Would you like to lead an ecstatic life?
This is a real question, not a rhetorical one.
On its face, it looks like a ‘duh’ question. “Of course I would!” Right?
Dig deeper, though, and the answer’s less clear. Isn’t there great delight to be had in the routine, the predictable, the humdrum? In its sweet and reassuring aspect? Your morning coffee. Your favorite show at night. Ecstasy is a peak experience, and often an exhausting one at that: Do you really want that to be your everyday norm?
Think of it this way. If you really wanted to lead an ecstatic life, wouldn’t you already be doing more to actually live that way?
We enjoy the mundane. A lot. That’s why we spend so much time there.
Yet at the same time we yearn for something more—that special sense of aliveness, that sense of being in flow, of being fully present to the precious passing moment. This yearning is why we go bungee-diving, drink to excess, meditate, have affairs.
Routine is the tidy house we call home. That sense of vital aliveness is the kid with muddy boots on we won’t let in the door.
So let’s rephrase our question. Would you like to lead a more ecstatic life?
If you’re like me, the answer is yer-damn-fuckin’-right yes.
There’s a word for what we’re talking about here. The aliveness thing.
Eros as in, erotic energy. As in, the Greek god of love.
But Eros isn’t only sexual, though it’s often understood that way. More broadly, it’s about loving the Mystery we were incarnated into. Eros is the archetypal energy we inhabit when we become viscerally present to all life as a single ongoing creative act. It’s about loving the amazing creativity of it all, ourselves included. Procreation? Just one piece.
Thus the real question is: How can we ramp up the amount of Eros enough for us to feel that we’re living fully, yet not so much that we’ll soon need down time in Jamaica?
Here’s the four-part program I’m working with.
1) Novelty. If you want to break out of a humdrum routine, try doing things that aren’t humdrum and routine! Wild notion, eh? I’m not suggesting you sell the home, dump the spouse and kiddies and start over somewhere far away. What you do can be as simple as not taking the bait when your partner says something provocative, or stopping to talk with a homeless person. Try Plan B. Take yourself off automatic pilot.
Do this several times a day. It’ll let the air in.
Second: Positivity. Nothing sends Eros fleeing faster than negative energy. The more you create a sanctuary for positive energy, the safer you’ll feel and the more your spirit will feel called to dance.
Third, there’s pleasure. In our sex-negative culture, this one tends to get overlooked, but it’s an important one. Eros loves pleasure, so give yourself permission to pursue your pleasure in whatever form it takes (and subject, of course, to consent). Create art. Write. Flirt. Call your Mom and tell her you love her.
Embodied pleasure is a really important part of this—our bodies were made to channel Eros. So pat your cat. Pet your pussy. Have orgasms—lots and lots of them.
Last but not least: Forgiveness. Anger, resentment, bitterness—emotions like these clog the spirit. They make it harder to be positive and happy. Every grievance has non-forgiveness at its root. The more you can rid yourself of this stuck, dark energy—this toxin, really—the greater your capacity will be to let positive energy in. And positivity is our stairway to … Eros.
Forgiveness—it’s the soul’s Roto-rooter.
Pleasure. Positivity. Novelty. Forgiveness.
Commit to them. Integrate them into your life (inner and outer).
Set out to make Eros your new normal.