Sunday, April 29, 2018


Catharsis could be defined as the transformation of negative emotions into their truly positive counterparts. A quick and easy definition of “truly positive” is that these counterparts are freed from egoism and self-centeredness, to referring everything back to our own pleasure and pains.

For instance, turning anger into a love and understanding of whoever/whatever you are angry at, as Christ suggested (“Love your enemies”). There can also be righteous and unselfish anger, as when Christ overturned the tables of the bankers in the temple and drove them out with a whip, but most of our anger is not really unselfish/righteous/out of moral feelings, but out of narcissistic feelings — this person hurt me, how is this person so evil, etc.

Anger generally can either be turned into love, or into useful force, as in self-defense or defending an
innocent or some moral principle (but, again, one has to take care to not get too identified with oneself as a hero, or one becomes a Pharisee, people who felt good from criticizing others without criticizing themselves).

Another example is turning sadness into a contemplation of the impermanence of material reality and the existence of a higher redeeming spiritual reality.

Recently I have been making use of a form of catharsis in the gym by marching as well as running on beat to a treadmill with really loud music. Eventually I fall into a trance and all of my anger gets released. This in turn gives me an opportunity to utilize visualization techniques which will help me manifest my goals into reality.

I have discovered that opportunities such as those are a good form to utilize magick in a way other than usual rituals and meditation. Also, if you grew up in an overly religious family, you may have subconscious limiting beliefs which may be preventing traditional ritual magick from working, so methods like this could be a good work-around.

In doing this however, one must be careful to not be completely overtaken by the feeling and be taken over by the high. In that case it would be like you're just playing mental gymnastics to get high rather than visualize.

An interesting man gave his perspective to me on this topic once upon a time...

Negative emotions are like a sort of clever leech on our energy. In fact, “negative” is a somewhat imperfect way to describe how they feel, because in every negative emotion, there is a kernel of a sick pleasure which makes us addicted to them. In fact, most people’s pleasures in their emotional lives (as opposed to simple physical pleasures) comes from indulging in and reveling in negative emotions. However, the pleasure is temporary and imperfect compared to that of true positive emotions, and negative emotions gradually wear you down over time.

Think of it like sadomasochism. You stick a knife into your flesh. It hurts, clearly. But some endorphins and a sexual thrill flows through you, assuming your brain is built for this weird kink. You keep doing it for the pleasure, when you’re really hurting yourself and there’s pleasure and pain at the same time. And the more pain there is, the more pleasure there is of a rush balancing it out. This is why we feel so good sometimes to just start screaming at someone and become violent, so empowered and thrilled and self-righteous; we feel like we’re great people and the others are assholes or worthless; but after, of course, we usually find ourselves drained of energy.

This idea of perverse pleasures in negative emotions can also be applied, obviously, to other emotions. Self-pity is really unpleasant and can destroy your life, but people get addicted to it because there’s a kernel in it which is so satisfying — “Poor me, I deserve to be pitied and loved by other people, I’m a person who doesn’t deserve this suffering etc etc”. Sadness, similarly, can be intoxicatingly addicting because of a certain aesthetic quality to it, like in tragic works of art. 

Thus I'd say the wisest thing is to ensure everything you do is in moderation, and not get too swayed with the feeling catharsis brings, and to only use it as a stepping stone to your goals.

To that end, I would like to share my technique of this catharsis based visualization. As I said before, all you really need is a treadmill, some headphones that won't slip off while you're running, and really loud music.

The goal of the loud music is to drown out whatever is going on around you so you can really focus on the exercise. If needed use mp3 amplification software to make your mp3's louder than usual. There may be a bit of distortion, but that's ok.

The type of music you need is one that can really replicate the wave of emotions we're feeling at any given time. I like progressive metal, because it goes fast, and slow, and fast, and slow. It allows you to truly express yourself based on the music. 

I recommend only using metal at the end because the darkness in the music will completely drain your energy. So begin with a warm-up that is not that happy, but also not that dark. I reccomend funk music for this. The song I frequently use is Freak Jack, by Casiopea:

Just feel out the beat, dance to it, and get loose. Remember, you're just trying to warm up. So make sure the treadmill speeds are low. The mindset you should have is that of exercise being secondary, and staying in rhythm being first in your priorities. If you find that you're getting too tired in this first step, lower the treadmill speeds until you're just about to break a sweat.

Now is the time when you're going to start really getting angry, or atleast get on the road to there. For this you need fast, repetitive music, which also has elements of free-flowing in them. The goal now is to start gradually letting it out, but not ALL THE WAY. You're gonna hit about 7/10, but not 11/10.  For this, I recommend Symphony X - In  The Dragon's Den.

Choose a dominant foot and stomp that foot with the snare drum. Your goal should now be a marching mentality, and if you're doing it right, it should also feel like you're skipping. Your intensity should now be high. If your headphones were off, the sound of your shoes hitting the treadmill would be loud and clear. Despite this do your best to keep the coordination. Adjust the speed- on most treadmills 5.0 is a good start. You're definitely running.

Now, you want to do your best to FEEL out the music. This is why you want generally more progressive music as opposed to say rap. For example, on 1:32 the music gets faster and the intensity goes up. You should adjust your speed and body in reaction to this to better suit the music. 

Your goal is to become ONE with the music. As you can see the music intensity is getting higher, and higher, and higher, and then it finally DROPS! You can replicate this emotion by making the speed gradually go higher, and higher, as well as adjusting your body movement to be erratic and CRAZY! So when the solo begins at 1:55, this is the key when your anger should let loose and you should be really releasing your anger. Imagine yourself just letting go, maybe even being possessed by a demon. No, you are that demon. 

But wait! You still haven't reached that pinnacle yet. At 2:20 there is one final intensity increase, then THERE it is 2:38

Now at this point you should look like a mad man to everyone around if you're in a public gym. If done correctly your head should be bobbing like crazy, you should be panting, moaning. You may rip off your shirt or tanktop amidst the pain. But you will then reach that point where you get the BOOST, a thought will rummage- and your confidence will soar. You ARE that person. Endurance and speed will emerge out of no where. You will begin to imitate the guitars with your body movement and face. And finally when the chorus returns, you will return to simple marching/running. At this point you will probably need to reduce the speed to compensate for your loss of stamina.

If you really went overboard, you will probably tumble to the ground or end up lying down on the treadmill. That is usually saved for step 3 or step 4, but that's a good sign. It means you managed to reach that release. Generally speaking if you get here on step 2 it's a good sign that you should begin to visualize once you're going crazy on that final drop.

With each step you should go higher and higher. By the end of step 4 is when you will be completely destroyed. If you reach that "PEAK" sooner, than by all means begin to visualize sooner. If you're interested, the songs I usually use after that are Symphony X - Smoke and Mirrors and Frederick Thorthendal's Sol Niger Within (quite possibly one of the most soul crushing masochistic metal tracks ever created.) 

Anyway, give this a try sometime if you wish. If you're afraid of looking stupid or off, maybe try going to the gym in the morning when no one's there, or use a friend's treadmill or something.

No comments:

Post a Comment