"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about calming your mind and opening your heart enough to engage Life directly, to be more fully Present in a kind, clear, and helpful way."

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call! The Musings of a Long-time Student of Meditation

Sunday, October 6, 2019

For Crying Out Loud!

“Crying is one of the highest devotional songs. One who knows crying, knows spiritual practice. If you can cry with a pure heart, nothing else compares to such a prayer.  Crying includes all the principles of Yoga.”


“In the Lakota/Sioux tradition, a person who is grieving is considered 
most wakan, most holy."

Emmet Kelly 1898-1979
Some time ago,  I came across the above quote by Swami Kripalvanandji while preparing for a yoga class that I was going to teach later that day.  I immediately emailed it to a dear friend who was having a rough time.

She replied that it helped -- a lot.  After reading it, she had headed out to her garden to have a good cry.  It was exactly what she needed.

Growing up in today's society, most of us have learned to avoid crying like the plague.  Widely characterized as a sign of unacceptable weakness and frailty, we are conditioned to keep a stiff upper lip, to steel ourselves against this natural expression of heartfelt feeling.  Although this pattern is pervasively seen as a "male" characteristic, in my experience, many of the women I know are also  conditioned to avoid crying.  As a result, our patterns of resistance to crying are pretty pervasive. 

That being said, I actually hesitated for a moment to plunge ahead here.  After all, you don't see too many glitzy promotional materials  on Mindfulness Practice promising to bring you to tears. Maybe I'd better "lighten up" a bit?  After all, isn't Buddha's Third Noble Truth the freakin' Cessation of Suffering?
(READ MORE)
Yes, it is.  The cessation of suffering is a big deal.

Yet, what has become clear to me, and to many others*, is that there is a profound difference between pain and suffering.  

The natural experience and expression of emotional pain, like the natural experience and expression of joy, emerges from our True Nature.  Each can bring us to tears as hearts and minds are touched deeply by Reality of Life as it is.  

Emotional pain doesn't cause suffering.  It is our conditioned resistance to the pain that causes suffering.  Adrift in the pervasive conditioning of today's society, our hearts become closed, armored by layers of fear and unexpressed grief.  With Practice, this changes.  With Practice, we can open to the healing energy of the One Love that exists within and beyond our Heart of Hearts.

A Good Cry

There is such a thing as a Good Cry.  I think that is what Yogi Jesus was teaching when he proclaimed "Blessed be those who mourn, for they will be comforted." The release offered through our tears is a natural healing process. 

Pain, sorrow, and grief will naturally emerge as we open to the infinite permutations of Life and Death that are inherent in the human condition.  Over the years I've seen clearly that the emotions of fear and anger become conditioned shields against those deeper feelings.  Our hearts become armored, and these calcified emotions tend to generate story lines full of blame and judgment. These patterns serve to keep us in our heads and out of our hearts.  Letting go of those thoughts and opening to the array of feelings that then emerge, a skill developed with Practice, the process deepens. 

Archbishop Desmond Tutu at Truth and Reconciliation Hearing 1996
Ultimately,  our hearts and our bodies will respond authentically to the immediacy of the moment -- and honest tears will flow to melt away the resistances to our fundamental Connection to ourselves, to one another, and to the One Love.  

Opening to the tears, accepting and embracing Life As It Is, we access the infinite pool of open, clear, peaceful Awareness that permeates all possible universes.  

In opening to the Darkness, we open to the Light!  How cool is that?  It just takes Practice.

For crying out loud!


 * The tears I shed during the course of a five day retreat led by the late Stephen Levine and his wife Ondrea were among the most healing moments of my life.  Levine's talent at crafting guided meditations capable of "opening the heart" was unparalleled.  With Levine's passing, the world lost a Master of Manifesting"A Good Cry".   Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call: Good Grief.

Originally Posted, May 15, 2015.  Revised.
 

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