Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Ecstasy

"All that we call common sense and rationality and practicality... only means that for certain dead levels of our life we forget that we have forgotten. All that we call spirit and art and ecstasy only means that for one awful instant we remember that we forget." - G. K. Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton

"Our purpose is to consciously, deliberately evolve toward a wise, more liberated and luminous state of being. Deep down, all of us are probably aware that some kind of mystical evolution is our true task. Yet we suppress the notion with considerable force because to admit to it is to admit that most of our political gyrations, religious dogmas, social ambitions and financial ploys are not merely counterproductive but trivial. Our mission is to jettison those pointless preoccupations and take on once again the primordial cargo of inexhaustible ecstasy." - Tom Robbins, fully Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins

"Religion is a hunger for beauty and love and glory. It is wonder and the mystery and majesty, passion and ecstasy. It is emotion as well as mind, feeling as well as knowing, the subjective as well as the objective. It is the heart soaring to heights the head alone will never know; the apprehension of meanings science alone will never find; the awareness of values ethics alone will never reveal. It is the human spirit yearning for, and finding, something infinitely greater than itself which it calls God." - Waldemar Argow, fully Wendelin Waldemar Wieland Argow

"Art and Religion are, then, two roads by which men escape from circumstance to ecstasy. Between aesthetic and religious rapture there is a family alliance. Art and Religion are means similar states of mind." - Clive Bell, fully Arthur Clive Heward Bell

"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"Art is an antidote for violence. It gives the ecstasy, the self-transcendence that could otherwise take the form of drug addiction, terrorism, suicide, or warfare." -

"The true scientist recognizes the fact that scientific knowledge is a narrow thing, it rules out the ecstasy of life. It can only speak of that which it can handle with its hands and see with its eyes." - Robert Norwood, fully Robert Winkworth Norwood

"Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself, is the end. A counted number of pulses only is given to us of a variegated, dramatic life. How shall we pass most swiftly from point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest number of vital forces unite in their purest energy? To burn always with this hard gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life." -

"Bound only by birth and death, life is both the ultimate mystery and the process of solving it. Life is a dance, a leap into the unknown. After you jump and before you land, is God. God is ecstasy: that state of being when everything comes together, nothing is missing, and it’s all vibrating and electric. Life is an excuse for ecstasy." - Gabrielle Roth

"You cannot have ecstasy and divine vision without bitterness and despair, and both of these are the property of youth." - Edmund Wilson

"In its purest form music is not a representational but rather a nonobjective, nonverbal world, it is a world of its own, almost a creatio ex hihilo, an occasion for immediacy of experience, a nonreducible mode of beauty, of contrast and resolution, of order and ecstasy flowing through and beyond the order. Order, and ecstasy rooted in order: that sounds like the relation between law and love, law and gospel." - James Luther Adams

"Prophets… lifted in ecstasy above the natural operation of their minds by the impulses of the Divine Spirit, were inspired to utterance, the Spirit making use of them as a flute-player breathes into his flute." - Athenagoras NULL

"The soul of the great mystic does not stop at ecstasy, as at the end of a journey. The ecstasy is indeed rest, if you like, but as though at a station, where the engine is still under steam, the onward movement becoming a vibration on one spot, until it is time to race forward again." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"The mystic vision of God, or ecstasy of felt union with Him, is, to those who attain it, an affair of ravishing emotional intensity, of vivid intellectual illumination, and on both of these counts of supreme value." - Edwin Arthur Burtt

"A Jew is asked to take a leap of action rather than a leap of thought: to surpass his needs, to do more than he understands in order to understand more than he does… Through the ecstasy of deeds he learns to be certain of the presence of God." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"The most characteristic of all the elements of conversion crisis… is the ecstasy of happiness produced." - William James

"No person can be religious alone, however rich may be the ecstasy or despair of his isolation. Authentic religion… is rather a relationship in which one person responds reverently to another person." - Paul E. Johnson

"The higher stages of the mystical life are very ordinary. There is no ecstasy, no rapture, no flash of light, no bells, no incense. I am now my true self." - William Johnston

"Joy has something within itself which is beyond joy and sorrow. This something is called blessedness... It preserves in itself its opposite, sorrow. It provides the foundation for happiness and pleasure. It is present in all levels of man’s striving for fulfillment. It consecrates and directs them. It does not diminish or weaken them. It does not take away the risks and dangers of the joy of life. It makes the joy of life possible in pleasure and pain, in happiness and unhappiness, in ecstasy and sorrow. Where there is joy, there is fulfillment. And where there is fulfillment, there is joy. In fulfillment and joy the inner aim of life, the meaning of creation, and the end of salvation, are attained." -

"If a person measures his spiritual fulfillment in terms of cosmic visions, surpassing peace of mind, or ecstasy, then he is not likely to know much spiritual fulfillment. If, however, he measures it in terms of enjoying a sunrise, being warmed by a child’s smile, or being able to help someone have a better day, then he is likely to know much spiritual fulfillment." - Arthur Asher Miller

"You need not do anything. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, just wait. And you need not even wait. Just become quiet and still and solitary and the world will offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet." - Franz Kafka

"What if someone gave a war & Nobody came? Life would ring the bells of Ecstasy and Forever be Itself again." - Allen Ginsberg, fully Irwin Allen Ginsberg

"The emotion, the ecstasy of love, we all want, but God spare us the responsibility." - Jessamyn West, fully Mary Jessamyn West

"The ultimate aim of the quest must be neither release nor ecstasy for oneself, but the wisdom and power to serve others." - Joseph Campbell

"Life is ecstasy." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"There is nothing neutral about the soul. It is the seat and the source of life. Either we respond to what the soul presents in its fantasies and desires, or we suffer from this neglect of ourselves. The power of the soul can hurl a person into ecstasy or into depression. It can be creative or destructive, gentle or aggressive. Power incubates within the soul and then makes influential its influential move into life as the expression of soul. If there is no soulfulness, then there is no true power, and if there is no power, then there can be no true soulfulness." - Thomas Moore

"Ecstasy is from the contemplation of things vaster than the individual and imperfectly seen perhaps, by all those that still survive." - William Butler Yeats

"Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it." - W. Somerset Maugham, fully William Somerset Maugham

"Music is a means capable of expressing dark dramatism and pure rapture, suffering and ecstasy, fiery and cold fury, melancholy and wild merriment. " - Dmitri Shostakovich, fully Dmitri Dmitrievich Shostakovich

"Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough. " - Emily Dickinson, fully Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

"As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth . . . the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and the wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times." - Gary Snyder

"What was once impossible now summons us to dismantle the walls between ourselves and our sisters and brothers, to dissolve the distinctions between flesh and spirit, to transcend the present limits of time and matter, to find, at last, not wealth or power but the ecstasy (so long forgotten) of commonplace, unconditional being. For the atom's soul is nothing but energy. Spirit blazes in the dullest of clay. The life of every woman or man-the heart of it-is pure and holy joy." - George Leonard, fully George Burr Leonard

"A Jew is asked to take a leap of action rather than a leap of thought... Through the ecstasy of deeds he learns to be certain of the hereness of God. Right living is a way to right thinking." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Meditation is the art of living with yourself. It is nothing else than that, simply that: the art of being joyously alone. A meditator can sit joyously alone for months, for years. He does not hanker for the other, because his own inner ecstasy is so much, is so overpowering, that who bothers about the other? If the other comes into his life it is not a need, it is a luxury." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"Joy has something within itself which is beyond joy and sorrow. This something is called blessedness... It preserves in itself its opposite, sorrow. It provides the foundation for happiness and pleasure. It is present in all levels of man’s striving for fulfillment. It consecrates and directs them. It does not diminish or weaken them. It does not take away the risks and dangers of the joy of life. It makes the joy of life possible in pleasure and pain, in happiness and unhappiness, in ecstasy and sorrow. Where there is joy, there is fulfillment. And where there is fulfillment, there is joy. In fulfillment and joy the inner aim of life, the meaning of creation, and the end of salvation are attained." - Paul Tillich, fully Paul Johannes Tillich

"After all, what is happiness? Love, they tell me. But love doesn't bring and never has brought happiness. On the contrary, it's a constant state of anxiety, a battlefield; it's sleepless nights, asking ourselves all the time if we're doing the right thing. Real love is composed of ecstasy and agony… All life battles teach us something, even those we lose… All my life, I thought of love as some kind of voluntary enslavement. Well, that's a lie: freedom only exists when love is present. The person who gives him or herself wholly, the person who feels freest, is the person who loves most wholeheartedly… ‘Yes, you have been through all this before,’ replies his heart. ‘But you have never been beyond it… All people know exactly how we should live our lives and never have any idea how to live their own lives… Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle." -

"I freeze and burn, love is bitter and sweet, my sighs are tempests and my tears are floods, I am in ecstasy and agony, I am possessed by memories of her and I am in exile from myself. " - Petrarch, anglicized from Italian name Francesco Petrarca NULL

