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3 Insights That Arise From Practicing Mindfulness & Cultivating Kindness

The 3 Insights That Arise From Practicing Mindfulness And Cultivating Kindness

Timothea Goddard is recognised as a pioneer in bringing MBSR to Australia over the past 11 years and is an accredited teacher through the Center for Mindfulness, UMass Medical Center, USA. She is the founding Director of Openground – an Australia-wide network of clinicians and teachers offering MBSR and related mindfulness programs, workshops and retreats for individuals, organizations and schools.

In this video, Timothea talks about the three deep realisations that come from practicing mindfulness over time and how they help us to live a more rich, intimate and meaningful life.

Eva is a psychotherapist, mindfulness teacher, a co-director with the Mindfulness Training Institute of Australasia. She has also designed and teaches the Living with Compassion workshop. In the second video below you’ll experience a ‘cultivating kindness’ meditation led by Eva.

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Show Notes

Join The Mindfulness Summit Journey here

Come and join the community discussions at any time on our Facebook page

Check out Melli’s blog, events and retreats at MrsMindfulness.com

To find out more about Tim and Eva’s courses and retreats in Australia go to www.openground.com.au

Or to find out about the Australian MBSR teacher training programs go to www.mtia.org.au




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131 Responses

    1. Sue Williams

      One of the best talks….thanks……..great depth…….showing that mindfulness is also about the good of all not just the indivudual. Can be a driver for change and challenge of the status quo.

  1. Mandy Humphreys

    I am a little confused on the notion of none identification of self. I have been taught that I am always me. When I have a negative thought, it’s just a thought, it’s not who I am. When I see myself in a bad light from a negative thought, I should not attach to that thought as I have always been me. I have been taught that a thought is impermanent as is everything in life, but I am always me. ‘Me’ is shown through my actions and core beliefs. This lady suggests that there is no ‘Me’. Which is quite upsetting. I know this is a deep question but I would love some answers. Thank you x

    1. William Davies

      Mandy, it might help to think in terms of layers. You have identified thoughts as a layer that can be recognised as not being part of a permanent self, and thus we can choose not to identify with them. Emotions are another layer, and some people struggle with this as they sense emotions as being their authentic self in some way – but we can also see them as being like guests passing through our ‘guesthouse’. Deeper layers such as personality change too: A small child understands right/wrong or truth/lie differently from an older child, a teenager’s brain processes risk avoidance differently to an adult’s brain, and at any time of life injury or disease in the brain can cause fundamental changes to personality, behaviour, memory, etc. Then there’s the layer of body, where our cells are actually dying & being replaced, even in our bones, so the oldest cells in our bodies are little more than 10 years old.

      Underneath all these layers, the only ‘fixed’ self seems to be a social construction; everyone agrees that you are the same person who was born & given your name… and this is the sense of self we all identify with. When peel back the layers, there is no tangible self to find.

      1. Mandy Humphreys

        This is helpful. I suppose it’s like I can be anything I want to be and choose how I want to live and not feel limited due to my thoughts and views of myself. I am not pre disposed to anxiety or OCD or bad thoughts. I can choose. I think that is the message I am getting. X

    2. Naphtali Zimmerman

      There is no “me” who is permanent. Imagine a river – if you put your hand in the river then redip after a minute – it is not the same all the water is different. A river does not flow – the flow is the river. Same with us we are various streams which come together and are always in flux. By clinging to the concept of “me” one we create a a lot of suffering.

      In Buddhism the second most important discourse is the one on anatman or no self. According to this teaching, there is no “self” in the sense of a permanent, autonomous being within an individual existence. What we think of as our self, our personality and ego, are temporary creations of the various streams known as skandhas.

      There actually is existence, but most understand it in a delusional way. The Path of Lord Buddha leads us to understanding reality as it is.

      1. Mandy Humphreys

        What is you have negative thoughts and those thoughts lead you to believe you are bad. But all evidence suggests that you are good. I suffer from OCD thought intrusions. The sense of self keeps you in the knowledge that you are not bad and thoughts are just thoughts. So knowing who I truly am lets me seperate myself from the thought intrusions. How do I address this with this view of no self ?

