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#235: Joseph Goldstein | Meditating In A Pandemic

2020-04-01
A statement of the blazingly obvious: we are living in stressful times. A statement of the slightly less obvious: meditation, while not a panacea, can help. In this episode, we're bringing you one of the western world's greatest living meditation masters: Joseph Goldstein. I'm biased, of course, because he is my meditation teacher. I have known him for many years, and he has had an incalculably positive impact on my life. In fact, he has already come to my rescue once during this pandemic, at a moment when I was personally struggling. And now, I'm excited to unleash him on all of you. In this chat, he lays out a meditative toolkit for navigating the current crisis. His advice is actionable for absolute beginners as well as longtime meditators. Towards the end of the conversation, he proposes one approach that some of you may find deeply challenging, but I find to be extremely compelling. Plug Zone: Insight Meditation Society: https://www.dharma.org/teacher/joseph-goldstein/ Joseph Goldstein Courses & Meditations on the Ten Percent Happier App: https://10percenthappier.app.link/x9Q0TCy36Z Joseph Goldstein Books: https://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Goldstein/e/B00DPSACUW Additional Resources: Ten Percent Happier Live: https://tenpercent.com/live Coronavirus Sanity Guide: https://www.tenpercent.com/coronavirussanityguide Free App access for Health Care Workers: https://tenpercent.com/care Full Show Notes: https://www.tenpercent.com/podcast-episode/joseph-goldstein-235
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For maybe see the ten percent happier vodka and her two guys hope everybody's managing ok in these same times. Recording this intro once again in my wife closet, since I can't get into the studio, admiring her shoe collection, one item of business before we dive into the episode this week, if you're a healthcare workers like my wife, first of all I salute you. Second, we at ten percent happier what I offer you a gift. If you are so inclined, you can access the app for free now, just go to ten percent dot com, flash care, ten percent dotcom, slash care and will give you the app for free hope. It makes just a little bit of a difference in this pretty terrible too
Ok, the episode this week here is a statement of the blazing with obvious. We are living in stressful times, a statement of the slight it was obvious. Is that meditation won't? Definitely not a panacea, can help in this area. we're bringing you one of the western world's greatest living, meditation masters, Joseph Goldstein I'll, admit an unbiased of course, because Joseph is my meditation teacher, I've known for many years and his head and incalculably positive impact on my life in fact, has already come to my rescue once during this pandemic. At a moment when I was personally struggling- and now I M very excited to unleash him on In this case, this conversation, he lays out meditative tool kit fur navigating the current crisis. His advice is actionable for apps. Beginners as well as long time meditated towards the end.
The conversation you'll hear he proposes one approach that some of you may find of a challenging, but I find extremely compelling I spoke to him. From his home in Bury Massachusetts that Central Massachusetts, he and Sharon Salzburg another great meditation teacher, was on the show last week they live in a separate but connected houses on the grounds of the inside meditation society which, They cofounded, along with Jack Cornfield back in the nineteen Seventys, when the vis YO connection popped up, we use a program that allows me to see my guests when we record this podcast remotely, which were doing for every episode. These days When, when the video connection popped up, I notice that Joseph was beaming. I would like to believe that this was because he was happy to see me, but the truth is he's pretty much always like that. I want to stress its not that he is not taking this current outbreak seriously. He is taking it seriously. He sent me five years old. He knows how vulnerable he is,
but I believe he beams on the regular because he has genuinely achieved a level of peace and equanimity in the face of whatever happens. But as you'll hear us discuss peace, an easy it takes practice and you are about to learn from one of the best. Oh here we go Joseph Goldstein before you dive in any any questions or concerns. For me be nice to me it is always nice to you. Well, you know most of the time to answer. Yes, I know all right, so I don't. I want to start with a broad question Here we are at this incredibly intense moment in human history, and I guess I'm just wondering what's what's on your mind these days-
two two big things that I think probably our current to most people, which is: how do we take care of ourselves? the face of all this and also suggest explore what ways we might be able to be of some help. Those are the two things on my mind: on keeping up to date with the various guidelines and information. That's coming to us. You know about the health aspect of it and taking care and then really wondering in the midst of this, as we are practising social distancing, at least in person, but with The availability of all? it's on line? So the question is to no other ways that we can be of help to others. In this situation. Does the two two streams of questioning
interest, I'm curious, tt or more about how your handling this personally, because you ve been pretty open in the past but how one of the emotions that you personally wrestle with both in your life hand in your practice is fear, so it is fear coming up free you're right now not so much in this situation. At this point because- living in very Massachusetts, is a very quiet secluded place as many other places. You know reclosed because the centre for at least a couple of months So I'm living in a pretty quiet, isolated country, environment and you're, not practising self distancing, ends social. This didn't we should back the self distancing itself at a very Buddhists taken. The situation did distancing from
the health yet so I'm not so immediately concerns you have for myself in this, but I'm taking I'm taking care with following the guidelines so for me personally, here is not predominant. But then, when I just read about it, here about you know, what's happening in so many places around the world and yet the enormity of what's going on in the incredible challenges for people in situations of real suffering either way it arouses just a lot of really can command, I wondering if there is something I could do even from this place of physical isolation is, it is not something that might be of help
That's an interesting question for many of us. I meaning in your case. I can see pretty clearly how you can help, even though you're stuck at home by, for example, can drag you into the hopping on the phone with me to help me deal with my own personal problems. As I did a few days ago, or I can get you to come on the issue which is way more helpful to the wider world. So you can do that also guide meditations from home, yet you have a lot of options, but what about the rest of us? How can we be helpful when were at home watching Netflix, while talking come back again to these two streams of response of both the response just to the physical reality and taken care of one's health and protect it once health and others? I think that the same responsibility really and challenge of take care of our minds. Ass, true, whether we in physical contact with other people or not, because-
items will be responding to the situation in a whole variety of which, some of which may be helpful but as we know in really quite now, Will there be? A lot is coming up in the mind? May not be that the applicable getting overwhelmed by inciting of year. We'll worry, which is natural in specially in people facing really challenging circumstances, but and the question is: can we take care of our minds in the same way that we try to take care of their health concerns, and this is something we can actually do? Anybody can do if they have that interest in exploring what's going on in their minds, various emotions that arising and perhaps learning more skilful ways being with that emotions. That's gonna factor on everybody around this
everybody around us. Whether there are around us in physical proximity, around us virtually no. If we, have found some way to the place of somewhat greater com, a piece of ISA understanding, then that's probably sharing with others and if we have lost in the difficult emotions, the man We share with others. The work that we do on ourselves, cells will inevitably have an impact on everybody ever come into contact with one way or another. Right via of Sunday. I've been saying. Allied, I probably still this from somebody smarter. I can't remember who anyway for now may take credit. What I've been saying is that, while panic is contagious, com is contagious to exactly exactly very often and situations.
