My modus operandi for most of my life was basically, "let's get good feelings for me, right now." Life was lived in a sort of unstable pendulum, where things were good if "I" felt good, and things were bad if "I" felt bad. What I didn't notice was the lack of contentment that was present even if the mind was judging something as "good." It seemed like even in the moments of peak pleasure, there was a knowing that it would end. This was true of both physical pleasure, and the much sought after "spiritual" pleasures as well. I didn't realize that what I really wanted, was not having to seek feeling better. Wanting to feel good seems to be just a natural part of conditioning, for humans and animals alike. Once this "me" notion gets going, feeling good becomes a sort of all-encompassing obsession, since the apparent seperation is experienced as quite unbearable. (At least that's how it was here!) Moments of pleasure seemed to be all that life was about, along with an insane and vague hope that one day I would "make it," and be alright forever.
Even in my field of counselling, I wanted to make myself feel better, by making others feel better. Everything came back to this sense of a seperate self, that wanted to suck something out of the situation for its own good. I felt sort of like a complex parasite, that went along looking for better food to keep itself going, even though I loathed my own existence a lot of the time.
Once the message started hitting home, and the investigation happened, I started to deconstruct the whole hedonistic attitude I'd been living under. "What's so important about feeling good?"
"Who am I that needs to feel good?"
"Who am I that feels bad?"
In getting right up close and personal with this stuff, it's seen that there are really just movements of energy, and thoughts happening. No self in the midst of the chaos, just the chaos happening in emptiness. It seemed like I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and get down to the bottom of the "want-er." Just a simple and earnest looking reveals the absence of this irritating and irritable 'self' that always wanted something from the "other."