Quote Archives: Joseph Goldstein

Like a cloud passing through the sky ~ Joseph Goldstein

An emotion is like a cloud passing through the sky. Sometimes it is fear or anger, sometimes it is happiness or love, sometimes it is compassion. But none of them ultimately constitute a self. They are just what they are, each manifesting its own quality. With this understanding, we can cultivate the emotions that seem […]

Being with it fully ~ Joseph Goldstein

When we are with people and feeling bored, can we listen a little more carefully, stepping off the train of our own inner commenting? If we are sitting in meditation and feeling uninterested, can we come in closer to the object, not with force but with gentleness and care? What is this experience we call […]

Undistracted awareness ~ Joseph Goldstein

The emphasis in meditation is very much on undistracted awareness: not thinking about things, not analyzing, not getting lost in the story, but just seeing the nature of what is happening in the mind. Careful, accurate observation of the moment’s reality is the key to the whole process. Joseph Goldstein

Freedom Lies in the Wisdom to Choose ~ Joseph Goldstein

We establish some stability and focus in our mind and see which elements in it lead to greater peace, which to greater suffering. All of it — both the peace and the suffering — happens lawfully. Freedom lies in the wisdom to choose. Joseph Goldstein

The meditative journey ~ Joseph Goldstein

The meditative journey is not about always feeling good. Many times we may feel terrible. That’s fine. What we want is to open to the entire range of what this mind and body are about. Sometimes we feel wonderful and happy and inspired, and at other times we deeply feel different aspects of suffering. Joseph […]

Like listening to someone playing a flute ~ Joseph Goldstein

Let the breath draw the mind down to its own level of subtlety. It is like listening to someone playing a flute as they walk off into the distance. Joseph Goldstein

Nothing is exempt from change ~ Joseph Goldstein

We can also strengthen the quality of ardor by reflecting on the transiency of all phenomena. Look at all the things we become attached to, whether they are people or possessions or feelings or conditions of the body. Nothing we have, no one in our lives, no state of mind is exempt from change. Nothing […]

Becoming aware of suffering ~ Joseph Goldstein

Imagine holding on to a hot burning coal. You would not fear letting go of it. In fact, once you noticed that you were holding on, you would probably drop it quickly. But we often do not recognize how we hold on to suffering. It seems to hold on to us. This is our practice: […]

The magic show of consciousness ~ Joseph Goldstein

The great discovery in our practice is that, on one level, birth and death, existence and nonexistence, self and other are the great defining themes of our lives. And on another level, it’s all just a dance of insubstantial appearances, what the Buddha called “the magic show of consciousness.” Joseph Goldstein

Awareness of thoughts ~ Joseph Goldstein

Every time we become aware of a thought, as opposed to being lost in a thought, we experience that opening of the mind. Joseph Goldstein

Seeing impermanence deeply ~ Joseph Goldstein

Wisdom is the clear seeing of the impermanent, conditioned nature of all phenomena, knowing that whatever arises has the nature to cease. When we see this impermanence deeply, we no longer cling; and when we no longer cling, we come to the end of suffering. Joseph Goldstein

Just sitting and watching ~ Joseph Goldstein

Mindfulness practice begins to open up everything. We open our mind to memories, to emotions, to different sensations in the body. In meditation this happens in a very organic way, because we are not searching, we are not pulling or probing, we are just sitting and watching. Joseph Goldstein

The wonderful paradox about the truth of suffering ~ Joseph Goldstein

The wonderful paradox about the truth of suffering is that the more we open to it and understand it, the lighter and freer our mind becomes. Our mind becomes more spacious, more open, and happier as we move past our avoidance and denial to see what is true. We become less driven by compulsive desires […]

Becoming disenchanted ~ Joseph Goldstein

When we see deeply that all that is subject to arising is also subject to cessation, that whatever arises will also pass away, the mind becomes disenchanted. Becoming disenchanted, one becomes dispassionate. And through dispassion, the mind is liberated. Joseph Goldstein

The foundation of goodwill ~ Joseph Goldstein

If we try to practice meditation without the foundation of goodwill to ourselves and others, it is like trying to row across a river without first untying the boat; our efforts, no matter how strenuous, will not bear fruit. We need to practice and refine our ability to live honestly and with integrity. Joseph Goldstein

The commitment to morality ~ Joseph Goldstein

The commitment to morality, or non-harming, is a source of tremendous strength, because it helps free the mind from the remorse of having done unwholesome actions. Freedom from remorse leads to happiness. Happiness leads to concentration. Concentration brings wisdom. And wisdom is the source of peace and freedom in our lives. Joseph Goldstein

There is no self who is running the show ~ Joseph Goldstein

All things arise when the appropriate conditions are present, and all things pass away as conditions change. Behind the process, there is no “self” who is running the show. Joseph Goldstein

Without the steadiness of concentration ~ Joseph Goldstein

Without the steadiness of concentration, it is easy to get caught up in the feelings, perceptions, and thoughts as they arise. We take them to be self and get carried away by trains of association and reactivity. Joseph Goldstein

Our own wellspring of compassion ~ Joseph Goldstein

The tremendous danger is that this belief – that genuine happiness comes only from pleasant feelings – becomes a strong motivation to stay closed to anything unpleasant. But by staying closed to all unpleasantness, we also stay closed to our own wellspring of compassion. Joseph Goldstein

Purpose of practice ~ Joseph Goldstein

Unless a practice cools the fires of greed, aversion, and ignorance it is worthless. Joseph Goldstein