Catharsis: Better Out than In – Part 3


The final part of these articles on the process of catharsis…

In parts 1 and 2 of this series, I discussed how catharsis and purging is good for you to help release stuck emotions and other tensions, which otherwise would make you ill.  Negative stuck emotions are stored somewhere in the body. It may be the musculature or the fascia layer. It may also be in our heart chakra causing a blockage. Purging of emotions is one way to release this. For example, psychotherapy or counselling are useful methods to help bring about a catharsis. Action is also a useful way of releasing tension and especially anger.

In this article, I will continue discussing purging and give 7 steps to carry out a mini-catharsis.

Here are 7 ways to do a mini catharsis:

1. Confession.

Open up to a professional listener. Could be a priest, spiritual couch, counsellor or life coach. Best not with a friend and definitely not your wife or husband. You are too close to them. There is a reason why confession is a hallmark of  the catholic faith. They know that releasing through words has a powerful healing effect. If you don’t feel comfortable with opening up to someone, or there is no one, than a form of confession can also be carried out by yourself. Seek out a private place, where you can speak out loudly and confess to yourself. Alternatively, write down or make a journal recording your past. If you journal on your computer, make sure to password protect everything. Or delete files. You do not want other people ever having a chance of finding out your dirty secrets.

Here is a quote form the Spiritualist Irina Twedy. As she underwent an intense training with her Sufi master. At one point, she was asked to write a confession by her teacher:

“You must write down all the wrongs and evil deeds you have committed since your childhood. It will serve as a confession. A kind of curriculum vitae of your sins. Otherwise you may be called by God one day to account for it; but when the culprit confesses he becomes free…”

2. Crying

I’ve already discussed crying as a method of release in an earlier article.

3. Singing

Yes singing. Think of karaoke. I mentioned before about the Japanese being one of the most emotionally repressed nationalities on the planet. They hold it all in until it kills them. But the Japanese are very resourceful and innovative and so as a counter-balance, they invented karaoke.

If you’ve ever been to a Japanese karaoke centre, you’ll understand my  point. Japanese karaoke places are amazing. You can have your own room depending on the size of your party – whether it’s just you, or a large group. There are smoking or non-smoking rooms. You can order beers, snacks and cooked food using a phone-intercom in the room, which then gets delivered to you. And you can pick from a wide selection of songs (many in English). And then you sing and drink and sing as much to your heart’s content and let it all out.

A lot of Japanese do this to let off steam. They have a horribly repressive society and work environment. If they didn’t have good beer and karaoke, I think there would be a lot more mentally sick people there.

4. A night out with a good friend.

Another effective way to have a mini-catharsis is to have a night-out with a good friend. My wife is in a dramatically better mood, when she has a night out with a girlfriend or group of women. I knows she is probably spending the whole evening talking about what an asshole I am. But I don’t mind, because when she gets back, she is in a much better mood. I don’t need to know what she says about me. Instead, it gives me a chance to play my playstation vita, which is good for me to relax. I also feel a lot better when I have a mini-party with a good friend. It is a chance to talk freely and laugh, or possibly take part in illegal underground fighting clubs… which leads me to point number 5.

5. Fighting

Well not exactly fighting – I will explain. Well this is a good one for men. If you’ve seen the movie Fight Club, you’ll understand why I put this here. There is a dark masculine side which is suppressed in our modern world. That movie was essentially about gaining freedom by recapturing our male energy in the most extreme way we can – by participating in illegal underground fight clubs.

We have become civilised but deep down there is this wild beast. So we have to learn to unleash that beast. We need to discharge some of that excess testosterone we have. Sports is a good way or any physical activity. I guess martial arts, boxing, soccer or rugby would be good for guys that have an excess amount of testosterone.

6. Ki-ko (Qigong) and Meditation

This is the slow and gentle way. It will eventually lead to a catharsis, although it may take many years.

Here is an interesting quote from the Sufi master Irina Twedy, who meditated for many years in India. Below is a quote from her book of what happened during the early stages of having her kundalini energy awakened. Her sleep was disturbed by horrible hallucinations:

“I suddenly noticed in the dark room around me, some kind of whirling, dark, grey mist. Trying to focus on it, I detected that there were some strange shapes moving about and soon I could distinguish most hideous things, or beings; leering, obscene, all coupled in sexual intercourse, elemental creatures, animal-like, performing wild sexual orgies. I was sure that I was going mad…

Things I never knew could be done, or could exist; the most lecherous filth, I had to witness this night. Never knew? If I did not know it, how could I see it? It must be somewhere in my depths, or else how, how could I see it? It must have been in me…”

All that stuck stuff inside ain’t going to look pretty when it comes out

So here, after many years of deep meditation practice, something deep came out from her. All of Irina’s negative emotions, angers and fears came out in the manifestation of all these horrific hallucinations. Essentially, this scene depicts a catharsis. These monsters represented the final purge of all the bad stuff in her.

7. Finally, a long journey by yourself

In other words – a pilgrimage. A time to be alone in a new place, even better if it is a different country, where you can reflect on things. Hiking is good. The movie Forrest Gump depicts a scene where the depressed Forrest starts running non-stop across the US as he resolves his issues internally.

Apparently, in American history, many other people have run or mostly walked across the continent. In Japan, there are famous pilgrimage routes. Other countries have the same. Aside from the fact that walking is good for you, a long journey by yourself is sometimes really needed to help process thoughts and feelings. It is not always possible to do this especially if you have family and commitments, but if you are able, it might be just what is needed.

Conclusion: Catharsis

So any of these steps should help to purge yourself. It may be that there is a lot of inner work for you to do, based on the level of stuck energy and emotions in your body. I have had to do a lot on myself and still continue to do so. I have found that acupuncture has helped me release a lot of stuck emotions from my belly, which is where I held a lot of it in, particularly related to the disease I suffered from as a young man.

You may have an area of your body where you store all your repressed emotions. This is because energy does not simply disappear once in the body. It sticks around somewhere unless you let it out. This is the reason why some people may find themselves crying whilst undergoing deep yoga practice, meditation or having a treatment like massage or acupuncture. It releases that stuck energy and the associated emotions with it.

We can also help that process along by following some of the points in this article. Your soul will thank you for it.


Picture Accreditation

Japanese Temple Garden – Silvia Lüthi.