HJ: Said so beautifully by the author in the opening lines, I don’t have anything to add to this piece. It is perfect just how it is. Written by long-time Healers Journal reader and good friend, Shems Heartwell. This man embodies what he speaks and I encourage you to heed his wise, heartfelt words.
The 5 Keys to Unlocking Ecstasy in Your Life
By Shems Heartwell | Shems Heartwell
1. An overwhelming feeling of great happiness or joyful excitement.
2. An emotional or trancelike state, originally one involving an experience of mystic self-transcendence.
You were born to be happy. In fact, everyone has a deep seeded impulse to blossom into a radiant, joyous, ecstatic human being. Imagine what happens in all the cells of your body when pleasure and joy saturate and dance through your being. At that time, are you feeling stressed or worried about what may come? Are you even thinking? Or, are you fully riding the wave of experience, surrender and opening into the delicious unknown?
It is all too easy to think that ecstasy is a special experience that comes from the outside in, such as another person or situation that arises and magically blesses our lives. Sure, lovers and special events come along to invite us into beautiful places and experiences AND it is the inner ripeness of our own being that really ignites the flame of possibility.
You are a powerful creative being with the full potential at any moment to direct the current and experience of your life where you want it. Right now you can intend and think about something that lights you up or inspires you and your body, emotions and energy will begin to respond. The stronger you’re intent and focus, the more significant of an experience you will have.
In my personal life experience and with the many clients that I work with, I have experienced amazing transformations and healings that occur with a simple willingness to feel and breath into whatever is happening in the moment.
I know the vast untapped potential that we can access with our attention. Anytime that I choose to feel love and breath it into my whole body, it generates delicious waves of ecstasy that I can ride for as long as I am willing to.
Here are 5 keys that will help you unlock more ecstasy in your life and keep your fire burning bright:
Key 1: Simply Let Go
Regularly take a few minutes to hours to let everything in you rest. To consciously sit or lay down and empty of anything other that the pure experience of you’re heart beating and breath flowing through you. This is a foundation for preparing the fertile ground for new seeds of experience to sprout and grow. If you do not let go, then the familiar and habitual patterns will maintain their grip on your psyche and limit what is possible for you. Notice as you feel into your body, how alive you are. You’re heart is beating, blood is pulsing through you and all of your cells are being enlivened by your breathing. There is a profound and simple pleasure in this that is ecstatic when you deeply feel into the miracle of your life.
Here is a simple practice that can help you let go:
Feel yourself laying in a river and let the water wash over you. Visualize and imagine the sensations of letting water wash over, around and through you. Let your mind be washed and cleared and freed from its business. Visualization is a powerful tool. Imagine the sensations of cool water touching your skin, drawing, pulling, and running right over you.
Allow your breath to fill you up and then fully let it go. Let it release and empty you all the way till you feel the need for more air. Stay in the river until you can feel that you are clear and then lay on the banks of the river and feel the sun warm and nourish your naked body. Let yourself receive the sun and rest ever more deeply onto the soil of the earth. Stay with this visualization long enough to notice you are deeply relaxed and pleasurably enlivened.
Key 2: Open to Receiving
The universe is showering and blessing you from all directions all of the time, are you aware of how miraculous this is? Energy is not a limited resource. There is an overflowing abundance of Prana, Manna or Qi. However you want to call it, the life force that sustains all life is ever-present and abundant. The energy of the sun is feeding most living things in this planet; take a moment to receive the gift of this light and energy deeply into you.
Now focus on opening yourself up to receiving more breath. Breathe in and expand your lungs fully. Hold the breath in for a few seconds and then let it all out. Next time you breath in, feel yourself breathing through all of the pours of your body. Feel as though you are fully permeable and that you are literally absorbing and receiving energy with every breath. Do this for a few minutes and notice what happens. See if you can feel how powerful it is to receive and allow yourself to fill up and even overflow with the abundance of energy that is within and all around you. Explore the pleasure of this, it is simple and will open up the sweetest ecstasy when you stay with it.
Key 3: Treat Your Body Like A Lover
How you inhabit your body shapes every aspect of your life. Your body is your vehicle or instrument in this life. The more tuned in and present you are in your body, the greater the potential for ecstasy. When you are sharing intimacy with a lover, you are turning on their pleasure with your attention, touch and intention. Here is where the magic is and the ecstasy grows from. How willing are you to touch yourself with the attention and loving intention to turn on all of your sensory circuits? Your loving attention with your own body can bloom into delicious waves of ecstatic pleasure and connection. The best part of this is that the more you increase your own capacity for pleasure in your self, the more electrifying it becomes to share with another.
