Hacking Bliss with Meditation
Picture the most intense joy you’ve ever experienced in life. Was it the feeling of kissing your crush for the first time? Perhaps winning that competition you’d trained so hard for? Or maybe the birth of your child?
There’s a state in meditation that trumps all of these in terms of its level of pure bliss, a feeling unlike anything else I’ve felt. What I call Meditative Ecstasy (it’s called jhana in Buddhist traditions of meditation) results in a pleasure so intense that I burst out laughing and quickly lost it the first time I achieve this state.
For the first 22 years of my life, I believed that the greatest pleasures in life undoubtedly came from external events. When I was chasing girls, good grades and athletic accomplishments, I always thought that’s where I could find the highest quantities of Happiness Chemicals. But after discovering Meditative Ecstasy, it became clear all at once that the highest forms of pleasure can come from within through dedicated mental training. Meditative Ecstasy has been described as feeling like “continuous multiple-orgasm” and in fact, meditators capable of entering this state say that they prefer it to orgasm. Don’t believe me? Here we’ll discuss how to achieve these internally-generated states of bliss and you may find out for yourself.
How to Enter Meditative Ecstasy
It can take several months of diligent practice before you might approach this. Meditating for two hours each day for a month, I finally trained my Attentional Focus to a point where I could experience this internally-generated rapturous feeling. The reason it took me so long is that three preconditions must be met:
1) Exclusive focus on the object of meditation
2) Sustained attention in this state for an extended period of time
3) Intense joy and pleasure in practice
Once these factors are met, here’s how you go about entering Meditative Ecstasy:
Once you’re in a state of concentrative absorption, with your attention firmly parked on the breath for several minutes, you’ll begin to delight in the flow of breath as your Happiness Chemicals surge forth.
Now switch your object of meditation from the breath to the feeling of joy itself. The pleasurable sensations should intensify as you bring them into your center of focus. You might experience an expanding orb of radiant light behind your eyelids or a strong tingling on the outside of your skin. If you grasp onto it too hard, the pleasure may stop, in which case you should return your attention to the breath. Once you’ve stabilized attention and gotten back into concentrative absorption on the breath, you might attempt to enter Meditative Ecstasy again by gently shifting your focus onto the feelings of pleasure.
If you master Meditative Ecstasy, then wherever you go, whatever happens to you, as long as you have your breath you can find joy. Imagine that. End up in prison or lost in the Amazon jungle? No problem, just focus on the breath until you’re in bliss.
But remember, Meditative Ecstasy is just another cool experience in training but shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a major goal of meditation. There’s plenty of other benefits that come before you’re ever able to experience this ecstatic state of consciousness, which is, after all, temporary (although monks can reportedly stay in Meditative Ecstasy for hours at a time).
The purpose of meditation, of course, is not to sit in some blissful state, completely disconnected from the world. I bring this up to make the points that a) bliss can come from within, rather than requiring the perfect set of external circumstances and b) meditation can become inherently rewarding. The real value of attentional focus comes not from its pleasure, but rather from your ability to actually control your mind.
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