Let’s return to desires. It is possible to try and back-track desires after anger, sadness, and fear emerge, but this may be difficult to do if a desire is buried too deeply. When activated, such a desire goes against the default conditioning and associated taboos. This creates tension and sometimes free-floating anxiety that overshadow the underlying fear of shattering the taboo. Tension results from control, i.e., holding back the desire. Combined with anxiety and a taboo, it prevents one from becoming aware of the desire.

Hence, in the beginning, our options for unearthing hidden desires are limited to indirect methods. Let’s take daydreaming, for example. Fantasizing is a means to make up for one or more unfulfilled desires, and if you study your reveries, you will be able to see the desires hidden behind them. The next step is to realize whether the fulfillment of your desire is feasible and if so, what internal or external factors stand in the way. The following step should be easier to accomplish: You either fulfill your desire or, if you realize completely through awareness that it is unattainable, you let it drop and accept the existing state of affairs.

There is one more simple technique to help you learn more about your desires. It is a two-step exercise. The first is to imagine you have one million dollars at your disposal and you have to spend them all. Write out a list of anything that comes to mind and do not let your mind jump in with its silly common sense and deprecation attempts. Allow yourself to “buy” whatever you want. Try not to ignore small wants, as they are as significant as large ones. Do not increase the amount of money at will. Stick to the budget given in the task. Make sure to do this exercise quickly; don’t mull it over. The first things that will spring to mind are your unfulfilled desires. Any after-thoughts from several hours later are attributable to your mind at play as it searches for the optimal solutions.

The second step follows immediately after. Imagine you are a powerful wizard. Think of how you would use the power you have. Again, you want to think fast, to give an advantage to your true desires over the whims of mind. Put them down on paper for the record to work on them later. 

Next, analyze the notes you’ve taken. The list of desires captured in the first step belongs to the material world; the ones in the second step may include both materialistic and idealistic desires (for example, a desire to fly like a bird in the sky). The point here is to understand and verbalize your desires as well as the needs they represent. The needs that express themselves via desires can be quite diverse; for example, the need for new experiences, comfort, safety and security, freedom, food, etc. Moving forward, you can work systematically on each desire using our standard approach, i.e., fulfill whatever can possibly be fulfilled and discard the rest, always remaining in awareness…