These are in a difficult situation where a lot of people are agitated said fearful or wherever. Sometimes, if there's one wise com person in the good, the can often have a transformative effect and so in a way the challenges can we each become at present. bringing a little more understanding to these circumstances and, in this case, for people on the front lines of the health pandemic, deafening one kind of expertise, another kind, those expertise or explanation is the exploitation of our minds in our own hearts and how their relating to what's happening, and that's where some form of meditative understanding This in turn are watching. Our minds can be such a show in. in terms of watching our minds in terms of meditations
ethically. How do you recommend that we practise in this time less alive and perhaps the simplest and most basic thing we can do- is learning to see when we're ground in the present moment and when our mind is lost its future scenarios because a lot of the difficult emotions I think, when was imagining what might happen in the future, all offers some people in the midst of. What's gonna happen in the future for the rest of us, so it's not too it's not to minimize current difficulty, but even in that case,
grounded in the present allows us to respond more effectively, either to a very difficult situation now or to let go of the interior paid a difficulty this just the play about. But so then the question is: will how? How can I stay, grounded in the present now to nice tonight? Trope? But how do we actually do it and I think the the easiest way the Buddha talk about this? a lot is really practising a mind from isn't the body, because the bodies always with Us- it's obvious its tangible. this, something that we can easily come back to when we are lost in me and imaginations of our minds, and I found it one part of the practice of coming back to the bar
coming back to present- is really being mindful of a movement. You'll just have one Mary would not even meditative Orkut, although that there could be a really good thing to do because- and I would suggest to people who like to really dive into this little deeper than in addition to whatever form of sitting this people may be doing to maybe take some period of time. You know ten minutes, fifteen minutes five minutes of walking, imitation, even ones apartment, just five steps, one one direction: five, that's another direction or not in that it had only just in any kind of movement. Them due to the dead now, because one thing a: can we practise remembering to feel the body moving
to do it. It is hard to remember to do, but it's not hard to feel to feel about a movie. Now we take a step and we feel about them feel attach the foot on the floor so that very obvious, very simple, but we forget what they get to do. That then becomes a practice. the more we practise it. Then it can become and will become the default settings of our minds as we move about the day. Just doing the ordinary things you know getting up in the morning: dress, it doesn't ones t wash magicians cooking whenever the bodies always with us it's is we move a lot in the course of the carried taxes being mindful of movement?
