Monday, March 15, 2010

Becoming an ecstatic (adj.) ecstatic (n.)

Ecstasy is a state of being, a form of consciousness, that is extremely hard to define. Primarily viewed in positive terms, it is described as a heightened state of awareness, a pleasant or rapturous experience, an otherworldly mental or physical state. On the flip side, some might see an experience of ecstasy as a psychotic episode.

The word “ecstasy” derives from the Ancient Greek “exstasis,” meaning to be or stand outside oneself or to experience a removal to elsewhere. In philosophy, it seems that the consciousness of a person is expanded through ecstasy, that the experience allows him to move beyond his own personal ego into a collective consciousness or greater connection with his surroundings.

Ecstasy can be achieved in a number of ways:
1. religious practice
2. creative activities
3. meditation
4. listening to music
5. dancing
6. breathing exercises
7. physical exercise
8. sexual experiences
9. use of psychotropic drugs

Part of the reason why “ecstasy” is so hard to define is that different people experience it in different ways. Some see it as an extraordinary mental state, or as a way of connecting with the Divine. Others experience it as an intense emotional or physical connection to another human being. Still others experience ecstasy as an epiphany or intense emotional rapture with no particular focus.

I would like to say that I have experienced ecstasy, but that depends upon how you define it. I have had the experience of being outside of myself, looking inward (as some philosophers would say – examining my belly button lint). I have also felt an outward connection to others, where I feel as though my own identity and consciousness have been superseded and I have become part of the whole…a small piece of the great Oversoul.

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