Distinguishing desires of the mind from other desires- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:57

One’s wisdom stands firm by remaining unaffected in all situations, neither rejoicing nor lamenting whether encountering the pleasant or unpleasant. — Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verse 57  

When the mind stands unmoving in deep meditation (samadhi), union (yoga) is attained. When the mind becomes active again, this state is lost. Desires of the mind are the cause of mental activity.

Desires of the Mind
The effects of contact of the senses with their objects.

What goes into the mind gets there through the senses. We like something that is pleasant, and because we like the feeling it gives us, we desire it. These feelings are learned, but there are other kinds of feelings that are not. Distinguishing these will help us to distinguish desires of the mind from other kinds of desires.

Because of the association of desires with feelings, and feelings with emotions, many spiritual people believe that emotions must be done away with in order to do away with desires. This logic is understandable, but it is only logic, another function of the mind. Desires, feelings and emotions are related but are not the same. 


The experience of emotions.

Active configurations in the energy body corresponding to biochemical and neurological events in the physical body.


It is often thought that emotions are in the mind. The event-memory associated with an emotion may be in the mind, but the emotion is in the body.

A natural emotion is seated in the body and is something you will have as long as you have a body. Its primary purpose is survival. A natural emotion is a pure emotion.

A bear comes to the door. Fear produces adrenaline to handle the situation before you even know there is a bear at the door (the body is very smart).

A learned emotion is seated in the mind and happens in the body. Memories of events and the feelings they generated are held in the mind. The emotion this information evokes when revisited, triggered by a similar situation, happens in the body.

You are sitting in your high-chair eating an apple when your father comes in and engages in a heated argument with your mother. As an adult, even though you do not remember this event, you don’t like apples.

How to Know the Difference

When an emotion continues long after the event that triggered it, it is learned. When it goes away soon after the event is ended, it is probably natural.

Emotions remembered by the mind that reassert themselves under similar circumstances are learned emotions. Natural emotions come with the packaging, hard wired, so to speak. But there are also emotions that have been learned by the body, stored in body-memory.


The body has a mind of its own.

Desires of the body, such as its desire to survive, can generate learned physical emotions.

You live where there are bears, Uncle Henry bangs on the door, and bingo, adrenaline rush. There was no bear, but the body remembered the last time when it really was a bear and reacted accordingly.

It can be difficult to distinguish physical emotions from those that are mentally based, for when a physical emotion arises the mind will often come up with something to accompany it.

Physical emotions often happen to people during Surrender Meditation. The experience is one of having an emotion without any mental content. There is a definite knowing that the body is having the emotion apart from any mental association.

The other day, my chiropractor put his hands on my shoulders and gave me a short massage. I found myself in the midst of a physical emotion in which the body was about to cry. Looking closely at this phenomena, there was no mental content at all. The body was having its own emotional response to being touched. I was aware that the body was having sadness even though I wasn’t feeling sad but very peaceful. It was a very positive experience, and one that did not disturb the mind.

One can eventually become able to distinguish among learned, natural and physical emotions outside of meditation. The ability to do this requires experienced self-honesty and comes over time. But just knowing about it can accelerate the ability to distinguish desires of the mind from other kinds of desires by using this criteria:

Natural Emotions
Short Term, Event Related

Physical: Hard wired emotions designed in the best interest of the body’s wellbeing involving biochemical and neurological responses to real-time events.
Not related to Desires of the Mind.

Learned Emotions
Long Term Residuals

Mental: Stored memories, conscious and subconscious, of events associated with strong feelings trigger the same emotions under similar circumstances.
Directly related to Desires of the Mind.

Physical: Body-memories of past events superimposed on natural emotions trigger the same emotions under similar circumstances.
Not related to Desires of the Mind.

Desires of the Mind
All desires of the mind are learned

Because everything that gets into the mind gets there through the senses, all desires of the mind are sense-related and learned:

What feels good is desirable—positive desire: you want it.
What feels bad is undesirable—negative desire: you want to avoid it.


Most of the desires we experience on a day-to-day basis are of the mind. When a ‘want’ or a ‘like’ arises, see if you can determine its source. This is more helpful than trying to make it go away, even if you don’t find the answer. Eventually, because you are paying attention you will become distanced from the experience, and the desire itself will also become distanced, separated from you, and ultimately lose its influence.

Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to Truth),
Durga Ma

P.S.  When the same emotional response to the same or similar events occur traumatically or repeatedly or both, a ‘signature’ is recorded in the energy field of the body. This field is called the energy body, emotional body, or astral body. When only the physical body and mind are addressed in the process of changing ‘behaviors’ in order to change the brain, one may continue to experience great suffering. This is because the emotional signatures have not changed, and why it is so difficult to change unwanted patterns. This omission can leave a person feeling like ‘something is really wrong with me’ and resorting to denial out of desperation. The converse is also true: Just dealing with the energy is not the answer either.


This post and text is original research material and is copyrighted. You are allowed to share this material for personal, non-commercial and educational use with the proper citations, references and links / tags back to my website. Clicking ´Share´ on FB or ´Reblog´ on WordPress would be most appropriate.Please obtain written permission from Anandi first if you want to use this material on your workshop, blog, organization, webpage, book, seminar or for any commercial purpose. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel. How you choose to act on this information is up to your own free will and is entirely your responsibility.


6 thoughts on “Distinguishing desires of the mind from other desires- Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2:57

  1. Pingback: 59 Meditation Isn’t What You Think | Mystical Tidbits

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