How To Live With Desires: Identifying with the True Self Instead of Letting Desires Control Us

Posted on September 11th, by Dr. Puff in Articles. No Comments

When we desire something, we first have to work for it. Often we find ourselves spending a large amount of mental energy thinking about it, wishing for it and wanting it to happen. But after working for it, we should let go and just be.

Living in a state of beingness means that we do the actions which lead to our desires and then we let go. For instance, let’s say we’re dating someone who we really desire to have as our permanent partner. At first we date them, we spend time with them, and we tell them that we love them. We might do things that help them to love us back. But when we’re not with them or doing those things to win over their hearts, we just be.

If we are washing the dishes, we’re simply washing the dishes. If we’re studying, we’re just studying. We don’t constantly ponder on questions such as “Can I win over their heart?”, “Will they accept me?” or “Will they be my partner for life?” When they finally say “Yes” or “No”, then we let go and we continue to just be. If our life is to be with them, then we just be with them. If our life is not to be with them, we let go and move forward, and we move on. We just be.

What we tend to do, however, is think about our desires and perseverate on them all day long, worrying that they won’t come true or thinking about what would happen if they did come true. The result is that we miss out on life that is happening around us, all day long. Desires come but work towards fulfilling them and then let go. Just be.

There are two types of desires: those for our personal benefit and those that fulfill our aspiration to improve the world. The latter are ones that are better; they are better for us and the universe conspires to help us fulfill those desires. Desires that lead towards happiness are good desires; desires that lead towards suffering are desires we want to walk away from. But the key to knowing how to treat our desires is being present, being aware, and deeply examining our desires. Are our desires causing us suffering? Are they bringing us joy? Are they leading us towards improving humanity overall? Examine your desires so that you can better determine what to do with them. Then decide: are we letting them go and mostly just being?

This involves a sense of stepping back. It’s about discovering “Who am I?” When we examine our desires, we see that they arise from our conditioning which is part of our experiences here on earth. But, instead of identifying with our desires, understand that freedom and enlightenment arise when we identify with witnessing the desires. Unless we understand ourselves and our desires, we can’t change them. My favorite word in the universe is “awareness.” Unless you are aware of something, you cannot change it. When we step back to the ultimate truth of “Who are we?” and “Who am I?” we are ultimately the witness to our desires. Be that. This path of enlightenment is one of introspection. It involves spending time looking at ourselves, observing our thoughts and no longer identifying with them.
We also need to stop identifying with our desires. We watch them spontaneously arise and they go. But we are not our desires. We are not that which arises from us. We are the witness to the desires and should strive to be that. This isn’t a renouncement of our life; it’s a renouncement of our thoughts. When we realize we are not our thoughts, we renounce them and are able to just be.
In that beingness we find peace and happiness. We discover our true self in being aware of who, or what, we are. We are then ultimately at our true, deepest, most real essence. We are the supreme reality. We are all that is, but everything else is, too. We’re all connected and we are all a manifestation arising from the supreme reality of who we are. The supreme reality is beyond any thoughts, concepts or desires. In the silence, we discover who we are. We learn that we are the ultimate, supreme reality of all that is, ever has been and ever will be. It’s through our constant witnessing of who we are that we discover we’re not thoughts, feelings, space or time. We are beyond and before everything. We are the ultimate reality who has forgotten our true identity and identified with our thoughts.

By diligently watching our thoughts, feelings, desires and fears, we discover that none of these are who we are. They are our false self with whom we mistakenly identify throughout our life. When we intensely examine “Who am I?” what we discover is that we are not those things. We might witness and observe them, but we are not them. They are impermanent and subject to change. They are like ripples on the ocean – they are there but they are only there because the ocean is. They couldn’t be there unless the ocean exists. We are that ocean of supreme reality who has forgotten we are the ocean, and we’re identifying with the small egoic mental images that flash through our brain throughout the day. Only that which is permanent, which has always existed and always will exist, can truly be who we are. When we identify with our true self, then we realize that everything arises out of our true self.

We should strive to be the witness to our thoughts, feelings and desires, and discover who we really are – our true self, the supreme reality. Identify with this and be it. If we negate everything that we aren’t, everything that is impermanent and thus cannot be who we are, we find that what we are left with is ourselves as permanent, everlasting beings. We then discover that we just are.

What are we? We are out of which everything arises. Thoughts, feelings, experiences, all arise out of us. We aren’t them. Rather, we are that out of which everything is created. Everything finds beingness in us. When we locate this true identity, we witness who we are. Our minds become still and we are at peace; we find that all is well and beautiful. As for our desires, although they remain there, they don’t bother us anymore. We just respond to them spontaneously and let them go when it isn’t time to work on them.

Mostly, we just be. We are present with what is, we witness who we are and we get into that quiet state, which is the fluid state of pure beingness.

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Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D. is a meditation expert, international speaker and creates a podcast and articles that explores the world of Enlightenment available at 
He also has a blog at He is the creator of the weekly Meditation For Health Podcast, available at He has a weekly podcast that explores the world of Happiness at If you would like to contact Dr. Puff, his e-mail address is

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