Religion has no monopoly on transcendent experience – Jules Evans | Aeon Essays
How can we seek ecstasy in a healthy way?
In its most common-garden variety, we can seek what the psychologist
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi called ‘flow’. By this he meant moments where we
become so absorbed in an activity that we forget ourselves and lose
track of time. We could lose ourselves in a good book, for example, or a
computer game. The author Geoff Dyer, who’s written extensively on
‘peak experiences’, says: ‘If you asked me when I’m most in the zone,
obviously it would be playing tennis. That absorption in the moment, I
just love it.’ Others shift their consciousness by going for a walk in
nature, where they find what the poet William Wordsworth called ‘the
quiet stream of self-forgetfulness’. Or we turn to sex, which the
feminist Susan Sontag called the ‘oldest resource which human beings
have available to them for blowing their mind’.