Trudy Goodman ~ Live It Up!

Episode 29 August 04, 2021 00:53:09
Trudy Goodman ~ Live It Up!
More Happiness Less Suffering
Trudy Goodman ~ Live It Up!

Aug 04 2021 | 00:53:09


Show Notes

Trudy Goodman, Ph.D., is a vipassana teacher in the Theravada lineage and the Founding Teacher of InsightLA. Since 1974, Trudy devoted much of her life to practicing Buddhist meditation with revered Asian and Western teachers in the Zen and Theravada traditions, including Zen Master Seung Sahn, Kobun Chino Otagawa Roshi, Maurine Stuart Roshi, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg and other Vipassana teachers. From 1991 to 1998, Trudy was a resident Zen teacher at the Cambridge Buddhist Association. She teaches with Jack Kornfield, Kate Lila Wheeler, InsightLA teachers she has mentored (Beth Sternlieb, Christiane Wolf) Anam Thubten, and other beloved teachers.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Welcome to the more happiness, less suffering podcast. I'm Casey Howe, senior meditation and Dharma teacher for insight. Speaker 1 00:00:07 And I'm Dr. Monisha Basa psychiatrist in our little podcasting studio in orange county, California. We bring wisdom from the couch and the cushion to your real life questions and struggles. So grab a cup of tea and join us. We're so glad you're here. Welcome back to the more happiness, less suffering podcast as always. We are so grateful to have you with us. And today we are very, very excited to have a special guest with us today. We have Trudy Goodman and we're really excited to chat with her about all things related to mindfulness meditation, and just hear her story. So I'm going to hand it over to you, Casey, to introduce Trudy. Speaker 0 00:00:55 Yeah. Yeah. Thank you so much, Trudy. We are so excited to have you who really, really appreciate your time. Um, Trudy Goodman is the founder at insight LA. She is an extremely accomplished, uh, practitioner. She's been studying Buddhism and doing spiritual work, uh, since 1974. So a year I was born very special year, um, and she is such an amazing dedicated practitioners. You know, she's had teachers and has spent time really developing an experiential knowledge of all the major vehicles of Buddhism. She spent time in the Teravata schools, which she's kind of found a home with, um, uh, uh, in her later life and Tibetan schools and also Zen Buddhism. And so it's very rare to have somebody of her capacity to be able to sit with us and share her wisdom and experiences. So thank you so much, Trudy, for being with us today. Speaker 2 00:02:04 Thank you. I'm delighted to be with you. Speaker 0 00:02:08 And I know Trudy, she's a dear teacher of mine, uh, through insight LA, which I, uh, inside LA I've been a part of for, gosh, I want to say like nine, nine years now, 10 years now. Um, and so, yeah, Trudy's extremely dear to me. And one thing that I, you know, they mentioned already is that, you know, Trudy is somebody who really sits with the practice and is very dedicated to really tasting the, the teachings for herself. And in this day and age, we have a lot of people that are maybe molding and over on the intellectual side of things, but, but Trudy is always teaching us how to, um, to really sit with things and know them on a deep level. And so we want to dive deeper into that with you today. Speaker 2 00:03:10 Thank you. Speaker 1 00:03:12 Yeah. So Trudy, you know, um, as a psychiatrist, I always kind of like to start at the beginning and we would love to hear just a little bit about maybe where you're originally from kind of what your early years were like, and maybe a little bit about the path that brought you to actually both meditation and psychotherapy. Um, and then eventually the integration of the two. Speaker 2 00:03:39 Sure. Uh, so I, I got interested in meditation. I think actually, without knowing it, I was interested as a teenager because I was obsessed with existential questions and reading the existentialists at the age of 15, you know, what is this life about? And really not. I think a lot of it came from a sort of, um, almost of the wilderness feeling perplexed. Like, what is this, this life? Um, I was doing everything I felt I was supposed to do getting good grades or, um, being, being relatively good. Uh, and as much as a teenager ever is. And, and somehow I just didn't feel like really, really happy and fulfilled. So as a young adult, um, you know, I really, I was searching, I think, and I, as I said, I sort of did the right things in terms of, oh gosh, you know, I married a Jewish boy. Speaker 2 00:04:47 Uh, I had a baby after graduating from college, you know what I mean, everything I thought I was supposed to do. And it all didn't work out. You know, I wound up being a divorced single mom at the age of 24. And, and, and I think, so that was shocking to me. And, uh, and I started and I had had some experiences, uh, in the course of childbirth, a big spiritual opening, which I didn't recognize at the time I was in labor. And I just thought, oh, this is what happens in labor. And I never even mentioned it to anybody because it just seemed like, well, that's labor and I then had a baby. So I was taking care of the baby. I wasn't thinking about it anymore. I never talked about it. Then the baby, my daughter, when she was two and a half became, um, really, uh, she was actually dying from the most virulent form of bacterial spinal meningitis and in a coma for almost 10 days. Speaker 2 00:05:57 And I thought she was dying and I went through that experience was thank God she didn't, and she's fine. And you know, I have two kids and my grandkids, you know what I mean? It's all good. But, but I went through that experience, which was, um, not only harrowing, but I had another one of those, uh, openings spiritually where I just felt, I saw God. And it was at that time, I thought I had made some to find somebody who understands about this because there was nobody around me that I could share or talk to about it. Um, and besides, that was so second again, like, like having a baby, it was so secondary to my daughter's healing and, you know, she was in the hospital for months and it was hard. And, but I think then, you know, remember too, this was the sixties, the late sixties actually. Speaker 2 00:06:52 Uh, and so I did what a lot of people in my generation did, which was, uh, explore, um, substances that would expand our consciousness. Uh, and I had glimpses there of a different dimension of our being, and that really fueled my determination. I thought really early on with that, I thought, I don't want to have to ingest a substance. This, this, these experiences are my birthright there. It's my mind. It's my consciousness. There must be somebody who knows how to do this, you know, without, um, taking drugs, you know, I was a single mom. That was a huge deal for me to be able to trip. I had to get childcare to make sure it wasn't altered afterwards. Do you know what I mean? It was a big deal. And so I began to look for a spiritual teacher and this was, uh, I'm trying to think this was probably like 19 72, 19 73. Speaker 2 00:08:02 And I had already gone to graduate school in human development. I was in therapy. I went into therapy because, uh, actually have a relationship problem. And I just felt like I'm, I'm divorced. I'm so young. And I just left a very nice eligible boyfriend, like what's going on? And I went into therapy. That's why, and it was such incredible karma. You have to imagine this is the early seventies. My therapist was in training to be a psychoanalyst and was a meditator. I mean, what is the chances in those days? Right. And simultaneously after I, and by the way, I felt way too crazy as, you know, a young 20 something to sit and meditate, sit with myself. I thought nuts. I couldn't do that. But after a couple of years of therapy, I felt like I could do that. And I would like to do that and synchronicity serendipitous, you know, whatever, again, um, my childhood friend, Jon Kabat, Zinn, um, we've been friends since we were 14 and 15 respectively. Speaker 2 00:09:19 Uh, and he and another friend who also became a well-known meditation teacher, Larry Rosenberg, who started the Cambridge insight meditation center. They found, um, a Korean Zen master and they, and we all went to hear him speak. And that was the beginning of my Dharma practice because when I went to that talk and I had been going to hear, you know, swamis and, you know, whoever came through town to Betten llamas, and none of them spoke to me, but this then teacher, he said the simplest things. It was more, when I looked into his eyes, I just started to cry. I thought this man knows what I want to know. Uh, and that, I just that's when I started meditating. So I was already in therapy. I started meditating. And after a couple years of practicing meditation, Zen meditation at that time, uh, I was the only person I knew who was doing deep work and psychotherapy and practicing meditation. Speaker 2 00:10:30 My Asian, my teacher was a Korean man. You know, he didn't know anything about therapy. And he thought that it was something that would be, um, detrimental to my practice. And so I gave a talk in 1976 at the Cambridge Zen center, entitled Zen and psychoanalysis, where I talked about the overlap between the two practices, how they were the same, how they were different. I mean, not the same, but where there was overlap and how they were different, where they didn't meet each other, where they could each go in different directions. But the limitations of the psychotherapy where the meditation could pick up. And that was the beginning of my interest in integrating the two, because I was doing it in myself already. And I felt like this is not something that's recognized as valid yet in the meditation communities, because our teachers were either from Asia or very young Westerners in the possum that the insight tradition. Speaker 2 00:11:39 And, um, and this is, this is really important. I felt blessed by having both practices. I didn't get