"Mindfulness Practice isn't just about escaping to some magical inner realm devoid of life's challenges. The Practice is about getting out of your head enough to engage each moment wholeheartedly. When we are Present in an open, kind, clear, and helpful way, the vast, mysterious, magical reality of life itself becomes self-evident .

Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call:
Musings on Life and Practice
by a Longtime Student of Meditation

Sunday, January 31, 2016

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.”

“All the books of the world full of thoughts and poems are nothing in comparison to a minute of sobbing, when feeling surges in waves, 
the soul feels itself profoundly and finds itself."
― Hermann Hesse, The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse  

Emmet Kelly 1898-1979
A couple of days 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.  Amazed, I immediately emailed it to a dear friend of mine who was having a rough time.

She replied that it helped -- a lot.  She was heading out to her garden to have a good cry.

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.  As a result, our patterns of resistance to crying are pretty pervasive.  (Maybe Fear of Crying is a good title for another novel of self-discovery?)

That being said, I actually hesitated to plunge ahead here.  After posts concentrating on death, pain and sadness the past couple weeks, I thought that maybe I was being too much of a downer, that maybe I'd better "lighten up" a bit.  After all, isn't Buddha's Third Noble Truth the freakin' Cessation of Suffering?
Precisely.  That is the point. 
What has become clear to me, and to many others*, is that there is a profound difference between emotional pain and suffering.  The natural experience and expression of emotional pain, like the natural experience and expression of joy, emerges from our True Nature, the capacity of our hearts and minds to touch deeply the Reality of Life as it is.  It is our conditioned resistance to the pain that causes suffering. 

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

Here's the Deal:

Pain, sorrow, 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 found that the emotions of fear and anger are often conditioned shields against the deeper feelings.  They generate storylines full of blame and judgment that tend to keep us in our heads and "out of our hearts."  Letting go of those thoughts and opening to the array of feelings that emerge, a skill developed in the 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 the One Love.  Opening to the tears, through the tears, we access the infinite pool of open, clear, peaceful, accepting 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 two weeks ago, on Sunday, January 16, the world lost a Master of Manifesting"A Good Cry".   

For more:
Your MMM Courtesy Wake Up Call: Good Grief.

Originally Posted, May 15, 2015


1 comment:

Rafe said...

Amen, Lance. So glad to be able to read your weekly thoughts up here. They always point me in the right direction. Having returned from a retreat, being with the weirdness of it all and in need of a good cry myself, I'm especially glad to have this one to re - read.