Pssssssstttt……..Want a Little ECSTASY?!

by Peter Milhado PHD on June 6, 2015

Gotcha!! Relax, I’m not talking about the drug nor am I inviting you to a rave. However, I am talking about that awesome human experience called joyful Ecstasy… that divine gift that lifts us out of our ordinary reality and man, can we use some lifting these days. Ecstasy and joy have transformative power, which connects us to our souls and makes us feel at home in the universe. Unfortunately our society has not provided rituals to stay in touch with ecstasy – it’s largely absent in the modern world. However, my belief is that all human beings at one time or another have had the mystical experience of ecstasy. (I also believe that all human beings have experienced betrayal, primitive lust, suicidal thoughts, murderous rage, evil impulses etc… but those are perhaps subjects for later articles.)

My first experience with ecstasy occurred around the age of six or seven. I was alone at night and scared. At this point my mind kicked in and I asked myself the question “Who was here before you?”… Well, my mom and dad…” And before them?”… My ancestors…”And before them?”…The animals and plants…”And before them?” The Earth…”And before the Earth?”…The Universe…”and before the Universe?” I stumbled on that one and then came out the word, “Nothing” and at that exact moment (I had apparently taken a giant step out of my mind and couldn’t comprehend), I was overcome with a powerful feeling of bliss, serenity, belonging, joy and ….ECSTASY ! It was a mystical experience for which words don’t suffice. I had soon forgotten this experience and only remembered it a couple of decades later during my own psychotherapeutic enterprise.

One way to make a momentary connection to Ecstasy is through drink, drugs, sex, gambling, dance and music as well as through impulsive adventures and sports like racing cars, mountain climbing, and surfing, etc. Outside of shopping, I’ve probably wrestled with every indulgence at various stages in my life. Through therapy, I learned about hanging out with the God of Moderation, which I’m more successful with at some times than at others. The pull of excess is always there… moderation is a life long struggle. I do know this; when I ritualized my life with the help of moderation, periods of joy and ecstasy have arrived more frequently and for longer periods then at any other time in my life.

The Dark Side of Ecstasy

The loss of ritual has left a tremendous void in Western Society. If we do not invest in our search for the mystical experience of ecstasy with humanity, it will return in dehumanized form. Fascination with excitement and horror is one way… addiction is another! The dark side of ecstasy shows up when we’re excited by the latest terrorist bombings, the latest arson fire… because in those times we’re also momentarily pulled out of ‘ourselves.’ How many people became obsessed with the devastating bombs in Baghdad or hurricane Katrina ? Some folks even buy a pager, which rings whenever there is a high-speed car chase on TV. Like any archetype, if ecstasy is not honored consciously it will show up nevertheless… in its shadow form. If we don’t search ecstasy in a conscious way – it shows up unconsciously as fascination with horror. Just watch the news. Addiction, one of the most characteristic symptoms of our greed based economic system, is another dark version for the search for ecstasy. Obsession with consumption always leads to emptiness, and addiction unsuccessfully tries to fill the void that only a conscious search for joy can provide. Four shots of tequila or a couple of snorts of cocaine will definitely make you feel good for awhile; it works !

But we all know that the ‘quick fix’ doesn’t work in the long run. If the god of speed, who is quite present in our Ojai valley, gets a hold of you, he’ll rob your soul and make you do shit you never thought you were capable of … get some help !


Obviously, all of us carry the experience of Ecstasy deep within us and the best we can do is to provide a hospitable environment for it to show up and treat it with consciousness and dignity. From my experience, the journey towards ecstasy always includes an encounter with one’s own personal abyss and the unconscious. The road towards wholeness of the soul demands taking a look at ourselves, how we truly are and not how we want to appear to others….

Consumerism and predatory capitalism depend on the clock to reach their goals. Whenever we’re aware of the clock, ecstasy is not invited.

One for all and all for one. Love to Mother Meera

Peter Milhado © 2015

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sir John Anthony Miller August 7, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Beautifully written, with intelligence and insight, as always…Peace and Love to my fine friend….

Love, John.

Peter Milhado PHD January 20, 2016 at 2:28 pm


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