entangled with my teacher in some of the ways that other people did because we were close and I loved him, but I had been studying about transference and idealization and disillusioned, but you know what I mean, I didn't, I didn't fall into that in the same way as everybody else, which gave me a kind of freedom. So I wanted this understanding for everybody. Of course, we feel that way when something has helped us in our life. Right. Absolutely. And so that's how that began. And then I joined a study group a few years later with, oh, I know where there's one piece. I started sitting in another tradition again, because Johnny and Larry, John and Larry, um, you know, I was, I was just a working single mom. Speaker 2 00:12:36 They were the ones out there experimenting and discovering things. And they said, we've found these people and they sit for an hour without moving. And they, anyway, it was, um, it was Jack, Joseph and Sharon have a pasta. The teachers before they had IMS at Berry, they were renting these, it was a boy scout camp. The one I went to in great Barrington for a two week retreat, Rhonda went to that retreat. Um, oh yeah. Danny Goldman went to that retreat. Like all these, you know, now elder luminaries in the field were at that retreat. We all were interested in studying her Boston. And from then on, depending on when I had time off work and when I could get childcare, I practice in both traditions. And it's funny, I get these questions. Well, you know, why did you sit the pasta and what, and it makes just like when I had childcare and when I had time off that, you know, whichever one was having a retreat, when I could go, that's where I went. Speaker 2 00:13:40 And then later I joined a study group of meditating psychotherapists. And out of that group grew the very first Institute for studying the interface. The first Institute in the world we founded, I am my was been my then husband and a psychologist named Phillip Aaronow. We founded the Institute for meditation and psychotherapy. We then together, all of us, uh, all the people who were in that study group together went on to write the very first clinical book. It was called, uh, mindfulness and psychotherapy. And it's still, it was reissued in 2013. It's still one of the best books, uh, you know, clinical books on this subject. So that's the answer to your question. Speaker 0 00:14:32 Love it. So awesome. Amazing journey. Amazing journey. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:14:38 Yeah. Speaker 0 00:14:40 So, yeah, I th I feel like I could definitely talk to you for hours and I have so many questions. Um, well, I'm all yours. Yeah. And so one really simple question, uh, which is why meditate. So with all these years, you know, you go back to sitting and you lead, you lead longer retreats, shorter retreats, and they're focused around meditation. Uh, maybe shed some light on that, maybe for people that are still curious about the subject. Speaker 2 00:15:22 Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, what happened is that I became a psychotherapist myself. I trained in that. And, um, but I mostly trained on the job through mentoring with the best. I was fortunate, the best therapist in Boston, which has probably the highest head count per capita number of therapists in the world. So they were really good. And so I became a psychotherapist myself, and I really saw over the years, how much meditation, the synergy, how powerful it was. And, uh, at the same time I married, I remarried a wonderful man who was a, who held the title of Zen eventually. And he was a Zen teacher who then became, held the title Zen master. And he was one of the he, and this other woman, Bobby roads. Um, his name is George Bowman. They were the first to sort of Western Zen Dharma heirs. And so I was married to a big meditator and we just meditated a lot and he taught retreats and I would go to his retreats and eventually he and I wound up teaching together. Speaker 2 00:16:39 And, and I had the blessing of my first teacher, the Koreans and master, I mentioned, um, to teach with him. And so we taught retreats together and it was fantastic. I mean, we were just, it was like jazz improv, they between the two of us. And I went from being sort of his assistant to really being an absolutely equal co-teacher. Um, those of us sharing, you know, the meetings with students and sharing the talks and all of that. And I am grateful to him forever for the way that he mentored me. Um, I was the shyest most unconfident person. In fact, I'll tell you a story. The first time I had to give a talk in a, in an intensive meditation retreat, I was so nervous and upset with this was at a, um, very rustic retreat center in the mountains. And so we had sleeping bags and I curled up in my sleeping bag and I tried to suck my thumb, which had really worked when I was really used to comfort me when I was little. Speaker 2 00:17:48 And it was, I was desperate. I tried to suck my thumb and of course it did not work. Um, so my first