... and then there is the Rapture, which the Fathers speak of:
58. Rapture means the total elevation of the soul's powers towards the majesty of divine glory, disclosed as an undivided unity. Or again rapture is a pure and all-embracing ascent towards the limitless power that dwells in light. Ecstasy is not only the heavenward ravishing of the soul's powers; it is also complete transcendence of the sense-world itself. Intense longing for God - there are two forms of it - is a spiritual intoxication that arouses our desire.
59. As just remarked, there are two main forms of ecstatic longing for God: one within the heart and the other an enravishment taking one beyond oneself. The first pertains to those who are still in the process of achieving illumination, the second to those perfected in love. Both, acting on the intellect, transport it beyond the sense-world. Such longing for the divine is truly a spiritual intoxication, impelling natural thoughts towards higher states and detaching the senses from their involvement with visible things. (-St. Gregory of Sinai)
When a man passes from the life of ascetic practice to the stage of spiritual knowledge, he is absent from the flesh (cf. 2 Cor. 5:8 ). Caught up as on clouds by the more lofty conceptual images into the translucent air of mystical contemplation, he is able to ‘be with the Lord for ever’ (1 Thess. 4:17). A man ‘is absent from the Lord’ (2 Cor. 5:6) if he is not yet able to contemplate his conceptual images of things with a pure intellect free from the operations of the senses (so far as this is possible), and if he cannot yet embrace the knowledge of the Lord in its true simplicity, without the help of symbols. (- St. Maximus)
Do not try to embark on the higher forms of contemplation before you have achieved complete dispassion, and do not pursue what lies as yet beyond your reach. If your wish is to become a theologian and a contemplative, ascend by the path of ascetic practice and through self-purification acquire what is pure. Do not pursue theology beyond the limits of your present state of development: it is wrong for us who are still drinking the milk of the virtues to attempt to soar to the heights of theology, and if we do so we will flounder like fledglings, however great the longing roused within us by the honey of spiritual knowledge. But, once purified by self-restraint and tears, we will be lifted up from the earth like Elijah or Habakkuk (cf. 2 Kgs. 2:11; Bel and Dr., verses 36-39), anticipating the moment when we will be caught up into the clouds (cf. 1 Thess. 4:17); and transported beyond the world of the senses by undistracted prayer, pure and contemplative, we may then in our search for God touch the fringe of theology. (- St. Theognostos)