If you look up the word "bliss", it's defined as "supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment". That's a technically accurate definition, sure, but I don't think it comes close to encapsulating the magnitude of the word. Another definition is "heaven; paradise", which provides better imagery of its meaning, but there's still room for interpretation. This is my interpretation.
Now that I live in Washington D.C., I spend a decent amount of time driving back and forth between D.C. and New Jersey. During those long drives, listening to podcasts has become one of my favorite things to do; dare I say, it brings me bliss (sorry, I had to). During my last drive, one of the podcasts I listened to talked about... you guessed it, bliss, and what it is. It gave auditory examples of bliss and asked people the moments they felt bliss. As usual, it got me thinking. What is bliss? I mean, I know what it is, and I think most people have an innate understanding of what bliss is, but I wanted to bring it out and talk about it, because the more I thought about it, the more I realized how incredible of a thing it really is.
To me, bliss is momentary euphoria. It's that revelatory moment of suspension when time stops and you're engulfed in the present moment, overwhelmed and elated by beauty and joy. It's that moment when you find out you got your dream job; it's that moment when your crush tells you they feel the same way you do; it's that moment when your team hits a walk-off home run or buzzer-beating shot to win the game; I haven't experienced it yet, but I imagine it's that moment when you hold your newborn child for the first time. (It's also that moment when you finally get to pee after holding it in for what feels like a lifetime during a long car ride). I can go on.
The common thread in a majority of moments of bliss is that in most cases, it's fleeting. The uncontrollable joy and excitement lasts a few seconds, and the prevailing happiness carries over into the next few minutes, maybe hours, and in special cases, into the next few days, but eventually, you begin to come back to reality, wherever reality is for you. That may sound like a bad thing, but I think that temporariness is what makes those moments so special. Moments of overwhelming bliss are a culmination of all the angst, hardship, and struggle it took to reach that pinnacle, and were that feeling of bliss an everyday occurrence, there wouldn't be the motivation to go after those moments.
Up to this point, what I've described are those short-lived, overwhelming moments of bliss. I believe there is a deeper form of bliss, one that is longer-lasting. In my case, I've come to realize that I am happiest when time is of no concern. One of my favorite things in the world is a quality conversation, and when I find myself in a really great conversation, I can converse forever; time, or anything else in that moment, doesn't matter. Sports, particularly basketball, can provide me with a similar feeling. When I'm on the court, nothing else is on my mind other than basketball, and I could play forever if my body would let me. Like momentary bliss, time disappears, and there's a familiar euphoric feeling, but there's something else too; there's this epiphanic sense where you see everything with perfect clarity. You aren't perfect, and the world certainly isn't either, but you feel completely at peace knowing the world has so much to offer, and that you have so much to give back. It's a sense of connection, a wholeness; it feels as if everything is a piece of everyone. Most importantly, it feels sustainable, even if only little pieces of it. It's that "aha" moment when, although the clarity may not be ever-lasting, there's something that clicks that tells you: things can be better. It may all sound ridiculous, but it's real; I've felt it. It doesn't happen often, but each time it does, I come away a little more hopeful, and I'd like to think as a little bit better of a person. Those moments are what I'm after. That's my bliss.