Ecstasy: A Path to Mastery?

by Christopher Lovejoy on September 24, 2017

They say that willpower is the master aptitude, that nothing predicts success better than willpower.

But in the equation, happiness + success = fulfillment, success is but one variable that contributes to the sum that is fulfillment. In another variation of this equation, peace + prosperity = fulfillment, again, a carefree prosperity is but one variable that contributes to the sum.

Happiness and peace are not readily and easily brought into experience with mere acts of will. A certain positioning is required to have peace and happiness arise naturally, spontaneously, effortlessly.

If we care to broaden our notion of willpower, however, the power of “let it be” can find its balance with the power of “make it so” ~ and vice versa ~ which serves to bring a balance of power that supports and respects both happiness and success, peace and prosperity.

To go high, we must go deep. To go far, we must go broad.

* * *

A posture of being that stands between true submission at the heart of soul and fair transmission through the soul of spirit is a good candidate for having happiness arise through success (and vice versa) and for having peace arise through prosperity (and vice versa).

Between “letting it be” and “making it so” stands the healthy, vital, mature or maturing ego, the master regulator of all things cognitive (thinking), emotive (feeling), and conative (willing). Thoughts become things and e-motions (energies in motion) serve to bring wishes to fruition.

But what of action? What of taking consistent, impeccable action? What of taking consistent, impeccable action in the direction of realizing a constancy of ecstasy? Where does action fit into the equation?

If a state of ecstasy is fleeting, lasting for mere seconds (or longer, if you have ever had the good fortune of (a) realizing a success beyond your wildest dreams or (b) entering a timeless dimension), then a mood of buoyancy can last for days on end (if you are fortunate).

A cheerful disposition, on the other hand, can last for years.

But how can anyone talk (realistically, reasonably) about realizing a constancy of ecstasy? And what does making choices in view of taking informed, inspired action have to do with it?

* * *

To get a firm handle on the role of choice and action in realizing a constancy of ecstasy, it helps to know that ecstasy is but one side of a dynamic that oscillates between two poles, between (a) giving generously and blissfully and (b) receiving gratefully and peacefully.

Between a divinely spiritual ec-static “make it so” and a sacred intimate religious “let it be”.

The faster the oscillation, the more constant the ecstasy (or intimacy, as the case may be).

Thankfully, there is a way to enter a world where a constancy of ecstasy is possible.

Let us now explore our means of entry.

* * *

E-motional states are fleeting, true, and moods are relatively ephemeral, coming and going, and e-motional dispositions or traits are more robust, lasting for years on end, but a recent addition in the field of affective neuroscience has arrived on the scene: e-motional style.

Studies of the human brain have yielded some interesting results where emotional style is concerned.

Emotional style can be discerned across six dimensions, but before we delve into the depths to discern which emotional style is optimal for realizing a constancy of ecstasy, let me pose these six questions:

  1. how aware am I? how well do I perceive and interpret bodily feelings that reflect e-motions?
  2. how attentive am I? how clear and sharp is my focus on what really and truly matters to me?
  3. how sensitive am I? how well do I regulate responses to what is happening in and around me?
  4. how intuitive am I? how adept am I at picking up social cues and clues from those around me?
  5. how resilient am I? how quickly or slowly do I recover from adverse conditions and situations?
  6. how stable am I? for how long can I sustain positive e-motion and maintain a positive outlook?

I invite you to take a few minutes (or more) to contemplate before proceeding any further.

* * *

Scientific studies indicate that emotional style can be reliably optimized on all six dimensions.

The human brain is plastic enough to (a) accommodate serendipitous experience and (b) respond to conscious, intentional efforts to optimize each attribution listed in the six questions posed above.

In short, the revolution in neuroplasticity has shown that the brain can change as a result of two distinct inputs. It can change as a result of the experiences we have in the world – how we move and behave and what sensory signals arrive in our cortex. The brain can also change in response to purely mental activity, ranging from meditation to cognitive-behavior therapy, with the result that the activity in specific circuits can increase or decrease

~ Richard Davidson, The Emotional Life of Your Brain

Being and doing, receiving and giving, letting it be and making it so, both deserve our attention, especially in relation to what really and truly matters to each of us individually and to all of us collectively.

With respect to being, Osho came to conclude in his book, The Book of Understanding: I can tell you from my experience of being just an ordinary human being that it is the ultimate ecstasy. Here, he was speaking to the paradox of allowing the essence of seemingly ordinary being to flow and flower into extraordinary doing, and with respect to doing, J. Krishnamurti offered this complementary insight: to go far, you must begin near, and the nearest step is the most important one.

We best begin near, in the heart of soul, even as we extend soul into spirit, which begs this question: how best to realize a constancy of ecstasy on a path of mastery?

* * *

The best wisdom I have heard on this is this: practice the six attributions of emotional style diligently, patiently and persistently, but be sure to practice primarily for the sake of the practice itself.

Be aware of the body, of how bodily feelings contain or transmit e-motions; be attentive to clarity of focus on what really and truly matters to you (and everyone else besides); be sensitive to how well you regulate your responses to what is happening in you and around you; be intuitive and adept at picking up social cues and clues from those around you; aim to be resilient in the face of adverse conditions and situations; and seek e-motional stability through positive emotion to maintain a positive outlook.

It would seem that the e-motional mastery required to realize a constancy of ecstasy includes and involves this basket of e-motional fruits: vitality, clarity, sensitivity, enthusiasm, buoyancy, and serenity.

The portrayal of a constancy of ecstasy in sitcoms, soaps, commercials, and movies omits the plateaus. Remember: the heart of your soul requires plateaus to receive the benefits and blessings of a life lived in peace and gratitude. I can well imagine that as these plateaus grow shorter over time, so too do the upward movements of giving generously and blissfully grow shorter, more frequent, and more intense.

If you care, and if you dare, let the e-motive, ec-static oscillations begin.

To share information and inspiration on what is happening on this troubled yet promising world, I drew up two lists of sites that are serving the causes of personal, global and/or cosmic awakening.

This post has been filed under Application in the Ultimate Outline.

Note: my evolving outline on approaching a realization of the ultimate in personal fulfillment can be found here, accessible from the nav menu under the page “Be Here Now”.

Note: this ever growing perspective began here: Ultimate Perspective


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