Joseph Goldstein – Insight Hour – Ep. 49 – The Radical Truth of Impermanence

Joseph Goldstein - Insight Hour - Ep. 49 - The Radical Truth of Impermanence

In this episode of the Insight Hour, Joseph examines the radical truth of impermanence and the opportunities it presents for our practice.

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The Lamp of Awareness (Opening)

It’s helpful to remember that we are not just practicing mindfulness as an end in itself, it is leading us someplace much deeper and more profound. Joseph explores how the awareness cultivated from mindfulness practice becomes a tool of wisdom to investigate our minds for what is true. He examines the most basic truth that this wisdom reveals to us – the truth of impermanence.

“Awareness is not enough. It is the vehicle, but by itself is not enough.” 

Everything Changes (5:50)

Joseph shares the teaching of Zen Master Suzuki Roshi around the truth of impermanence and the essence of Buddhist practice. We learn to see our practice as a tool to directly experience this change without attachment to what is coming and going.

“Everything changes, this is not a hidden truth, we all know this. But, we need to go from an intellectual understanding of it to the level of a direct, ongoing, intimate experience of change as it is happening. That is what our practice is about.”

Power of Choice (14:00)

One of the lessons that mindfulness of impermanence teaches is that in every experience lies a choice. Joseph shares the Buddha’s teaching of the two arrows from the Sallatha Sutta.

“How we relate to what is arising is totally up to us.”

Gift of Impermanence (19:20)

The great paradox of Buddhist practice is that the same impermanent objects of desire which cause suffering become the vehicle of our awakening when used as objects of mindfulness. Joseph examines this paradox and offers different perspectives on the nature of change.

“In our practice, we are not pushing things away. It’s not that experiences are bad, it’s about learning to not hold on. The point of developing strong concentration is to enhance our ability to see the impermanent nature of everything that is arising so that we don’t get seduced by the story.”

Change is all Around Us (29:40)

We are able to develop our awareness of impermanence on many levels. Joseph explores the many ways that impermanence presents itself in our lives and teaches us not to overlook a thing.

Jack Kornfield provides deeper insight into navigating change in Ep.1 of the Heart Wisdom Hour.

Waking from Complacency (43:40) – Joseph looks at how complacency in our lives, and our practice, can dull us to the truth of impermanence that is all around us. He shares reflections of some obvious truths that can help wake us up from our complacency.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash