Ecstasy: The Table that Wisdom Sets

If God is near and vitally present in all that exists, all of life, we see why ecstasy is the experience of God.  Speaking theologically we can say that revelation happens through creatures and our experience as creatures interacting deeply with nature, music, love, sex, dance, suffering, thinking, meditating, working and more.  This is another way of saying that revelation, “the veritable speech of God” and the unveiling of the Divine, occurs far more broadly than merely in books (however sacred) or through church authorities (however insistent). 

“Boy Holding Tree” Photo by Trinity Kubassek, Pexels

If every creature is “a word of God and a book about God” (Eckhart), then time spent with other creatures can be deep time, contemplative time, prayerful time—if we bring an open heart and mind to it.  Our oneing experiences remind us of that.  Each creature is a Logos or Word of God or another Christ.

‘Hummingbirds” Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash

Everything that is, is holy, and our experiences of ecstasy can be our recognition of this fact.  “The world is not only a good world,” warns philosopher Joseph Pieper, “it is in a very precise sense holy.”  To cite Rabbi Heschel: “Just to be is a blessing, just to live is holy.”  Pieper adds: “Wherever we encounter something that has flamed anything real, anything existent in any way whatsoever, we encounter something that has ‘flamed up’ directly from God.” 

“Sun Chasing” Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

The revelation of the Divine is available in many forms to many people—to all those who can undergo ecstasy or breakthrough or oneing and are moved by the Creator who is intimately present in his/her creation.  How loudly the Creator shouts to us through creation’s beauty!  How deaf we so often are.

For all these reasons and more, we can agree that our experiences of ecstasy are our experiences of God.  God and the very action of God is ours to experience if we care enough to treat ourselves to the ecstasies of living. That is mysticism.  Our prophetic lives are sharing the ecstasies of living by way of working for justice and compassion in our communities and our work worlds, our citizenship and our families, working to see that all, irrespective of social or economic, racial or gender status, also share in the table that Wisdom sets.

Essay adapted from Matthew Fox, Whee! We, wee All the Way Home, pp. 75-78.
Banner image: “Beautiful old trees.” Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels 

For Deeper Contemplation

“How is God with us in other people and in other creatures?”  Think on revelations that have come your way from your interactions with humans or other creatures based on this belief.  What comes up?  Gratitude?  Reverence?  Wonder?

How can you more fully admit ecstasy into your life and be moved by the Creator who is in his/her creation in an intimate way?

Recommended Reading

One of Matthew Fox’s earliest books, this title explores the importance of ecstasy in the spiritual life. Fox considers the distinction between “natural” ecstasies (including nature, sex, friendship, music, art) and “tactical” ecstasies (like meditation, fasting, chanting); he names the spiritual journey as taking us from ecstasy (Whee!) to a community consciousness (We), to our battling forces that prefer control to pleasure shared or justice (wee).

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5 thoughts on “Ecstasy: The Table that Wisdom Sets”

  1. Avatar

    …….”We, Whee, Wee” was the book, found in a used bookstore some 40 years ago, which first introduced me to Creation Spirituality. Over the years, I would want to add, en francaise, a fourth word to emphasize wonder, love, and awe, and that is ‘oui’ — ‘yes’ — which affirms the goodness of all created life…….just to be a bit more multilingual in the ferry tale metaphor……

    1. Gail Ransom

      Dear D.A. Spence
      “Mais Qui!” Y tambien “Si”! Thank you for your emphasis on the universality of wonder and the curious universality of the vowel sound ”eee” when exclaiming delight. Si, Qui, We, Whee Wee. All these ways lead us home within Creation.
      Loved it!
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the DM Team

  2. Avatar

    Matthew’s writings this past week reminded me of a short story I wrote some time ago, and that has within it this passage. From my short story, “Lightning,” the English translation of the Hopi name (Tsugiwana) of the character’s beloved.

    “You see, the evening before, as they were making love, Moira left her body. Lightning and Moira had merged. At first, Moira simply slid within Lightning’s aura. But having touched his soul, all boundaries disappeared and the two of them were suddenly swimming in the cosmic soup. Complete intercellular mingling. As if she were watching an animated PBS show on physics, Moira could see and feel their cells spinning in and around one another.
    There was too much beauty and power to contain—certainly too much for two mere mortals—so Moira sent out the excess to the whole world. She watched as the energy flowed out from her to all that was wounded in the world. In Brazil, loggers refused to cut down ancient trees. In Montana, a rancher with his sights on a mountain lion, set down his gun and walked calmly inside for dinner. In Costa Rica, hoteliers made the decision to build elsewhere, rather than remove trees inhabited by monkeys. In Arizona, clouds burst open, nourishing parched cacti and creating small rivulets into which horned toads jumped and small birds splashed and rinsed their wings.
    This particular morning therefore, Moira lay supine, wondering what it was that flooded through her being. Energy radiated out of her body and filled the immediate area around her. There must be, she thought, a word to describe this state. And then it came to her. Maybe. Maybe this was ecstasy.
    Moira lifted herself from her bed and retrieved her dictionary. Ecstasy (n.) a state of being beyond reason and self-control; a state of overwhelming emotion; rapturous delight; a mystic or prophetic trance. She went to her computer and inputted it. Ecstasy: The state of being beside one’s self or rapt out of one’s self; a state in which the mind is elevated above the reach of ordinary impressions, as when under the influence of overpowering emotion; an extraordinary elevation of the spirit. Used in the phrase by Dryden, “Like a mad prophet in ecstasy.”
    She was right. Lightning had made her feel something so extraordinary that she’d had no words for it. Yet such words and states did exist…..

    1. Gail Ransom

      Dear Michele,
      Thank you for sharing your short story with us. Your vision of the healing of the earth through the excess energy of ecstatic love elicited hop in me! If only we could reverse the climate change and all the activities creating it with our lovemaking!! People would happily turn their efforts towards that purpose if they knew it could make a difference. You have given us an image to bring to life!
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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