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Josh Korda

Josh Korda

Josh Korda has been meditating for over two decades and began his studies of Theravada Buddhism in 1996. He has been the teacher at New York Dharmapunx since 2005, and at the Monday night Brooklyn Dharma class. For the last three years Josh has been a visiting teacher at ZenCare.org, a non-profit organization that trains hospice volunteers, and gives talks at Meditate New York. 

Having taught at NYIMC.org, Josh has volunteered for many years as an attendant at their retreats. Josh received his initial teacher training with Noah Levine, and has had the honor to study with countless other spiritual practitioners, including Ajahns Geoff, Sucitto, Amaro, Brahm, Vajiro, Sharon Salzberg and Tara Brach to name a few. All of Josh's dharma talks can be found at dharmapunxnyc.podbean.com, which is followed by a large online community.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 08:16

Imaginary Limits: Grasping at Illusory I

From the perspective of science, there is no inherent reason for the human mind to have an underlying owner or "self." The brain, the physical structure that creates consciousness and 'the mind,' exists only to provide centralized control over the body, ensuring our survival; it's comprised of numerous subsystems that allow us to engage safely with the world—eg those regions that warn us of threats; others that alert us to opportunities; faculties that monitor body states; systems that process spatial awareness and on. No region can be found via scans or neural anatomy that could feasibly produce a lasting "self." And if consciousness exists to address conflicting impulses and to integrate subsystems, its without doubt an event that changes fluidly over time.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 00:00

Celebrating Engaged Interaction

There is a disposition in the West to direct our spiritual efforts towards solitary practice—eg. a daily meditation on the cushion—placing less emphasis on the role that interactive, human connections play in spiritual growth. While mindfulness developed in isolation can result in great breakthroughs, it certainly makes for a withdrawn and difficult journey.

Monday, 15 July 2013 18:26

Reclaiming our Identity

It’s tempting to believe in the social identity: the roles we perform, the personas we embody, at work, with friends, amongst family gatherings. Over the years we become so caught up perfecting these roles that we forget they’re fabrications, based on exaggerating our “winning” traits—our knowledge, sophistication, skills, achievements, etc—while concealing what believe be our weaknesses—inexperience, confusion, disappointments, loneliness and so on.

Thursday, 13 June 2013 11:18

What can we really count on?

One of the most fundamental insights of spiritual practice is that despite all the safeguards civilization provides, the feelings of security we achieve through work, relationships and family, etc, we remain inherently vulnerable to abrupt loss and change. Everything is in flux: the world, people in our lives, moods and thoughts arising and passing in our minds. This fundamental change includes the way we relate to people, places and things: each new iGadget feels exciting and promising out of the box; months later it brings little more than a momentary diversion to the day.

In the great myth, Sisyphus is condemned by the gods, day in and out, to roll a large boulder up to the top of a steep mountain. When the stone reaches the peak, it rolls back down to bottom. And so he would have to start his task over, from the bottom of the hill, day in and out. The punishment is clear: in the hopelessness and repetitiveness of the punishment, the gods are forcing Sisyphus to confront that which most of us prefer to ignore: the futility that underlies existence. 

A busy life can be experienced as an addictive video game, comprising the twisty route from a morning coffee to the time we return home and close the door on the world and its demands. The circuit is strewn with pleasant opportunities—friendly conversations—which we navigate toward, and unpleasant roadblocks—impossible characters with impractical deadlines—which we try to avoid. Caught up in the game, our frustrations and disappointments are stifled so we can keep moving. We lose track of how these blocked emotions translate into stress carried in the body; our external fixation and continual thoughts relegate the body to the corners of awareness; the tension that lies beneath our attention spans often remains unnoticed.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013 12:45

Getting Comfortable in Transformation

The passage to radical change in life can be stumbled upon via many routes, but they all have a common theme: it presents that which doesn’t fit into our standard modes of apprehension and understanding. Perhaps its a sudden realization of how vulnerable and subject to change are all our plans and expectations, thrust on us by a sudden, unexpected separation, career setback, a shocking loss. Or a recognition that we’ve become addicted to unsuitable habits and behaviors. Or it may be the dismay of recognizing how inadequate are the stories we’ve been reciting about our “self;” how they fail to capture our character, capabilities or weaknesses.

Sunday, 02 September 2012 17:16

A basic meditation to cultivate peace of mind

My homage to Ajahn Lee's basic meditation to cultivate peace of mind:

1) Set an intention to put aside-if only for a little while-everything that's not happening right here and now, and take seven deep, full breaths, letting go of the events of the day with each long exhalation; so don't cut short those exhalations. Thoughts of "May i find true, lasting peace within" will help relax the mind and d rop the dramas.

Thursday, 05 January 2012 21:54

Six Ways To Reduce Stress

One of the most common reasons we turn to spiritual practice is to reduce worry, anxiety, the mental agitation that can be life's most consistent challenge. As the Buddha taught in the Sabbasava Sutta and elsewhere, while certain dangers in life are avoidable, most stressful events are inevitable, and our challenge is to learn how to skillfully tolerate each day's fresh "mosquito bite".

Actually, days without difficulties and challenges are often days without growth, for its the roadblocks and setbacks that force us to develop new, successful coping strategies. So a good start to reducing stress is to begin approaching challenges as valuable learning opportunities; once we find a way to adapt to situations without adding unnecessary stress, we have tools that are always at our disposal.

What follows are six useful approaches to facing our challenges without adding stress and suffering into the equation.

Wednesday, 09 November 2011 18:15

Making the Mind a Peaceful Place

Most of us, by the time we reach adult life, develop ways of relating to the obsessive thoughts that visit us; those inner voices that relentlessly detail bleak tales about the future, mistakes made in the past, inventories of what's missing from life. The brain is set up to fret, and we all have to learn how to function in life without being dragged under by the it's constant jabbering. We're all after a little calm.

While we may understand that certain types of thoughts cause us a lot of stress, its less obvious that the mind's tendency to jump around, from one inner narrative to the next, plays a large part in our suffering. The mind doesn't generally roam in search of peace; the brain's subsystems that drive us tend to reward us for thinking about issues we believe effect our survival: from whether or not we'll ever find a lasting relationship, to attempting to predict our unknowable financial futures. Our thoughts promise us control and preparation; what they actually deliver is stress and suffering.