and so this a mantra his little mantra that as I've used on retreat, but is very applicable here, very simple. This little mantra phrase each step without each step. We not saying ok for the next I'm gonna be mindful of every step I take. They sat intention is too big we're gonna lose it estimates after the third step forward together and get lost, but if we bring it back down to just each step cannot be mindful of this step, and then this step. So one step at a time is not difficult at all So the mantra of the phrase just reminds us that we actually can settle into the feeling of the body moving just each step. One step at a time that's doable and, if not to say we will still get that,
and had no, maybe will last five stats for six tabs. But then we come back again Each step- and I just like to reiterate that this is now at about necessarily slow meditate is mindful walking. This can be done at any sleep now sometimes animal farm away and might be Slovakia, but it can be in very ordinary movements as we go through the day. So this this is, I think, a huge first step as just helping people find a refuge grounding in the present moment. Experience taking us out of
you have described distressing, just mental projections and Mars and fears about the future that reminds me. I was recently interviewing an expert and anxiety at Harvard issues on the show on the show right. At the beginning of the crisis, Doktor Luanda Marquez. She described these little meditative moments as as pressing control. All the For the mind, you have had a knocking us out of our anxiety loops of its greatest, whereas that's, where is switching the mind, just the little one for each step. but that really can help us. Do it the end, so that that I think this is really an important first step. Then, of course its learning- and this can probably be done most effectively set
first informal sitting meditation is to really practice becoming mindful of the different phillotson emotions as they arise, so that, instead coming and they were. These are very challenging times, so they can be lots, thoughts and feelings of emotions, its inevitable, the other all suffers from becoming up, but can we practise being mindful of them when they do a in the mind, so the not simply carried away on the train you know of whatever it is, but we actually have. We should practise in social distancing from our thoughts and emotions. It's like the self distancing you reference in earlier, yet exactly exactly exactly
so that we can learn. You know the helpful question that might help us just begin twins exploring investigate what's happening in our experience, particularly in the realm of different thought. Any motions is just to ask the question. You know Does this not helpful, isn't helping sunlight? Is this emotion help it in some way you know, and if it's not it doesnt mean that simply by asking the questions can disappear, but it may cause our seduction by them. yeah and I may give us a little more energy to sit or weaken, be mindful of this, I don't have to be caught up in. It is not helpful if it is not helping anything if I'm simply lost it,
patterns recognising, what's helpful. What's not can give us some energy for an appropriate response to them Some recent me a picture on twitter. Recently she had read my first book in which I describe hearing from you a version of the. Is this helpful mantra in the book? I quote you is telling me that when I find myself, of cod and worry. Maybe I should ask myself: is this useful and so that this person on Twitter had printed those words out and take them to the bottom of her computer? Monitor reason: it's not a bad idea, yeah yeah, because because a lot of what goes on online is not useful here, but if, if women, not in the habit of paying attention to what the rising the mind then this these thoughts and causing a cup. So this whole question about that
It is a question of our making creating some energy to be mindful of them or simply carried away by them, but first set for some people. I guess my question for some in this kind of extreme circumstance for some people is, is imitation going to be enough, because we can we, even if you ve done us, certain amount of training, meditation, no out of tune into the body or two to be mindful of the body for the aforementioned control out you know how to catch up. ocean some percentage of the timing and ask yourself: is this useful, but the NGO, He's gonna be out for many of us more intrusive than ever. So you of the view that dead, meditations, the enough work
do we be availing ourselves of other modalities. Two responses. One is exploring the full range of what meditation needs in terms of these experiences and where'd. You go into that a little bit more, but also exploring only otherwise we might find support their families. We all need to limit ourselves to just one. One mortality of support, nothing meditations key because it helps us. To really understand our minds in our hearts. That understanding can then be the basis for seeing what other things can help as well. Then people have a lot of different interests. and I think that it would be wise for people to to exploring ask themselves the question what will be supported from about, but will be helpful, maybe it's not reaching out virtually friends to family. Maybe it's me Maybe it's overturned methods are. Maybe it's right
in place in her apartment, the other. No, I think it's, why open transits the exploration of what one might be of help but underneath all of that having meditation in the ways the is the grounds, for understanding and for their mandate. What actually is helpful? What's not helpful she's had before. Well, let me just add to your list there, because I would and I'm sure you wouldn't co sign on this, but sleep you, you mentioned, exercise social connection, eating well but not being an article about it, a therapy. You know you can call your therapist medication if they're your therapist recommends it. There are a bunch of things we can do, because we were in extraordinary time we can do these in normal times as well, You said something about exploring the full range of what meditation means. What did you mean by that? Ok you're the discord,
This could be an hour, long, Donna thought, but it's not an abbreviation his eye, It is it's not enough or really of folly of of fuller understanding what minds from this means an and that this is really the key point, its understanding, the difference between recognition, unmindfulness an that's? Often, people often confuse ok, late. Those two thinking that, if we recognise what spare it means, would be mindful. Oh I'm worried I'm afraid, I'm anxious and the recognition that that ignition of what's there. Sometimes people feel that these mindfulness, but it's not that's, that's just the first piece of it are the first.
Respect, so we do need to recognize what arise it, but then we also need to look at how we relating to what arising, because if we recognise the fear or the anxiety, for example- and we recognise it and with feeling it, but we hate it- we want get rid of it. We have a lot of aversion to it. So that's all about how we relating to the emotion
In some ways of relating to emotion, actually, feed them and other ways of relating to emulsion opens the space for them to flow through, so that this is the key point of what I meant a further exploration of the application of mindfulness in its farmers, and I think we ve taught before many have mentioned two despite kissed. You know that I worked a lot in my meditation fact this with you not unrelated to the current situation, but I learned a lot and this with this was over many years, so I feel like I'm a bit of an expert, at least with certain levels, if they became pretty intends at times and for long time. I was thinking that because I recognise that I speak mindful, but not seeing TAT. I just have a lot of aversion to
