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AdviceMaterial Desire

Material Desire

Learn how to separate temporary pleasures from lasting joy.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace. Unrivaled expertise to make life feel a little easier, using guided meditations, mindfulness tips, focus tools, sleep support, and dedicated programs.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

So, we're sitting there getting our Headspace, when all of a sudden that image of, I don't know, something we saw a few days back, something we've been wanting for a long time, pops into the mind. And all of a sudden it generates a bit of excitement as we either dream about getting it, or we plan how we're gonna get it, how we're gonna afford it. That one thing that is gonna finally make us happy and change our life forever. Strange thing is that we know we've experienced this feeling before in our lifetime. We have seen something we really like, and we think, "Yeah, if I can just get that, it's really just, that's gonna do it." And yet we know it gives us some temporary kind of pleasure. And, of course, there's nothing wrong with buying things that give us temporary pleasure. But at the same time, it's helpful to recognize that it's not ever gonna bring us any lasting sense of happiness, no matter what it is. And, funnily enough, as soon as we acknowledge that, as soon as we see that clearly, a lot of our material desire just kind of, it just dissipates. It fades away. And we find ourselves, rather than spending a lot of time daydreaming, thinking about those things that we want in life, instead, we're just present a bit more. Not so caught up in the mind. Again, it doesn't mean kind of giving up those nice things in life. Of course, we can, we can have them, we can buy them and, you know, but it's just how much mental energy we give to it. And I think often it's when we can't have it, or when we can't afford it, that somehow the mind seems a little less willing to let go of it. So, when we can, it's, you know, it's okay. But, when we can't, there's a sense of frustration perhaps. It might even be a feeling of injustice, kind of why can that person afford it and I can't. And again, we get caught up in a whole conversation in the mind. But, when we're sitting there and this thought arises, we treat it in the same way as any other thought. It's just a thought. It doesn't have any kind of validity, as there's nothing tangible about that thought. It is simply a thought. And we have the opportunity in that moment to see it clearly as just that, just a thought. To acknowledge it, to let it go. Outside of the session itself, it is, I think, genuinely useful every now and again, just to reflect, to look back over time at the things that you have been so excited about at one point or another, which end up either in the bin, in the trashcan, or kind of in the bottom of a bag going to the charity shop. Or, whatever it might be, we tend to, in the moment,...


Duration5 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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