ec·stat·ic/ekˈstatik/Adjective: Feeling or expressing overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement. Noun: A person subject to mystical experiences.
em·bod·i·ment /emˈbädēmənt/Noun: 1. The act of embodying or the state of being embodied. 2. One that embodies
No matter what I write or teach, no matter what I believe or practice, it comes down to this: The embodiment of ecstatic experience. The word ecstasy has embedded in it, a sense of fearlessness, a wild innocence unencumbered by social acceptability. We think of ecstasy as taking place in the bedroom or in the temple–places set aside from the daily round. But, if we turn the lens a little, we’ll find slivers of the ecstatic–call it the Numinous, Mystery, Divine–embedded in the small and magnificent tasks we perform daily. It lives within us and moves through us. It is embodied in us. We need only slow our pace and re-focus our attention in order to notice it!
Ecstasy belongs to us and comes from inside of us. We needn’t purchase or seek it out. We own it. Every cell in our being longs to live inside the ecstasy which is our birthright.
Rumi, the great Sufi mystic and poet wrote, “There are a thousand ways to kneel, and kiss the earth.” He was, of course, writing of falling into ecstasy, into love, into the mystical, into an expanded consciousness which lights us up from the inside and infuses the whole of our lives with luminosity. Luminous. What a great word for folks lit up with life force!
If there’s a “secret” to be revealed, it’s that this longing for ecstasy, connection, union is not just for mystics anymore. The impulse to move toward joy and through it into the arms of a deep and abiding relationship with self, other, nature, art, community and the divine is alive and rising in all of us. We are like the water dwellers at the beginning of time on this planet who felt an impulse so strong rise up in them that they threw themselves onto the shoreline and learned to breath.
Such an impulse is rising in us. It’s an evolutionary imperative, really. We are shedding our ineffectual notions of smallness, insignificance, apathy and fear. Against all odds and rational thought we are opening to embrace peace, self esteem, love, awe, joy and creativity. Beyond these self-centered emotions and experiences, we are reaching toward connection, cooperation, communion. These, too, are our birthrights.
As we enter through the eye of the needle into this new way of being, we come to realize we can really live–in this bright new perspective. It’s not so scary as we thought. It’s not so difficult as the priests and mystics of previous eras would have had us believe. We don’t need a five six figure salary, a house on the hill or those expensive shoes where we’re going. We are fully prepared, just as the fish were prepared with air breathing lungs before they came ashore; just as wings developed on the backs of snakes before they took flight as birds.
All that’s required is our willingness, unflinching honesty and our ability to allow the feeling of longing for something more in our chest to expand.
Something more, it turns out, doesn’t come from outside of us. We don’t have to work for it, earn it, buy it, pay for it or suffer for it.
We are the something we long for. We are the ecstasy we seek.