Question: “I started to notice how my desires brought me suffering but I have come to blame myself for not being able to make them go away. Any advice?”
There’s no need to blame yourself. Trying to forcibly avoid desires is like trying to starve yourself when surrounded by food, eventually you’re going to have a taste and fill yourself up. The simple wish of wanting your desires gone isn’t enough, nor is trying to “avoid” them. Every desire is the fruition of something else first. The desire to have designer clothes comes from seeing others have it and wanting it for yourself. The desire to have lots of money comes from seeing others whom have lots of money and seeing how life seems easy. So every desire is the product of other desires.
So what can we do? We need to eradicate the source of each desire and getting rid of the things that might want us to desire something. This could be as simple as giving up TV, Internet (though I know that’s ridiculously difficult), going out too much, etc. Or maybe a little more not-so-simple like cutting back on lifestyle choices (cutting back on Starbucks, shopping, getting a smaller house, cheaper car, etc.).
Of course, not all desires are bad desires. We still need desires to be successful and to be enlightened. If a desire contains no suffering for you or others, it is a good desire. Eradicating desires requires sacrifices, some more difficult than others, but sacrifice is necessary. It just depends on how much you’re willing to let go.
Smile and be well!