"Sexual ecstasy usually arises among dyads, or groups of two, but the ritual ecstasy of primitives emerged within groups generally composed of thirty or more participants. Thanks to psychology and the psychological concerns of Western culture generally, we have a rich language for describing the emotions drawing one person to another--from the most fleeting sexual attraction, to ego-dissolving love, all the way to the destructive force of obsession. What we lack is any way of describing and understanding the love that may exist among dozens of people at a time; and it is this kind of love that is expressed in ecstatic ritual." - Barbara Ehrenreich, born Barbara Alexander

"Broad breezes, clouds of light, Thither ye lead the soul, To this most sacred height Above the sacred whole: The azure world is not so fair, The azure world and all the circling air, As that true spiritual kingdom known Unto the spirit only and alone; Thither the soul ye bear, Oh winds and clouds of light. Ye winds and clouds of light, That bear the soul to God; The new-born soul that height By ecstasy hath trod." - R. W. Dixon, fully Richard Watson Dixon

"In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church where I kneel. Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or names exist. Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty is illumined nothing, where ecstasy gets poured into itself and becomes lost, where the wing is fully alive but has no mind or body? In my soul there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church that dissolve, that dissolve in God." - Rābiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya, aka Rabi'a of Basra or Basri, Saint Rabia of Basra

"With my Beloved I alone have been, When secrets tenderer than evening airs Passed, and the Vision blest Was granted to my prayers, That crowned me, else obscure, with endless fame; The while amazed between His Beauty and His Majesty I stood in silent ecstasy Revealing that which o'er my spirit went and came. Lo, in His face commingled Is every charm and grace; The whole of Beauty singled Into a perfect face Beholding Him would cry, 'There is no God but He, and He is the most High.' " - Rābiʻa al-ʻAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya, aka Rabi'a of Basra or Basri, Saint Rabia of Basra

"All my life up to that point was like, mind going blindly, thinking that worldly ecstasy was divine." - Ram Dass, aka Baba Ram Dass, born Richard Alpert

"Faith and devotion. One realizes God easily through devotion. He is grasped through ecstasy of love." - Ramakrishna, aka Ramakrishna Paramhamsa or Sri Ramakrishna, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay NULL

"One is able to realize God just through love. Ecstasy of feeling, devotion, love, and faith " - Ramakrishna, aka Ramakrishna Paramhamsa or Sri Ramakrishna, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay NULL

"Surrender yourself completely to God, and set aside all such things as fear and shame. Give up such feelings as, 'What will people think of me if I dance in the ecstasy of God's holy name?' The saying, 'One cannot have the vision of God as long as one has these three" - Ramakrishna, aka Ramakrishna Paramhamsa or Sri Ramakrishna, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay NULL

"The means of realizing God are ecstasy of love and devotion - that is, one must love God." - Ramakrishna, aka Ramakrishna Paramhamsa or Sri Ramakrishna, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay NULL

"Let poets piece prismatic words, Give me the jewelled joy of birds! What ecstasy moves them to sing? Is it the lyric glee of Spring, The dewy rapture of the rose? Is it the worship born in those Who are of Nature's self a part, The adoration of the heart? Is it the mating mood in them That makes each crystal note a gem? Oh mocking bird and nightingale, Oh mavis, lark and robin - hail! Tell me what perfect passion glows In your inspired arpeggios? A thrush is thrilling as I write Its obligato of delight; And in its fervour, as in mine, I fathom tenderness divine, And pity those of earthy ear Who cannot hear . . . who cannot hear. Let poets pattern pretty words: For lovely largesse - bless you, Birds!" - Robert Service, fully Robert William Service

"I have sought Thee daily at dawn and twilight, I have stretched my hands to Thee, turned my face, Now the cry of a heart athirst I will utter, Like the beggar who cries at my door for grace. The infinite heights are too small to contain Thee, Yet perchance Thou canst niche in the clefts of me. Shall my heart not treasure the hope to gain Thee, Or my yearning fail till my tongue’s last plea? Nay, surely Thy name I will worship, while breath in my nostrils be." - Salomon ibn Gabirol, aka Solomon ben Judah or Avicebron

"My heart craves to praise Thee, But I am unable. Would my understanding Were as spacious as Solomon’s. Without it my wisdom As yet ill suffices For expounding Thy wonders And Thy deeds of beneficence Wrought for me and all mankind. Without Thee all’s hopeless, And where is the rock Sustaining, suspending The weight of the world? I am as one orphaned; Nay, on Thee I am cast. What then can I do But look to Thee, wait on Thee, In whose hand is the spirit Of all that is living, In whose hand is the breath Of all the creation?" - Salomon ibn Gabirol, aka Solomon ben Judah or Avicebron