01/29/2014 08:38 am ET Updated Mar 31, 2014

Ecstatic Moments

How often do you have ecstatic moments -- moments when the love or the joy feels so big that you think you are going to burst or levitate? To me, this is what life is all about -- these ecstatic moments!

However, the key to having more and more of these moments is that you also have to be willing to feel the pain of life -- the heartbreak, loneliness, grief and helplessness over others and over events. These very painful feelings exist in the same place in the heart, so if you close down to the pain of life, you also close down to the joy of life.

The challenge is that you might never have learned how to manage the pain of life, so you might be protecting against it in numerous ways, such as turning to various substance and process addictions, staying in your mind rather than your heart, or judging yourself. All these ways of protecting against the pain of life may cause anxiety or depression, because they are all ways of rejecting and abandoning yourself. Then you might protect yourself even more to avoid the anxiety and depression, resulting in a closed heart. When your heart is closed, you cannot feel the joy of life.

When your heart is closed, you might feel an emptiness inside, which indicates a lack of love inside. Love is what spirit is, what God is, and when your heart is open to love, you get filled up with love. When your heart is closed due to protecting against feeling the pain of life, then the love and the joy of life cannot enter.

If you want more ecstatic moments in your life, then you need to learn how to lovingly manage the pain of life, rather than continue to avoid it.

It's not as hard as you think. The key to managing the pain of life is to stop pushing it away with addictions and judgments, and instead embrace it with the utmost of compassion for your feelings.

How often have you wished that someone would be compassionate with you? Compassion feels wonderful, but you can't just wait for someone else to give it to you. You need to open to giving it to yourself.

When your intent is to love yourself rather than protect against pain, then the door is open for compassion to enter your heart. This is what keeps your heart open to both the pain and the love and joy of life.

The more you are able to keep your heart open, the more ecstatic moments you will experience.

Ecstatic Moments
What fills your heart with joy? Some of the things that fill me to bursting are:

  • My loved ones -- shared love, shared learning, shared laughter.
  • My animals -- my dogs, cats and horses.
  • The beauty of nature -- sunrises and sunsets, snow covered mountains, incredible flowers, lakes, rivers, trees, lush green grass.
  • The beauty of human creations -- art, music, dance, writing.
  • Helping others, giving to others.
  • Being in a creative process -- writing, painting, making pots on the wheel
  • Sitting around a fire with loved ones.

I've even had ecstatic moments doing the dishes and seeing a rainbow in a soap bubble!

My ecstatic moments have to do with being fully present. If I'm not fully present with my heart completely open, then the above experiences will not feel ecstatic and luminous. Ecstatic moments occur only when you are fully present in each moment, with your heart completely open to all that life offers -- both the wonderful and the painful.

For me it's worth it to feel the pain of life in order to also experience the joy and ecstasy of life. I'll take the ups and downs of life any day rather than live in the flatness of a closed heart. I hope you will, too.

Get more ecstatic moments! Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships." The next course starts February 12, 2014.