From the infamous 1974 Naropa summer sessions, Joseph Goldstein answers audience questions on love, wisdom, practice, perspective, metta, impermanence, silence, and cultivating loving thought.
In this vintage July 5th, 1974 dharma talk from Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s Naropa University, nestled in the mountains in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, a young Joseph Goldstein shares meditation instructions for the Yogas of the Bhagavad Gita course he was invited to teach alongside Ram Dass during the Naropa grand opening summer sessions. Having first met and impressed Ram Dass with his deep practice and wisdom cultivation in Bodh Gaya in the early 1970’s, this invitation and opportunity would open the door for Joseph’s life path of teaching meditation and mindfulness.
Cultivating Loving Thought: Balancing Love & Wisdom
Opening the session by straying away from his usual topic of crystal clear mindful awareness within a Buddhist framework, Joseph Goldstein, in the spirit of Ram Dass (who invited him to teach meditation for this Yogas of the Bhagavad Gita course), offers a balanced a nuanced instruction for the cultivation of loving thought. Through this lens, Joseph contemplates the balance between love and wisdom, and oneness and duality; offering metta (loving kindness) phrases for cultivating the mental factor of love.
“The cultivation of loving thought is a useful factor of mind to develop for the practice of insight. When love is highly developed in the mind, the mind gets very flexible, pliable, soft, gentle, and workable. The awareness and clarity can then be very sharp, smooth, and easy. It’s as if the mind has been tempered by this quality of love, so that then a penetrating awareness can be applied.” – Joseph Goldstein
For the full story of how Joseph met Ram Dass and the wild synchronicity that brought him to Naropa, tune into Ep. 373 of Mindrolling
Practice & Perspective: Loving Kindness & Impermanence (11:14)
Joseph answers audience questions on how to offer and receive forgiveness, before sharing the Buddha’s illuminating perspective on the transformative and fruitful power of cultivating loving thought. Outlining the relationship between loving-kindness and impermanence, Jospeh offers an escape ladder from the spinning wheel of samsara (the delusion, ignorance, and greed which keeps us stuck in suffering), inviting us into the development of penetrating insight awareness into the nature of all phenomenon.
“Buddha said that cultivating loving thought for even a single moment is many times more fruitful, more purifying, than if one had offered food and robes to the Buddha himself and the whole order of monks. So powerful is the generation of a single moment of true loving kindness.” – Joseph Goldstein
“There should be no identification with wisdom. ‘Oh, I’m so wise.’ That’s not the path anymore. Wisdom itself is just another mental factor. It’s impersonal, it’s not self. It has a certain function: to bring to the mind a state of balance which can intuit nirvana, the ending of the process.” – Joseph Goldstein
For insights into loving kindness and stories of Joseph, Ram Dass, & Trungpa at Naropa, join Sharon Salzberg, on Ep. 372 of Mindrolling
Awareness & the Quiet Mind: Labeling & Silence (29:45)
Wading through a flowing babbling brook of earnest audience questions in regards to finding balance and steadiness of mind amidst our habitually turbulent thought-streams, Joseph relays the important technique of mental labeling – mindfully noting the thoughts and sensations which arise in the body. In the recognition and awareness of their arising-and-passing-away due to their inherently empty nature, a steady silence of mind is cultivated.
“You don’t want to be daydreaming. You don’t want things to be happening unaware. You don’t want thoughts to be coming, and then five minutes later realize you’ve been thinking that whole time. All of that period is a state of sleep, just like dreaming. But the awareness is very silent. With a very silent mind you can watch that flow.” – Joseph Goldstein