Peak Experiences

photo credit: louise hedberg

photo credit: louise hedberg

"Peak experiences involve a heightened sense of wonder, awe, or ecstasy over an experience." - Privette, "Defining moments of self-actualization: Peak performance and peak experience," 2001

"...a highly valued experience which is characterized by such intensity of perception, depth of feeling, or sense of profound significance as to cause it to stand out, in the subject's mind, in more or less permanent contrast to the experiences that surround it in time and space." - Leach, "Meaning and Correlates of Peak Experience," 1962

A fun exercise is to collect memories of the most wonderful experiences in your life: times when you were truly and completely invested in the moment; times of ecstasy, fulfillment, spiritual completion, awe.  

Can you think of a moment like that?  A moment of perfect happiness, relaxation, safety or excitement, unencumbered with thoughts of the past or future, complete in itself?  Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • Where were you?  
  •  Were you with anyone?  
  • What did the scene look like?  
  • Sound like?
  • Smell like?  
  • What sensations could you feel in your body?  
  • What was the temperature?  
  • The weather?  
  • The emotion?

I've noticed that by the time I've brought the memory alive, complete with all of these details, I begin to feel a buzz in my body that is almost as if I'm there.  Once developed these memories can be called upon as resources for EMDR.  And even without EMDR, it's invigorating to revisit them.

Please feel free to share your peak experiences in the comments; I'd love to hear about them!