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I have something that keeps happening during my meditation times that I don't understand. I think this is the best thread to post about it. Often when I meditate, after a time, tears begin to roll down my face. It is not the same type of crying as in a reaction to pain, yet it happens fairly consistently. This is especially true if I am using a chakra or energy center based meditation instead of a mindfulness meditation - what is going on? is this a problem? Is there something I can do differently?


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Hi Lisa, I teach and practice a lot of chakra and energy-based meditation, and usually tears of this type are a kind of releasing. Are there emotions involved or not - are you feeling anything in particular as they arise? If so, then those emotions are able to come to the surface when you are meditating - there may not be enough 'space' in your life for them to do so at any other time. Also, whatever chakras you are focusing on may be holding emotions that release in this way.

However, it's also not uncommon for tears to simply fall, seemingly not linked to any particular emotion that we might usually associate with tears, especially when we engage in chakra meditation. In these cases, it is simply the body's and subtle body's way of releasing energies that don't need to be held. It is like when we release tension in a muscle through a massage or pressure point. Everyone's body releases energies differently - in your case, tears may be one way it does so. It is actually not that unusual at all - not sure if that is a comfort or not! I tend to shiver/tremble when I am releasing, as if I am cold, but I am not actually cold. There are other things people often feel - some people feel extreme tension in their shoulders, and then it releases suddenly when they end the meditation.

So in terms of whether or not to do something differently, I would say no, the tears themselves are not a reason to do anything differently in and of themselves. If they are accompanied by emotions, you may want to do some inquiry work around the emotions themselves. If they are not, you can either accept them as part of your release process, or you can try to find other ways to release from your body - for example, stretching or doing yoga just before meditation may clear you out more, so that this kind of releasing doesn't need to happen. Often, we go through phases, so this might happen for a few weeks or months while your energy body is going through a shift, and then suddenly it will stop.

I hope that helps - please feel free to provide more detail if you want, and I may be able to help see more specifically what is going on. And thanks for a great question!

Last edited by Lisa - Buddhism; 04/03/14 02:20 PM.

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To Lisa,

Tears coming from right eye,have been happening in the last 2 years.You know I do not meditate sitting.

I have always blesssed these moments as gifts from my Mind,for
living such a fantastic life.

Truly yours
loong

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Wanted to share this additional quote from Sharon Salzburg about 'chitta' (or citta):

“In Buddhism there is one word for mind & heart: chitta. Chitta refers not just to thoughts and emotions in the narrow sense of arising from the brain, but also to the whole range of consciousness, vast & unimpeded.”

In any kind of meditation, we are dealing with chitta. Often we think only in terms of thoughts, but we are really dealing with anything that arises - physical, emotional, mental, astral - really most of what we experience is a combination. Anything that arises in our consciousness.


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Originally Posted By: Lisa - Buddhism
Along the lines of the 'noting' tip above, there is another tool that forms the acronym RAIN:


R Recognize what is happening
A Allow life to be just as it is
I Investigate inner experience with kindness
N Non-Identification.

This is used by several meditation teachers, but I am familiar with it from Tara Brach. It is a series of steps you can use in meditation and out, and in fact you can view your meditation as practice for using these four steps when difficult emotions come up in life.

First, become aware of what you are feeling or thinking - this is the RECOGNIZE step. Then note any part of you that is resisting it, trying to push it away or avoid it, and instead ACCEPT what is happening, what you are feeling. Then use your natural curiosity to INVESTIGATE how it is manifesting in your body - where do you feel it, how does it feel etc. And finally settle into NON-IDENTIFICATION, meaning don't attach, let it float on through you like a cloud in the sky- not pushing it away, but not attaching either.

Really, all of meditation is practice for using these steps throughout our life until they become second nature...


I wanted to say a bit more about this tool, and particularly the non-identification step...non-identification isn't a pushing away of thoughts or emotions. It isn't repression. It's simply allowing the thoughts to keep moving through...this is why it is the last step, not the first one, because if it's the first step, we tend to react by pushing away a thought, which sometimes creates its own dynamic, where we then end up in an internal 'battle'...


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I was reminded today of how helpful focusing on posture can be in meditation. Mind and body are not separate, and we can really see this when we note our posture each time we realize our mind has been wandering, or that we have gotten drowsy. Often when our mind is busy, we will find a lot of tension in parts of our back, and our posture may be crooked or arched. When we are drowsy we usually slouch in some way - if not in our back, then in our head or face.

Sometimes working with the body is actually the most helpful way to find the balance between alertness and calm. If our body is too tense, our mind tends to be busier - we are generating a lot of tension that translates into mental activity. So in that case, taking some deep breaths and relaxing into our posture may help. On the other hand, when we are too relaxed, we will get spacy or drowsy. So it's a matter of finding the middle point, alert and calm.


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Thanks, Lisa, for the reassurance that there is not a problem. I do feel a little more cleaned out after the crying occurs in meditation.


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Then I think just let it be. I think your body is just doing what it needs to do. The more I practice, the more I realize the body really holds everything, and has its own wisdom:)


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I was reminded today of how helpful longer meditations can be at times. I have had a very busy, social weekend, with visitors and kid activities etc. So when I sat down today to meditate, my mind was especially busy. I pulled my mind back over and over for awhile. Eventually it was like the sky cleared - my mind settled down, like when stirred up water gradually settles, and then it was a much calmer and more self-aware meditation. This is just how it is - our nervous system and subtle body get stirred up by all sorts of things, and it takes time for them to settle.


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I just wanted to offer an alternative thought. Whenever I sit on my futon, tears start rolling down my cheek. I realized it was the blanket there which had allergens on it. When I washed the blanket, it stopped happening.

So it might be worth it to try meditating in other locations, just to see if there is an allergen problem in one specific area.


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