You came to meditation after reading reports on the endless benefits of mindfulness. You’ve probably heard that it can ward off aging, help you make more rational decisions, protect you from stress. You get the impression that meditation is the cure for all life’s ills.
Then you start meditating and you realize that there’s no hassle-free quick fix. Mindfulness often means getting up close and facing “negative” emotions, a gripping turmoil of grief and pain. It also means you have to experience and befriend your sadness, anger, physical pain, and so on.
Crying During Meditation
When dealing with those emotions you may naturally end up shedding tears. Crying during meditation is perfectly ok – it means that you are getting in touch with yourself, letting your emotions out to finally heal. As Osho said, «Through tears, you will know how to see. Tear-filled eyes are capable of seeing the truth. Tear-filled eyes are capable of seeing the beauty of life and the benediction of it.»
Crying as a coping mechanism is actually quite common even if you don’t practice meditation. You put on a heart-wrenching movie, grab a bottle of wine and have a good howl. Once it passes, you feel elated and refreshed. The release helps you deal with past hurts and makes you stronger.
The Science Of Crying
But is there any science backing up these common beliefs? Darwin may have described weeping as purposeless, but scientists nowadays believe he was wrong. Dr. Ad Vingerhoets, a professor of social and behavioral sciences in the Netherlands, is one of the world’s leading experts on crying. His research shows that crying can be cathartic and healthy. Crying releases oxytocin (one of the happy brain chemicals) and is thought to play a major role in inter-personal communication. Dr. Ad Vingerhoets has also taken an interest recently in how music affects our tears. Music helps establish a safe environment in which listeners can give in to or work through their emotions without feeling judged. It’s pretty much like having an understanding friend showing their support.
Crying Meditation – Crying Equals Thriving
Taking inspiration from his work, you may wish to try your crying meditation at home with some light relaxing music on. Find a place where you feel comfortable – ideally somewhere where you’re able to make some noise weeping without feeling judged. Close your eyes and imagine that every slow, mindful breath inward is reaching right into the core of your being. When negative emotions cross your mind, draw all your sadness up and breathe out. Thoughts will come with each sob, but don’t become too attached to them. Attachment is the source of all suffering. Allow yourself to sob your heart out like a weeping child – You are always safe and sadness can’t hurt you.
Crying meditation is a powerful technique to deal with pent-up negative emotions. Don’t run away any longer. There is nothing to be afraid of. Meditation is deep work – it’s not comfortable to face anger and pain. But I’m sure that, in the end, it’ll be worth it.