Joseph Goldstein – Insight Hour – Ep. 149 – Desire: The Driving Force of Samsara

Joseph Goldstein explores the tendency of desire, how we can understand this driving force of Samsara, and how we can practice being free of it.

This dharma talk from January 3, 2005, at the Insight Meditation Society, was originally published on Dharma Seed.

“Desire is not an insignificant conditioning in us, and it takes many forms. And it’s really not the form or even the object that’s terribly important or interesting. It’s that force, it’s that energy, it’s that habit pattern of wanting. When we don’t see it, when we’re caught, when we’re identified with that wanting mind, it obscures the natural freedom of mind. It obscures the recognition of the open, empty, selfless nature of awareness.” – Joseph Goldstein

In this episode, Joseph shares his insight on:

  • The clear, unobstructed nature of the mind, and how deeply habituated patterns such as desire can obscure our natural wisdom
  • The craving for sense pleasures
  • Desires that manifest in our meditation practice in the forms of the expecting mind, the comparing mind, and trying to hold on to a past experience
  • The desire for existence, and the craving for non-existence
  • How we can better understand the powerful conditioning of desire in all of its forms and free ourselves from identification with it
Krishna Das discusses desires and willpower in Pilgrim Heart Ep. 125

About Joseph Goldstein:

Joseph Goldstein has been leading insight and loving kindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the organization’s guiding teachers. In 1989, together with several other teachers and students of insight meditation, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.

Joseph first became interested in Buddhism as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand in 1965. Since 1967 he has studied and practiced different forms of Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Burma and Tibet. He is the author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening, A Heart Full of Peace, One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism, Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, The Experience of Insight, and co-author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and Insight Meditation: A Correspondence Course.

“I have two main aims in teaching. The first is to spread the dharma as widely as possible, offering it to as many different people as I can. The second is to teach a smaller number of people over sustained periods of time. This in-depth teaching engages my tremendous love for intensive, long-term meditation practice, where people can immerse themselves in the retreat experience and see how it transforms their understanding.” – Joseph Goldstein

Art via Oks-Art