talk, I made everybody turn their backs. I said, I can't talk to you if you're looking at yeah. Nerve wracking. Anyway, he, he was so sympathetic. He really helped me. And, and I'm forever grateful for his support and teaching in that way. The marriage part didn't work out, but I'm, yeah, I'm really thankful to him and why. And so why did I then go on to teach retreats and teach meditation? I think, because for all you listeners, for me, I really felt like this is a resource that everybody should have the option of using it. Isn't going to be right for everybody. No one thing is one size fits all right for everybody, but for the people who will benefit, and it will be many people, uh, I felt honestly, this is, this is sort of my activism. Speaker 2 00:18:58 This is the way that I can help the world be more just, and, um, balanced, you know, seen and compassionate and wise. That's what I wanted to do. And I want to give credit to my parents too, because they were out to a state. They lived lives that were really lives of service to humanity. Each of them in their own way. My dad at the world health organization, my mom, volunteering at hospitals and teaching some to immigrant ladies. And you know what I mean? There's so many ways. And so I wanted to be a benefit and that seemed like the best use of my skills. And because I had training as a psychotherapist, I also felt that I could really be a good meditation teacher because I would know how to help people with some of their emotional stuff, not like therapy, of course, but you know, in the meditation world, there are a lot of teachers who just teach meditation. And if you're having emotional, you know, if you're getting stuck with your emotions, they don't really know how to help you. So that was another motivation for me. And, and frankly, I felt like I could reach more people. Eventually. I felt I could reach more people as a meditation teacher than as a psychotherapist. Speaker 0 00:20:25 Yeah. I liked the point that you brought up about just stand-alone meditation. You know, it's, I, I speak about this frequently, even on this podcast, that meditation was taught within a system for a long, long time. Like even on the, in the meditation path, you know, Buddhism let's say or where, you know, that's a whole system and meditation is a piece of that, you know, and that's really important to realize when we have apps out there that are wonderful and, you know, these kind of standalone kind of drop in meditations, you know, they have a place and for people to realize that, um, that there's just much more to that than just the sitting and meditating. And there's lots of other, uh, pieces. Speaker 2 00:21:17 And it's interesting, Casey, you say that because, um, I was talking with a friend this morning. She's wonderful, wonderful being, and she's 87 years old and she meditates every morning, not for a long time, maybe five or 10 minutes. And every evening before she goes to bed, uh, she used to study with me and now she's studying with a Zen teacher with her daughter and son-in-law, it's kind of a family thing. And she asked me, you know, what changes have you seen over the decades, um, on the meditation scene? And I said, it's really interesting because when I started out the people like me who wanted to meditate, we were really seekers. We had these existential, you know, profound human and questions, you know, where do we go after we die? And you know, what, what is consciousness, what is this, you know, that we're involved in, in this life and over the decades, as the benefits of meditation have become more known. Speaker 2 00:22:25 And as the mindfulness movement began, there's a much more emphasis on, you know, health benefits. And that's really where John Kabat-Zinn was coming from. And then we've seen, uh, an emphasis on, um, like performance enhancing benefits. You can focus better at work. You can be more creative, you can stuff like that. And I see all of this as having its place and being useful. But one difficulty is if you approach your meditation, looking for what you're going to get out of it, it might be an obstacle to getting as much as you potentially could out of it. In other words, we were taught to meditate for its own sake, not in order to bring a benefit because the mindset that starts meditating, wanting something is not really conducive to relaxing and opening up and being receptive to what life brings as you meditate, if that makes sense. Speaker 1 00:23:41 Makes perfect sense. Yeah. Makes perfect sense. And, you know, I think that actually does, um, lead us to maybe another question, you know, cause I think that's such a, that's such a wisdom that you share from the depth of your own experience and your own history of your practice, but for those who are getting started, you know, maybe those who are new to meditation or curious about starting a practice, you know, what, what advice or suggestions would you have for them as they get started in terms of, uh, beginning of beginning of