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Insight Meditation: A Psychology of Freedom

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  358 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The fruit of some twenty years' experience leading Buddhist meditation retreats, this book touches on a wide range of topics raised repeatedly by meditators and includes favorite stories, key Buddhist teachings, and answers to most-asked questions.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 25th 2003 by Shambhala (first published 1993)
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D.S. West
Of the books on Buddhist meditation I've consulted so far, this one goes at the front of the pack. I had Goldstein pressed against my nose on four days of long walks between my apartment and Main Street in Longmont, Colorado. I understand why much of the advice for meditation is vague, given the nature of the practice (and the need to avoid "project" thinking), but it's hard to understand why some writers tried to write a book on the subject in the first place. Goldstein takes a different approa ...more
Taymara Jagmohan
Taught me a few things!! :D

I always asked myself, did spontaneity get hidden with mindfulness?
Guess what? It doesn't, and it truly made me smile to know that!

I am completely spontaneous, and this type isn't oozing from desires and bubbling emotions brewing- this is embedded in the personality.

I was scared that because of keeping watch of the thoughts, the zest would have died, but it doesn't have to be that way. This is one of the lessons I earned from reading this book. Beautiful, yes? :) I mu
Great book on various aspects of the practice of Vipassana meditation by one of the founders of this style of Buddhism in the West; I like the way it's organized by topic in easily digestible short snippets on each. It doesn't need to be read from start to finish; I view it as more of a reference or something to inspire my own practice.
Tom Otvos
Not having read Joseph Goldstein before, I was pleasantly surprised. He has quite an earthy style that I found very likeable. The book is a whirlwind tour of vipassana, but my favourite parts were sections 2 and 3, "How to Practice" and "Freeing the Mind". Both sections had a lot of useful little tips that seemed to resonate with me, the latter section being particularly useful as it discusses how to deal with specific hinderances. Also kind of nice is that each chapter is literally no more than ...more
Viet Hung Nguyen
A must read for meditators.
I read this book following a reading of Rewire Your Brain for Love. I was looking for a book that would allow me to further explore the ideas and feelings I had been experiencing after having meditated every day for a month. While I don't plan on becoming a Buddhist, it does address a couple of the issues I've encountered as a result of meditating. I tended to skim through the more Buddhist ideas the book had but it was not a parade of Buddhist ideas, it focused largely on meditation and certain ...more
Geri Degruy
Practical, every day talks on meditation and living life with mindfulness. Short chapters---you could read it as a daily meditation or just read on through. Very readable, very helpful. Good book.
Samantha Seaman
This book was actually my favorite on the topic of meditation because it was just so down-to-earth, and offered practical advice for everyday situations. I really enjoyed it.
Steve Woods
This is a fantastic book. Joseph Goldstein offers anyone who has interest in applying Buddhism to their daily life a clear perceptive look at how the basic principles fit into daily life. An invaluable companion for anyone who has even a vague notion of what it's about to gain insight in how to apply it all to living. That's the crux of the practice, knowledge without action is pointless, it;s only through experience that we can gain an understanding at depth and from that transformation arises. ...more
Easy to read, but didn't do much for me. Perhaps I'm just not in the "right place?"
I have this habit of sticking post it notes in the margins of books in places that I want to revisit. Lots of post-it notes in this book! I know I'll be returning to this book, especially the chapters "Freeing the Mind" and "Selflessness," again and again. I highly recommend this book to anyone starting mindfulness meditation.
Just read this book for the second time. Even more thought provoking as I am learning more and questioning more.
A very accessible overview for people curious about the benefits of a meditation practice. For people curious to learn more about Buddhism, I always lend them It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness as a non-intimidating introduction. This would make a good second or third book if they want more motivation to practice.
Jul 19, 2008 Andrew rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Meditators
An excellent and interesting book on meditation. Not necessarily a simple guide (so it might be a touch confusing for beginners looking for a how-to - for that, look at Larry Rosenberg's "Breath By Breath"), but more of a discussion of how meditation fits into our lives, its importance in modern society, and how it is the "practice" of Buddhism.
It's full of nice short discussions of aspects of meditation and dharma - short enough for my attention span, but heady enough that maybe my unconscious thought it was too much and had me mistakenly return the book to the library before I was finished! Luckily, it was still on the shelf when I went back for it. (October 27, 2006)
Christina Kent
A good refresher on meditation and Buddhist philosophy
"The Dalai Lama conveyed...'We are visitors on this planet...During that period we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives...If you contribute to other people's happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life." (pp160)
Scott Cardwell
I have been reading it and just little bits at a time. enjoying it so far. He has brought up some fun practices such watching your thoughts on a movie screen. He also mentions that there are down sides to meditation but does so quickly
I read this book-- a collection of short pieces on Buddhist topics such as meditation, karma, no self, lovingkindness, etc.--slowly over many months. It is an excellent read and I'm sure I will re-read it many times.
some bits were insightful, but I guess I've read enough books on Buddhist practice that little of this was new or revelatory to me.
Karen Rose
There is nothing like a Jew who has become a Buddhist to guide you on your spiritual journey. I highly urge you to read this book, and I am only 50 pages in-- how's that for a recommendation!
Joseph Goldstein is amazing. He is direct and hits hard in the most gentle and serene way possible! Each chapter reveals truths in ways that I can grasp and appreciate completely.
May 29, 2012 Kimfu marked it as to-read
Actually, in, the Kindle edition of this book is called "Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom." Are the two books the same?
Ewa Proch
It is about other vipassana teaching tradition than I am practising but the book includes many interesting and discovering thoughts.
Dr. Gordon
Great book for basic insight meditation without too many Zen undertones. Helps a person relax by focusing on breathing.
There's something about Joseph Goldstein that allows me to understand the dharma on a deeper level than I ever have before.
row row row your boat
gently down the stream
merrily merrily merrily merrily
life is but a dream
Highly recommended. The last chapter was just beautiful.
Nick Mather
A nice, simply written introduction to meditation practice.
Dinh Diep
Dinh Diep marked it as to-read
Jul 01, 2015
Shatta Pisong
Shatta Pisong marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2015
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  • Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation
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  • Being Nobody, Going Nowhere: Meditations on the Buddhist Path
  • Dancing With Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering
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  • Food for the Heart: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah
  • Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator's Handbook
  • Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life
  • A Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation
  • Awakening to the Sacred: Creating a Personal Spiritual Life
  • It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness
  • The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation
  • Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening
  • Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness
  • The Heart of Buddhist Meditation: The Buddha's Way of Mindfulness
  • The Blooming of a Lotus: Guided Meditations for Achieving the Miracle of Mindfulness
Joseph Goldstein (born 1944) is one of the first American vipassana teachers (Fronsdal, 1998), co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) with Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg, contemporary author of numerous popular books on Buddhism (see publications below), resident guiding teacher at IMS, and leader of retreats worldwide on insight (vipassana) and lovingkindness (metta) meditation.

More about Joseph Goldstein...
Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism The Experience of Insight: A Simple & Direct Guide to Buddhist Meditation (Shambhala Dragon Editions) Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening Abiding in Mindfulness, Volume 1: The Body

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“Every time we become aware of a thought, as opposed to being lost in a thought, we experience that opening of the mind.” 4 likes
“Generosity, love, compassion, or devotion do not depend on a high IQ.” 4 likes
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