All of us have a quest — the search for happiness, or complete contentment. Some of us endeavour to take it to the next level — bliss, or ecstasy. While there is no precise definition for true happiness, philosophers define the true nature of ecstasy as deferment of all conscious awareness — from the unconscious to divine consciousness. This is not, however, absolute deferral, but just a momentary pause of the spontaneous mode, or action, of our inner will — one that drives us along. Such a state is loaded with all of our life’s experiences — from our innate and outward consciousness to the self, which is as unique as our signature. It is not that ecstasy is experienced at a certain time, or place — it can be savoured at any point of our voyage through life. It reaches the crescendo, almost at will, when we journey along the conscious, or less walked, path — while fully experiencing the divine consciousness that resides in us all.
Many of us believe that ecstasy is an incredible occurrence. It is not so, in reality, or in real time. When we traverse along the corridor of divinity, filling our being with conscious awareness, ecstasy becomes relatively less remarkable and more extended in the space-time continuum. It becomes a state of being, because we are better prepared to nurture, harmonise and sustain it. This, in other words, leads to the amalgamation of our senses with our conscious awareness — a state beyond mere worldly existence. The ‘catch’ is — if we allow our divine consciousness to recede over time, it will, inevitably, lead to a condition of physical demise, or what is called as the vegetative state. This is just the opposite of the blissful state that ecstatic mystics and yogis enter into, for long periods, while keeping the outside world in ‘suspended animation.’
The best part is — even when mystics are in a state of higher consciousness, their senses remain absolutely functional or wakeful during ecstasy. What may retreat into the background is the humdrum world of ordinary living and existence — a world without the ‘egoist’ self, or personal consciousness. That mystics have the ability to remain awake and perfectly functional too in the absence of consciousness is a known fact. That their corporal function is ‘normal’ is also passé. What exactly takes place between the beginning and end of such ecstatic states is their escalating capability of keeping their senses on ‘hold’ and yet not being affected by alterations in their perceptive faculties within the realm of their inner self-experience.
Not all of us can be mystics or yogis. There is something called true ecstasy — which all of us can bring about by our own focused efforts, while leading a life replete with good values and forbearance for others. The whole premise is related not so much to focused awareness, as much as our inner energies and feelings of our self-consciousness. You’d call this condition a state of ‘pure sensory perception’ — one that enables our senses to remain alert, purposeful and receptive to absorbing all experiences of ecstatic living like a sponge.
It, of course, takes more than a ‘pound’ of righteousness, or belief in the higher self, for us to appreciate the joy of living and not just existence. It also calls for preparation, without examination or grades. The more we aim at reaching such a plane of heightened conscious, the more we are able to keep our senses awake, while closing the gap between our ecstatic state and our ordinary, or day-to-day ‘mindful’ awareness. When this happens, true ecstasy keeps returning in the ‘present-moment’ — again and again.