Are we chasing bliss as a spiritual confirmation?
Many of us treading the spiritual path have heard over and over again about states of bliss being touted as a measure of whether or not we’re ‘doing it right’. I’d like to explore this notion a bit, taking a rational approach to the exploration, and sharing deeply about my personal experiences.
Addiction to Bliss (and the Trouble with Substances)
Let me begin with a personal confession. It’s not the first time I’ve made this confession publicly, but this is a good time to make it again. I’ve been a bona fide bliss addict. That’s right, I’ve spent the majority of my life chasing blissful states.
The briefest summary of this tells of a little girl raised in a addictive environment. My introduction to drugs was a family affair and it happened very, very early. I remember having a puff of marijuana as early as three years old.
I don’t agree with this happening, by the way, but this was other children sharing with me what they saw as harmless and fun. None of us were even near anything that could be considered ‘age of consent’. Regardless, it’s easy to imagine from here how an easy-going and family setting set the scene for my long-term addictive behavior with substances of all varieties.
By long-term, I mean around 30 solid years of it. While this is nothing to admire or be proud of, I also can’t imagine pretending like this wasn’t how my life went and how I know what I know now.
I can honestly say I know a whole lot about bliss. This includes states of bliss through substances and those without any substances as well.
The trouble with substances, no matter what they are, is the invitation to mistake the substance as the only way to attain bliss, but this is the furthest thing from the truth. Nevertheless, the truth gets pretty slippery while intoxicated, as many, many people know in these times.
Many Paths to Bliss
Ancient and honored spiritual traditions all over the planet know there are many ways to bring about such states. Chanting, singing, mantras, dancing, meditating, sensory deprivation, ritual, sex and prayer also join the list of pathways into God-Consciousness and blissful states.
I mention this to be clear about my addictive behavior with substances, because that wasn’t the only way I chased bliss. I chased it in many forms, both with and without substances being the focus. I thoroughly explored sex, ritual, prayer, and at least a bit of all the other ways too, and found bliss available in all of them, given the right intentions and enough focus and energy put into it.
I found beyond any reasonable doubt (for myself) that the need for bliss is inherently human and natural too. Perhaps my personal focus was a bit extreme, but then I was never one to do anything half way anyway. It’s all or none for this girl.
In my estimation, the need for bliss is as important as the need for air, water and food. I won’t quote them here, but there’s been some very interesting studies made on this subject. A little research for those who are interested will find some deeper explorations to think about on this subject.
Bliss as a Spiritual Measure
So, let’s come back now to the question of whether or not bliss can be used as a measure of spiritual attainment.
I find this notion to be rather hacked and distorted. In my experience, all beings ARE bliss personified, otherwise referred to as Love. The realization of this fact, and its deep acknowledgment is enough to send some of us into the instantaneous blissful state.
Most of us have too many distractions and literally pack around too many ‘dirty lies’ about our true nature to be capable of this, but it is one way and it can happen, nonetheless, for the lucky few.
I would hazard to guess these ‘lucky’ few are the ones who’ve taken the trouble to ditch the pack of lies and have embraced self-love in order to have this experience at all, which is why the exploration of belief systems and the personal shadow work we do is so incredibly important. It’s the ticket to the intensely blissful experience of who we really are.
Still, is this blissful feeling the full measure of how to do this spiritual journey the ‘right’ way? Is this the end-all of how we know we’ve arrived or attained something spiritually significant?
Waves of Intensity and the Plateau
Certainly it’s a good thing to self-realize ourselves as pure love and bliss. Where this becomes a block to the rest of the story is where the bliss will ultimately wear off and the intensity then shifts from bliss to waves of crippling disappointment.
If blissful states are the measure of success, then the fall-off after this steep rise is going to be a measure of failure. Here’s where the set-up and the hack resides.
Intense states of being are not sustainable endlessly, no matter if we’re talking about physical, emotional, or spiritual. Those who chase bliss with this mind set will be found in the endless yo-yo affect zone, and amazingly enough, seem to be oblivious to the fact that they are and why. Perhaps it’s time to look at this addictive behavior for what it is, and understand that while all states of being may help us navigate our environment, they aren’t the ultimate measure of anything.
In my vast experience with such states, I’ve come to know something about them. Levels of intensity, no matter the polarity, it may be bliss or be it some other more negative or uncomfortable feeling; these states don’t last. The energy it takes to sustain them dissipates. Consciousness gets de-sensitized and smooths out again. The natural response of the being is to come back to balance and neutrality again.
I call this balanced state a plateau. Depending on how high the peaks and how low the valleys are of this pendulum swing of states of being, the plateau state is the being coming to balance again after a major shift in frequency.
In my experience, these shifts in frequency that are nearly always accompanied by bliss, so long as the shift is extreme enough and is in a positive polarity direction. A massive swing in a negative direction feels like sinking, falling, sickening, perhaps even like dying.
These feeling states give me important information as to what is happening in my energy field, and I’m grateful for the miraculous sensory equipment I have which allows this to happen. But I also no longer confuse any state of being, any activity, or any substance (especially!) as the goal or the full measure of how I will know if I’m succeeding in my spiritual journey or not.
Balance as Wellbeing
It’s only been through a long journey of chasing the peaks experiences (and falling into the valleys again) that I began to crave the middle ground as my preferred comfort zone. What I want is harmony and freedom from the distractions of intensity, allowing me to be present in the here and now in a balanced state.
I’ve enough experiences under my belt now to know how close to me my bliss always is. I can have it in many ways and have it anytime I please. Whatever was in my way before, I removed those blockages. I give myself the bliss I want anytime I want, so therefore, I don’t crave and and chase and worship it anymore.
I’ve finally understood that I prefer a balanced state of being to any intensified states of being, no matter how pleasurable. Intense pleasure is fine for a while, but within these states, I’m incapable of being productive in any way. It distracts me from simply being present in the moment, and this seems to me an anti-theme of the entire purpose I came here for.
I think we should drop all the pretense of how we don’t deserve moments of bliss and have them regularly. Taking the taboo off them will make them less addictive and more normal, balancing the value of such states into the range they rightly belong in, which is a gorgeous part of the normal emotional range of a healthy human being.
I invite us all to consider. Did we really come here to into such a rich and challenging environment to measure our success or failure of our spiritual journey by any feeling, no matter what it is? Or, are we here to find our mastery in all we are and in all our experiences and environments?
Thank you for sharing my thoughts and may you have as many heaping helpings of bliss as you want to. It’s healthy and it’s normal too. I invite you to drop the measuring stick and have an ample measure of everything there is. The variety of this is simply stunning!
Written for Gaia Scenics’ View
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