By Caroline Muir
Sounds great, but what exactly does it mean?
Working for a living and meeting the demands of life doesn’t seem to leave much time or energy for ecstatic states of being in these times. Combined the pressure to accomplish and accumulate, people are rarely naturally good at being happy. It’s almost more in style to complain or focus on what isn’t working in our life rather than what is a source of joy.
How many conversations do you have in one day in which you ask someone how they are, and then you are a sounding board for all of their problems? Where does this tendency to complain come from? It appears to be culturally inherited. We hear it all around us. Fortunately, it’s in our ‘software’ rather than our ‘hardware.’
Ecstasy, or joy, is in our ‘hardware’—it is our birthright. As babies, we smile and laugh at apparently nothing. Joy bubbles up from a well within our own hearts. Have you ever caught yourself walking down the street or into the market being aware of a smile on your face for no particular reason from an authentic place inside yourself? We all have the capacity to tap into this place of “happy for no reason.”
Each moment of ‘right now’ can be thoroughly claimed– with the intention to do so. It requires us to notice when we find ourselves in unconscious patterns of worry, complaining, or anxiety. We must bring our attention into our bodies, connect to our breath, and have in mind what it is we wish to affirm in the now.
One of my favorite ways to quickly shift is to imagine I have a volume control inside of my heart just like the one on your stereo. When I notice that I am getting too serious or too rushed or too intense, I drop into an image of that volume control and turn it up! The smile returns to my face, my pace slows into an easy glide from a hurried push, and the moment is all there is.”
We are the only ones who can truly make ourselves happy. Our attitude is the secret behind our thoughts. Fear and worry are like jealous lovers, always competing for our attention. The news and newspapers will immediately give us something to worry about. Other people’s mental diarrhea is so easy to hook into and make it our own. There truly are countless things every minute that can steal us away from our joy and ecstasy. With so much coming at us in each moment—from the radio, the news, and the constant stream of media now on our computers, we are the only ones in charge of how we deal with this ever-growing wave of information.
It boils down to where I put my attention—internally and externally. I am the one who can change the channel (unless I hand over that control to someone else). Even if I have to listen, at times, to information that I’d rather not—I am still the only one in charge of what I think, say, and do.
The choice to embody our ecstasy is life affirming—and we may need to discover how we can be this joyful. We may wish to look at unwanted habit patterns of thinking that do not serve us and train our mind to think positively. We may want to discover our feelings and needs and find ways to communicate them more effectively. We may decide to put time into caring for our bodies in order to embody anything. We may wish to put more time into nurturing our spiritual sexual self so we amp up our pleasure potential.
We want to discover what brings us joy—and move toward that. It could include the simple joy of walking or stretching or breathing deeply. It might be catching the light in another’s eyes and smiling –or buying coffee for the next person in line as a random act of kindness. It may be planning a sensual session for our lover or mate.
I remember a moment twenty-five years ago when I was leaving a little-known Caribbean island after a week of blissful vacation. Climbing the steps of a small plane I turned one last time to look at the sky and palm trees that were the background for a shanty they called a bar at this miniature airport. The hand-painted sign over the entrance to the bar read, Love your enemies… it will drive them crazy. That message caused my natural ecstasy to rise as I laughed my way onto the little plane. My whole body grinned from ear to ear if you can imagine how that feels. I felt as though I were hovering above the masses, drinking in the heavenly love that was mine for the asking. I could have found ten reasons to not be ecstatic at that moment as others around me were grumbling about one thing or the other.
If you have not yet done so, make a choice to replace the habit of complaining and worry with a choice to move toward what you want in life—toward your joy. Claim ecstasy right now for yourself. It is the pleasure of being alive… the delight we can have in the moment… the enjoyment of co-creating with life.
I am deeply grateful to have discovered what it means to embody ecstasy. My joy now is teaching others how to give themselves this gift of aliveness. I knew when I heard “Embody Your Ecstasy” that this was the ultimate gift I could bring to those who are ready to receive it. It is the fuel for aliveness into an awakened state. I believe it is the ultimate choice for life.