        1. Jolien van+der+Merwe

          Hi Mandy, it is actually the sense of Self that can create the difficult thoughts/emotions, and often keep them going. When intruding thoughts show up it is easy to ask yourself ‘why is this happening to ‘ME’?’ or ‘will ‘I’always stay this anxious?’ Once you drop the illusionary ‘me’ (the sense of Self), and you realize there is no fixed Self that thought or emotions can cling on to, this can bring an enormous sense of peace. You can then see yourself as a wide open space, that allows all thoughts and feelings to come and go.

        2. Naphtali Zimmerman

          Hi Mandy,

          I hesitate to answer your question because I am not a qualified teacher and we have not met face to face. So anything I say can be overruled by proper professional advise.

          But from my heart I give the following advise. Do not become hung up on self/no-self.

          Addictive behaviors and I guess I would include OCD in that category seem to be associated with the amyghala a walnut sized part of our brains. Goleman who is coming up in the summit and i would pay particular attention to him as he has emphasized that. Meditation can shrink the amyghala. I would recommend calming or shamatha meditation almost exclusively until you achieve calmness. You can google Sakyong shamatha meditaton for some good instructions.

          I hope this was of use, metta

  2. Wendy Holladay

    Just listened to Timothea Goddard and feeling a little………. to be honest, I don’t know how I feel. I seem to have been left with a sense of awe, confusion and wonder. Mmmm some real food for thought. Thanks, really enjoying the summit.

    1. Jackie McGarry

      Mandy, it’s also not true to say there’s no-self, but perhaps more that this sense of self is really quite mysterious and cannot be found in our thoughts, feelings, body etc and that what we can kind of trust in is the heart, our deepest sense of aliveness, our capacity for love, truth seeking, compassion, these are the most real aspects of our experience. If we subscribe too heavily to the no self view then it can lead to a sense of nihilism and hopelessness – a feeling of what’s the point? which is counterproductive.

    1. Nicola Akhurst

      Hi Mandy, I don’t know if this helps… My understanding is that much as everything else in life is changing / impermanent so are we. Originally I found this quite a scary thought but have come to find it really liberating. So, those thought and feelings things that we sometimes wrestle with in ourselves and regard as defining our characters (along with all the good things) e.g.a sense of being selfish or moody or boring etc. etc. are not us. We are constantly changing and by being more mindful and present we can make choices moment about how we want to be / react to things.

      If you really think about what you mean by ‘I’ or what you regard as your character, is it your body? your thoughts? your feelings? all of these? If it’s some of these things you will already know when you meditate you become aware that these constantly change and therefore there really is no fixed I.

      1. Mandy Humphreys

        Thank you for your comments. I appreciate this. I see me as my awareness of my emotions and thoughts and feelings. As I now separate me from these things which happen and constantly change. I notice what happens with thought, feelings and emotions and I know they are not who I am. I suppose it is important to me as I feel I need to separate them from something, as there is no constant in them. And that something is me. Me, who is always there regardless of the weather patterns, as some may put it. The blue sky. The observer. X

        1. Jolien van+der+Merwe

          Hi Mandy, it is actually the sense of Self that can create the difficult thoughts/emotions, and often keep them going. When intruding thoughts show up it is easy to ask yourself ‘why is this happening to ‘ME’?’ or ‘will ‘I’always stay this anxious?’ Once you drop the illusionary ‘me’ (the sense of Self), and you realize there is no fixed Self that thought or emotions can cling on to, this can bring an enormous sense of peace. You can then see yourself as a wide open space, that allows all thoughts and feelings to come and go.

  3. Chrisy

    Timothea your relaxed, friendly manner, together with your knowledge, made this a lovely and useful experience. Thank you. And Eva I enjoyed the meditation; I usually do the Metta Bhavana but your meditation gives me a fresh new strategy. Thank you also.

  4. margaret Boylan

    Thank you Tim, really enjoyed your’ authentic presentation of mindfulness it has left me with feelings of gratitude and peace, a return to the simplicity of the practice,
    and Eva, your meditation capped off a wonderful evening of awareness.

