The dictionary meaning of ecstasy is “a state of being carried away by overwhelming emotion” or “a state of elated bliss”. Charles Dickens called it as “listening to sweet music in a perfect rapture”.
The word ‘ecstasy’ comes from the Greek word ectosis or ekstasis, which means, ‘to step outside, of the world of space, time, form and phenomenon into the experience of unboundedness, into a world that is causeless, timeless and eternal’. That’s what ecstasy truly means. Thus, ecstasy is a state in which a person stands outside of his self and enters into higher states of consciousness. It is an experience of primordial energy state.
Addiction is the number one disease in our civilization—it’s not heart disease, not AIDS, and not cancer, but addiction, says Dr Deepak Chopra. An addiction whether it’s to drugs, food, alcohol, work, sex,
or whatever— is actually a search for ecstasy. Hard core addicts are the most spiritual people. They are searching for what we’re all searching for. That experience of oneness is what the ecstatic state is.
Deepak says that ‘Ecstasy’ is a combination of physical, mythological and sacred needs.
When physical sensuality or sensory experience reaches to its ultimate, one is said to be in ecstasy. It can be a physical contact or a sensory delight. Sexual ecstasy comes under this category.
There is another kind of ecstasy, which comes from our mythical motivations. In his book ‘Path to love’ Deepak Chopra writes that “beneath the turmoil of our daily activity, our unconscious motivations dwell within the mythical world. In other words, inside us there are primal gods and goddesses. And now we know this that or unconsciously we act out of our mythical drives without necessarily bringing them into our conscious awareness. We are an emotionally and spiritually bankrupt civilization right now, because we’ve lost our mythology. Joseph Campbell once said, “mythology is much more important than history. If you want to know the people, understand their mythology.”
In mysticism, (the experience of an inner vision of God or of one’s relation to or union with the divine) ‘ecstasy’ is various methods and techniques have been used to achieve ecstasy which is a primary goal in most forms of religious mysticism. The most typical consists of four stages: (1) purgation (of bodily desire); (2) purification (of the will); (3) illumination (of the mind); and (4) unification (of one’s being).
Apart from physical and mythical ecstasy, there’s sacred ecstasy. Sacred ecstasy comes from stepping out of our three ordinary states of waking, dreaming and sleeping consciousness into a fourth state of transcendental consciousness which has been called glimpsing the soul or cosmic consciousness or divine consciousness.
When Walt Whitman says “I must not be awake now, for everything looks to me as it never did before. Or else I’m awake for the first time, and all that was before was just a dream,” he’s talking about this transcendental state of consciousness.
When you have the combination of all three esctasy physical, mythical, and sacred—then you have achieved true bliss consciousness.
We all need to find our way to ecstasy, for the soul’s hunger for ecstasy is as real and urgent as the body’s hunger for food. When people become obsessed with any addiction, including sex, they are in fact starving for ecstasy. When they fail to acknowledge this, they mistakenly try to satisfy that need through alcohol, drugs, or self-destructive sex.