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Practical Rapture (On rapture, beauty and mindfulness)

Dear Toby,

Rapture is a state of mind and body that we all experience sometimes, the article below explores how we can build our experience of it through mindfulness, and then start putting it to use…

In the spirit of rapture,


Practical Rapture (On rapture, beauty and mindfulness)

Rapture –  a state or emotion of wonderment, bliss and heightened perception. A state of feeling deeply and primally connected to life and aliveness felt not just in the mind and heart, but in the body.

Peak rapture
We are all familiar to a greater or lesser degree with times when we have had a peak experience of rapture; when listening to music or contemplating art, in moments of new love or romance, in powerful landscape, when we are in a highly creative state, enthused by an idea or an ideal, the temporary peaks we dip into in good meditations. What are the moments in your life where you have felt most closely connected to a state of rapture? Memories like this are important for us to be mindful of as often they are powerful enough to re-trigger a little bit of that peak rapture in the moment we are in right now.

Everyday rapture
If we are mindful, we also start to notice that there are quiet invitations to rapture all around us; in the wind through trees, in the sight or a flower or cloudscape in the sky, in the feeling of comfort on our skin as we sit in a comfy chair. Rapture almost seems like the ‘hum’ of life that you can connect to anytime that you dip your awareness beneath the surface of your mind and what you are experiencing in the moment. To be in touch with your life and the feeling of being alive is to feel slightly blissful, slightly rapturous.

Accessing rapture through mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation by its nature invites us to dip below the surface of our attention, moving to deeper states of awareness that naturally contain some rapture. For example, within the forest monk tradition of breathing meditation there is a stage called ‘the beautiful breathing’. At this stage, which comes after achieving a certain level of competency focusing attention upon the breathing, the body starts to feel effortlessly comfortable, the breathing becomes smooth and even, and the mind moves toward a state of calm rapture. Once this is achieved, then we become able to access a feeling of quiet, everyday rapture at will, or at least more and more often in our daily life.

Thinking and acting from a place of rapture
You can cultivate your experience of rapture then by:

  • Being mindful of your past experiences of peak rapture, and the ones that come up for you in your daily life.
  • Noticing the everyday moments of rapture that are available to you whenever you take the time to notice them.
  • Cultivate a daily practice of mindfulness, where to learn to consciously dip into sustained states of calm rapture regularly.

One fun thing that you can then try doing is thinking and acting from a place of rapture, which is to say:

  • A place that is creative, playful and a little wild.
  • A place that is fulfilled in the moment.
  • A place that contains natural compassion.

Within the boundaries of what feels appropriate, try bringing your rapture mindfully into your everyday life, relationships and tasks. What might start to change in your life today if you did??

© Toby Ouvry 2016, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

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