  5. Rose Chan

    Wow I really enjoyed the speaker , I love her presence and calmness and how she started and ended. A lot of great profound sharing and teachings for me. I love to learn from her and meet her one day! I couldn’t hear the truck, dogs or thunderstorm from Hong Kong! In gratitude

  6. Carolina Corthorn

    I haven’t listen to the speaker yet, but wanted to share what a great experience of loving-kindness meditation guided by Eva. During the meditation, the picture of all of us in this summit and all other practitioners as well sending wishes of love and compassion around the world. Pictured the whole planet receiving this wave of kind energy, the sense that there are many of us working in the same direction is very encouraging. Wish you all love, kindness, wisdom and peace. 🙂

  7. Jessica

    This session was wonderful! Delving deeper than an instrumental approach to mindfulness and cultivating a practice grounded in wholeness is a timely reminder in the context of the hyper-consumerism and individualism that sadly extends to all areas of life in many western developed nations. There is so much contained in this talk and practice that I am looking forward to re-listening later this evening. Thank you Timothea and Melli.

  8. LESLIE Crerar

    Although I appreciated what was being said, I was quite distracted by the frequent adjustment of glasses; I was able to overcome that by not watching the presentation but only listening to it. Then, I was bothered by the lip-smacking… I wished there might have been some editing.
    I hate to have come up with negatives, because I have been happily amazed by the other speakers.
    Thank you for the summit!

      1. kathryn

        Hi Leslie, hope you don’t mind me replying here but the irritation you spoke of in your first message evoked really warm feelings towards you, which was so interesting to me. I was moved by the fact that you had some suffering and I wished you well.
        When I am suffering, I’m usually moved towards being self critical and not so kind to myself!! Thanks for your post it again revealed the strong inner critic to me.
        Wishing you well,

      2. Rosann Lampkin

        Wow, Leslie, thanks for your willingness to share your humanness! Mindfulness allows us to see that we all experience the unkind or mean-spirited within. Your response to your response was courageous and powerful and I, for one, say apology accepted!

  9. Tobias Schreiber

    Thank you Timothea for the guidance and unfolding of the three insights and their exploration. Gently exposing the sky to the wind. Nice thunder in the background.

  10. Nicola

    Beautiful talk! Not to forget that mindfulness, in all its utilitarian western popularity, is routed in profound and deep (Buddhist) teachings. And the lovely poems just emphasise the open endedness of the questions raised. Ive gained so much from this summit thank you Ive have been wondering about the eastern/western/spiritual/scientific/ /monastic/mystic/pragmatic /profound/practical/go anywhere aspects of mindfulness and this talk has really just bought it all together for me.

  11. Darren

    “We all struggle alone through the ten thousand joys and ten thousand sorrows of our lives.”

    “Fears and hopes and dreams and sorrows all will dissolve like the fog they are, and what will be left is the light and warmth of my deepest self or soul or whatever it might be.”

    “People said things to me like “They’re just animals. They’re here for our use.” I had a visceral reaction to that phrase, maybe because I was told countless times during my growing-up years that I was “just like an animal.” I had suffered much of my life because I was considered less than human. Animals were suffering because they were less than human. And it seemed to me that human didn’t have much to be proud of, if they treated other living things with such blind cruelty.”

    ― Elizabeth Kim, Ten Thousand Sorrows : The Extraordinary Journey of a Korean War Orphan (Goodreads)

    There is so much to take-away from this morning.

    First of all, the practice. What a beautiful way to start the day. The structure of the summit is creating what I hope to be a discipline, long missing from my own life and self-care plan.

    I appreciate the modeling of peace today. The poems were wonderful. The discussion clear. Having lived with PTSD for a very long time, impermanence rings all the bells inside. I wasn’t prepared in my previous life as a paramedic to the confrontation the experiences on the job exposed me too that was the ‘fright’ that busted my psyche: the confrontation with the fragility and impermanence of human life; the confrontation with my own mortality. Death and suffering of others became such a daily event to face, my mind and body simply couldn’t process it all. I felt every one. An empath? Maybe, but for sure we aren’t prepared for the psychological consequences of our work in this field nearly adequately enough. We live and learn-some make it back-some do not. The suicide rate is very high in Public Safety Professions. I’m blessed to have lived through my own.