practice and maybe what the most important pieces of that would be? Speaker 2 00:24:19 You know, honestly, today my answer is really different than it would have been, you know, a few years ago today, I would say a self-compassion class first. And the reason I say that is because if there's one theme, one thing that I've seen as a thread through the thousands of people that I've worked with at this point, because, you know, I've been around it's, it's people being so hard on themselves, you know, and being so critical and judgmental and worrying, am I doing it right? And there's no wrong way to meditate. All of you beginners out there, anytime any kind of meditation you do is the right kind, the only bad or wrong kind is the one you don't do at all. So, you know, there's, but, but we're just, I don't know, we're just the way we're conditioned to strive and to be focused on success and failure and A's, and F's, and you know, the whole conditioning that we have, um, contributes to this tendency to, uh, just bring whatever self-critical patterns we have. Speaker 2 00:25:34 And we all have them. I see them in myself even today. Uh, and, and that isn't helpful. So I think start with either a loving, kindness practice, a self-compassion practice along with your mindfulness practice, because that will help you be a little more forgiving, have a little more tenderness and, um, patience with yourself because it's like any new skill. It takes some time to feel at ease with it. I felt like I would never learn how to type and now I can touch type, but I can, you know, you feel like you're all thumbs at the beginning. Um, and that's, that's just part of being a beginner. Another thing I want to say to beginners, which you may know, but if you don't, it's a precious time to be a beginner because you really don't know anything about what you're getting into. Hopefully you haven't read a ton of books and have all these ideas, but if you have, you know, just let them go because you're going to start where you are, which is going to be open to learning. And that's a really, that's the, that's the attitude to have the whole way through. Speaker 0 00:26:50 Yeah. And this might go along with it. Um, just, you know, advice for beginners is what are some myths about meditation that you see maybe beginners have some myths on, um, what they think it might look like or whatnot that you would like to dispel or on the spiritual path to anything that kinda comes up for you? I think the biggest Speaker 2 00:27:24 Pitfall or myth to dispel is that the answer to what you're needing, wanting whatever kind of support or insight or understanding that you need in your life, that the answer is going to come from outside of you. It's just so ingrained, especially in times of rapid growth in your life. You look outside of yourself for guidance and that's completely normal. However, that guidance it's like, um, that guidance needs to always point you to your own heart and show you ways to connect to your own heart because that's where fulfillment and awakening is going to come from. And enlightenment, you know, is not a thing that you get. I'm sad to say that it's the beauty of life and the magic and the mystery and the power of being alive, you know, to feel that fully actually comes from letting go of the idea that it's going to come from anywhere else. And that's, that's maybe the work of a lifetime to understand that more and more deeply. That's wonderful. And it's also hard to, it's hard to believe, you know, you're, you're feeling crazy. You're feeling messed up is that people told you meditation would help with your anxiety. And then to be told that you have the answers that makes no sense. It's true. And you're gonna, you know, you're gonna sit hopefully with a group, hopefully have some good guidance from a teacher in a group and get the support you need to finally begin to understand and trust in yourself that it is true. Speaker 0 00:29:21 Yeah. I think it's difficult too, because even meditation itself, this whole genre, the whole, the media of it, it's, it's so big. There's so much to take in now that basically becomes an external pursuit that you could have a path and not sit, you know? Um, it's like sometimes I see people that they love everything about meditation except meditating. Speaker 3 00:29:50 Like you Speaker 0 00:29:52 Gotta stop absorbing all of that and, and sit with it, you know, which I, again, just mentioned over and over again. I just love you for that Trudy, because you point that back to people all the time, the importance of sitting with it and yeah, it's just extremely important. Speaker 2 00:30:12 Well, look at it this way. Um, and I'm talking to all you beginners out there. Um, or even if you're not, but you'll understand. It's like the difference between concept and reality. And what I mean by that is let's imagine that I don't know, somehow you've been protected and he's never tasted sugar or honey or any kind of sweetener. And you know that you've heard a lot