Monday, September 12, 2011
On crying as a practice
One thing I learned: if you feel like you want to cry but can't, you're in big trouble. Mental health screening tests see that as a sign of major depression.
In 1999, when a new shrink yanked me off lithium and three other psychotropics (yes, that was very stupid), I began crying again, a lot. I remember crying six times during one church service. I know now that suppressing tears is a big mistake. Womens' tears release certain chemicals, and that changes the chemical balance in your brain.
Why I cried just now? so damn much pain I could neither sit or walk kinhin in the zendo. The SI joint is inflamed again, the torn rotator cuff hurt no matter how I positioned my arm. I had to leave, come to my room and meditate lying on my big heating pad, and think hard about taking a Vicodin, and then do crying practice, out of both frustration and pain. This is at least the tenth time I've cried since we got here four days ago. And the depression I came here with it much better. (Though it is not so easy to change the body.)
Our practice here is being, on the cushion and off. Acknowlede everything, let it float on. Be brave, but don't be stupid - take your pain pills.