And it was only when I could be accepting of the feeling. Ok, this is fear anxiety, its unpleasant, and we recognise the unpleasantness it doesn't make it pleasant served like a paint, Europe's meditating, on a pain in the body. It doesn't make a pleasant, but we let go of the suffering of the aversion and so then, with just with the basic experience, whether to physical sensation or an emotion. This is, as I see it, this is why, without aversion to it and without becoming caught up or identified with it, you know ends so the meditative techniques for example, like Mental noted out fear, fear fear is like this anxieties. Like this,
or even asking the question you have with, if were feeling some strong emotion and we feel ourselves maybe being caught up, in it or feeling allotted aversion towards it. Maybe we asked the question, but what is it that I'm actually human right now? What does it feel like an about it? You know what kind of thought of being generated through thing: a kind of interest and investigation to it and those two qualities: interest and investigation of very different than kind of being caught up and swept away by them. So that's that's failure, a powerful application of practice in the midst of these powerful emotions. In this way, it is the two recommendations we ve covered thus far. One is using the body
the other it being mindful of the body and stressful times in the other, is being mindful of our emotions and stressful times. number one is an ally in number two: absolutely because, The reason I started with the maintenance of the body and of movement- this is very tangible. It's very easy to come back to what was it? You don't have that kind of struggle to find. We just have to remember that the biggest challenge we thought and emotions it can be very powerful. Mental phenomena is more subtle than physical phenomena. You know, and it's very easy, so I'd out, I think I mentioned to you personally. You know that, just in the last five or six months it I've been dabbling. It in writing some poetry. I would recommend that of anybody. Just it it's a
Yes, I'm having some experience, ends confusing in one way or another, and then, if I try to write a poem situations, the assigned to having some experience, ends. confusing in one way or another I try to write home about it. The very form is kind of demanding of clarity that that's how I see the lashing clarifies in my mind, so do is I mention that says alive, Most of these bombs about thought flying into our lives, I'm gossamer wins the so changed Harrington away or so light There are not even aware of it there and that's the grapes, adoption of thought. No, it doesn't make an impact like a sound like a sensation, so the fastest
entered in they fly, then are we? Don't even know that's why using the body which is a tangible and so obvious, become see the vehicle for getting present, which then method more possible today. our attention to this more subtle aspects. Can we go back and mental noting, because I suspect there are some people listening who don't know of mental? Noting is in its actually in my experience in incredibly powerful tool for exactly what many of us are tightening navigate right now, which is really strong. Emotions and difficult circumstances, I'll take a stab at explaining how it could work and then you'll correct the beginning in
actions from four meditation mindfulness meditation. Often are we sit with your eyes closed or keep given moment in an gaze, it softly at a neutral spot on the ground careful attention to the feeling of your breath coming and going out and then when you get distracted, this is the key move. When you get, drafted, which you will millions and millions of times it's all good, just start again, again and again there is they serve next step up, as I understand it is you can start to get carries about what has distracted. You know what has taken you away from your breath, and that is where you can use these little mental notes, which you have described, as I have a whisper in the mind to objectively journalists, Lee label. What here too, for might have been?
a monolithic, powerful force that that was completely owning you and you had no distance on like pain or planning, or plodding revenge against your noisy neighbour or fear, or whatever you can- It is very obvious. I was on my breath for half a nanosecond and then I spent five minutes worrying and then you can wake up and apply them. Softly sat silently in your mind, the note of worry and then in my experience really provide you with some useful distance from its it's. Like the self distancing you you, you were elements and the beginning of this conversation, so Have I d, have I just totally misled listeners? Are we are on the right path and now I'm retired and hath parts it yeah, so I will just add one little thing: and you imply, but I want to call it out a little bit so
the use of this term and then not can also be used, even as a support for just being with a veteran. simple or in walking. So it doesn't have to be limited to hear the thoughts of emotions that take us away. It could also be a support for keeping us grounded in the moment very simple things, So the note, for example, with the breath, might be in and out rise and fall with filling the gap in the chest. Abandonment were taken. that stepping as well as you know, everything you mentioned intensive really name this powerful forces in mind that that can easily carry us off? A very interesting exercise is to simply and noticed the top
a voice of the note. So not only is it, the whisper in terms of volume denoting should be very soft ass. He said it just like a whisper, but also what's the town, because the town of the now, it will often reveal an unnoticed attitude about what's happening as an example serve we wake up from train of thought, and then we know even softly. Thinking thinking you. However, that is a tone of judgment or version in the note, so I thought so helpful, except if we noticed it so that it reads yield to us that were actually adding two. Basic. Mindful of this, what happened with adding our state of reactivity. Which we may not have noticed, but the tone of the note will reveal it to us
so something to do not keep in the background If people are using the noting softly just watch the town is, it is a kind of up a loving tongue. I dont want overplay this chick by them not and I'm not generally a fan of you know. During a loving tone for anything, but my friend Jeff Warren, with whom I wrote a book about meditation has a little mantra that he uses when, when you notice, when attempted to be angry yourself or whatever it is. You ve noticed, so you may notice thinking or planning or fear, and you might notice that you're angry at yourself. For that thing. For that emotion, having been In the first place you can use. The little phrase welcome to the party
One of the interesting things about factors may over these many years, Is it s farm investigating our own particular tools? Each one of us will have different creative ideas of how to accomplish finding the right balance in the mind, the idea that they are welcome to the party urea hot? It's ok that that that that is one of my favorite phrases, but whatever was gone. It's ok! It's ok to feel it You suggest reminder that can be open to it can feel it and that that openness actually is creating a space for it to wash through
Flow through more easily than if we were an adversary towards whatever it is, so that an important that's, an important, profound lesson to learn that what we have when we have aversion to something were actually feeding it, even though we I think that the aversion and help us get rid of it. It's the relaxation of the mind, the open, a welcome to the party. It's ok, that space allows for the natural flow impermanence that happen. So this is. This is really a key point and I wanna be super practical. but this this is not just some nice way to spend some time. This has real world implications, because our thoughts and oceans are so so often unseen and and therefore incredibly powerful.