about how delicious they are and, um, maybe you even read about them, but until you actually let's say, somebody says to you, like, what's the difference between honey and sugar and you research and you see, okay, honey comes from bees, sugar comes from sugar, cane sugars, more highly processed. Some honey is not. So you read about it, you know, a lot about both of them, but until you've tasted them, you don't really know the difference. That's the best example, or that's an example that comes to my mind right now. And so that's why all of you who may be studying with Casey, that's why he keeps telling you, you got to actually, you know, forget about the book towers on your nightstand, all about meditation. You just got to do it. It's like, you know, it's like they say in the 12 step program, it works if you work at, Speaker 0 00:31:40 And that might go along with my next question for you, which is sustainability of practice. Um, again, it's extremely rare to meet somebody like yourself that has been practicing for decades. And, um, and you know, it's, you, you mentioned your teacher, uh, the Korean teacher that you just saw something, um, in his eyes, just something about, about him. Um, I, I feel that way, uh, with you Trudy, I really feel the light of your practice and just in, in your beingness. Um, yeah, it's just the fruition of, of all the, all the sitting and, and, um, and, and how would you, I'm Speaker 2 00:32:29 Just going to say one thing before you ask your question, it takes one to know one, Casey, go ahead with your question, Speaker 0 00:32:37 But you know, you, how do you do that? What, what's your, what's your advice? Um, for sustainability Speaker 2 00:32:46 Sustaining a practice in my, for me, it couldn't happen all by myself. I needed support and I needed the support of a group. And for the first years of my practice, I went once a week to listen to it, some teaching and sit with a group of people. It was like refueling. And I used to feel it like I would be, that would, it was Thursday night. I remember. And so vividly and up until maybe Tuesday, I was good. I was meditating every day. And then Tuesday, Tuesday, it would start to kind of like, I'd get up a little later by Wednesday as like, uh, I don't really feel like it, but then I would go back on Thursday and, you know, it was like my first teacher, the Koreans, and I used to use it. Wasn't very poetic, but he was a really good teacher. And he would say, it's like filling your tank with Dharma gasoline. Speaker 2 00:33:45 Yeah, yeah, yeah, it is. So frankly, the way to sustain a practice is to have a group, whether it's a virtual group online, whether it, you know, whether you have, or even to start a sitting group yourself. Um, we say sitting understanding that some people lie down. Some people stand up depending on the frame that their body requires, but you can, you know, you don't have to be a teacher to start a sitting group. You can just invite some friends and meditate together and then maybe listen to a talk or read a chapter in a book or have a discussion together. I just feel like, you know, humans were meant to support each other and not to go it alone. And of course, if you do, if you have the opportunity to sit for a day long or a weekend, or even a longer retreat, that goes a long way also to helping you sustain, establish and sustain a regular practice. Speaker 2 00:34:43 And, and I guess, um, yeah, I think that's the most important thing and, uh, yeah, we need each other. We really do. And then the other reason we need each other is that, you know, your friends that you practice with, we get to share and learn with each other, not just from a teacher or for books or tapes or, you know, videos, we get to learn with each other. And I remember this great Tibetan Lama once said, um, in a teaching, he said, you know, we're gonna, you'll be in small groups so that you can learn from your confusion. I thought I'd be in a small group of confused people Speaker 3 00:35:29 That I want to learn from you, you know, Speaker 2 00:35:35 But the reality is I came to understand what he meant, you know, because everybody has different questions and different perspectives and we learned together. Yeah, Speaker 1 00:35:49 I think it always, you know, speaking of the intersections between mental health and a mindfulness practice and kind of having, you know, one foot in both worlds, it's always something I think I wished for, for some of my patients, like when I'm sitting with them one-on-one and listening to what they struggle with and recognizing that the patient before and the patient after was telling me the exact same thing. It's like, yeah, I actually wish that, you know, maybe the three of you could be in a room together and actually recognize, you know, this is just part of something we all struggle with actually our shared humanity. Speaker 2 00:36:25 Well, you know, in terms of that, um, what's interesting is that, for example, I remember when my colleagues who were working in the