There is a lot of misunderstanding about the term Bliss. Most people think of it as a form of great and continuous happiness or joy or ecstasy. That’s not exactly it. Bliss is simply very high frequency energy and our awareness of it. Yes, it feels wonderful so the connection with enormous happiness or joy or ecstasy is understandable. But that’s not what it is. There is a different quality about it.
Bliss is a natural experience of our awakening. Ramana Maharshi describes it as Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence – Consciousness – Bliss). When we reach the higher stages of awakening, Bliss is always here. It may not always be in the foreground of our attention but it is always felt in the background. The energy is felt and experienced in the body. It is as if every cell and molecule is vibrating at a very high frequency. It is as if the body has become an enormous tuning fork. It can be quite intense at the beginning, almost overwhelming. You can see why you may mistake this for ecstasy.
The intensity can be so strong in the beginning you don’t know if your physical body can handle it. But it does. There’s nothing to worry about. The body actually adjusts and changes to accommodate this higher frequency energy. And this adjustment seems to be very beneficial, healing and healthy for the body. It is almost as if it is making it younger, healthier and more flexible. And perhaps it is. That has been my experience, as I seem healthier at 67 then I was in my 30s. That’s how it seems, but perhaps that’s just my imagination.
The body appears to be lighter, weightless really, as if gravity has no effect on it. It still does of course, so this is just the experience. It may explain the experience of and belief in levitation, which I have never physically seen so far. But this experience of weightlessness does feel like this. And the body appears to be made of light and energy rather than solid matter. It appears to be glowing with light, consisting of nothing but light. There is a certain radiance about it that other people can actually see. This is often referred to as the Light Body. It is sometimes referred to as another body besides the physical body, as if there were two or more bodies, the Light Body hovering outside and around the physical body. My experience is that it is the same body, just perceived and experienced in a very different way. The physical body is the old way of experiencing the body.
Bliss is a wonderful experience and it does seem to increase with the expansion of Consciousness. More and higher frequency energy seems to be experienced. And the body quickly adjusts to this new level. Many physical changes seem to correspond with each new level. And the energy does seem to affect others as well.
When attention is placed on this energy, it can be very intense. When attention is directed otherwise, it simply continues simmering and vibrating in the background.
Happiness, Joy, Ecstasy
The connection with extreme happiness, joy or ecstasy is understandable. But that is just an interpretation of Bliss. Happiness, joy and ecstasy come and go. They are not experienced as permanent states of consciousness. And there is usually some external event that triggers them. Bliss is always experienced as being here and there is no external event to trigger it.
Bliss might be thought of more as “life force energy”. Life force energy is always here or life would not be. And Bliss is also always here, not separate from life itself. It is experienced in the body or through the body, but it can also be sensed everywhere.
Everything is Energy
When people say everything is energy, Bliss is the direct experience of this. Attention has turned to this energy and energy is experienced more prominently than physical matter. It is realized that all physical matter, not only this body, is pure energy. What, previous to this level of awakening, was experienced as physical matter is now experienced as energy with the appearance of physical matter to the more limited human senses of sight, hearing and touch. And even these limited senses are also directly experienced as pure energy.
Bliss appears to be fundamental to our basic nature. The inquiry which has become second nature to me by now, “What is aware of this?” dissolves everything that is not fundamental. When asked of Bliss, “What is aware of this energy?” instead of dissolving, the energy simply increases. That, for me, has always been a sign of a fundamental nature. The other clue is that it does not come and go. It is always here, whether attention is on it fully or not. For years, it simply has been my experience of life.
I caution about making a big deal about Bliss, searching for it or trying to attain it as if it were some kind of spiritual reward or goal. I imagine that is a pretty reliable way of never experiencing it. Just continue doing your practices, letting go of stories and opening to the Unknown. When you are ready for it, it will simply appear. And you will realize that, although you were not aware of it previously, it was actually always here, like life force energy or the energy that holds your body’s molecules together and makes your cells function. When you are aware of it, you can call it Bliss or whatever you like.
A Taste of Bliss
Bliss is usually experienced in the later stages of awakening, but you may experience it earlier. You may have already done so. In a moment of great freedom, when for just a moment all stories have fallen away, you may notice this powerful, vibrating energy. Your mind may even first interpret it as a powerful fear, even fear of your own death. If in that moment, you can let go of this story too, let go of all stories, return to this freedom before all stories, you may experience, savor and surrender to something that has always been here without your noticing. And that will be a glorious day indeed. This realization will not come as you expect it to. Does anything? Keep letting go, be diligent about all practices that help you let go and, above all, pay attention. What you are seeking has always been right here under your nose and far closer and more intimate than that.
You will eventually discover that underneath every feeling you experience, there is this same Bliss. It doesn’t matter what that feeling is: fear, depression, anger, jealousy, doubt, anxiety, happiness, joy, ecstasy, even love as you now know love. Underneath all of this is Bliss. If you are able to let go of the story that supports and creates these feelings, you will find Bliss. It is always here. When I say, “Love as you now know it.” I am not speaking of love as the fundamental state of being you will also discover.