Thursday, June 23, 2011


When working through the difficult things within, one important aspect of this is the ability to find catharsis.  Sometimes I think we want to think that catharsis should be some kind of deep quiet realization, or profound moment.  It could be that, but often if you look back on the cathartic moments in your life, I will bet that there was some kind of intense emotion or punching of pillows or pedaling on a bike or running like mad involved.  Maybe yelling, screaming, or some other kind of movement.  We quite intuitively know what will make us feel better.  The problem, for me, is that a momentary "venting" might loosen some material, but may not release all that needs to be released in order to feel like there is more of a permanent effect achieved.  This suggests to me that being able to bring movement into your life in a regular way can be of benefit to you and anything that has been repressed so that it has put a burden upon you in life. 

There is an important linkage between spirit and body.  They are not separate, but intimately connected.  Body springs from the vast consciousness and its infinite ability to create and form.  Sounds like cosmic talk, eh?  By allowing yourself the freedom to MOVE you can clear blockages in your body.  Many traditions utilize movement as a way of freeing the spirit and thus body of these issues or problems.  When we have repressed feelings, they can cause all kinds of problems.  Pushing them down further doesn't work.  Pushing them out will.  Movement can help facilitate change.

The turning point for me in many ways was when I was told that I needed to find the man who would help me do energy work.  Whoever this man was, I was told, would help me with the blocks that I had in my energy field, what felt like my body, and what I had grown largely numb to. Turns out that the following day after being told this that I was told by a friend how she was going to a Qi Gong class led by a man who knew about all kinds of energy work and was something of an expert in his field (he wrote a reference book on similar subjects).  Turns out Qi Gong means "energy work" and is a way of moving the body that is supposed to move the energy field, to loosen it up and allow knots and issues to fall away.  When I came away from that first session, I didn't feel better.  I felt clammy and weird.  I began having anxiety.  And then I began to feel things fall away.  Often I didn't even know what these things were, but they were dropping in a pretty significant way.  The first thing this did was to attune me to all the other garbage that needed to be swept out of me.  All my own stuff, all needed to go in order to be clearer.  I did this through movement.  This turning point did not happen all at once nor in a very short period, but came with a regimen that I set for myself. I would go to Qi Gung twice a week for months at a time. Sometimes I would practice certain movements outside of the class.  But by keeping at this over a period of time I was able to begin the process of loosening up the junk lodged in my field.

I have found that work, good movement, as well as letting my frustration be vented can all be very healthy ways for catharsis.  Forget if you don't think whether behaving that way isn't spiritual.  You ARE spiritual. You can't help it. Its what you are!  Letting yourself be free enough to make whatever sound will move through you that feels like it needs to be expressed can be a very useful endeavor because what this does is it can help put you in touch with your feelings.  The feeling side of yourself is that part which connects with the divine.  Its certainly not your mind or ego, so the better able you are to relate to this part of your nature, the better able you are to relate to your own divine reality or being.  It might sound too simplistic, but it is true.

Your feeling side is not just a place of repressed emotion and raw hurt.  We talk of the subconscious the same way, and yet if we simply say "okay, so I have skeletons in my closet; let's clear them out to see what this closet holds."  Once we get the unresolved out of the way what we have is a portal that can be used to access our most holy of holies. Sound grandiose?  Maybe you should try it.  Perhaps we have not felt terribly spiritual for the simple reason that so much lay in the the very channel where our most significant and powerful connection with the universe lay.  YOU are this universe.  And it is love. Movement can be one aspect in a panoply of tools in your toolbox that can help you in moving forward.

The thing about movement is that you can't force it.  By forcing it, you are only riding on the surface of change.  By letting go and being as uninhibited as possible, you stop controlling and you begin to flow.  Then the catharsis can move through you deeply and perfectly.  Sometimes this can be achieved through crying, sometimes, for the reason that it often involves a form of surrender. Crying can be cathartic and this can be combined with movement and other "venting" methods that helps to move energy and the old stuff out of its place.  Sometimes, too, it means strong body movement.  Don't be afraid of what you might feel.  Just let it all flow through you and see if you can let the observer or watcher in you watch everything as it passes.  By being a little detached, you might find you are less invested in an outcome.  Might be also that you simply move into it like a hot whatever feels right to you. 

