You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel?
Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting?
Each week, host Jason Gots surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join us and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Maria Popova, Mary-Louise Parker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many more...
Joseph Goldstein – Lighten Up: mindfulness, enlightenment, and everyday life
One of the most influential Buddhist teachers and writers of the past half-century, Joseph Goldstein helped bring Vipassana (insight) practice to the West. We talk about love, pop-mindfulness, and how even a philosopher can learn to quiet the mind.
- Neuroscience's romance with meditation
- Puppy videos as a deep spiritual practice
- How the "retreat" was born
Love, money, health, great sex, peace of mind—however you define it, happiness in this world is impermanent and unreliable. But we're all invested in the illusion that we're just one career move or one Amazon purchase away from permanent bliss.
To quote Darth Vader: Search your feelings—you know it to be true. Life is sometimes exhilarating and sometimes devastating, but it's always, always in flux.
This is the first noble truth of Buddhism. That everything in this life is unreliable and unsatisfactory. Maybe it doesn't sound to you like the beginning of a message of hope, but that's exactly what it is. A couple millennia ago the Indian prince Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha, offered anyone who would listen a system of training the mind to free it from the suffering that comes from clinging to impermanent things, like how many followers you have on Instagram.
My guest today is Joseph Goldstein. He's one of the most influential Buddhist teachers and writers of the past half-century. In 1975, Along with Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield, he co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre Massachusetts. Since then, he has done immeasurable good worldwide with his books, dharma talks, and meditation retreats. Four decades ago he started a journey he's still on today, helping westerners—very much including myself—benefit from the Buddha's ancient insights and techniques.
Joseph's latest book, MINDFULNESS: a practical guide to awakening, is his magnum opus: the distilled wisdom of four decades of teaching and practice.
With the help of positive psychology and the happiness industry, many of us seem to be running in the exact opposite direction of happiness.
- "It's almost like the only way we can understand leisure is as a productivity hack."
- "If we think of happiness as an individual responsibility, that stands in the way of building a society in which the conditions are there for everybody to thrive."
What do the "seduction movement," the Virginia Tech shooter, and the Asian-American experience have in common? Wesley Yang thinks and writes with devastating clarity about loneliness, invisibility, and the incoherence of American life.
- What if Asian American cultural "invisibility" is the key to saving America?
- Are liberalism and democracy too tame to survive identity politics?
- "One risks being a pariah...just by saying the things that need to be said."
Amit Tzuk and Ofir Trainin, the subject and director of an FAMILY IN TRANSITION, an Israeli documentary about a small town father of four who becomes a woman.
- Sometimes just being yourself is a radical act.
- "We have to do public relations so that people will understand that we're...people."
Everybody is always in a state of transition. All the time, your cells are dying and replacing themselves. Your mind, your emotions, your goals, your sense of self—all of these are shifting from year to year as you age. In families where there are children, the changes are even more visible and dramatic. Bodies change, voices change, identity is always in flux. But we also have an instinct to mask these changes. To find ways of minimizing them to fit in.
My guests today have a story to tell about what happens when the changes are undeniable. When they're at odds with the values of many people in your family and community. It's about the pain and the necessity of breaking the masks you've made for yourself. FAMILY IN TRANSITION is a documentary film about Amit Tzuk, an Israeli father of four who transitions to become a woman, and the changes Amit's wife Galit and their children go through. I'm here today with Amit and with the film's director, Ofir Trainin.
Surprise conversation starter clips in this episode:
Connect with us
How to listen
You can listen to Think Again right here on site, or select your podcast app:
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.