Imagine taking a piece of gold and melting it into different forms of jewelry, such as earrings, a ring, a bracelet or a necklace. You show the jewelry to person A, asking him what he sees and he says, "I see earrings, a ring, a bracelet and a necklace." You show them to person B, asking him what he sees and he says "I see gold."
Person A represents the small self that sees forms and identifies with them. Person B represents the observer who sees the essence beyond forms. After all, the ring as a form is temporary, as it can be melted to become an earring, a pendant, etc. As for the gold, its essence remains unchanged, no matter what form it takes.
Like gold, the essence of existence manifests itself in infinite forms, and your existence is one of those . Your existence as body/mind is limited, because it represents only a segment of your entire actual existence. If you are a woman, you are not a man, and if you are a human being, you are not a tree. If you are old, you are not young.
If you identify with your form you will always be lacking. You will miss the essential part of you which manifests in all the other forms that exist. You are the ocean, you are the mountains, you are the galaxies, you are she, and you are he.
As a result of feeling separated from everything that you perceive is 'not you', the small self is in a perpetual state of lacking. The small self, as a 'separate piece of existence' can never feel complete, and constantly demands to complete its' state of lacking, expressed through endless desires.
"Now I feel complete." is often a statement of a self that has temporarily satisfied its' sense of lack through relationships, possessions, career, consumption, entertainment, etc. It can feel 'complete' for a time, and then the desires return.
Only when we shift from the small self to the higher self, immersing back into oneness, can we let go of all of our definitions (I am woman/man, success/failure, beautiful/ugly). This is when the sense of separation and lacking ceases, and with it the sense of not being complete. In this state, all desires vanish and internal peace ascends within.
This is an excerpt from the book "The Enigma of Self-Realization" by shakti mhi. Reprint permission of this excerpt has been obtained and copying of this text must be acquired by shakti mhi.