To be able to interrupt in a general way, the the patterns can really change how you your inner weather and as a consequence, how your showing up in the world salmon whereas our mutual friend once was interviewing you on his podcast, which used to be called waking up and is now called making sense, its excellent under whatever name he drew. Do you years ago. I recommend everybody go back and listen to those conversations he's had with you cause their amazing and he used a beautiful phrase. I thought where he talked about the half life of anger So, in this case, he was talking about anger, might be more relevant now to talk about fear, but He using any emotion left to its own it ices will arise and pass reasonably quickly, but we re up in red. The emotion through neurotic obsession, and so,
is the amount of damage you can do in two minutes of anger, which is probably its natural half life the amount of damage you would do in four minutes of anger com. Air to the amount of damage you would do in an hour or two hours or a day or a lifetime, its incalculable, and that's where it at one of the ways in which the rubber hits the road here. So that expresses it really clearly, it is just variants- and this is where the other, the strengthening and cultivation in practice that mindfulness, it's like it sharpens sharpens- are observational keeper it is this site is like focusing the lanes about mind you I'm so we all now have some view of what's going on, but offers are totally clear if we haven't really tractors, close attention and careful attention
and as we do, that it makes it a lot easier for us to become aware these emotions mindful of paper written in the first place, so that gives us more opportunity to settle back and then be and follow their own half light of disintegration. If we're not mindful that they can, we just caught up in the story of them. So that's when, as you said, we can, we can get caught up in them for long periods of time in the store. Are you keeps repeating and expanding and makes us feel more worried and more fearful, thirty, two important now that we learn how to step out step off about chain again? that's self distancing. We began by talking about what you recommend in terms of meditative tools for dealing with this current mom.
and we talked about life on the body. Mindfulness of emotions was there's. Something else I hear saw. I mean, I think, that's what we talked about. It is really a good place to start this elaborate where he spent years factors it. Might we just about so there's a lot of its very rich there's another whole domain nets of interest in it, and that is seeing house situations of suffering and distress can actually baby, fertile ground for compassion to arise. That I'd say it really coming up strongly in myself, especially I hear about meeting reading about, what's happening in so many places in the world does not happening
here now for me and my little small circle that you're embarrassing but is very much other, and some of the stories are throwing off the level of the level of suffering in difficulty and challenge now people losing their jobs and people since its huge to be willing- and this this itself is. There is a certain art to this. In that I find it, really helpful to be willing to let that in the book talked about how compared then arises when we will enter and close to suffer, but that that's the basis for compassion on and we see feel the suffering and so are we willing adjusted to take some of this information images? There's a lot of it now.
one hand and, on the other hand, really being mindful about when it gets to the point of all the well, because there is so much information, it would be easy. to just start, taking all of a sudden and feel overwhelmed and then which is not very helpful, stating that doesn't help us, it doesn't hurt anybody else. So, there's a fine line, you're being willing to the open to conceal, what's happening outside of our own small circle,. But to do it in a wise way and that compassion then first is it. I think it's a very ennobling calling for for us for the mind and heart when we feel in compassion in those moments when not feeling fear and when thus
feeling other unskilful or unhelpful states. We're cultivating were cultivating a mind or heart, with with a quality that really beautiful and uplifting, and it can become the basis then for just simply asking each one of us asking the question: ok, given my own particular circumstances in life and skills in interests what's possible up in what way, might I be able to help as we talk about in the beginning the stronger the compassion, the stronger that the energy will be behind that question, and it's it's hard to know. You know we're all in very different circumstances and there could be just a whole range of ways of helping. Maybe it's just helping one person that were closely connected to admit it Helping neighbours- maybe the friend, maybe
king donations to organizations doing frontline mark related different possibilities. If we hold the question and then staying up into just opportunities for how we might be of help, so that that I think, is that this development of the willingness to take in the magnitude of what's for a lot of people taking care not to be getting overwhelmed, no sir, you have to do it in a measured way, but then let that really be the field for compassion to grow in tears. this issue of overwhelming might be useful to discriminate in between empathy and compassion.
generally empathy is talked about as feeling other people's feelings. Compassion is empathy plus the desire to help? Even if you don't act on it, it's just the desire to be of use. Then it's that addition that makes it ennobling empowering as opposed to stock and powerless perfectly said. Then. Thank you. That's all I want you, that's all. I wanted to hear Sars around but to get there, I wanted to make that clear, but then get to a question which is in terms of overwhelm what do you recommend, for example, Your, how are you tie trading your news conception? Well, first, I'm just in the simplest possible way do not have time.
watching the news again maneuvers we're going online and it's just to see how much is serving us alone, Why does it not serve us and are we just doing it almost out of an addictive quality we're going back to where we were discussing earlier, holding the question in a lot of these different situations. Is this helpful and just having that question can the month because we're taking things in just a whole that the backers does this. This helping in some to hear this. Is it opening my heart in somewhat. So then we want we want. We want a whole that space and its familiar its It's just an interesting combination of how to specify that its connecting to the suffering and feeling that in some,
but also connecting to the uplifting aspect of compassionate response. So it's just an interesting it's an interesting union of every if we're coming close to suffering an opening to it. in a wise way, there's something beautiful, that's arising in our hearts, as we do that that does not mean that doesn't change the suffering what's going on, but it does change the quality of how we related. No, no, no wait. it's more of lifting when were holding that question, although how can I help? Is there something I can do because that's taking us out of our own fear and anxiety,
When we all that question stay tuned, moreover, conversation is on the way after this better help offer. Licensed professional councillors specialised in a week array of issues like depression, anxiety and grief, conduct with their profession counselor and a safe private online environment. It's a truly affordable option and listeners can get ten percent off your first month by going to better help dot com, slash happier fill out a questionnaire to help them assess your needs and get matched with the counselor you'll love so we talked about overwhelm, but there is the other side of it or if there are other sides of it. One that's coming to mind is guy I've experienced overwhelm at times during this past few weeks were I just everything looks grave.