    I very much appreciated this reference today:

    “An untaught worldling, O monks, experiences pleasant feelings, he experiences painful feelings and he experiences neutral feelings. A well-taught noble disciple likewise experiences pleasant, painful and neutral feelings. Now what is the distinction, the diversity, the difference that exists herein between a well-taught noble disciple and an untaught worldling?

    “When an untaught worldling is touched by a painful (bodily) feeling, he worries and grieves, he laments, beats his breast, weeps and is distraught. He thus experiences two kinds of feelings, a bodily and a mental feeling. It is as if a man were pierced by a dart and, following the first piercing, he is hit by a second dart. So that person will experience feelings caused by two darts. It is similar with an untaught worldling: when touched by a painful (bodily) feeling, he worries and grieves, he laments, beats his breast, weeps and is distraught. So he experiences two kinds of feeling: a bodily and a mental feeling.”

    ~ Sallatha Sutta: The Dart translated from the Pali by Nyanaponika Thera

    Loving-Kindness meditation practice, came to me awhile back, and this I’ve used relatively consistently since I was first taught how to work through it. We are discarded from our work in Public Safety when we emotionally self-destruct. We are bullied out of the system. Mental Health issues are simply too real, and too frightening for both management and peers to accept.

    Loving Kindness meditation helped me to forgive the abandonment I felt, and carried like luggage, after the fall came in my life. Persons with mental health challenges are generally excommunicated from society, and toxic shame pushes us to isolate, and to reject ourselves. Many retreat into lives of a hermit, so misunderstood by our fellow man. This meditation is powerful. Especially so when it can be turned inward. Loving-Kindness delivered towards the self, is healing that can not be described when one is wrought in life in such a dark place of anger, vengeance, depression and anxiety-all driven by shame. Accepting love from self, towards self, seems so counter-intuitive when we’ve been taught (I think we’re taught this) that such expression and such love is ‘selfish’. Loving the self is the most unselfish of acts, really. Because it is only through the cultivation of self-love that we can EVER find way to fully loving anyone else.

    Thank you all for another beautiful start to the day.

    Be Well

    1. marie benedicte

      thanks you so much Darren because, as I am french speaking people, some words, too rapidly spoken for me, escape and i was not able to understand specially the poems….. and as i was zapping over the notes, i found yours and i am so happy to read the words i could not understand before…. waouhhhh many thanks to you.

  12. Eugene McCreary

    On impermanence: “Our revels now are ended and these our actors, as I foretold you, are spirits and are vanished into air, into thin are. And like the baseless fabric of this vision, the the cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, yea all which shall inherit, shall dissolve, and like this insubstantial pageant faded, leave not a wrack behind.
    We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” Shakespeare

  13. Liudmila Maksimovskaya

    I knew this since I was about 8 months old (about the impermanence). I have been thinking about death since I was 4, and how I am transforming day to day, and how one day I will die. In many cases I felt I wasn’t in control of the events, and frequently of my sensations (I have had medical conditions that involve discomfort and pain, plus I have sensory issues). I have felt constantly present, but sometimes I wished my love of life, transformations, nature and people was a little bit less painful. One thing I’m still trying to learn is how to be in peace with the changes. I just want to be in peace more openly. I wish this feeling of peace was a little less subtle. Even though (now when I think of it) it seems to me that (at least in my case as an “observer”) the closeness of peace is extremely close when you’re born, then it gradually moving away, in midlife it starts moving closer and before death it’ll be close again. Maybe this what makes me so sad: that this feeling of peace closeness and being one with it will only come when I die…

    Just something that came to my mind while listening to the talk. Thank you for awakening this realization. 🙂

  14. Christine Evans

    Many thanks to Timothea….so open and authentic! Eva’s practice made me realize how simple acts of love and compassion can be far reaching. As I thought of the first loving person I realized that person learned love from someone and then that person from someone, much like the ripple effect, but going backwards. Then as I thought of extending this love how it ripples outwards. It’s amazing how much we have to offer each other. Namaste.

