METTA HOUR PODCAST • Episode 199 • Sharon Salzberg & Joseph Goldstein Early Life

For Episode 199 of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon and Joseph Goldstein are interviewed by Lily Cushman, recalling their early lives. They each share what drew them to the path of meditation in the late sixties and early seventies, and their initial years of practice in the East. This podcast is being released in tandem with the Insight Hour Podcast.

Joseph Goldstein has been teaching meditation since 1974. He and Sharon are co-founders of the Insight Meditation Society and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, located in Barre, Massachusetts. Joseph is the author of numerous books, including Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening and Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom. Dan Harris calls him “a key architect of the rise of mindfulness in our modern society.”

In this conversation, Joseph shares about:

• growing up in the Catskills
• early encounters with death and loss
• Studying philosophy at Columbia University
• living in New York City during his college years
• joining the Peace Corps and living in Thailand
• his first encounters with Buddhist monks
• the resonance of finding the spiritual path
• the ups and downs of his initial years of practice
• finding his teacher, Munindra
• meeting Sharon at her first retreat with S.N. Goenka
• his experiences as more westerners arrived in India
• the community that emerged out of the Goenka retreats
• grappling with his “body of steel” for many years
• the parallels of the evolution of his and Sharon’s path

Sharon shares about:

• the difficulty of her childhood
• her first encounter with Buddhist Philosophy in college
• creating a study abroad program to take her to India
• receiving Chögyam Trungpa’s advice on where to learn meditation
• searching for meditation instruction across India as a young woman
• the scene at her first retreat led S.N. Goenka
• the difficulty of her first instruction being a ten-day retreat
• some themes of her initial meditation experiences
• learning how to navigate her inner life
• meeting Joseph for the first time
• her and Joseph’s different practice needs in their early years
• crafting a spiritual path before there was a model for that life in the West

To learn more about Joseph’s work, you can visit His teachings can also be found on the Ten Percent Happier App, the Waking Up with Sam Harris App and the Dharma Seed library.

About The Metta Hour

Sharon’s Metta Hour Podcast features Buddhist wisdom for everyday life. With over six million downloads, Sharon’s wisdom and humor translate these ancient teachings, making them instantly accessible. Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes for regular episodes. Make a donation to support the continuation of these podcasts.