Have you ever heard about the Shakers that lived in America?  These people, who were of Germanic descent, were a simple people, but also very devout to simple practice of their faith and way of living a simple life.  As a creative person, I have some issues with their spare furniture style, but they had something that sprang out of a very intuitive understanding of what body movement is all about.  The Shakers shook.  The Shakers were a group that came originally from the Quakers, a group who believed in finding the truth within, to seek without intermediaries the divine. While the shaking of the Shakers had to do with their receiving the Holy Spirit, intuition tells me that their ecstatic movements helped them to access these clearer states of being. The literature is steeped in the language of the time, about letting go of lust, which I very much see as letting go of attachment to repressed emotion and hurt.  Its when we do that, I think, that we begin to touch upon the divine.  It isn't that sexuality is itself lust, but how sexuality is turned through repressed emotion.  When you have unresolved issues, these cloud the energy and cause it to turn raw instead of divine.  And less than throwing of the intensity of our sexuality in the midst of spiritual ecstasy, we learn to live with it, become partners in a way that is different from what went before.  So the shaking may have helped to shift the energy some.

You do not need a system  to adhere to.  You can make it up simply by doing what feels good.  Or what works.  Your intuition can guide you, and its not complicated.  By moving out of mind, we can move into feeling, and strong physical movement that gets the body pumping blood can be a very good way of leaving behind the mind.  I can remember running across campus as a college student, late for class (almost) and had to run all the way across campus to get to class in time.  I was totally focused on giving my body what it needed in order for it to get me where I needed to go.  While I had a lot of anxiety through this, I also got there on time and all that uncertainty dropped away. What I noticed was how focused I was in my body.  I was gasping for breath. I felt as though every cell in my body was doing everything it could just to get itself oxygenated.  There was no room for too much thinking.  When I sat down in class, I noticed that I was seeing auras around my teacher and classmates.  Something in me had shifted, had opened, and a very natural ability that I had was allowed to come through all of the mentalizing and inner chatter.  This was not complicated at all.  I reached an energetic pitch within that catalyzed the awareness that I had always had.  Something broke free in a sense.  There was a form of catharsis, even though I wasn't dealing with a lot of emotional material.  But for a time, my field was freed up just long enough to simply BE.  So no wonder, then, that movement and body work can be such an important and valuable tool.

Perhaps it might help to study some established methods.  Maybe watch Qi Gung (also spelled "Gong") and follow along on a video.  Maybe a run might help, or some ecstatic movement that you just make up on the spot.  Remember, though, that some traditions can be very old, and while they can be tried and true, not all systems that are thousands of years old can always serve the modern woman or man.  We live in a very different culture now, and we have changed from when some of these methods were created.  So take what works and consider that you might need a more physical method for catharsis.  This process seems to work best when you loosen up on the inside as much as you do on the outside, whatever form it takes.  Some forms of movement might work best when you really push yourself, the same way I had to do so many years ago....really going to the edge of what you can handle.

I suspect that due to the nature of consciousness, we tend to forge alliances with other forms of consciousness(think about all the cells in your body and how each one is itself its own form of awareness working together to create the wave of awareness upon which your own being rides).  Think about how your own individuality is part of a still larger form of awareness, yet another "I" or Oversoul.  When you have energy that is unresolved, it can also mean that you attract etherically  that you might not even be aware are around you, those lower forms of consciousness whose own energy matches the unresolved in you and which when they associate with you on the subconscious level, also serve to reinforce in your physiology and psychology those states that serve to keep you in less than resolved places.  Through movement, our energy field actually gets shaken up so that its hard for these beings to remain attached. 

So I hope that you can find a way to incorporate the power that catharsis has in your life by letting your body move and "shake off" all those things that might be unresolved.  Ultimately, this is about growing up within our spiritual selves, and once we are able to divest ourselves of all of the dross, the way we can wind up feeling is so much better than anything that went before.

In the process of thinking about how movement can help us, I looked up the Shakers and also came across a video by Osho that was recommended by a yoga site.  The video led to this page which might be a helpful way of getting started! 

No comments: