My two-month hiatus from posting ByChanceBuddhism left me with a whole new desire, or perhaps need, to write. Of course my feeling is nothing new- while human beings have long benefited emotionally and intellectually from great written works, writers from all backgrounds have themselves been nurtured by writing's cathartic effect.
But 'catharsis' is an interesting term. According to Wikipedia, catharsis is a Greek word that means to 'cleanse or purge'.
Purge what, exactly? It may be clear that writers like Virginia Woolf, who had known the pain of sexual abuse, would have a lot to unleash. But what about a person like me, who grew up in rural western New York state, and who now lives happily married in a suburban apartment complex? What could I possibly have to 'purge'? On a human level, I suffer from the same restlessness and fear about the future that a lot of people face. But deep, dark angst and pain? Probably not, at least at this point in my life.
So why do I write? In an attempt to be mindful, I tried to stay aware of my feelings as I surfed the net and read books and magazine articles for the past few days. (A truly pleasant activity while recovering from jet-lag, by the way). As usual, I found certain passages insightful, images beautiful, articles that I disagreed with, etc. But after engaging in several hours of this each day, I felt drained. Why? I asked, when reading is something I truly enjoy?
I then realized that I was suffering from TMI (Too Much Information). Not the type of TMI where someone you just met shares intimate habits, but just simply T. M. I. Every day we open up our internet browser or turn on a smart phone and are immediately exposed to emails, news articles, weather and traffic reports, celebrity gossip, recipes, images, etc. These are all things people in modern societies are used to being exposed to, except not the internet makes all this information available to us in seconds.
From ancient to modern times, human beings have always had to process a lot, and still do. So in addition to the benefit of release that writing imparts on those who are suffering deeply, this same age-old method has done wonders for generations of people just trying to process the world around them.
And that's just what I'm trying to do- to navigate the sea of information spouted each day and process my experiences, emotions, and the world around me through written communication. I hope that despite the current TMI status quo, this processing will help me lead a wiser and more mindful life, and that any clarity or perspective I gain will somehow benefit others.
May all beings be happy!
You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what's burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke. ~Arthur Polotnik
The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbet Platt