In this Shambhala classic, originally released in 1987, Joseph Goldstein, a co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and Jack Kornfield, a senior teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, present a thorough, illuminating, and practical overview of insight meditation. The point of this spiritual practice, according to the authors, is "to establish a foundation of harmonious action, to collect and concentrate the mind and body, and to see the laws of life by our own true, careful, and direct observation."
Goldstein and Kornfield are especially cogent in their discussion of the five hindrances to meditation: desire, aversion, sloth, restlessness, and doubt. It seems that now more than ever, our lives are caught up in agitation, frantic activity, and anxiety: "The mind spins in circles and flops around like a fish out of water." Our bodies are constantly on edge, nervous, and restless. Goldstein and Kornfield show how it is possible to take note of this hindrance "without indulging or getting caught up in the content of its story." Instead we can practice its antidote concentration. The authors go even further: "If we work with them, these hindrances will enrich our lives. They have been called the manure of enlightenment." Their consideration of restlessness concludes with an exercise on "making hindrances part of the path."
Goldstein and Kornfield also examine the seven factors of enlightenment, the art of restraint as a means of dealing with addiction, cultivating compassion, understanding karma, and serving others. These two meditation masters conclude that patience is a necessary ingredient in the spiritual life: "There is no rush to reassume our true nature. It takes moment-to-moment patience to cultivate and nourish the heart and the mind, to nurture the blossoming of our own true nature." This classic text is a rich source of Buddhist wisdom and practice.