Being fulfilled means going beyond everyday experience. At a deeper level human beings have always longed for ecstasy, a feeling of euphoria, joy, peace, and love. Addiction to drugs and alcohol is evidence of our society’s starvation and longing for real ecstasy. Everyday happiness gives us only a taste, leaving behind a hunger for more. Happiness, then, is the beginning of a journey that reaches for higher fulfillment.
Many people have accidentally experienced the most intense happiness, often called peak experience. These experiences may have occurred in intimate moments in Nature, in dance and music, in play, or in lovemaking. What sets a peak experience apart is not its intensity but its meaning – it feels as if a much greater, freer, more expansive reality has been revealed.
Everyone who has had a peak experience tires to recapture it. Most are disappointed, because a moment of higher awareness isn’t the same as attaining higher consciousness. What is needed is a path to transformation guided by a vision of the possibilities that first taste inspires.
In the world’s wisdom traditions, the search for ecstasy is completely natural. Ecstasy is your original energy state. To return to it is to return home and make it your permanent abode.
There are many names for this goal: redemption, salvation, transcendence, and enlightenment. There are as many paths as there are faiths and spiritual teachers. But in the end a single truth is being espoused: The human soul longs to return to the place where ecstasy abides. There, union can be found with the mystery of God.
Adapted from The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2009).