In a strangely unprepared manner, last week, i found myself spring cleaning again. Not my cupboards or old boxes or chestnut drawers; but myself. A company-organized yoga class i'd joined had Catharsis as one of its sessions. Catharsis, a Greek word, literally translates to "cleansing" or "purging". In a broader, more contemporary and contextual sense it is understood to be "the discharge of affects connected to traumatic events that had previously been repressed by bringing these events back into consciousness and re-experiencing them" (American Psychological Association, 2007).
To put it to a kid, it's the process through which old, suppressed 'monsters' are brought back to the surface - so that they may be faced and hence overcome (i truly believe that the only way to defeat fear is to face it right in the eyes). The premise goes this way: we all exercise a certain control mechanism on ourselves, to acquire social acceptance (blend in with the crowd), almost all the time. The degree and forms of which could vary according to your upbringing, (social) culture, immediate circumstances, personal belief, etc. But the mechanism is never at rest. Apart from making enabling us to tolerate each other more easily, what this does is create a lot of suppressed emotions/thoughts/affects. Since these are not vented out, they twist and turn inside us and finally settle in our unconscious levels; where they act like the stagnant grime which does no good and only occupies space which could be taken up by something healthier and more useful.
Catharsis seeks to confuse or break this mechanism, using various techniques or ways. Once the sluice gates open, the suppressed waters burst forth with manic energy - uncontrollable, invincible. After the flood subsides, a most beautiful calm ensues. Your spirits re-breathes deeply and is re surged with fresh, vital energy. Some of the techniques used for Catharsis are:
- running/jumping/any other physical exertion
- screaming/shouting (primal shout)
- talking non-stop
- watching emotionally intense movies/acts/dramas (an example of Mass/Collective Catharsis)
The flood, that is the discharge that follows, is generally interpreted in the following ways:
1. Grief - crying/sobbing
2. Fear - trembling, cold perspiration
3. Anger - high pitch sounds, storming movements
4. Embarrassment - uninhibited laughter
5. Disgust - physical nausea
6. Physical fatigue - yawning, stretching
7. Guilt and shame - tears, sobbing, laughter
The realization for me was that many of us Catharsize ourselves in any of the aforementioned ways or otherwise; we just never named it. That makes it all the essential that we try and attempt it, regularly and as way to release the unfaced, the forgotten, the trapped. Spring clean yourself and fill up that space with verve, life and light.
Peace to all. Tonight's song is one to be enjoyed over the weekend, but i couldn't restrain from sharing it, so here it goes: "the lazy song" by Bruno Mars... :)