What Is ‘State Chasing’?
State chasing refers to the common occurrence of most people through the ‘mind’ to pursue a particular ‘feel good‘ state, this can happen in the life of an everyday person who is not consciously on the spiritual path and it can also happen to those who are ‘spiritual seekers‘ or are legitimately on the ‘spiritual path‘. If we look closely we can see that ‘state chasing‘ is what nearly everybody is doing in one form or another, its just that it can manifest in different forms and come through the guise of different pursuits.
For example, this is what is happening when a person goes to grab that morning coffee, or when they go smoke a cigarette or eat that favorite junk food, they are looking to chase a ‘good feeling‘. Its the same with alcohol and drugs, alcohol is a relaxant that calms the body and mind often leaving a person feeling more relaxed and care free than before, and so it brings a feel good factor for most people, mainly for those who have a very busy mind and restless body. Drugs can also be relaxants, stimulants and euphoria inducing substances, which bring particular good feelings that people often use to escape from an unpleasant body and mind.
Those on the spiritual path or who are spiritual seekers are not exempt from this, in fact quite often what happens is that substances like those mentioned above, coffee, cigs, booze and drugs, are just merely replaced by certain spiritual exercises, practices, meditations and experiences to also feel good or get ‘high‘. Sometimes the mind latches onto the need to chase those blissful and peaceful feelings, and often spiritual seekers and those on the spiritual path can come to believe that ‘feeling good‘ is what spirituality is all about, and that if they are not feeling good they are somehow doing something wrong.
Why exactly does this chasing happen though?
Why Does ‘State Chasing’ happen?
State chasing happens because the mind and the human organism looks to feel good, the mind wants to feel good as often as possible. Also our societal conditioning has also taught us to try and avoid unpleasantness and pain at all costs, this is once again why ‘self medicating‘ happens or even why people become hooked on prescription drugs, its all an attempt to numb the pain and feel relief or to experience extreme pleasantness.
So fundamentally state chasing happens because through the belief of the mind a person wants to feel good all the time. This also manifests itself in the form of what decisions a person makes in their life, for example, often times people work jobs that they dislike because they believe that the alternative is worse, and so they are making a decision on what they ‘believe’ will make them feel best, which is to either avoid what they believe will be the ‘pain’ of the alternative, or because they ‘believe’ eventually that it will all be worth it in the end and then they will feel good and satisfied. In other words, that the ends will justify the means, and so most people live their whole life like this, avoiding pain and chasing what they believe will bring them good feelings and satisfaction.
How to go Beyond it
The first way to go beyond it is to recognize that thoughts and feelings cannot be relied upon to function, one minute there are good feelings present…the next minute those good feelings disappear, conversely unpleasant feelings also come and go and cannot remain constant. Good thoughts come and go and negative thoughts come and go, if you are able to see this, which can be solidly done through the device of meditation, then this realization alone of the fleeting nature of thoughts and feelings will be enough for you to not rely upon them for some consistency, because you will begin to see how futile it is to try and do so.
So instead of rely upon the thoughts and feelings for functioning, groundedness and a sense of ‘who you are’, instead look to see if you can come more into contact with that which is always constant, the pure awareness and isness of life that is always presently here and now. Can you connect with that which always remains and witnesses as the thoughts and feelings come and go?
There is that which sees the good feelings as they rise and fall, that watches the positive and negative thoughts as they enter and depart from the mind, this awareness of those phenomena is more reliable for you to remain as…than any fleeting thought or feeling. In fact as you turn to notice this awareness, you will see that it is the more deeper and truer part of your nature, it is always there and always present, just simply turn your face to notice it and it will begin to flower and flourish.
This is what the device of meditation is always pointing you towards, meditation is always pointing toward ‘what is‘ and the ‘thisness‘ of existence, it shows the way of ‘true reality‘ beyond appearing and disappearing activities. Let meditation be your device to see this and end the need to rely upon that which cannot be relied upon, see what is more deeply true and ‘be with that‘. When you wake up in the morning, don’t ask yourself whether you feel good or not, go beyond feeling good or bad and pay it no attention, just stay with what is left. What is it that remains and is left when the reliance on thoughts and feelings are gone… look and see.
Watch the video below for more on ‘state chasing’
Enjoy the Ride
With Love & Thanks