According to Plotinus, ecstasy is the culmination of human possibility. He contrasted emanation (πρόοδος, prohodos) from the One—on the one hand—with ecstasy or reversion (ἐπιστροφή, epistrophe) back to the One—on the other.
This is a form of ecstasy described as the vision of, or union with, some otherworldly entity (see religious ecstasy)—a form of ecstasy that pertains to an individual trancelike experience of the sacred or of God.
The term is currently used in philosophy usually to mean "outside-itself". One's consciousness, for example, is not self-enclosed, as one can be conscious of an Other person, who falls well outside one's own self. In a sense consciousness is usually, "outside itself," in that its object (what it thinks about, or perceives) is not itself. This is in contrast to the term enstasis which means from "standing-within-oneself" which relates to contemplation from the perspective of a speculator.
This understanding of enstasis gives way to the example of the use of the "ecstasy" as that one can be "outside of oneself" with time. In temporalizing, each of the following: the past (the 'having-been'), the future (the 'not-yet') and the present (the 'making-present') are the "outside of itself" of each other. The term ecstasy (German: Ekstase) has been used in this sense by Martin Heidegger who, in his Being and Time of 1927, argued that our being-in-the-world is usually focused toward some person, task, or the past (see also existence and Dasein). Telling someone to "remain in the present" could then be self-contradictory, if the present only emerged as the "outside itself" of future possibilities (our projection; Entwurf) and past facts (our thrownness; Geworfenheit).