hey. This is never going to end titan grieving normal life. I want to go to the movies my wife Millie. I want to go to lunch with friends I want I want. I don't want that all of my doctor friends to get sick at home. Parents to get sick there. So many times were. I feel. but why worry about you know my neighbour males early neighbour, getting lonely. There are so many times or I feel you overwhelm, but there you and I have talked personally about fact that I've also experience- and I suspect, I'm not alone here they're kind of getting caught up in selfish concerns which feels I've. Given myself a lotta crap about that and you I called you last week to talk about how I felt a kind of stuck in a loop of self obsession and worrying about my business. Were my health or my family's health, etc, etc? Not yet not fully or not a bitingly connected to
all of the macro issues, and why. You recommended a practice that I think would be useful therefore those in overwhelm or for those on the other side of it, which is, yet it is compassion practice sometimes call to what is a cop Karuna practice, because it is the politicians. Can you describe it while the former meditation factors is very simple. You know when we, when we're doing compassion, meditation- no formal way. And so was sitting, and we actually imagine visualize the situation of person in a lot of suffering and so a holding that image and connecting you know internally with the suffering that therein phrase is a single phrase that one repeats: may you be free of the suffering? May you be free of this happening
and it's quite amazing, as if one does that over a period of time. This quite remarkable know how that quality in that intention and that wish really becomes much stronger because because we're practice in it and is not to say that they will be sit down here that some those we're gonna be connected, feeling of compassion other times in market. Quite mechanical Nina Road, but as with anything Regis noticed that had come back to the past but in a more general way, not not limiting it to the formal meditation of it. I can t Important lesson here is that when we are arousing compassionate, loving kindness or any of these states, its for all beings include ourselves. So with it, it's not that all women have always compassion
the world and everybody else- I'm not me, That's a misguided, you so weak. Include ourselves in this field. How can I help everyone myself included and remind air tonight what we were considering. How can I be of help to myself. one way of adding just a little sparked. The compassion side of that is. We might think. How can I be of help to myself now in order to be able to help others, and so we were including ourselves, but also any inclusion its with the motivation so that we might be of greater help. It's it's the also
as you know, two people are seeking in the mud very hard for either one of them to help tell the other. If one person manages to get on solid ground and it's easy for them to help them one also come out so by helping ourselves, we have the opportunity of others. And by helping others, we are helping us outside the mutually interdependent this, Booting yourself in this practice is, that mechanism by which we avoided overwhelm well, I think it's one of the ways the arabic And it might be foundational because if the Bay this will be a fundamental question that gives rise to compassion is have my help and we are applying it to ourselves and our own lives then, you can see why
What are we doing? What? What are these circumstances that are creating overwhelmed? And if we asked the question, is this helpful than that are able to discern what things were doing that are helpful in what are not helpful, and so, for example, one might be just the amount of information overtaking it, taking what what's the proper amount but keeps us connected, genuinely connected to what's going on out there. but also not to the point of it us. So we we hold that question for ourselves by it also in terms of watching our own months. The same to the same thing: it's like when we see certainly emotions a certain thought patterns, and we asked this question is helpful in that
and when we see it's, not that might motivate us to just look more carefully and investigate the more precisely in the meditatively. Ok, how my related to these votes to these emotions am I being mindful of him? Am I seeing the difference between simple recognition, acceptance. The answer said is a lot we can do. You know, only with our own minds as a way of coming out of the overwhelm you talk before But the fact that in circumstances like this people tend to come together- and it can be Our best also bring out our were first denial of xenophobia. How do we- and I get this question a lot these days,
How do we retain some sense of compassion for these people at home? We might be furious because we think they're misbehaving when the stakes couldn't be higher in others, question came up a lot after nine eleven and silent and teaching ends and teaching I'm retreats in part the loving kindness meditation and I was actually teaching a retreat. Nu Yok loved your password or under a tree and. The idea of the loving kindness bent their compassion, isn't it universal that we should develop this wish to everyone. but when they started talking about this right after nine eleven people will think that there is no way that I can send loving wishes to these people, who created so much devastation seven
there was a real question, and it was very interesting to me to say about what is what loving kindness of compassion mean in that kind of circumstances. For these people, And I realize that a lot has to do with how we how we language it. For example, it might be really difficult to say may be happy, but I think not be difficult at all. To wish may be free of hatred. Maybe, for your fear, need this he is your anger. All all those mind states that create the suffering it up to the current situation. If we have a kind of negative feelings about Certain people, for whatever reason and weather
in reality they justified or not, but the reality is that forward reason they were rising in the mind, but can we just turn our minds, offers, some wish for them to be free, of whatever harmful, actually think they doing so. At that way, this could come easily for anybody? I agree and I just feel the need for if there are new meditated us suspect there. Maybe new meditated clarify some terms and techniques. Here we started by talking about your basic mindfulness meditation, where you summoned the capacity. to have us and non judgmental, hopefully friendly awareness of whatever's arising, and we scanner switched into what I called it. Karuna practice or compassion practice, Karuna being the ancient Indian Sub cut continent
the long term for it. So there are there's a whole suite of practices and I think don't get enough airtime known as there are. There are lots of nature and you can call them Brahma VIII. Horror. Practices is kind of it, grandiose name of the heavenly abodes, but they include things like compassion and also works. where you just went with it, loving kindness workers more. You know another translations that might be turf basic food. Willingness, tor and others, and towards yourself, and these practices have you sitting and systematically envisioning different, people or animals and then sending silently repeating these phrases with the person. Or animal in mind and so do you get one flavour is wishing for peace, suffering to be alleviated. Another is that just may be happy. May you be save me,
and, as you Know- and I dont overplay my stick on this, but I had some negative reactions to this practice when it was first introduced me, I still have moments where I think it's irredeemably savvy, but you know I I think of it. It s just exercise for a particular muscle in the mind and as it turns out this quarter, medical notion compassion, friendliness, basic good will. These are. These are not factory settings that can't be tinker with their are skills that can be developed, and the development of the skills can be a little awkward a little cheesy. But if I were to land from another planet in a gym with gems are all closed right now, But six weeks ago I landed from another planet, went to a German, saw people running in place for an extended periods of time or picking up here.
