I’ve had different kinds of experiences involving a sense of heightened aliveness. I can distinguish between aliveness associated with ‘adrenaline highs‘ with elements of heightened fear, and also a moment of extraordinary joy after a prolonged period of worry and anxiousness that suddenly concluded with immense freedom, release, and near unspeakable joy. And I remember heightened aliveness at times during deep meditation when energy came rising up the spine culminating in an ecstatic experience, and some other happenings as well, like being overcome with ‘inner‘ tearful gratitude after being shown a depth of being I had never before experienced.
The adrenaline events are mixed with fear or anxiety over what has been ‘imagined‘ as coming next, then there is a shift to leaving those stories behind, to step off into the unknown, to just go with it and plunge into the on-coming future, come what may. ‘Letting go‘ is acceptance of the unknown with an attitude of “whatever happens, happens” — Something like rock climbing, for instance, or rescuing someone when I was younger as a lifeguard in a roiling surf. I don’t have many adrenaline experiences these days, I’m much older now and they are not my favorite way to experience heightened aliveness.
I also remember losing a loved one, waking up in the middle of the night with tears aching with the loss. Ordinarily out of habit, I would have moved away from such intense emotional pain. I decided instead to sit up in bed and fully focus on the pain, to accept it, stay with it, be present and embrace it. After a while the pain moved in time and space, changing, it lost the identity I had assigned it, it was intense feeling, but it became almost sweet, evolving into the most exquisite feeling of love that I can ever recall.
As Hayward pointed out, practicing TSK, that is, inquiring into whatever arises, thoughts, feelings, or the observance and simple being with nature, can also illuminate with energy and a heightened feeling of aliveness — Being present at the edge of now, welcoming what comes, loving what comes with open arms, grateful for the arrival.