"Mindfulness and Meditation allow us to open our hearts, relax our bodies, and clear our minds enough to experience the vast, mysterious, sacred reality of life directly. With Practice we come to know for ourselves that eternity is available in each moment.

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

Saturday, October 13, 2018

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
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?
Precisely.  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, 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.  Adrift in the pervasive conditioning of today's society, our hearts become closed, hardened by layers of fear and unexpressed grief.  With Practice, this changes.  With Practice, we can open to the healing energy of the One Love.

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 that 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, 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
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.


Don Karp said...

I consider this one of your most important posts I've read.

Just for balance, how about "Laughter Yoga?"

Maybe the next post?

Unknown said...

Awesome awesome blog my dear friend!...Love and Blessings now and always brother! xo

Lance Smith said...

Hey Brothers,
Glad you found the post useful. Don, at your suggestion, I actually went looking for a post that I had written years ago in which I mused about the healing power of humor -- but I couldn't find it. I guess there was no hint of humor in the title. (I've posted almost 300 of these things now.)

That particular post ended with a cartoon of Steve Jobs at the Pearly Gates telling Saint Peter (and Moses?) he was there to upgrade their tablets. I thought it was funny at the time. LOL
One Love,