Joseph Goldstein – Insight Hour – Ep. 152 – The Early Life of Sharon Salzberg & Joseph Goldstein

Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg recall their early lives and initial years of mindfulness practice and share what drew them to meditation in the late sixties and early seventies.

This podcast is being released in tandem with Sharon Salzberg’s Metta Hour Hour Podcast. Sharon is a meditation pioneer, world-renowned teacher, and New York Times bestselling author. She and Joseph are co-founders of The Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA. Sharon is the author of numerous books, including the New York Times bestseller, Real Happiness, and her seminal work, Lovingkindness.

This episode is part of a continuing series of interviews between Sharon Salzberg & Joseph Goldstein about their lives and contributions to Buddhism. For more like this, subscribe to Sharon’s Metta Hour Podcast.
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“This lasted for two years, and they were the worst two years of my practice, the most difficult. And it took me that long to realize that it wasn’t about getting something, it was about opening to what was there. But I was so attached to that wonderful experience that it was really subverting the deeper understanding of what meditation really is. So it took me such a long time, but finally, after two years of struggle, something released, let go, and I just settled back and opened to whatever was presenting itself.” – Joseph Goldstein

In this conversation, Joseph shares about:

  • Growing up in the Catskills and his early encounters with death and loss • Studying philosophy at Columbia University and living in New York City during his college years • Joining the Peace Corps and living in Thailand • His first encounters with Buddhist monks and the resonance of finding the spiritual path • The ups and downs of his initial years of practice and finding his teacher, Munindra • Meeting Sharon at her first retreat with S.N. Goenka • The community that emerged out of the Goenka retreats • The parallels of the evolution of his and Sharon’s path

Sharon shares about:

  • The difficulty of her childhood • Her first encounter with Buddhist Philosophy in college and creating a study abroad program to take her to India • Receiving Chögyam Trungpa’s advice on where to learn meditation • Searching for meditation instruction across India as a young woman • The scene at her first retreat led S.N. Goenka • Learning how to navigate her inner life • Meeting Joseph for the first time • Her and Joseph’s different practice needs in their early years • Crafting a spiritual path before there was a model for that life in the West
Jack Kornfield offers an homage to Goenka in Heart Wisdom Ep. 96

About Joseph Goldstein:

Joseph Goldstein has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the organization’s guiding teachers. In 1989, together with several other teachers and students of insight meditation, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.

Listen to more from Joseph:

In the search for liberation, we must explore the nature of our existence. Joseph investigates the wisdom of impermanence in Insight Hour Ep. 2.
There are deeper levels of truth about reality. Joseph explores different ways of freeing the mind by understanding the habits of preference and the emptiness of thoughts in Insight Hour Ep. 41.
There are many nuances to the concept of Right Effort. Joseph explains how that effort can help us build real momentum in our spiritual practice in Insight Hour Ep. 83.
It’s possible to smile at the antics of one’s own mind. Joseph offers responses to questions about selflessness, shame, cravings, and more in Insight Hour Ep. 111.
Metta practice can penetrate deeply. Joseph explores how love, kindness, gratitude, and friendship can revolutionize our lives in Insight Hour Ep. 117.

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