he things and putting them down in a systematized fashion that deeply unpleasant, I would think hello. This is crazy, but in fact these are somewhat awkward skills we now take for granted for developing physical Brussels, and what we're talking about here are skills that may sound a little trickly that actually work in their sides to back the mob lotta science around these there, have compassion or loving kindness practices that show that they have all sorts of very interesting in and salutary physiological psychological and behavioral impacts. I just felt the need to get that, but there were other phrase that I found very helpful in terms of understanding how it all works with any of these practices. Mindfulness compassionate, loving kindness that its It's just strengthening those neural pathways, and I like in in the rain, and I just for me
it's a very vivid in Asia, yet the more we talk to sit back and strengthen the more becomes the default of how we are living. And so, as you say, it definitely is a practice and consensus. On our inner environment. Here, just wave, you pick up the violin. The areas of the brain associated with manual dexterity will change, and if you start cracked saying just by picking it up with this one have actually play well. For me, just picking up most mortals, so he hears the sort of final error. I wanted to explore with you. I just wonder just looking at this moment of history in history, as you view at- and I imagine you view most things through a buddhist lens, what what comes to mind for you, I'm a great lover of history that read aloud. three times, and so my mind's very naturally goes too
kind of a very long term perspective on things and just when I think back over over historical time. They just have been so many huge changes in societies of the rise and fall of civilizations and play and turn them ass before and just all kinds of things have happened in this broad sweep of history, and somehow putting this in that context. For me, it creates a sense of certain census Issues news which allows for the immediacy of connect with what actually happened now with a certain and out in your balance,.
Knowing that this is a huge thing now hundred years. People will be looking back at it as a particular event in history that at all of these consequences, but that has come and we will if we still have work all still around our own. Altering the cultures on the earth will have changed and they might have away, they do, but it's part of a much longer sweep historical sweep and honour for me that the enlarging up the perspective allows for a certain spaciousness
which actually supports connecting more immediately with what's needed now. So it is not. This perspective is not to step back from what's happening, but it provides a bigger context for relating what's happening so that that is that the big piece for me. He can you just say more about that, because I've heard you talk about things in historical perspective or even an ecological restructuring, GNP you go or astronomical. You know you ve yeah yeah talked a lot about this amazing picture, which I googled it and made it made. The backdrop of my wallpaper on my computer. I recommend anybody do this. Is the picture called the pale blue dot and it shows earth seen from outer space, but
way way way out there in outer space in all it is the earth is a pale. Blue dot have barely distinguishable and am really gives you a sense of Carl Sagan has a great quote that youth you views in at least one of your Dharuma talks about how all of the great dramas, inhuman story of played out on this speck of dust. I find that. On a normal day. That kind of his our goal or Cosmo logical. That's right term perspective to really useful to pull me out of my. Moment to moment suffering, but right now, when the threat is so close and so grave
I don't. I don't know, I'm struggling a little bit with how that can be useful. Well, this this will touch on something that may be very challenging for people, but included in everything that is happening here. I'm his pale blue dot is life and death. What I took from what you said is that what seems to make this this current experience, This perspective, not that helpful for you in this current situation. I just wonder whether putting some of the consequences of what might happen outside. I'd of the full picture of what's happening on this problem that you know- and I think this current situation- and this has come up for me- end a lot of people. It really raises the question of how
how do we understand how a relating to the fact of death Now what is our relationship to that? do we see that in whatever way comes in this week. We we, it say: well, this is kind of annex George, maybe an unnatural circumstance, which is resulting in a lot of debts. But it's really needed is also part of nature. This is this is a natural occurrence. That's usually challenging really calls to mind. Am I prepared to die? You know what, What's my relationship that, in the end has come My alone, I think especially in reading reports and now of the illness and death that are happening. And so that I asked this question well. How would I
if happening to me right now, as it could be? No, we not wait. Another thing is more and up so that a powerful class each one of us, because in one way or another we are going to die Am I not be from this? One is conditional something so This is of this is a huge question in life. How do we really two or more talented and have we accepted only afraid of me whatever? It is? It's the exploration of how we are holding this basic basic fact of existence. So this is this a bit not being talked about a lot, because Then it, and understandably something people, maybe like to emphasise the potential for getting through this now without that consequence, but for a lot of people, it's not in others.
