You know what I'm talking about - those moments when things seem to intensify, perhaps seeming to effortlessly flow. Heightened physical senses or emotions bring us directly into the moment. Perhaps time seems to slow down, speed up or cease to exist at all. You forget about anything else but what is going on right now and you feel vibrant, like you are exactly where you need to be.
What causes these moments of feeling alive?
Certainly, some of these experiences can be explained by the fight or flight response - adrenaline flows through us increasing our sensory perception and awareness. Perhaps, you or a loved one is in a life threatening situation, or perhaps you are going to that all important job interview. Perhaps, you are competing in a sport, striving the play the best you can.
We see this in children all of the time. There's no need to hold back expression because of fear of what people may think, or a need to control emotions. There's no 'plan of action' - just a spontaneous flowing of expression.
What makes me feel alive?
For me there are many things that cause this feeling. It comes when my ego gets out of the way (thus it is possible to feel this all of the time), and goes when I am stuck in desire for something, or placating myself with entertainment. It's when I'm completely engaged in the moment, with my entire being. I doesn't even have to be a positive thing that I'm doing - sometimes crying or doing something that pushes my comfort zone has the same effect.
Here are a few personal examples:
I feel immensely alive when interacting on a deep level with others. Perhaps it's a deeply sincere conversation, sharing our innermost feelings, or perhaps through play, dancing, singing or making love.
Feeling alive in tough times
I've heard many people say how alive they've felt during times of adversity. I remember when I first began to feel this - it was when I had crashed my car, which I needed for my business at the time. Making space to overcome the hurdle felt truly empowering!
If we can enter into these times with awareness, and not seek to avoid them, then we can find that these are opportunities for us to really feel who we are. We can rise to the challenge, and the rewards are priceless. It's in times of darkness that our light shines the brightest!
"It is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning how to dance in the rain!" -Openhand
A quick note on entertainment
The allures of entertainment are dangerous. Of course, our whole society is geared towards making us dependent on entertainment. It is the way we are taught to relax and unwind after a stressful day. And there are many things that we can gain from books, TV, sports etc if we are awake enough, but most of the time they are simply used like a tranquiliser - a way of forgetting ourselves and our lives. The danger is that this becomes an addiction, just like alcohol, as we placate ourselves with every free moment where we suddenly find we have nothing to do. Do you feel truly alive when you're lost in entertainment?
Formula for 'aliveness'
To put it in really simple terms, I see the feelings of being totally alive as something like this:
Being in the moment + (personal expression - ego attachments) + connection = Pure Life
What makes you feel totally alive?
Now I want to hear from you. What makes you feel alive? How does it feel to you?
My name is Richard. I love to write, and here you can find my general musings, observations and articles. Enjoy!
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