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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

Crying during Meditation

You’ve sat upon your meditation cushion and lit a candle before a statue of the Buddha,

the patron saint (for want of a better term) of meditation, contemplation, peace, and love. You balance your head over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips. As you breathe in you are mindful of the minds images of memories and fantasies that flash by like an art house cinema montage and as you breathe out you can feel your body relax and your mind release.

After a few (or maybe several) moments of this you could feel a subtle tightening in your throat, and a gentle stinging at the corners of your eyes signaling the release of tears. Tears that could sometimes flow slowly and gracefully, one at a time, and other times gush in great sobbing torrents.

Is there something wrong with you? Are you in need of a Psychiatrist or a pharmaceutical? Or could it be that after a life time of being told to slap on a happy face, and look on the bright side of things, our emotions, and thoughts and memories and imaginings (at long last) are finally free to express themselves?

Mindfulness is the first enlightenment factor. The second one is investigation but I prefer to translate it as curiosity which is antithetical to the defensiveness that often drives us to function as a cross between a press agent, and a post revisionist historian determined to rewrite our past; painting us as the victim or (better yet) the hero.

The late Tibetan teacher, Lama Yeshe, was right. Meditations’ dance of our autonomic nervous system, its observant sympathetic and releasing parasympathetic facets could function as our inner therapist: cloying yet affordable.

When properly harnessed, our contemplation and meditation could serve to unearth and process the ghouls and goblins who’ve set up house, in the back of the closet of our inner mind. So have fun applying the Buddha’s sixteen core contemplations in the most therapeutic of manners and discover, first hand, the liberation that the Buddha offered us during his first discourse.

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