Tying together meditation’s basics—steady awareness & non-clinging—with the intentionality of careful investigation of thought, body, and emotion, Joseph lines a path toward mindful liberation.
Dial of Intentionality: Steadiness of Awareness
Laying the foundation for meditation, Joseph sifts to the core aspects of the practice: Be aware of what’s arising and don’t cling. Inviting us to inquire ‘How would I be if I were sitting in front of the Buddha?’ he shares the importance of taking our dharma seat with a dignified quality of intentionality to be mindful and non-judgemental. Watching our seductive thought patterns and staying alert that, ‘there is a body,’ can we use the natural process of breathing as a vehicle for training our steadiness of awareness?
“It is good to remember how simple it is. Whenever you’re feeling confused and hearing about all these different things to pay attention to—sometimes your sitting, walking, or wondering what I should be doing—you can come back to the simplicity: Be aware of what’s arising in the moment and don’t cling to it.” – Joseph Goldstein
Join Jack Kornfield in using breath as a vehicle to cultivate a steadiness of presence, on Ep. 108 of Heart Wisdom
Careful Investigation: Emotions & Mental Noting (16:26)
Exploring how to work with strong mind states as they arise, Joseph highlights the complexity of emotions, as they generally come bundled with thought patterns and sensations in the body, and are flavored by the mind and heart. Welcoming us to carefully investigate what exactly it is we are experience in states like sadness, joy, fear, anger, and love, Joseph introduces the technique of mental noting, allowing us to fully experience our emotions without being caught in them as ‘mine.’
“It will be helpful to use mental noting at times with different emotions. The very act of that soft mental note can help us disengage with identification with the emotions. We feel them fully—we’re open to the whole experience of them in the mind, body, and heart—but we can learn to experience them fully without claiming them to be ‘I’ and ‘mine.’ They’re arising out of conditions just like clouds appear in the sky.” – Joseph Goldstein
Joseph carefully investigates the role of suffering in our lives and offers methods for freedom from craving, in Ep. 31 of the Insight Hour
The Thought Game: Quality of Attention (26:06)
Opening to audience questions, Joseph shares his ‘Thought Game‘ a movie-theater-styled thought experiment aimed at training the mind to be alert and aware for the arising of thoughts—which so often slip in unnoticed in their ephemeral and empty nature. Recounting a story from his teacher Munindraji about the Buddha’s attendant, Ānanda, Joseph illuminates how enlightenment is not based on posture, but quality of attention.
“Full enlightenment can come in any moment in any posture. We shouldn’t think, ‘Oh, I have to be in a certain posture for the depth of the practice to be realized.’ It has to do with the quality of our attention.” – Joseph Goldstein
Dale Borglum invites you to rest in presence, attuning your attention to surrender, trust, and grace, on Ep. 39 of Healing at the Edge
Source images via Benjavisa Ruangvaree Art