I totally get your "puzzledness" about wants and desires. It's hard for me to explain, but how I interpret those wants and desires Tom talks about are those that are negatively affecting your consciousness evolution.
My advice to you? Define wants and desires for yourself. Another one is to read about Buddhism. Buddhism explains wants and desires in another way that may help you. Buddhism is a "religious" metaphor meaning acquiring concentration through meditation. It is the Art of Concentration. Anyhow... Another one is to write down on a piece of paper all your wants and needs, desires. Observe and ask questions about that list. Good, wrong, etc. I presume you're not ready to get rid of your want and desire for love, acceptance, friends, house, car, etc. I'm not, you're not and we're not. Or we may want, but can't. It probably takes a saint to justify and accept being wipped to death, getting rid of his own want and need to not receive harm, for the sake of humanity... Get it?
I want a cookie. What is my relation to that want? What will my reaction be if I do get that want or not? What is the meaning, purpose and "role" of that want. Good, bad or simply neutral? Irrelevant, important?
Basically, what are the effects of that want. I want a car. I seriously do. Will it make my life easier? Yes. Is that
want beneficial if i'm obssessed by it? Is it good if I become depressed and angry becau
use I don't have that want? Arnold Schwar...(Terminator) wanted to be bodybuilder, a movie star and a politican. Guess what happened... Is there somethin wrong with his "want"? Hell no! I love "I'm back", his huge muscles and funny accent. He is a role model of hard-work, determination and fulfilling your dreams. He wanted something, he got it. Lucky him.
Your wants and desires cause either great suffering and pain, or pure joy. Either way, when you die, they don't *****. LOL. Sour humor...
And yes, Tom is very vague as to why wants, desires and ego are "bad" when they are pure, natural and a simple, unmistakable part of life. Detachment from them. Not being affected negatively by them. Not being engulfed, killed, mad or sick by them. Desires create sickness, suffering, pain, illusions, etc. The "wrong desires". It is very paradoxal, ironic and confusing. Lucky us, we're here to learn... Or should I say "tough luck".
Sidney Crosby wanted at 3 years old to be a hocky player. Anything wrong with that? Hell no! How many kids wanted to be hocky players and didnt make it? Was their want wrong? Maybe, I don't know. I wanted to be a rock star, but I dont have the talent. Sad and mad about it? Yes, ofcourse! Normal, typical and natural reaction to getting what you wanted.
What I was r-e-a-l-l-y talented was with martial arts. Pure talent, sorry for sounding arrogant. I wanted to be a pro mma fighter. And trust me when I say I would be today. What happened? My knees and joints were too weak...
I was heart-broken when I realised I couldn't perform ar the highest level because of physical problems, size, joint problems, etc. How do you think I feel to see people without half the talent I have be successful? Nothing. It bothered me, but not anymore. You get over it. You get rid of that want, and you get rid of the pain, and suffering, disappointement, and confusion, and anger, etc.... I have to deal with the rest of my life with a broken dream, like so many others, a lesson in CS. How unfair is CS is to give that talent without the body to go with it? Well, who cares. It's not important. That's getting rid of a want that was negative. But how can you tell if its wrong or not? Life has brutal answers to that...
I stopped doing mma even though I love it, and now I cant stand it, well i cant stand doing it again because it'll make me relive those negative emotions, sadness, etc. I got over it by abandoning it, is that truly getting over it? If i still feel the negatives consequences that want gave me while dong mma, what have I learned? Nothing. If I truly got over it, i'd still be doing it. I'd say, you don't need to be a pro, just do it for fun, for good health, for the action and sparring. Nope. I cant. So, is that want still affecting me? Yes and no. And right now no because im no longer participating in an activity that creates a negative want in me. So, there, my consciousness has learned a lesson. And I'm at total peace with that broken want, total , as long as im not in that environment. Thats evading the problem, running from it, not facing it. But its foolish fighting agaisnt a wild bear bare handed. Its wise to run the hell out of his sight. Mma is my wild bear. Theres nothing wrong with that.
But you see, I now know I love photography, I am talented in photography and I want to be a pro photographer. I have an incredible "eye" for taking good pictures. You see, I don't need the body to do it... Now, I have a want that can truly be productive, beneficial for my well-being.
Another thing, not being able to get rid of them is normal and I mean the way Tom describes it. And we cannot. Unfortunately. That's "my" interpretation.
I will never stop wanting things, desiring things because that is simply human nature. Final.
You gotta have goals in life. Projects, things to do, work to do, wants. If not, you're not helping your consciousness evolution. If Lionel Messi is meant to be the best footballer in history and he doesnt want to... I mean, a non-brainer right?
Courage is not the absence of fear,
Courage is the mastery of fear.