While messing around on the computer (writing my thesis, actually) I watched my daughter (15 months) roll out a mat and set down a pillow. She then started imitating some yoga poses. When I layed down next to her and imitated the pose that she was doing, she took the opportunity to climb on my back and have her first horsey ride. Not much balance but she was having fun.
My feeling is that, at least in Zen and Tibetan Buddhism (the tradition I was trained in, along with this thing called Shambhala), the experience of Divine Union and ecstatic bliss and, more generally, happiness—needs to come out of being fully present, or “extra-ordinary” as Trungpa Rinpoche put it. You can’t shortcut your way there, whether through drugs of amateur hour kirtan (as opposed to folks who know what they’re chanting) or what-have-you. Bliss is talked about a great deal in Vajrayana. So is union. But it’s through the ordinariness of as-it-is, not through some sort of pyrotechnics, that true lasting bliss is realized (as opposed to achieved).
In my limited experience this holds to be true. When I think I’m happy, I’m just roiling about on the wheel of samsara. When I am truly happy, or content, or cheerful as Trungpa Rinpoche liked to call the state of happiness, as opposed to the momentary experience—it comes out of meditation practice, and just learning to be present, and ordinary. As ordinary, you could say, as taking a sh*zzle.
Just goes to show you that “Divine Bliss” or “extra-ordinary” happiness is not necessarily found on the mat or cushion staring at a wall. In this case “the experience of Divine Union and ecstatic bliss” was staring me flat in the face and came in the form of a “horsey-ride”.
While this period of happiness was only momentary and transient; the realization of that moment is what we accomplish through those hours of sitting or stretching – bowing or prostrating – chanting or reiterating and listening. A closer realization of the moment and the happiness that is inherit within it.
The truly frightening part of this realization is when it dawns on you that all moments have this intrinsic happiness. We just choose to ignore 99% of them.