Like anything good, you want more of it. The categories of chocolate cake, cigarettes or cognac cover most of the bases. Some say we humans are genetically addicted; we are predisposed to collecting; unsatisfied beings, we are gonna want more of something. I’m not so sure about that, but I do know that we would rather have more comfort in our lives than less of it.
Comfort is the state of feeling real good. Happy, secure, unafraid. Physical comfort likes a thread count of three thousand rather than three; soft beats the hell out of scratchy. Whipped crème tastes better than buttermilk. Emotional comfort, or a State Of Mind, also has many forms and levels. The love of family can meet such a need. Alcohol and pharmaceuticals have proven to be popular. Transcendence, or rising to a higher consciousness, stands as the pinnacle of all emotional comforts.
Transcendence is hard to define and difficult to achieve. It cannot be scheduled or prodded. Good works and many ducats do not guarantee a ride. Transcendence is something that suddenly happens and it feels real good. It has happened to me on several occasions. Given my limited consciousness for all things unknown and eternal, I shall do my best to offer an analysis.

I have been longing to write on this subject, but words fail me. How can one define transcendence? We do not possess sufficient vocabulary to state the sublime.
It is indefinable. How do you describe an orgasm? Many writers and bloggers have tried. No one seems to have reached a consensus. The scientist, the feminist and the pubescent teenager all call it something different. The French, who know a thing or two about romance, call it the ‘Little Death’ or ‘Petite Mort.’ This works for me. An orgasm is one of those highlights in life when we are carried into another dimension, another state of being, far better than our own. For a brief moment, we see the Light and touch the face of God. We radiate, basking in the glory of sensation.
Transcendence is just like an orgasm, but a lot less messy. And it lasts longer. And you don’t need to spend money on dinner and drinks.

History is full of transcendence. Humanity, at rare moments, becomes greater than itself; we are given a glimpse of something that we cannot describe nor comprehend. A veil has been lifted, just for a nanosecond.
God talks and people listen. It’s enough to make you head out to the desert for forty days and nights. (Full comp; gratuity included; no green fees.)
God speaks in many ways. He also speaks in tongues. I am not a Southern Pentecostal nor have I spoken in their snake-handling dialect, but I can guess that the moment must be transcendent. Joan of Arc was called a Messenger, an armor clad Blackberry from God; she took it to the streets. Throughout history, many have been spoken to, touched and, in some cases, molested by a divinity. The unknown must always be approached faithfully and skeptically for there are many tortillas with the image of the Virgin Mary burned upon them.
God speaks in many ways. Nature calls and whispers. The vast universe unfolds in all its infinite glory. Given the many complexities of life, one has to marvel with awe at the beauty of all that we do not know.

Every wisenheimer must deduce drugs as a heavenly calling card. It certainly appears to be the easiest, yet ultimately flawed, method. Like the first drink at a cocktail party for sociability, psychotropic hallucinogens expand the mind and allow a greater receptivity to points unknown. I have been acquainted with more than a few people whose vacations to the deep jungles of South America seemed to grow longer and more frequent, until that was the last anyone had heard from them.
Ancient cultures have ancient rituals. Take ‘Burning Man’ for instance. Many cultures place a distinction upon the physical world and a spiritual one; like any comfort-seeking mammal, man tries to build a bridge to heaven.
Drugs have an entertainment value. Consider the Malibu Guru, of which there are many to comfort the rich and distraught. The chiming of a bell, a pass of incense and a curry-flavored pill can take one far away from the green rolling hills that spill into the sea. Drugs are old business but logic dictates true transcendence would not require such an earthly enhancement.

Transcendence is big stuff. Some says it’s a fourth dimension that our 3-D minds cannot comprehend. Transcendence is ‘all-knowing’ which all by itself cuts off any healthy dialogue. If you knew what ‘God’ knew, then you’d be---its all pretty high-falutin’. It is an old phenomenon.

With a little trepidation at sounding whacked-out, I’ll share with you that I have had several moments in my life where I have experienced transcendence.
To be honest, yes, one was alcohol-fueled. But I really did hear the earth purr as it rotated on its axis.
The other three (or four) times were of sober mind. The brain and all of its neurons were active and dancing, intoxicated by beauty and the act of creation. I was working each time, on some sort of artwork. It always happens toward the end of a creative dilemma and its brutal battle, just when you can start to feel a little relief.
Creativity is a high and it seems to be a factor. The act of creation is an intensity of thought and of feeling, with total focus of both. Any creator will describe the sensation as otherworldly. Chet Baker called it ‘getting lost.’ One gets lost in the work.
If creativity serves as an intensity and focus, then the goal or hungry objective must be Beauty. If one is totally focused on creating Beauty, how can the heavens not open up? It’s the Stargate, the key to the universe, God’s Eye. It’s Beauty.
Twice I was at the computer, designing something and once, standing, painting at an easel.
Each time I was alone. It’s hard to focus on Beauty when someone is yowl-ling in your ear. The Lord doesn’t need an audience. You walk the red carpet alone.
The sensation was sudden. It felt real good; secure, weightless and cradled. There was an emotional sense of well-being. And an understanding of everything; hesitation ceased to exist. Most prominent were the sensation of knowledge and the awareness of a beautiful order and system. It gave a warm, tingling sensation at the back of the head.
The most recent transcendence allowed a breath-taking perspective. I was able to look at the whole of my universe through an indescribable lens. There was great order and a sense of sweet peace to the whole of it all. Time being relative, it felt like a long, warm bath.
There is an after-effect, a hangover if you will. Each time it ends quickly with a sudden sense of falling and you must catch yourself. It’s a funny feeling if you are sitting down.

It felt good. I liked it. I would like to live there, in that sensation. Unfortunately, I am shackled to this earth. A brief glimpse is the best I get and I am lucky for it.
I am a junkie for the transcendent. I hope I get to go there again. I will try and hedge the bet by fighting the Good Fight. It is a worthwhile endeavor and a noble goal. As far as addictions go, it’s a good habit to have. It’s highly unlikely that transcendence will force you to steal your mama’s TV set or end up living in the alley behind a liquor store.
Transcendence is more valuable than a country club membership. I’m just trying to evolve outta here; the new luxury is a state of mind.

GORDY GRUNDY is a Los Angeles based artist. His visual and literary works can be found at