To feel that your body is not “you” is natural because after all, you are an eternal spiritual being inhabiting a temporary material body.  But if I “misread” this natural occurrence and wrongly conclude that what I need to do to find the true me, to be happy, is to re-engineer my body so that it aligns with the desires of my mind, then an artificial “reality” is produced.  This can only result in further unhappiness.

Today, there is a growing movement that proposes the false idea that if I can “actualize my desires” I will be finally happy, I’ll live happily ever after.  This is untrue.

The Vedas teach that identifying the material body and mind as the ‘self’ is ignorance/avidya. This results in a huge variety of pain and suffering. In this state, the tendency is to then confuse spiritual needs with material desires.  The quest for happiness is driven by a spiritual need, but if I wrongly assume the body and mind is “me” then I limit the search for true happiness to just stimulating my material body and mind with pleasurable experiences, none of which gives me lasting happiness.

The yogic texts I quote in this talk follow:

Persons who identify with this body, which is simply the product of the material mind, are blinded in their intelligence, thinking in terms of “I” and “mine.” Because of their illusion of “this is I, but that is someone else,” they wander in endless darkness. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 11.23.49

In his bewildered state, the living entity, accepting the body and mind to be the self, considers some people to be his kinsmen and others to be outsiders. Because of this misconception, he suffers. Indeed, the accumulation of such concocted material ideas is the cause of suffering and so-called happiness in the material world. Bhāgavata Purāṇa 7.2.25

The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another as the air carries aromas. Thus he takes one kind of body and again quits it to take another. Bg 15.8