field of eating disorders, uh, very challenging for the people who have an eating disorder and for those who really want to help them. And they found out some of them found out that, uh, having people in groups and having them support each other during the week, uh, really helped in a way that the individual one-on-one didn't. Yeah, yeah. Let's see that. Speaker 0 00:37:03 Yeah. I was thinking back to back to meditation, being taught within a system, you know, and I think that's, you know, that community aspect is a huge part of that. Yes. Speaker 2 00:37:15 You know? Yes, yes. Speaker 0 00:37:19 Um, I have so many more questions. A couple more maybe if you have the time. Speaker 3 00:37:24 Yeah. Yes. Of course I do. This is your time I planned Speaker 2 00:37:29 Until two. So you can take as much, I know you said 45 minutes, but I'm happy. I mean, it's, UKC so whatever. Yeah, Speaker 0 00:37:37 You're too sweet. Um, if you have one question to ask your teacher, what is it? And this could be either from you personally, or, or maybe any advice to students, like, what is, what's the best question this spiritual aspirant could ask? Speaker 2 00:38:01 Well, I'll tell you a story. Um, and, um, this is a sneak preview because this is, this is my book. Um, oh, wonderful. Yeah. So I told you about my first Zen teacher and then the person who later became, and I have had other teachers in different traditions because I've just loved the teachings and all the traditions, but the teacher who became my heart teacher and with whom I practiced until she died, uh, was a teacher named Maureen Stewart, uh, Roshi, a Canadian then teacher who moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, uh, from New York where she was practicing and living. And when she, from the time she moved to Cambridge or I was so thrilled to find a female, a strong female spiritual teacher to the time she passed away, she was my teacher. And when she was dying, um, she died young. I mean, I feel young since I'm now 76, she just turned 76. Speaker 2 00:39:04 She died when she was, um, 68 of a cancer. And a few days before she died, I was over at her house, uh, helping her with some stuff. And she was upset. She was, she had this kind of loft upstairs and she was lying down and shouldn't have any strength left. And I was, I remember I was straightening, straightening her house downstairs a bit. And, uh, cause a lot of people were coming to visit and say goodbye and they would leave their stuff in the sink or cigarettes in the Ash tray or, you know, just so I was cleaning up. And uh, and I thought to myself, this is it, you know, will I even be able to talk to her again? And so I said to her, I have this question, you know, what, after all your years of wisdom and intensive practice and teaching, um, like what would you, what advice would you give me? What would you say to me, uh, from your enlightenment? Her answer floored me. She said without hesitating, without missing a beat from upstairs, she said, live it up. I did not expect you to say that. So we've been sitting in the Zendo through hair, raising pain and he's practicing, you know, live it up. And I knew, I knew she didn't mean eat, drink and be married. Um, I mean, I think so anyway, maybe she did mean that, but I didn't take it that way, but that became a big question for me. What did she mean? And what does that mean? And, and that's really the title of my book. Oh no. Speaker 3 00:40:57 I know you have to give Speaker 1 00:41:00 Us at least a cliff notes version of what you think it means. Okay. Speaker 2 00:41:04 So what I think it means is live fully live to the hilt, whatever you do, do it completely do it. Just, you know, with Gusto, do it with joy if possible. But that, isn't what she said. My mom said that to me before she died, which I thought this was not like my mom to say something like that. And I thought I actually was alarmed when she said, because I knew that meant she probably would be leaving. Um, I was really tired one night because I started inside LA. I didn't have help enough at the beginning at all. And I, and my mom said, why are you always tired when we talk? And I try to explain to her mom, I'm like a CEO without the compensation. And without, without the, you know, I have to do everything right now, there's, you know, I have to do all the jobs and, and she listened and I said, don't take it personally. It's not like on board with you. I just am tired at the end of the day when we talk. And, and she said, well, honey, whatever you do do it with joy. I was like, whoa, that is, that is an amazing teaching right there. Uh, so it's sort of, I don't think I told that story in the book, but that's, that's what I want to say to all of you listeners and to remind each one of us. Speaker 0 00:42:45 Yeah. And, and meditation is supposed to be fun too. Speaker 2 00:42:49 Well, it gets more, it gets more fun as you go on because you start to calm down and you start to be able to relax and you start to open your heart and you start to have insights, you know, and you don't have to wait decades. You don't have to wait until you're as old as I am. This can happen. If you, you know, it works. If you work it, if you do it, it will begin to happen. It will begin to happen. My friend, my 87 year old friend who meditates just that little bit in the morning and evening, she was reporting to me that she has more vivid dreams. She sleeps better. She feels the benefits because she does it regularly consistently. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:43:33 Yeah. I tell people, I say, I'm much more interested if you're meditating five years from now, 10 years, 15 years from now for a short amount of time, then you meditating for 45 minutes for the next three months, you know, so people get really into it. I'm like, okay, this is cool. And if there comes a time, when you say, oh, I don't have 45 minutes and then you just don't do it because you don't do that five minutes that you do have, you know, Speaker 2 00:44:04 It comes a time like with anything, when you kind of lose your enthusiasm, you lose your fizz for it. And so that's where the group is really essential support to just keep going and to understand that, you know, when you can keep going through times like that, you're really building muscles. Speaker 0 00:44:22 Yeah. And I just can't tell you how amazing it is, Judy, that you have created insight LA you know, for all the view listening, if you have not checked out inside LA you know, all those years, um, of, of efforting as chili paid off and creating those communities, um, some really, really heartfelt communities, um, you know, obviously one larger community and then a lot of pockets of communities that have made profound differences in people's lives. And, and with COVID now in this past year, our inside LA groups have extended, you know, literally worldwide over zoom and, and whatnot. So, um, the benefit that you created is, you know, literally, uh, unfathomable. So Speaker 2 00:45:11 Yeah. Thank you. What was the work of the work of many hands? Thank you. Speaker 0 00:45:16 Um, we have seven minutes less. Um, we would, uh, love for you to guide us in, in a shorter meditation. Okay. Um, let's do that real quick Speaker 1 00:45:30 Before that, just in case our audience wants to know where to find you and to learn more about your book and any upcoming events that you may have, what is the best way for our audience to find you? Well, Speaker 2 00:45:43 You can find my blogs on Trudy and as for the book you're going to have to wait. Perfect. Perfect. So whenever, yeah, so, so everybody, please find a posture that's really good for your body, whatever that might be, but some where, you know, somehow that you can sit still for a while because as we sit still and keep our bodies, quiet may take a little while, but the mind inevitably it is inevitable that the mind comes down and the heart relaxes. I like to begin by taking a very deep breath and conscious intentional breath in breathing in the liveliness of this moment. Speaker 2 00:46:43 And then releasing, letting go of any tension that you can maybe one more time, and then just allowing the breath to move in its own natural rhythm, aware of the sounds of life around you, the sensations in the body associated with three things and just keeping each breath, very kind company. You know, since you're holding a toddler by the hand, or taking a puppy for a walk, keeping each breath company with your attention from the beginning, you're the middle to the end, noticing the little pause in between the in-breath and the out-breath. And then when your mind inevitably wanders into the past or the future, just move your body back. Maybe just an inch, just relaxing back into a posture of receptivity, receiving each breath, receiving each sound, no need to lean forward. Anticipating the next thing, just relaxing back into this present moment and this one and this one breath by breath and seeing if you can bring the intention to be sweet to yourself, appreciating that you've showed up to do this, appreciating your and wish to learn and resting in the goodness of that. The goodness of this receiving the liveliness, the piece and the goodness, the blessing really of taking this time to simply be together. Speaker 2 00:51:49 And then when you're ready, just gently opening your eyes. If they've been closed, looking up, if you've been looking down, thanking yourself, offering a little bow of gratitude to yourself for taking this time to be with yourself. And I thank you too, for your interest in doing this because it's a ripple effect. You know, the more, the brighter your heart and mind become well, that affects every single person that your life touches. So this is something you're doing for yourself and all those whose lives you touch. And that's why I'm thanking you on behalf of well on behalf of our world, the earth, each other this world. Thank you. Thank you, Judy. Thank you.

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