Begin by feeling all the bones of your body. Use your mind and direct your awareness to scan and sense all of your bones. Next scan and feel all of your muscles, letting your awareness enliven your muscles with this simple practice. Notice how they swell with life as you focus on each area. Then feel the blood pulsing through all of your body, noticing the heart pumping and beating like a drum. Then come out to the entire surface of your body and feel the skin. Notice how your clothing feels and the temperature of the air. Allow yourself to feel the pleasure of your body. Even when you feel layers of pain and discomfort, with attention, those areas will likely begin to come alive and shift with your awareness. If you feel a lot of discomfort, then shake and gently move in ways that open encourage more energy flow. Then pause and be entirely still and notice if you can feel pleasure in other areas of your body, even when there is pain. Pain can be the loudest signal, however there is so much pleaseure available as well if you expand your awareness globally throughout your whole body.
This is a great practice to increase your focus and body awareness. It supports your nervous system to become more sensitive and to wake up or grow more neural receptors. With practice, you will notice how your body becomes more alive and sensitive. Your sensitivity is your gateway to ecstasy.
Key 4: Seed Positivity
Just like cultivating a garden with a rich array of exquisite flowers, you can seed your inner garden of experience with a wide range of positivity states — from optimism to sheer joy. Humor and playfulness play an important role in bringing joy and ecstasy to fruition. By seeding your positivity, you’ll feel more awake, more alive, and more enthusiastic. However, if you get stuck in the spin of worry and negative thinking, like weeds in a neglected garden, it will choke-off your capacity to feel lighthearted, joyful, and ecstatic.
Try this practice for cultivating positive feeling states:
Standing, breathing into your belly and coming into a gentle shaking of your whole body from your feet up, begin to think and intend each of the below listed feeling states. Use imagery and affirmations to activate a felt experience of each of these feelings. This is a practice of developing positive neuro-networks that are generally under developed in most people. The goal is to cultivate these feeling states until you can pleasurably feel them bringing you into an ecstatic state.
You can also practice this sitting and breathing, most importantly you want to feel the experience and notice the response in your body and energy levels. One of the best times to practice this is when you are stressed and wound up.
1) Relaxed Calm/Peace of mind tranquility, imperturbability/ centeredness
2) Strong Confidence/Pride in Accomplishment a feeling of Fullness and “I Can Do It!" attitude. Groundedness and Strength
3) Joyous Laughing Energy/Enjoyment/Innocence Happy for no Reason
4) Giving and Receiving Love. A feeling of love emanating from the chest.
5) Ecstatic Aliveness/Orgasmic Energy/ Electric pulsations/feeling on top of the world/ turned On in the greatest sense of the word.
Key 5: Find the Flow
The flowering of happiness into ecstasy, the fullest expression of a joyful nature, requires opening to a state of connected flow. The state of flow occurs with a single-minded immersion into the present moment so intense that you lose your habitual sense of ‘self’ and merge with an ‘oceanic feeling of oneness’. This merging generates a profound sense of peace, overwhelming joy, even rapture. Yogis, monks and mystics use the term ‘ecstatic union’ to describe this heightened state of presence. This is why contemplative practices that center us in the moment, like meditation, prayer, yoga and chanting, play such an important role in most spiritual traditions.
But the experience of flow is not confined within the walls of ashrams and monasteries. Flow can occur in all kinds of endeavors where we passionately engage ourselves in the moment through the arts, in sports, while hiking in the woods, and in various other activities at work, home and play. Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in a flow state. In sports, the concept of ‘being in the zone’ during an athletic performance fits the flow experience. Many musicians and dancers, especially improvisational soloists, perform in this ecstatic state. And flow is certainly the experience that lovers know so well and poets dwell so tenderly upon.
So how do you get there? There are many ways, and they all demand one pointed absolute focus. To begin, follow the first keys above, they will enhance your awareness and connection to your self and your environment. Then explore this potential route:
Focus on breathing in and out of your heart center. Feel the loving presence of your heart and the energy that is alive and radiating in this area. Allow your breath and attention to amplify the feeling in your chest. Stay with this focus and notice how the sensations increase and welcome whatever experience or feelings arise. The secret is not in what you do, it’s in how fully you devote yourself to the experience.
Ecstasy is always available; it’s in our nature. Notice how children can fire up easefully into joyous and ecstatic states of excitement. They can also come crashing down very easily. Sometimes, we must let ourselves go fully into our lows and feel everything and then those lows begin to ascend back up. We can consciously encourage and ride our ascents into pleasurable ecstatic journeys that enrich and enliven our lives in the most amazing ways…
Shems Heartwell is committed to being a catalyst for transformation in the world. He is dedicated to teaching and mentoring couples and individuals to activate and awaken their fullest potential. Visit his website: ShemsHeartwell.com