No, I’m not talking about the drug. I’m talking about the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual experience of an all-consuming bliss that is both immanent and transcendent in nature. I’ve been feeling this again lately, so I thought I’d share what I feel.
Words can never explain the beauty and power of this experience. Words can, however, present us with imagery that evokes our memories of whatever fleeting moments of ecstasy we may have experienced. In this way, words can be a simple but powerful form of magic, reawakening our consciousness into an echo of our previous experiences of ecstasy.
Ecstasy is in the racing of our pulse, the widening of our eyes, the sudden silence of our otherwise chattering minds as we find ourselves in the presence of incomprehensible beauty. We may feel it when we find ourselves bathed in the radiant glow of a sunset, or immersed in the verdant vibrance of a meadow, or enraptured in the eager embrace of a lover. In these moments, there is no denying what we feel, and no containing what we feel without a great deal of willpower and a greater amount of sorrow.
Ecstasy is a manifestation of the deepest, truest form of love — a love which demands nothing in return, and which radiates the purest of joys simply in response to the presence of the subject of that love. This radiant experience can arise out of any form of love: a love for our living Earth; a love for the brilliance of human creativity; a love for one or more of our fellow humans; or any other love that leaves us in awe of something greater than ourselves.
This love, however, isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Where there lies great passion, there can also lie great sorrow and suffering. Deadly smog and neon lights can blot out the beauty of sun, moon, and stars. The human spirit can be twisted and broken by the banality and viciousness of a society gone mad. The ones we love can be taken from us through death, destruction, disagreement, confusion, self-absorption, and betrayal. At times, we may look upon these realities of life and feel our heart wrenched by a terrible feeling which rivals our former joy in its depth, complexity, and power.
And yet, in its own way, this too is a form of ecstasy. We only feel such profound suffering and sorrow in the presence of true love — and so our deepest and most hurtful experiences of anguish and despair serve as testaments to our love.
I used to wonder why people closed their hearts to love to varying degrees. But now I understand all too well. Love is a wild, restless, explosive, untameable force of nature that transforms and tears apart everything in its wake. When you open your heart to love, you open it to both extremes of this ecstasy — the transcendent bliss of a hopeless romantic and the inescapable anguish of a romantic who has lost all hope.
Some people say it’s not worth the pain. Most if not all of us insulate ourselves from this maddening force of nature with a strong measure of apathy, numbness, and self-restraint. We open our hearts to no one, or only to a select few who have slowly but surely gained our trust. We may at times feel like something’s missing in life, but at least we have sense of comfort, security, stability, and perhaps even peace.
But I say it’s not worth it. I say that no amount of security or stability is worth the cost of living in fear of our own passion and potential. I say that we should embrace our love for ourselves and each other, and embrace our creative inspirations, and embrace any path in life that sparks an ecstatic experience within us. I’ve started doing so, and I encourage you to do the same.
When I open my heart to love, I feel alive — more alive than I’ve ever felt before in my entire life. When I open my heart to love, I feel the fires of passion arising within me, and the strangling constraints of social expectations burning away all around me.
In the past, whenever I felt the sting of sorrow or the slap of a social constraint telling me how to think or feel or live my life, I started holding back on my love, dampening the flames of this fire burning within my heart. But now more than ever, I can see that this internalized repression of my own passion for life was killing me, and that this dampening of my own flame is worse than any amount of suffering that embracing my love may bring. I can see that people all around me are dampening their own flames in their own ways, and it fills me with an overwhelming, relentless, wild, untameable desire to become a living force for the liberation of our innermost passions and deepest experiences of love and ecstasy.
And that liberation starts with me.
I know I’ve written on these themes before, and I know that in the past I’ve been searching for some way to unleash this inner fire. But I’ve come to realize that all of this time, I’ve been looking for some external solution. I’ve been looking for some dramatic event, or some golden opportunity, or some profound experience, or some brilliant idea, or some incredible person to come into my life and open the door to freedom and self-actualization.
But I can feel something different now. I can feel something shifting inside of me. I can slowly but surely feel a strength welling up within me that I’ve never known before. This love, this passion, this ecstasy that I’ve invited into every fiber of my being is transforming me. Yes, at times it’s brought me more anguish and despair than I would have even imagined possible. But it’s also made me who I am, and who I am becoming.
I’m becoming someone who feels in my heart what I previously searched for in the outside world. I feel a growing strength and security; I feel a rising sense of freedom and empowerment; I feel as though the chains that have held me back for longer than I can remember are finally falling away.
For longer than I can remember, I’ve looked high and low for a spot of solid ground where this inner flame of mine would be safe and free to shine. Now, I’m finding that spot of solid ground within me — in my body, in my heart, in my mind, in my spirit.
This is the start of a whole new dimension of personal empowerment and liberation. The flickering flame has suddenly grown steady, and my inner fire is ready to shine. There’s nothing more to wait for, and no force in the world that can stop me from unleashing this fire within.
This is big news. This is such big news that I don’t even know where it’s going to take me. But I’ll be sure to let you know once I know. In the meantime, I’m off to bed. I’ve got quite an adventure ahead of me, so I’d better rest up now while I still have the chance.