I was just reading, on an airplane yesterday, a book manuscript by a new friend, and I came across a passage where he was quoting Joseph Campbell. Campbell, the great professor of mythology who popularized the phrase “Follow your bliss,” was surmising in the quoted prose that what most people are seeking for their lives isn’t necessarily a sense of meaning, but rather an experience of really being alive, and not just existing. The phrase that caught my eye was this: ‘so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.’
The rapture of being alive. Do you ever feel this? Do you ever feel something that could well be described this way?
I’ve felt this many times, in fact, too many to number. And it’s always a moment, or a time, of refreshment, re-invigoration, and even regeneration. When such a feeling comes over me, it’s almost like I’m being pulled back to a realization and a focus that I deeply need, but that I’ve drifted away from, silently nudged by the demands and vicissitudes of an active life. The suddenness of the rapture jerks me out of the everydayness of my ordinary sensibilities, and reminds me of the strange and mystical joy of being alive. And this, in turn, restores to me a perspective for everything I do.
It makes me wonder how I ever let this experience, this realization, this perspective, wane in the first place. It should be a constant, grounding sensibility underlying each of my waking moments. There should be a “Wow!” underneath and around everything.
It’s all about keeping the cosmic wonder alive. It should be the air we breathe, the ground we walk on, the magic we take in every second of every day.
I suspect that, to the extent that we can manage this, it will make everything better and easier - the choices, the challenges, the opportunities and difficulties. There is magic and wonder in everything. We can’t consider the biggest cosmic and metaphysical truths without realizing this. But to feel it, to sense it, and to live with the realization every day - to capture the rapture in the ordinary course of things - is to me not a substitute for a sense of meaning, but the only way to get a true fix on the deep and rich meaning there is to be found.
So, my advice: Go capture some of that rapture today.