyes.

I was so grateful I did not miss that moment and knew I didn’t want to miss any more.

This strong desire to not miss my life is what sparked my Practice of Presence.

Of course, at the time, I did not know it would become my Practice of Presence . . . I called it “going hands free,” a term that was inspired by that kiss-on-the-hand moment.

It might sound contradictory to the process, but being a planner, I needed a plan. Realistically, I knew I could not overhaul my life, give up technology, or abandon all my duties and responsibilities, but that initial response I made to heed the inner voice demonstrated it was possible and practical for me to dedicate small increments of time to just being present.

As an experienced teacher of students with behavioral issues and low self-esteem, I knew the impact of small, achievable steps in creating new, positive pathways. Change begins with a behavioral action, and when you change your behavior, your perspective starts to shift, too.

So, I started with ten-minute periods of time during which I set aside my phone, computer, and agenda to be fully present and open to connection.

It was impossible not to notice how one choice produced a ripple of positive outcomes. For example, after opening my pop-up chair at my older daughter’s swim meet, I chose not to get out my work in an attempt to maximize the free time. Seeing my open lap and available attention, Avery asked if she could sit there. Holding her made me feel at peace and connected to her. When the meet was delayed, I did not fly off the handle because my plan was derailed. Instead, my daughters and I went and asked the coach how we could help, which he seemed to appreciate.

We got home later than expected that night, but I hadn’t yelled or felt that internal pressure . . . which resulted in my falling asleep without the pain of regret. With one choice to be fully present, a series of mean- ingful experiences were created, lasting far beyond a solitary moment.

As I continued to practice choosing connective presence over pro- ductivity, efficiency, distraction, and control, I realized that a feeling of peace consistently came along with that choice; it was as if I was receiving an internal message of encouragement from my soul that said, This feels in line with how I want to live.

Now, does this mean that from this point on life was rainbows and butterflies? Absolutely not. The damaging habits and beliefs I’d car- ried for decades were deeply ingrained, and life continued to deliver unexpected challenges. So, naturally, there were times when I didn’t choose a loving, compassionate, or healthy response to conflicts or big feelings. But . . . I was practicing.

And here was the difference: when I encountered a painful exter- nal clue—a wounded expression, a troubling comment, an upsetting memory, an uneasy feeling—I did not push it away. The difference was . . . I acknowledged it. I allowed myself to feel my response to the discomfort without judgment, so it could be used as information to lead and enlighten me.

Because of this willingness to be present for it all—the remarkable moments and the mundane moments, the peaceful moments and the uncomfortable moments—I was able to move from the painful truth of I am missing my life to a new, healing truth:

Rachel Macy Stafford is the New York Times bestselling author of Hands Free Mama, Hands Free Life, Only Love Today, and Live Love Now. Rachel is a certified special education teacher whose personal strategies are universal invitations to embrace life with urgency and cultivate connection despite the distractions of our culture. Her blog and social media platform are sources of inspiration to millions. For more, visit handsfreemama.com.

Transform your relationship with your kitchen—and yo...

Hello gorgeous community of amazing human beings,

For the last 15 years, I have been cooking up this question: 

What does it look like to nourish YOU? 

 

Let’s drop everything we might think this is 
and everything you didn’t get done today 

and bring our collective shoulders down from the sky. 

Let’s take a minute here. We are just getting started, yet I feel we need to slow down. Will you take a deep breath with me? Thank you for being here with me. Thank you for breathing. There is nothing to do here. 

You can bring your awareness to your breath with an inhale through your nose. Open your mouth slightly and exhale with a HAAAAAAAAA sound. It feels so good to drop everything and breathe. Me too. To let go, even a little, is a real lovefest for the heart and mind = heart mind. 

It feels so good, can we do one more? 
You can close your eyes this time if you want to—

I will be right here. 

We are just getting here, together.

Now let me ask you again: 
What does it look like to nourish YOU?

What if I told you that your kitchen is a place of stories, mothers, grandmothers, imprints, and emotional weather patterns that shaped how you live now? It is also a place to deeply nourish yourself and cook up the life you have been longing to live. 

Your kitchen (yes your kitchen!) is a fierce, unconditionally loving mother holding what is ripe and ready to become inside of YOU. Who would have thought that you can heal your life in your kitchen? I did! And now you can.  

I am excited to share my new book: The Kitchen Healer: The Journey to Becoming You.

It invites you to bring your entire body into the kitchen, put your shame into the fire, offer your grief to the soup—allowing all you have been hungry for to begin to feed YOU. As you turn on the fire, you will come home to yourself. You will make the room you need, to hear and see and feel the stories you have been carrying.  

 

You will begin, again and again, to become YOU. 
Welcome home. 

In loving service to your courage, your kitchen healer,
x x x x jules

Jules Blaine Davis, the Kitchen Healer, is a TED speaker and one of Goop’s leading experts on women’s healing. She has led transformational gatherings, retreats, and a private practice for over fifteen years. She has facilitated deeply nourishing experiences at OWN and on retreat with Oprah Winfrey, among many other miracles. Jules is a pioneer in her field, inviting women to awaken and rewrite the stories they have been carrying for far too long in their day-to-day lives. She is cooking up a movement to inspire and support women to discover who they are becoming.

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