JoAnna Hardy – BHNN Guest Podcast – Ep. 88 – The Great Balancing Act

JoAnna Hardy sheds light on ‘the great balancing act,’ offering Buddhist insight into inclusion, ethics, self-reliance, control, karma, manifestation, and nature.

This talk from JoAnna Hardy was originally published on

JoAnna Hardy is an insight meditation (Vipassanā) practitioner and teacher; She is on Faculty at the University of Southern California, Founding member of the Meditation Coalition, a teacher’s council member at Spirit Rock Meditation CenteriBme, visiting retreat teacher at Insight Meditation Society, and collaborator on many online meditation apps and programs. For more information, upcoming events, offerings, or to book a one-on-one session, please visit

Empowerment, Inclusion, & The Buddha

In this dharma talk stemming from the Insight Meditation Society’s People of Color Retreat, JoAnna Hardy explores inclusivity and empowerment through outlining how pragmatic lessons from the Buddha’s life can be applied to our modern times. Sharing meaningful personal stories, JoAnna reflects on how our integrity is not in what we are; but who we are, how we show up, and how we live.

“Buddha said, ‘Not by caste, race, creed, or birth, is one noble. But by heart alone is one a noble being.’ For him, it was by character, it was our intrinsic value, it was who we were and are on the inside where our liberation lays. Not by our skin color, not by our economic status, not by our gender, not by our preferences, disabilities, or age.” – JoAnna Hardy

Spring Washam reflects on sangha, Buddha, & the wisdom of inclusion, on Ep. 45 of the BHNN Guest Podcast
Energy & Ethics // Self-Reliance, Clarity, & Control (10:10)

What can we control in life? What can’t we control? Prompting these simple questions, JoAnna sheds light on the amazing amount energy we waste mentally spinning around uncontrollables, rather than diverting our energy stream towards what we can control: our intention, our ethics, (and more difficult ones) like speech. From here, she offers insight into the heavily practice-focused skillful means, heart-mind clarity, and self-refuge taught by the Buddha.

“The key to liberation on this path is around our mental clarity, our clarity of heart and mind, this Citta; not around an outside authority. The Suttas say that the Buddha said, ‘Be a refuge unto yourself.’ He said, ‘Don’t look at me. Look at the moon.’ Take these teachings for your own, not on anyone else’s authority.” – JoAnna Hardy

Joseph Goldstein explores energy as a factor of awakening, on Ep. 68 of the Insight Hour
Karma & Manifestation // A Rebirth in Every Moment // Pleasant, Unpleasant, Neutral (20:20)

Exploring karma and manifestation through the lens of each mind moment being a rebirth, and thereby an opportunity to slide into a new reality, JoAnna shares the simple practice of mindfully noting our experiences throughout the day as either: pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Through this practice, an individual can more readily see what they create in their lives when experiencing from each of these different labels.

“Right now, what you’re thinking, and in which direction you’re thinking—whether you’re having a positive experience, a not so positive experience, what your mood is like, what your attitude is like—is actually creating the next little burst of mind moment. So in a way, if we think of rebirth, we are rebirthing every moment. We are creating our next birth by our mind right now.” – JoAnna Hardy

Ethan Nichtern reflects on how every single moment is the “New Year,” on Ep. 64 of The Road Home
Old Age, Sickness, & Death // Heredity, Nature, & Mind (30:30)

Diving into the often turbid factors of life which we can’t control—like old age, sickness, death, nature, gravity, heredity, mind, and the interdependence of all being—JoAnna sheds perspective on how we can hold “it all.” To close, she reads a Thich Nhat Hanh poem, “Call Me By My True Names,” before leading a short silent meditation.

Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh by [Thich Nhat Hanh]