Just the other day, I was really looking forward to getting a decent meditation in. My week had been really busy and I had only had time for a few short meditations. I had woken up feeling happy and quite at peace and I picked out a long guided meditation and settled in.
For the first 10 minutes or so, all was well. I was really starting to sink deeper and deeper into the meditation, my inner voice was quieting, and I felt comfortable and present in my body. I was really enjoying the woman’s voice who was guiding the meditation when all of a sudden, I was flooded with grief. It really caught me off guard and came bubbling up so quickly that I soon found myself sobbing. And not the gentle kind of sobbing that you see in movies, but a real body shaking, snot running sob. For a long time.
When I had worn myself out a little I felt this overwhelming desire to see my grandmother again (she passed two years ago), and to drink tea at her house (the house has long since sold and I have her teapot). The feeling of grief was still so strong. It was in that moment that I realized I had not entirely moved through those feelings of grief, hadn’t spent enough time, nor given the appropriate space or attention to those feelings.
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience where you’re, let’s say, at a meditation group, getting comfy, getting your meditation on and all of a sudden, BOOM, there is an emotion that you hadn’t expected, don’t necessarily want and are a little unsure of what to do with. Maybe you cry, maybe you suddenly feel angry, maybe you even want to start laughing. Over the years that Amanda and I have been teaching meditation, we’ve seen all of these reactions, and you know what? They are all ok.
Here is the thing - sometimes we get the idea that meditation will help us to not feel a certain way anymore. We think if we just meditate hard enough we won’t feel angry anymore, or won’t be anxious, or in my case, won’t have to work through our grief. Sorry to tell you friend, but this isn’t the case.
But here is the beautiful thing that meditation can do - it can help us to process these tough emotions. It gives us the space to be able to see our big emotions from a different perspective. And a meditation group should offer you a safe place to experience these emotions even if they pop up in the middle of a class (and if your group or community doesn’t make you feel this way, it may be time to start looking for a new group). We’ve definitely seen it - the lights slowly come back up and people are trying to wipe away their tears, and you know what? That’s ok. It’s more than ok, it’s pretty beautiful that you allowed your vulnerability to come out. It’s also ok if you feel a little weirded out about showing that amount of emotion when you weren’t really expecting it.
More than anything, I’d love you to wear your tears in meditation as a badge of honour, a sign of what you’ve been working through, a guide for the work that has yet to come. A reminder that you’re human, and you know what’s amazing about humans? Their ability to preserve in the face of tragedy, overcome insurmountable obstacles, to love and loose and love again.
Meditation can help us to reach a place within us that we had forgotten existed and while it can help us move through sorrow, it can also help us to discover so much joy, peace and connection. So yes, you cried during meditation, maybe it was a little more like ugly crying in the corner for 10 minutes straight (refer to paragraph 2) more than likely, no one noticed, or if they did notice they should be over shortly to give you a hug.
In summary, crying during meditation = totally ok, human, and beautiful.
Emotions = totally ok, human, and beautiful.
You = totally ok, human, and freaking beautiful!
Happy Meditating. And crying.