Sacred Ecstasy and the Sacred Vibration
Excerpt from our forthcoming book, The Spiritual Engineering of Sacred Ecstasy.
by The Keeneys
Sacred ecstasy is the extreme emotion that comes from feeling direct contact with divinity. It begins with communion, the sharing of intimate spiritual feelings and thoughts with God. Here you hold nothing back in your communication as all forms of expression are drawn upon, from words to groans, shouts, songs, and even the movements of dance. Prayer is communion with God, and when it is most expressive and effective, it draws you nearer and nearer to God until there is mystical union—no distance remains between the Creator and the created. This is when sacred emotion reaches its maximal threshold and becomes unadulterated ecstasy. When you are one with the divine, something more than an emotional explosion of joy takes place that few people have ever heard about. A sacred vibration is installed inside you—the divine literally places the power of holiness into your flesh. Your life can never be the same for now you are a vessel that holds the sacred vibration, something that can be awakened and further empowered by particular rhythms, melodic tones, hallowed words, sacred songs, and physical movement.
It is challenging to choose a name for this mysterious, sacred vibration because it is more than a pulse, energy, power, or force. It contains similarities to but is also qualitatively different from “qi,” “reiki,” “kundalini,” and the “universal life force.” Namely, its strength is non-subtle and it involves a specially blended mix of intense sacred emotion, somatic vibration, and the widest range of joyful celebratory expression. Most importantly, the sacred vibration can only be received inside the experience of sacred ecstasy, the heightened emotion that bursts through when you commune and unite with the divine. When its vibratory pulse is in operation, sacred emotion with all its motion and commotion are reactivated. As a carrier of the sacred vibration, you must learn how to keep it in play so that every breath and everything expressed offers praise to God, the Big Holy, the mysterium tremendum et fascinans.
While contemporary spiritual seekers have largely lost touch with this kind of vibratory ecstatic experience that somatically and emotionally embraces the divine, it is known and revered among the custodians of the oldest living spiritual and healing tradition in the world, that of the Kalahari Bushmen. The mysterious vibrational power associated with sacred ecstasy is called n/om in the Kalahari and it is regarded as the most important gift a human being can receive. Without it, singing, dancing, healing, or visioning cannot fully come to life. N/om is simultaneously the match, fuel, and fire required for sacred work to commence. We regard n/om as equivalent to the sacred vibration—it is the same complex mix of vibrational energy, sacred emotion, body movement, and the voiced tones and rhythms of the songs that awakens and amplifies its circulation in the body.
We use the double name, “sacred vibration” because it helps highlight the primary experiential components that are present: a vibration in the body and the accompanying emotion and expressive commotion that are inspired by the sacred. The sacred vibration is also equivalent to the holy spirit as it is known among ecstatic Christians who describe it as a fire in the bones or an electrical current that fills the body. As Bishop John, a Shaker from St. Vincent articulates: “The power of God is an electric force that comes into your body. It’s like lightning . . . I vibrate from my head right down through my body. I feel jolts of electricity.”[i] We join the Bushmen, the Caribbean Shakers, and other ecstatic lineages in regarding the reception of the sacred vibration as what brings true spiritual empowerment and the highest bliss of ecstasy, the marks of being touched by God. You were born to be an instrument of this sacred vibration rather than a psychological state of consciousness, but likely have never been plugged into its mighty power source and had your life ecstatically switched on.
Dare we suggest that no life-altering form of spirituality, healing, creative pursuit, or world-changing action can arise without the sacred vibration? Mirra Alfassa, partner of Sri Aurobindo, responds: “One must have the supreme Vibration in order to participate in that Movement [the divine changing of the world], which I am beginning to feel in the cells of the body.”[ii] Sacred ecstasy combines the most extreme joy with the highest degree of somatic excitation, bringing a frenzied rapture that William James characterized as “deliciousness . . . beyond anything known in ordinary consciousness.”[iii] Sufis describe this as a “total absorption with God” while contemporary mystic Evelyn Underhill characterizes it as an “inebriation of the Infinite” and “the perfect consummation of the Love of God.”[iv]
Over all else, spiritual seekers throughout the world should be hunting for this extraordinary experience that converts one into an ecstatic instrument that blasts a joyful noise and shines the brightest light. The sacred vibration is the motor of a spiritual life. Without it, you can’t spiritually go very far. It is both the sacred means and the achievement of the highest outcome you seek. Celebrating the experience of holiness, divinity, and all its mystery and joy is the ultimate beginning and end, the alpha and omega of Sacred Ecstatics. Seek God and when the two of you meet, your soul will truly heat. Spiritual cooking is not a one-time occurrence, but a whole new way of life that constantly returns you to the fire of ecstatic renewal and never-ending creation.
-The Keeneys, March 6, 2017.
[i] Bradford Keeney, Shakers of St. Vincent (Philadelphia, PA: Ringing Rocks Foundation and Leete’s Island Press, 2002), 102–105.
[ii] The Mother, Notebook on Evolution, September 21, 2017, 122, http://www.kheper.net/topics/Aurobindo/Notebook_on_Evolution.pdf.
[iii] William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016), 139.
[iv] Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2002), 81.