  15. gerri roche

    Thank you Timothea and Eva for such considered talk and guided meditation. Today’s practice was a great balance to yesterday’s. I think Arianna missed something when she gave example of Bell redundancies and celebrated the 1/3 who then thrived but 2/3 suffered. The plight of the 2/3 deserved more consideration, from a sense of community so perhaps a loving kindness practice and an appeal to employer’s responsibilities.

  16. Cheryl rose

    I want to express gratitude for Timothea’s talk and dharma teaching. I very much enjoyed, a lot of food for thought. I also enjoyed Eva’s loving kindness meditation. It was done somewhat differently than I have used in the past. And lastly, although I usually don’t comment or read comments, today I did. I found a lot to appreciate with Mandy’s query and most particularly to William Davies explanation which really explicated the teaching for me. Namaste to all!

    1. Hey Cheryl, I’d like to echo your words, not only about Tim’s talk and Eva’s beautiful meditation but also in reference to the conversation between Mandy and others. That conversation is a beautiful example of a community supporting eachother and an open exploration into mindfulness and our humanity. This is a deep talk by Tim, potentially confronting and liberating together (they usually do go together those two!) and it’s wonderful to see this comments area being a space of camaraderie and kindness : )

  17. Gwen McEwen

    Thank you, Timothea, for your very lovely and well-presented talk and meditations. I found so much in your remarks that I will apply to my practice as a work in progress. Bows to you.

  18. Sharon Fierro

    Perfect! Timothea’s presence and compassionate being touched my heart! Mindfulness as a path to wholeness- where we listen to our heart and take responsibility for our inter-connectedness leads to compassionate caring for ourselves, each other and the planet-perfect!! Mindfulness as a fierce agent of change-YES…inspiring! Thank you Timothea and Melli for your contribution! With appreciation

  19. Aziza Sami

    Also…a wonderful characterisation of mindfulness..and a beautiful integrative approach that brings home even more..how mindfulness can change the way in which we perceive ourselves..and-in fact- our very existence. Thank you Timothea..and of course again..Melli for bringing such insights to us.

  20. Jo-Anna Roberts

    Thank you Timothea and Eva – and Melli and Matt, of course. I loved Timothea’s talk, especially the pauses for reflection on the ancient wisdom she made come alive through personal and poetic resonances. That was the first time I’d practiced the loving kindness meditation, so thank you so much. I feel deeply encouraged yet again.

  21. Banu Kanibelli

    Wisely and gently put into words the deepest insights of the ancient tradition of mindfulness. It was truly transformative. Thank you Timothea! And thank you Melli for making this happen to us every single day!

  22. Ruth McCallum

    Thanks for this wonderful talk. Timothea clearly has depth and knowledge in this area. I was very impressed with her ability to communicate these concepts eloquently and in a way that felt accessible to me. What a bright and joyous person. Thank you.

  23. Rosann Lampkin

    Thank you, Timothea, for your deep and powerful talk today. Taking on the three insights that can and will arise with consistent meditation practice can be a daunting task. Your talk revealed wisdom, skill, and personal practice. I appreciated the experiential process you provided to allow for each insight to be felt more deeply. And, absolutely loved the poem “Everything changes”!

  24. Shantelle Bates

    Another wonderful session, thank you Melli and Timothea. The sense of self not being a constant but an ever-changing self, wow!! I love how with everyday there is a new moment to rediscover myself and my world, it’s awesome!! Can’t wait to see what I can learn tomorrow

  25. Timothea Goddard

    It is so satisfying to hear what you are all saying and the openness that is hear to this kind of learning through mindfulness. It is often in our most challenging moments where the “rubber meets the road” that we can learn how to let go into knowing of impermanence, to embrace all that life brings and to really cultivate equanimity. I do find these teachings confusing and frightening and unnerving as some of you have said and also soothing, opening and transformative as some of you have said also. Let’s find out! We have this precious life to investigate and the way to contribute is to first be present. Mary Oliver says: Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world. The whole poem is here…..

