Joy Baum is a photographer, weaver and meditation teacher. In addition to these pursuits, Joy has a professional background in psychology, education and counseling. These different strands of her journey have, in various ways, led her to the Garrison Institute, where she has been participating in programs for over seven years.
We caught up with her recently to discuss what the Garrison Institute means to her.
What’s your favorite thing about the Garrison Institute?
The way that it always brings my attention to the contemplative aspects of daily life, which then informs my inner consciousness in ways that lead to a more expansive awareness. This internal spirit brings me ever closer to the truths that affect the greater and common good.
How does the Institute foster that type of awareness?
From my first visit to the grounds and environment, it has allowed me to experience wisdom in a sensory and personal way. I love how quiet it is. I love taking hikes along the majestic Hudson River. The place and space continues to draw me in to its beauty in every season.
In addition to the physical beauty, I am sincerely grateful to the amazing group of teachers that I have heard speak at the Institute. They have drawn me to the well of their knowledge and their talks have continued to resonate with me.
Of course, this is all enhanced by the excellent food that nourishes the body and soul.
What’s the most powerful personal experience you’ve had at the Garrison Institute?
My very first visit to the Garrison Institute was seven years ago, when I entered a room of meditators and was greeted by Tsoknyi Rinpoche. His presence and accessibility resonated with me immediately, which allowed me to easily understand the meaning and value of a meditative life. He presents as an integrated, mindful and intuitive being.
Up until that encounter, I had used contemplative practices in teaching and counseling children, and in training educators. Though I shared these practices with my students professionally, it was mostly an inner journey that remained exceedingly personal. After meeting Rinpoche, I experienced the ease of this path for the first time. I understood that I was not alone in this pursuit of living a mindful life. He demonstrates that the best of us all lies within and is only waiting for our awareness and discovery.
How has this experience impacted your life?
The discoveries that I made at many of the retreats at Garrison—and what I began to fearlessly and boldly express—has supported my work in designing courses and in supporting educators. The act of mindful teaching begins with great compassion for oneself. The outcome of that compassion is a natural emanation of creativity and love. As the river flows, so does their teaching, rippling outward to the farthest reaches of time and space.