Desires reveal the non-existence of the psychological self

Long ago, wise teachers identified desires as the leading cause of suffering. Without desires, bodies function normally, and there is no resistance to experiences.

Desires manifest as thoughts such as "I want to do this," "I want things to unfold in a particular way," "I want to achieve this," "I want to become this," "I want to acquire this," and so on. Even the 
"I don't want" thoughts are desires expressed as "I want something not to happen."

In our daily lives, when we say "I do, I see, I hear, I walk, I talk, I breathe, I eat," the "I" corresponds to the body. The body is the system that moves, sees, hears, walks, etc.

But when we say "I want things to be a certain way," what is this "I"? Where is the "I" that desires that? Is it the body? Is the body capable of wanting something? If we consider a thought like "I want to eat," this thought arises on behalf of the body, but then we are referring to needs, not desires. All thoughts that resist experiences do not originate from the body. Even the brain lacks the ability to resist. The brain performs many functions, including processing data from the five senses of perception, but neurons do not possess the ability to choose. Similarly, thoughts do not have the ability to choose or resist.

Thoughts are interpretations, assumptions, conclusions, and memories. However, a thought cannot desire something. For example, the thought "what a nice day" cannot want something. The thought "tomorrow I have to do this and that" is incapable of wanting something. So, what desires something different from what already "is"?

The thought "I want something different than what already is" creates the illusion of a person who wants something. However, experientially, there is no such person that can be identified. We only recognize a body that functions and performs various tasks throughout our lifetime. The "I want" does not originate from the body or the awareness that recognizes the body-mind's functions and thoughts.

The "I want" is simply a thought. It does not arise from someone who desires something. It is an imaginary product of the mind, which is why it is accompanied by symptoms expressing resistance. 

You can start observing this in your daily life. Whenever you say "I'm doing something," the "I" refers to the body. But when you say "I want" or "I don't want," try to discern what the word "I" is referring to - where is the entity that desires or does not desire something? Then, you will directly confront the illusion of what we can call "the psychological self." This is what we typically think we are, yet no one has ever experienced or recognized it.

P.S. For practical purposes, we need to use names and adjectives in our daily lives to better organize our societies. However, it is crucial to understand that our names or bodies do not define us, and we never truly acquire these social identities. Bodies remain solely as bodies, operating based on their physiology and anatomy.

Nikos Batras