    “Eat bread and understand comfort.
    Drink water, and understand delight.
    Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets
    are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
    who are drinking the sweetness, who are
    thrillingly gluttonous.

    For one thing leads to another.
    Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
    Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.

    And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper
    Oh let me, for a while longer, enter the two
    Beautiful bodies of your lungs…

    The witchery of living
    is my whole conversation
    with you, my darlings.
    All I can tell you is what I know.

    Look, and look again.
    This world is not just a little thrill for your eyes.

    It’s more than bones.
    It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.
    It’s more than the beating of a single heart.
    It’s praising.
    It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.
    You have a life–just imagine that!
    You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe
    still another…

    We do one thing or another; we stay the same, or we
    Congratulations, if
    you have changed.

    Let me ask you this.
    Do you also think that beauty exists for some
    fabulous reason?
    And, if you have not been enchanted by this adventure–
    your life–
    what would do for you?

    What I loved in the beginning, I think, was mostly myself.
    Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.
    That was many years ago.
    Since then I have gone out from my confinements,
    though with difficulty.
    I mean the ones that thought to rule my heart.
    I cast them out; I put them on the mush pile.
    They will be nourishment somehow (everything is nourishment
    somehow or another).

    And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.
    I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.
    I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
    I have become younger.

    And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
    Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world. ”

    ― Mary Oliver, Evidence: Poems

    And a deep bow to dear Eva, my friend and colleague. I have learnt so much through exploring this work with her.

    Two books I am readying recently by two contemporary Buddhist scholars which shed some light on this mysterious business are:
    Unlimiting Mind by Andrew Olendski
    A New Buddhist Path by David Loy (he also has a lot to say about climate change and how we might help) http://www.davidloy.org/writing.html

    1. Susan Favreau

      Thank you so much for your informative presentation, and for this moving poem and the book recommendations.

      Also — I loved your caution about the possibility of barking dogs. It was very similar to the caution I have to give whenever I get a phone call. They are wonderful examples of being in the moment!

    2. mary a

      Beautiful talk, thank you Timothea. It is good to remember the bigger picture of why formal meditation practice matters so deeply…as opposed to “Mindfulness Light” or mindfulness as a nice idea.

    3. S.A

      Thank you Dear Timothea for your inspiring talk. I have learned a lot and enjoyed every second of it. I feel words are not enough to express my appreciation. loving kindness.

    4. Serene

      Hi Timonthea,
      I’m really enjoyed the first half of your sharing. Sadly, I could not complete it as there is no more free access to it. It difficult for me to catch the videos due to the time difference between south east Asia and the USA.
      No matter what. Thank you. It’s really a pity that I missed out Eva’s guided practice. Was extremely looking forward to it.

    5. ertjpr@gmail.com

      Thank you so much for both your presentation and this follow-up post. I am not that familiar with the works of Mary Oliver – but this poem really spoke to me. Peace.

    6. Jennifer

      Thank you so much! The talk was beautiful. It answered one of the questions I have been grappling with 🙂 others have spoken about the softening around your own narrative but I did not truly hear until I heard you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    7. Eva Openground

      So beautiful to hear how you were touched by the cultivating kindness meditation and I was deeply sorry to hear some of you missed it.
      And to my dear friend and colleague Timothea, deep gratitude for the love and support over the years. You are truly an inspiration.

      1. Laura Dursley

        I am so sorry I missed the loving kindness practice. I am leading a day long retreat this weekend and would have loved to have heard your cultivating kindness talk…… Many thanks for taking part in this extraordinary summit experience. And may you know peace!

    8. Deirdre Warren

      I have already donated and it is on my ViSa bill, yet I can’t down load this as it keeps saying I need to donate. What am I doing wrong. I’m also having difficulty getting to a log in page every time I google the mindfulness summit day page.
      Has any one else experienced this difficulty and could you let me know how to go straight to log in instead of always getting to a registration page which doesn’t have a log in.
      I am thoroughly enjoying all and appreciate the time these presenters have given and their sharing of wisdom and practices and congratulate Melli on a wonderful Summit.

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