Joseph Goldstein – Insight Hour – Ep. 113 – What Mindfulness Is (And Isn’t)

Joseph Goldstein breaks down what mindfulness is (and isn’t), gives us tools for going from recognition to mindfulness, and explores what we can learn from being mindful.

Joseph Goldstein takes a closer look at what mindfulness is (and isn’t), giving us tools for going from recognition to mindfulness and exploring what we can learn from being mindful.

This Joseph Goldstein dharma talk was originally published on Dharma Seed
What Mindfulness Is (And Isn’t)

Joseph dives right into what mindfulness is (and isn’t). He talks about how mindfulness is more than living in the present moment, that we need the observing power of the mind. Even then, we often observe our experiences through different filters, such as desire or aversion. Joseph explores the difference between recognition and mindfulness.

“This observing power of mindfulness – when we know that we’re knowing what’s there – this opens up some really interesting possibilities of investigation.” – Joseph Goldstein

Tools for Going from Recognition to Mindfulness (21:15)

Joseph talks about how a sense of struggle is like a mindfulness bell waking us up. He gives us some tools for going from recognition to mindfulness, from a place of reactivity to a place of simple awareness, including a method of mental noting. As this non-interfering, non-judgmental awareness becomes steadier in us, we begin to experience the liberating power of mindfulness.

“When we’re struggling, when we have that feeling of struggle, it’s telling us something. It’s telling us that something is happening, something is going on, that we’re not accepting. Because if we were accepting it, we wouldn’t be struggling. So struggle is always just this immediate feedback to us that we’ve slipped out of that place of mindfulness, which is simply open to what’s there, without greed, without aversion, without delusion.” – Joseph Goldstein

Gil Fronsdal dig deeper into the concept of liberation in BHNN Guest Podcast Ep. 44

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What Can We Learn from Being Mindful? (39:10)

As we begin to harness this very special kind of observing power that is mindfulness, what can we learn from it? Joseph explores how we learn things like our actions have consequences, and that mindfulness is needed to break away from our old habit patterns. He talks about how, ultimately, mindfulness can help us be in the flow of experience without obstructing it.

“Every time we get caught up in anger, we’re strengthening anger. Every time we get caught up in greed, we’re strengthening greed. Every time we are filled with love or kindness or compassion, we’re strengthening those qualities. It’s all part of a stream.” – Joseph Goldstein

Art via Marish