Joseph Goldstein – Insight Hour – Ep. 136 – Pain and Trust

Joseph Goldstein explores how to understand pain, how to relate to it, and how to use it, plus he talks about the quality of trust and learning to trust the moment’s experience.

Joseph Betterhelp
This dharma talk from November 1982 was given at the Insight Meditation Meditation Retreat Center and was originally published on Dharma Seed.
Pain is a Cover Word

Joseph begins by talking about how we understand pain and how different types of pain require different responses. He describes how our bodies accumulate tension as a result of reactivity, clinging, and grasping. In order to move past our conditioned response to pain, we need to look directly at what pain is and learn to become more allowing and accepting of these sensations.

“The first step in relating to pain skillfully is to take a very direct look at what pain is. Pain is a cover word; it’s a word, it’s a concept that we use to describe certain experiences. Very often, the mind gets frightened simply by the concept. Even if we have a vague impression of something and we label it ‘pain,’ just seeing the word in our mind is enough to cause us to try to avoid it. So we have to go underneath that concept, underneath that word ‘pain’ to see actually what it is. What’s the experience that’s going on?” – Joseph Goldstein

Stephen Levine explores what pain is in BHNN Guest Podcast Ep. 39
Working with Pain (13:20)

Joseph covers how pain can be a useful object of meditation. We can settle back with a quality of openness and practice softening, accepting, and allowing. He talks about letting go by letting things be, and how a lot of practice has to do with getting okay with being uncomfortable. Joseph explores the importance of humor and patience when dealing with pain.

“Working with pain, opening to pain, to discomfort, begins to open up a whole range of experience in our lives that previously we’ve been closed to.” – Joseph Goldstein

RamDev and Christiane Wolf share a conversation about how pain does not cause suffering in Healing at the Edge Ep. 77
Different Kinds of Trust (32:55)

Joseph dives into the quality of trust, which he considers to be at the heart of practice. There are different kinds of trust. First is having trust in the moment, no matter if it’s a pleasant or unpleasant experience. Then there’s having trust in the direction of our practice, and there’s also having trust in the unfolding process. Settle back and let things unfold in a natural way.

“If we’re living our lives constantly planning and anticipating how we would like it to be, we really are prisoners of our past experience.” – Joseph Goldstein

Ram Das talks about trust, contentment, and the guru in Here and Now Ep. 96
Art via Jorm S