We attach thought and labels to the processes of sensations, leading to identification and adding layers to the self. Our will moves constantly towards the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain, that being the process of the gratification or aversion of sensation that gives continuity to desire. Desire is the projected ego and the ego is the incorporation of desire. The momentum of selfhood is the continuous movement of will, as desire, between one sensation and the next. Without a basic version of this we simply could not function as individuals. Desire is a product of conscious and subconscious thinking and what thinks is the self; so thinking gives continuity to desire. If we can understand that desire is a process that we each peddle along with thought, then we can gain both understanding of it and freedom from the psychological mechanisms that drive it. If this mechanical process of desire cannot be understood, then your life is bound to be forever imprisoned by it, forever enslaved by a process that is of your own making, that is your own karma; the rest of your life will be utterly sorrowful, stuck inside a prison of chasing one desire and then the next desire and then the next desire, until the day that you die. Freedom from this process is joy. When we look into our own lives, it feels like a constant struggle to find continuous and satisfactory sensation, always we are engaged in a repetitive rat race where our desires are never fully satisfied for long; we are in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. Any satisfaction is at best temporary and old desires for sensation are soon replaced by a new set of desires for sensation that may again be fulfilled briefly, but never for long. They will always be replaced by a further set of desires, and the same problem repeats itself. The nature of desire is that it will never be fulfilled.
Thought sustains and nourishes desire. Thought decides like or dislike based upon ideas formed within the mind. These ideas, or preferences, are a reflection of what thought considers as pleasure or pain. Pleasure is nothing more than a remembrance; an idea of gratification that the mind has decided is so. It is a preferred sensation, or stimulation, a means for the mind to find stillness and bliss, to lose itself or get lost in union with another. The seeking of pleasure is an escape from our daily routine, where there is indifference to ‘what is’. All indifference arises because there is a lack of sensitivity, we are not aware of the true nature of sensation – which is impermanent – and it is because we are seeking to make sensation permanent that we lose sensitivity. There is also little sensitivity if we are constantly seeking stimulation, like most of us in the modern world. The search for stimulation is no more than a psychological escape from what we are, from ‘what is’. We escape because we are reacting to an idea of fulfilment, the idea has become all-important and so the idea comes before action. Only action that is free from idea is true action. Action based on bias, preference or prejudice, in response to our thoughts about fulfilment is no action at all, only reaction. All reaction entails conflict between what I am and what I would like to be, or the state I seek. The process of becoming between ‘what is’ and what I would like is of course a projection of my mind. It is the ideal that we struggle towards that makes for conflict; it is the disintegrating factor that is the product of our conditioning. We are this and want that. This is our daily activity; a self-projection, a modified version of ‘what is’ – we as ourselves somewhat modified. It is the mind fooling itself with ideas of fulfilment, the idea of a lasting higher or better state. The struggle towards any idea never brings freedom – which is the integrated state or state of completeness – it leads only to disintegration. The idea of permanent pleasure and our struggle towards it breeds only illusion and of course freedom can never be found in illusion. For this illusion to cease, it must be seen for what it is. The seeing itself is the integrating factor, not the effort to become what you are not, or the struggle, striving, achievement or maintenance of that which the mind has nourished and sustained as desire.
Because of the transitory nature of all sensation, the more we try to seek happiness through our identifications with sensation, the narrower our perception of fulfilment becomes. What follows can only be perpetual dissatisfaction. Because of the transitory nature of reality, because of the impermanent nature of the universe, if we cling to sensation then it is bound to change, and if we are attached to that sensation we are bound to be upset. What is happening is we are clinging in the face of inevitable change; it is like trying to grab hold of something liquid; it will always run through your fingers. We seek happiness and fulfilment through sensations and gratification. Always we are seeking happiness through something; through possessions, the acquisition of money, through getting our face on TV, through aspiring to be like the models on the pages of fashion magazines, or through adhering to certain religious beliefs in order to reach God. Whatever it is, the seeking of fulfilment through something, through anything at all, results only in sorrow. This is because you are distracted from knowing your inner nature, which is not identification with sensation, it is only sensation. When there is only sensation, meaning complete and total sensation of all senses, then there is extraordinary bliss; there is inner completion. Wisdom is completion, wisdom is to know one’s inner nature, a nature that is without a centre; there is no wisdom without the ending of your search for fulfilment.