Some people are dying from this, and so it raises is to me it raises its very fundamental question for each one of us. Whatever the current situation is because, as I said, death is inevitable No, it's part somebody. Somebody once asked, Sir they are now at. This was their rescuing the boudoirs, some other good teacher. Is it what's the cause of death and they set birth? That is the cause of death. I find that I find that. For myself, I find that liberated you know so, instead of thinking of death is an aberration, was something unnatural this this is just. This is what it means to be one, and we can control how it will happen. Now we re all myself included, have these fantasies about how it like today, you have company
clean, better nice, most comfortable pillow and just closing my eyes gently hidden easing off what comes next, but has that's just my particular fantasy. We have no idea how it will happen for any one of us, so this is a hard this this. This is bringing the practice really to the death of understanding, understanding our lives. What is needed been born to be living. Knowing that we're going to die, none We understand that all we have are we with that, so this is used huge, huge topic, but I find it
for those willing to engage in that explanation and some are in some for whatever reason, maybe another place where they feel they can really look at this, but at some point that we all have to because it will happen for each of us, and so I think, while we still have some energy for the investigation, I think this is the time to look at that question. I am already knows: is that questions come to mind. You know, and I think that this this is a hugely contagious fires, especially with all of what huntings for people over certain age. In that I can go shopping during the sea here. You see how his I'm way or with a lower limit of see here. So it is a very, very
powerful question about ready to die no weapons. What would it be like that was the news? you know he recommended this reflection. He said this reflection should be done daily, understanding what ever has the nature to grow old, to get sick and to die will grow old and secondly, because it's just part of nature and are reflecting on that- I think, is extremely powerful, and this this is really calling calling for assistance. patients calling us to look at this in your saying to do this in our formal practice at any time you know so I you just going for a walk, and these thought this thought will commoner. Obviously the sunlight- the chilly imagining that I am dying, not tell it
meditative visualization away and then try to get a sensible camel. How would that be? How would it how I might with that? But each one of us my find different weights of exploring this and that their lot lots of books and teaching about about death death and dying this. This just feels like it's an underlying an underlying cause of anxiety. I fear not worried, really is rooted in nets. Have you want to get to the root of anxiety? I will go to the movies. It's like a fear of death, which is comment unites, sets out its, not state that we feel that this is. This is a common experience, but we can explore it and we can investigate and maybe come to and walk,
a place for that. Has I work for you? Well, it has to some extent end, but I always have a little kaweah. Well, let's wait to see in a moment I now from this moment, but yet I feel ready I feel like it would be ok, but I also know that you never quite noted in the experience so Tom practising now and hoping that that's actually how my mind will be In the event, is there anything we should say to close it on a more upbeat. Note yes, said: I think, with all these teachings, it's all about coming to a place, a piece of deep
it's an understanding- and sometimes it means looking at difficult things and challenging ends up the trajectory of that investigation, is towards greater ease in freedom and peace for ourselves, then to be able to help others. So I see I see it basically as being an up lifting process if we know how to navigate skilfully and that's what you learn that in discussing and we each have to explore for ourselves what what really skilful in this difficulty and what's just furthering the suffering there, but about it, it's all in the direction. In my mind of greater understand now I get
but deep peace. As you say, an easy ease, ain't easy now. I know they remember back in the sixties. Seven days there was this book written by a paragraph is about working with schizophrenia, patient and all the ups and downs in cinemas, along healthier relationship and a one point. The patient was basically complaining about just how difficult it was at the fairest, which was the title of the book said I never promised you a rose garden. The hour is not arose heartily and nobody farmers, the shearers cotton sounds just remember that it's not that, as we were on his path towards greater a peace. That is, can always be easy. It's not lots of difficulties and challenges, but through the
down the slope of the Kurds is going up. It is with the Russian always always great Turkey just virus. I really appreciate your time, while, of course, big thanks to Joseph really appreciate him criminal and actually speaking of Joseph, he is going to be a guest. on ten percent happier? Live which is our daily sanity break that we're doing on Youtube. You can actually access it through this. You this website, ten percent dotcom, slash, live, go to temper, dot com, slash live. We do it live every week day. Three p M noon, Pacific, if you forget the Euro however, you don't go feel like going to the show. Not you can just go to Youtube and search for ten percent happier alive. It's a twin, minute sanity break- we do a little bit at church out at the top minute meditation and then more q and a with our teacher and, as I said, Joseph Scan beyond this week, big thanks to the team what this together Samuel Johnson our producer reject,
beer felt our editor Maria, were tell us our production coordinator. Also big thanks to my friend I am and Josh CO hand from ABC. Thank you all will be back with a new episode on Friday, there's not a person in Amerika who hasn't been impact it in some way by the corona, I was pandemic, but it every community. There are pockets of people who were soon
Every day this is my last day of the cylinder stretch to drive off about photos from one of our Visa or America's essential workers, the people who are keeping moving. I turn into a home school mom and now in a new programmes. From eighty see news you gonna hear from damage. I she went back to my office and so unkind because he is not here, and I can assure you that our community has found faintly worrying. This is essentially inside the from the emergency room. The police cruiser to the Czech outline Yuki one. This pandemic sounds like the people putting themselves no one's way, there's always a risk. Brain is home to re. Kids are my husband or maybe errands, listen to the essentials inside the curve on Apple podcast, river, pod, costume.