For Sharon’s 90th episode of the Metta Hour Podcast, she speaks with longtime friend, Guy Armstrong.
Guy Armstrong has practiced Insight Meditation for over 40 years, including training as a Buddhist monk in Thailand with Ajahn Buddhadasa. He began teaching in 1984 and has led retreats worldwide. He is a guiding teacher at the Insight Meditation Society, where he works with three-month retreatants, as well as offering online courses of his teachings. In this conversation, Guy begins by sharing his personal story of what drew him to meditation practice over 40 years ago, and how that path evolved into his long-term study and teaching. Guy and Sharon speak at length about emptiness, the core topic of his 2017 book, “Emptiness: A Practical Guide for Meditators,” by Wisdom Publications. Sharon and Guy also speak at length about the relationship between emptiness and lovingkindness. The conversation closes with Guy leading a seven-minute guided meditation centered on space and awareness.
Getting Hooked (Opening) – Sharon and Guy talk about their first time meeting one another. Guy shares his history as a meditation teacher and how he got hooked on meditation practice.
Opening to Emptiness (5:50) – We look at the practice of Vipassana meditation. Guy reflects on the insight that this form of meditation provides into the reality of our experience.
“Emptiness, as we start looking into it, opens into this feeling that we first contact in meditation – that our experience is made up of a lot of space.” – Guy Armstrong
Consistently Inconsistent (13:00) – In the Buddha’s teachings, understanding the impermanent nature of all things is essential to awakening. Guy and Sharon talk about what we can learn from a deeper understanding of impermanence and the suffering that comes from our attachment to things as they are.
“Impermanence and emptiness are pretty closely related because they both point to the fact that there is nothing fixed in our experience, either in the other world or in our inner life.” – Guy Armstrong
Empty and Free (26:15) – Sharon and Guy look at the baggage that emptiness carries in the West. Together the two look at how we can better understand and share the inherent beauty and liberation of emptiness with others.
“Some things change as you walk the spiritual path. I think our concepts of what is important and meaningful and valuable tend to change as we open up to more understanding.” – Guy Armstrong
Finding Space (47:00) – Guy closes with a 7-minute meditation centered around space and awareness.
Explore how we can enter our roles with joy and emptiness on Ep. 136 of the Here and Now Podcast with Ram Dass
To love ourselves, we must know ourselves. To love one another, we must know one another. But our assumptions, distractions, fears, expectations, and personal sense of unworthiness obscure these kernels of truth. As William James wisely explained, “Our view of the world is truly shaped by what we decide to hear.”
Join Sharon Salzberg at 1440 Multiversity, April 12 – 14, and explore a gentle but thorough method to know yourself, connect with others, and stop your mind from getting in the way of the connection you yearn for.
Art via Herakut