Purge your heart and mind

Purge your heart

The Bard and his tragedies
Expel salt water from our eyes
What catharsis this!

Everyone wants to be happy. To this end, we sometimes try to avoid encountering anything that could make us sad and serious. We shun weepy people. We avoid sad movies and heavy tragic literature. But it is these tragedies in other people’s lives, as depicted in some tragic work of art or literature, that may eventually bring about real and more ‘lasting’ happiness in our lives.

Comedies (and jokes) give instant laughter and happiness but this might be temporary if you are internally very unhappy. In comparison, viewing or reading great tragedies initially brings up emotional tension, along with feelings of pity and fear, till we get too emotional after which we may end up crying, esp. if we can relate to the sad story. It is this emotional release that has many positive effects.

The release of our pent-up emotions is Catharsis. The term catharsis, that was first used by Aristotle in his Poetics, explains the impact of tragedy on audiences – that is purification and cleansing that can lead to renewal of self.

Psychologists also use catharsis, as they want to encourage discharge of built-up feelings in their clients. Weeping or feeling sad is thus not so bad for us if it results in sound mind which leads to improved physical health. That is why, a person who sheds tears off and on is possibly happier than someone who never cries. We all have seen relatives within our families who were known for their jovial laughter and yet had sudden heart-attack – gone in a jiffy. Because they didn’t know how to cry.

Tragedies help in this. But one must learn to learn from tragedies, real or fiction. How much optimum dose of tragic reading/viewing is good for us and how to get the most from it.

William Shakespeare’s dense tragedies like Macbeth, Hamlet  as also Romeo & Juliet leave deep impact on us readers/viewers as they cause catharsis and purgation.  We empathize with the characters caught in conflicts. We pity Macbeth for his ambition.  In Hamlet, we can relate to the dilemma of indecision faced by the main character. That’s because most of our lives we also face this situation –  ‘To be, or not to be, that is the question.’

Often, after exposure to such tragedies our self-evaluation becomes more forgiving.  We tell ourselves –  ‘Hey! It’s ok.  There are others like us who suffer, others who have tragic flaws, who face downfall in life. That’s life. Same for all mortal humans.’
Such thoughts ease our mind. What catharsis this!

After your heart is purged enough, you can strengthen it further by finding ways to laugh. Since we talked about Shakespearean tragedies, here’s a poem that I wrote on Sir Shakespeare is also in good humor:  Request Denied.

Is this post getting too lengthy for a Haiku challenge? See, that’s the problem with writers and poets. Once we start writing, we get so absorbed that we are unable to stop.

The bard in me
gets me too immersed in writing
No need for food or water

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

My Haiku poems and thoughts for Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge
Words given: Bard & Water

Copyright © 2015 Alka Girdhar


14 thoughts on “Purge your heart and mind

  1. Pingback: Ronovan Writes Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt Challenge 47 Review | ronovanwrites

  2. This is profoundly deep thought and implications are far and wide, indeed how we manage the emotions within matters how we grow and how we live our life. It is again very much in our personality, yes many of us keep the emotions very close to our heart and never comfortable in sharing and release the pressure and the stress. If we freely express ourselves and laugh or cry aloud, the pressure dissipate and disappears. And it never easy to do so, there is an art in handling the pressure and emotions which if left to wander can damage us and if allowed to freed we enhance our living.

    You are right as writer once we start the end never comes and we keep on going on and on, every genre and every space has boundary and limitation, it is essential for us to be cognizant of the same and appreciate the conventions, breaking is good for few times but never should be destroyed and rebel against all the rules and norms… but as creative persons we love freedom and space to explore and expand our horizon without anchors and conditions.

    Loved the whole idea and it kept me on going deep and deep into the layers of thoughts that you have beautifully laid in the poem or an extended Haiku..
    Have a lovely weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Nihar! That’s true…how we manage our emotions is very much in our personality. But this personality is either inborn or formed after being conditioned by external factors within our initial families. Children cry their heart out, and soon they forget everything and sleep peacefully. But as we grow older, we learn to hide our inner selves because we are afraid of each other, afraid of being judged by others. Crying and weeping means you are not happy, or else you are assumed to be a weak or negative person.
      But as you said, not facing our inner turmoil is damaging. People get dreams about issues that remain pending in their hearts, the ones they did not cry out. Sometimes they take it out as anger.

      About writing…yes is a spontaneous process and as a rule we should do what we feel like. But there is that readability factor, that our writings should fall under the norms of a genre that its meant to be in. Many people break the norm and start a new hybrid genre.

      Thanks again for your appreciation and such insightful comments! Wish you too a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed Alka, emotions are very much in our personality and so many factors govern our development personality. With age and stage of life we keep changing and behaving different to situations, many times these situations becomes the barriers to the expression of our emotions. It is the expression that takes the heaviness residing in us, free flow of expression and good conversations makes us a better person, we engage and interact better with people and things around.
        Keeping things inside can only add to the pain and agony of life, we all face the difficult situations in life and expression changes those perspective of how we handle turmoils and turbulence. Dreams becomes reality only when we put those inner thoughts into action, and it needs courage and evolved personality to be able to boldly face the world.
        Yes, I agree about the readability factor, it is indeed important. But as a writer we keep experimenting with new combinations and different genres to see what new dimension can be developed and what new perspective can be built…writing is about the freedom of expression and free flow of ideas…

        Thanks so much for our lovely conversations…

        Dear Alka, whenever you get time pls read the review of another friend of mine on “voice of nature” and I keenly waiting to hear your views…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, I agree with you. Our emotions are our basic personality as well as factors like age and situations. Your views are inspirational and I see the value of expressing our thoughts with courage.
          I’ll visit the mentioned site and do as you said and later share my views.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Nihar, your Voice of Nature seems to be a wonderful book with a deep message about environmental issues. Lovely characters within your book.
          I was reminded of Panchtantra stories that had inherent message about code of conduct and righteous behavior. Harmony in nature should indeed be our final goal.
          Great work!! Wish you all the best and hope your voice reaches out to great many people. That’s how there can be a positive change in this world.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks so much Alka. It is a small attempt in nurturing nature and I always felt that we are distancing ourselves and only in vacation we go close to nature and and enjoy our holidays, thereafter we forget and look at the development at the cost of nature and become a mute witness, I thought if any way our writing and messaging can help change the way we look at nature and in whatever small way if we can contribute and can make a change, we all will feel better.
            Thanks once again for supporting and your lovely words of appreciations, it matters…
            take care!!!

            Liked by 1 person

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