In this dharma talk, Joseph Goldstein explores how the power of restraint can help create the space and softness in ourselves to manifest a deeper level of wisdom, compassion, and love.
This recording was originally published on Dharma Seed
Energies in the Mind
Joseph sets the stage for his talk on the power of restraint. He explores how mind-states affect our perception of our present reality, how the mind retains impressions of past actions, how we experience the actual karmic fruits of our actions, and how our patterns have been set by the repetition of certain qualities. With all that said, we need a power of mind that will allow us to skillfully walk the path.
“Every moment of mindfulness makes the next moment that much easier. Every moment of greed or every moment of anger strengthens that factor. And so different patterns in us become habituated, that’s another way of understanding the karmic unfolding. That, actually, in each moment, we are reconditioning different elements, or different energies in the mind, depending on what factors are being practiced or cultivated in that moment.” – Joseph Goldstein
Ram Dass shares stories on karma in Here and Now Ep. 170
The Power of Restraint (24:25)
For Joseph, the power of mind known as restraint has several different aspects to it. There’s the restraint of letting go of unskillful action, there’s the restraint which is a conversation of energy, and there’s the restraint of settling back and allowing the mind to open up to the insubstantiality of phenomena. He talks about how the power of restraint can help create the space and softness in ourselves to manifest a deeper level of wisdom, compassion, and love.
“So through the power of restraint, as we begin to let go, to some extent, of the wanting, of the desire, of the anger, it creates the space for a different kind of relationship. It creates the space for compassion to be there, for love to be there.” – Joseph Goldstein
Mingyur Rinpoche illuminates the essence of love and compassion in Mindrolling Ep. 407
Levels of Mind (46:50)
Joseph closes this talk by answering questions from the audience. He touches more on the power of restraint and conserving of energy, dealing with different levels of the mind, and how the quality of interest is key to the path of mindfulness.
“On one level we can see that everything’s empty, just arising and passing away, and there’s no discrimination between good and bad… And yet, on the level of action, we do discriminate between wholesome thoughts and unwholesome, good and bad thoughts.” – Joseph Goldstein