Joseph Goldstein – Insight Hour – Ep. 43 – Awareness Without Identity

without identity

Without identity is the focus in this episode of Insight Hour, Joseph explores ways in which we can work with awareness.

Last Hold-Out of Self (Opening)

The Buddha’s teachings on selflessness are not intuitively obvious, they tend to go against our common sense experience of life. Joseph explores where our sense of self comes from and helps us better understand what the Buddha meant by selflessness. He introduces ways in which we can work with awareness without identifying with it.

“The self is not something we need to get rid of, it’s not there in the first place. The real question and source of investigation is how the sense of self is created in the first place. What are we doing in the first place that gives rise to the sense of self which we all have?” – Joseph Goldstein

Knowing and Object (10:15)

In Theravādan Buddhism there is the understanding that in every moment two things are happening, there is knowing and an object arising simultaneously. Joseph examines how our awareness can rest in this place without identification taking place.

“Knowing and object are arising simultaneously, we can’t separate them but they are distinguishable. So when you are sitting or walking, you might give emphasis to really seeing and examining, or just recognizing, that in any moment that this is what is happening; that there is a knowing and an object. You take a step, there is the movement and the knowing of it. This is a very important stage in the progress of insight because it is the first real glimpse of selflessness.” – Joseph Goldstein

Nature of Consciousness (15:00)

Another way of separating identification from consciousness is to see the constructed nature of consciousness, that consciousness arises out of causes. Joseph shares the Buddhas teachings on this constructed nature and how searching for the location of consciousness can reveal this truth.

Craving the Next Moment (33:20)

Whatever shall rise shall also pass away. Joseph examines the implication of this teaching and how embracing it can remove our desire.

“We think that is what the meditation is about, to become something. However, the freedom is in exactly the opposite. The freedom is in not becoming and not craving, that we can do anytime.” – Joseph Goldstein

For more teachings on selflessness, check out The Jewel of No-Self by Joseph on the Awakened Heart Blog.
Image via Analogvibestudio

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On the Insight Hour podcast, Joseph illuminates the application of Buddhist teachings for the modern-day seeker. For more information on Joseph’s teaching schedule, articles, and bio, visit his website.


Find more dharma talks from Joseph as well as teachers like Spring Washam, Ajahn Chah, Tara Brach and more at Dharma Seed is a volunteer-run online resource dedicated to making the Buddhist teachings of Insight Meditation and associated practices available to all, learn more: About Dharma Seed