Excerpts from books, lectures, and videos by Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)

If You Identify Your Body as Yourself, You Will Try to Satisfy Yourself by Trying to Satisfy Your Body

If you identify your body as yourself, you will try to satisfy yourself by trying to satisfy your body. You’ll think, “I am the body and I want to be happy, I want to be satisfied.” Thus, you’ll try to satisfy the belly, the tongue, the genitals, the ears, the eyes, the nose, and so on, believing that this will bring you the inner satisfaction and happiness you crave.

If you believe that you are your body, you will strive endlessly to give your body sensual pleasure. You will struggle to fill up your inner emptiness with fleeting sensual flashes. But no amount of sensual pleasure will satisfy you. No matter how many taste orgasms, sexual orgasms, and other kinds of orgasms you may have, you still won’t be actually satisfied. You’ll always have a never-ending desire for more.

Sense Gratification Does Not Satisfy

Often people try so hard to find happiness through sense pleasure that they may attempt to gratify several or all of their senses at the same time. For example, you may simultaneously be watching TV, listening to the radio, munching potato chips, sipping beer, and smoking a cigarette. Perhaps you may have your arm around the shoulders of your girlfriend or boyfriend. You may also have a magazine at your side, which you look at during commercials. You try to fill up every sense; yet still you’re not satisfied; still you want something more.

You can eat so much food that your belly aches—yet you still want more! Even though your belly is filled to the point of physical pain, you, the self, are not full; you still desire to consume more. The fact that the body can be full or satisfied while you still feel empty is evidence that the body is not you.

Most of us—whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, civilized or uncivilized—are struggling to enjoy our senses. This is due to false identification with the body.

Sense gratification does not satisfy. This is further evidence that you are not the body. No matter how much sense pleasure you have, you are still never satisfied within.

In reality, the glossy picture of the “happy rich person” that most people hold in their minds is simply an illusion. Money can buy sense gratification, but not actual happiness or satisfaction.

Material happiness is likened to trying to drink from an ocean of salty water.

Real Freedom Is Only Possible When You Understand Your True Identity

It is natural for us to want to be happy, satisfied, and free. But due to ignorance of our true identity, our natural longing becomes misdirected and leads to further bondage and unhappiness.

If you wrongly identify yourself with your body—your senses—you will erroneously conclude that you can achieve happiness through material sense gratification.

The more your senses are in control, the more you are in the position of being controlled by them, and therefore the less free you are.

We all want freedom, but real freedom is possible only if we understand our true identity.

If you know that you aren’t your senses, you won’t automatically conclude that what your senses want is what you want. You’ll know that what your senses may want may not be good for you.

If you know you’re not the body, then you will probably have deeper, more spiritual goals in life. This will make you see the desires of your senses as something to control, not succumb to. Because you’ll see your material desires as distinct from your true desires, you’ll make an attempt to curb your material desires so they don’t get in your way.

As we begin to gain greater control of our senses and mind, we experience the increasing sense of relief and happiness that naturally arises from being free.