here is something to remember and explore that is very powerful.
Everything you and anyone else does, is an attempt to feel good. Every living thing on this planet (and beyond(?)) is subject to pleasure and pain. This is the context from which we cannot escape. From a spiritual perspective, TFB (TFB = truth, force, being, which is what most people refer to as God) has created this dynamic and uses it to get our attention and to bless us. From a life perspective, nature uses this context to order and govern all her creatures, including us. As people develop themselves spiritually, i.e., increase their awareness, deepen their center, become empty, etc., they are still subject to pleasure and pain, but what changes is the type of pleasure they engage and the way they engage it. One moves from the base pleasures of escape with various recreational drugs and recreational sex and escaping into media and television, to the more mature pleasures of family and intimate loving relationships, to the more sublime pleasure of a deep connection to TFB that is so powerful, that mammon (or things of the world; physical reality) loses it’s meaning and the only pleasure one get’s from the physical world is from teaching/helping others to grow and live spiritually aware lives.
This is not a strictly linear process, and as in so much of spiritual learning, cannot be rationalized perfectly into black and white boxes. However, the process as described is real. What happens as you grow is you become attracted by different things, enjoy things differently, and things that used to attract you become less enjoyable. One way to gauge yours’ or another’s spiritual progress is to ask how one expresses one’s love/intimacy/sexuality with the opposite sex (or same sex in the event one is homosexual). How one relates to others in this type of intimate relationship is a clear indicator of one’s growth. Are you/they codependent? Are you trying to dominate the other? Are you looking to be dominated? Are you able to give and receive joy/pleasure? Do you support the highest of your lover’s nature? Is your beloved’s well-being greater with you? Do you balance and harmonize with each other energetically? Etc.
When you observe others, or observe yourself, remember all action is an attempt to feel good. Remember, the type of pleasure you’re seeking to enjoy and the type of pain you’re seeking to avoid say a lot about your growth.
Lastly, remember the most significant point of this essay, which is that growth is possible and that spiritual growth will reward you with the most powerful, sublime, and inexhaustible pleasure you can experience. One you never knew existed and one that you’ll want to share with everyone you meet. Growth can be unpleasant and painful, but it does have a payoff. One that cannot be taken away and will last forever.