Through the lens of the compassionate heart-mind, Joseph Goldstein uncovers the empty, luminous, and responsive nature of selflessness.
This dharma talk was originally published on Dharma Seed
Zero-Center of Emptiness
In this Dharma talk from Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s July Insight Meditation Retreat on July 23rd 2015, Joseph Goldstein illuminates the realization of emptiness in relation to our conception of self. Opening by viewing Bodhicitta—the heart-mind of awakening—through the lens of compassion and emptiness, he shares kind-hearted wisdom and stories from the Dalai Lama, Buddha, Rumi, and Dipa Ma, highlighting the aspiration of doing our spiritual practice not only for ourselves, but for the benefit of all beings.
“When we cultivate a wise and sustained attention through the growing power of mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom—we begin to leave this self-referential orbit, we begin to enter into the gravitational field of the Dharma, we get glimpses of the zero-center of emptiness, rather than the self-center of I and mine.” – Joseph Goldstein
Joseph Goldstein lays down wisdom on Bodhicitta, the awakened heart-mind, on Ep. 42 of the Insight Hour
The Unquestionable Ungovernability of Nature (18:01)
Speaking to the notion that phenomena in on our life are not governable by our will, Joseph offers a reflection from the Buddha around our deep recognition and acceptance of the truth of change, old age, decay, death, impermanence, and selflessness. Exporting wisdom from 11th Century Tibetan Yogini, Machig Labdrön, as well as Guru Rinpoche – Padmasambhava, he offers direct insight uncovering the empty sky-like nature of mind.
“Right now you have the opportunity. Look for the essence of mind—this is meaningful. When you look at mind there is nothing to be seen. In this very not-seeing, you see the definitive meaning.” – Machig Labdrön
“It is certain that the nature of mind is empty and without any foundation whatsoever. Your own mind is insubstantial like the empty sky. Look at your own mind to see whether this is so or not.” – Padmasambhava
Soar through the vast sky of awareness with Ram Dass, on Ep. 143 of the Here & Now
Nobody Cries Over Melted Ice (37:00)
Applying the metaphor of ice versus water to the mind in a contracted versus expansive state, Joseph sheds light on how we can remain fluid and open in our awareness amidst the course of a day. From here, he reflects on how when there is a greater relaxation from self-centeredness, so too is there a greater degree of responsiveness, like water naturally flowing downstream.
“Our minds are always selfless, but they are not always free. So this is what our practice is about—it’s realizing, experiencing the emptiness of self, freeing the mind from attachment from fixation so we actually experience the freedom of it.” – Joseph Goldstein