And then, the tears. (Retreating into Silence, post 7 of 10)
Excerpt from my Journal. Sit #12 (40 minutes):
I had been surprised that I hadn’t cried yet on this retreat. My eyes had shined a couple of time, the familiar mist. “Maybe this is the retreat where i don’t cry!” And no sooner than I’d grown slightly comfortable with this idea, in sit #12, the tears flowed over. What thoughts preceded the spillage? I had been thinking about how anyone in position to harm others, if they could have this experience, they’d surely reconsider. They’d learn to be curious about other beings, they would learn kindness and choose an alternative path. I pictured the beauty of a world in which all beings seek to understand one another, and how everything would change… and, the tears.
I felt too a swell of compassion for this group, all of us with our own struggles, our own Dukha. One woman had remarked that she hated people who seem happy all the time (later after the silence was lifted from the retreat, she clarified that she didn’t hate me for being cheerful. I wasn’t sure whether to thank her or accept an apology or something else, so I did what i do, I smiled!). Her observation: expressing happiness when you grow up in a volatile household, that expression of happiness could easily invite wrath. Imagine living in this type of constant fear. How this fear manifests as a learned behavior - to scorn anyone who seems happy. I imagine this extends true to one’s own self, on some level. Fear may be necessary to promote our survival, yet it simultaneously inhibits our ability to thrive.
‘Someone who causes pain is usually in pain.’ This adage comes to mind now. Denied of expressing or even feeling joy. Your birthright. How to alter this course? What can I do?
The tears wear a groove down my cheeks, the river bed at the top of my lip. I sense the salt, instantly flooded with memories of al the times in my life I have shed tears — sad tears, happy tears, and all the shades in between.
And all of this in maybe the first five minutes!
I give more space to whatever arises that interests me. I contemplate how thoughts that may seem dangerous can be welcomed, to lean in and see what’s behind them, at their root.
I think of one woman on retreat who is healing from a broken leg, walking with assistance from a cane. The entry way to the dining hall has a couple of steps and no railing. She observed that a railing could be helpful to many to come. The next day, Bessel was putting up a railing, made with wood from Beaver Pond. This woman had manifested a railing!
I think of the gentleman in my group yesterday who shared, “I’m just having a blast! Letting my thoughts run wild, not trying to herd cats. It’s … fun!”
I think of the woman who feels so passionately for all beings - even the weeds in her garden!
Again I feel a swell of love for this group of strangers. Time passes. The river of tears has dried, for now. At one point, I stick the tip of my tongue out to touch the corner of my lips, simply to see if that cry had really happened. Maybe it happened only in my mind? The salt is confirmation. A reminder to remember, and to feel.