But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

From The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran

I am feeling very proud of myself. I just realized that I can distinguish between different types of my own tears. Why do I consider this an accomplishment? Because as a society, we have been trained to suppress and deny our tears. It’s what we learn from a very early age. And for me to reach a state of “tear aficionado”, I must not only have cried a lot and with courage despite my training, but I must have cultivated an awareness of those tears as they were falling. Somewhere along the way, I stopped judging them, stopped creating stories about them, and just let them be. I became witness to my own tears. And I loved them.

I’m not sure when this happened. I only know that I have always been a crier. And I know that I have heard the words “cry baby” and “big baby” and “get over it” enough times throughout my life to question my sanity and worth, even as a female who is granted some small dispensation for my hormones. While I definitely learned that I wasn’t supposed to cry, I, like many people, just couldn’t help myself! Thank God.

So what are the different kinds of tears I’ve discovered?

1) The “Pure State of Distress” Tears
A baby is in a pure state. The have no concepts in their heads to corrupt their tears. They just cry when they are distressed, hungry, or need changing. There is no self-censoring. They are completely innocent. We all know how to do this without ever being told how—girl babies, boy babies, babies born everywhere. The only thing we need to be taught how to do is not cry.

2) Victim Tears
These are the tears of “oh, what a world” and “how could they do this to me.” In one’s journey to reclaim lost tears, these seem to come first…at least, in my experience. But I have also learned, thanks to my teachers, that there is a time when victim tears must cease lest I keep re-victimizing myself with them. These tears are a dangerous emotional food that we can generate at will. With these tears, we may find ourselves crying yet again about something that happened long ago as if we were reliving it all over again in this moment. With these tears, we may feel sorry not only for ourselves but for others. There is no courage, faith, or compassion in Victim Tears. Don’t get me wrong. They are neither good or bad. They are just tears. And all tears are meant to be shed.

3) Tears of Drama
On my spiritual journey, I have shed many dramatic tears or tears of resistance. These are the “there she goes again” tears that took me out of the moment, mostly from fear, and sent me spiraling into bombastic histrionics. Akin to Victim Tears, these have a slightly different storyline beneath them: “I am too frightened” or “I can’t!” or “I’m dying!” It was Victim Tears and Drama Tears which my spiritual teachers fought hard a long to help me see. Sometimes, they would assume my tears came from these places even when they didn’t. And that caused a great deal of confusion and turmoil in me. I entered a period of such painful self-doubt and judgment of my tears, worse than any I had as a child. But it served me. It was this very confusion that helped me discover my truth, helped me identify the feelings behind the different states of my tears, and led me to feel the sweetest tears of all.

4) Tears of Collapsing Structure
These tears are close to the pure state tears, but not quite. After all, in our pure state, we have no structure to cry over. These tears are perhaps the most frightening to experience because they are unreasonable and beyond comprehension. They are also scary for others to witness because a part of them knows there’s something quite big happening, and maybe they are afraid it could happen to them too. These tears only come with a great surrender and courage, and they can hurt like hell…at first. I find these tears often come out of nowhere, and can include shaking and writhing or heaving of the shoulders. I guess it is the body’s way of overcoming years and years of programming and control. In the beginning, at least for me, Dramatic Tears merged with Tears of Collapsing Structure. I resisted the complete lack of control and comprehension that was disorientating for me. I wanted to make yet another story to explain everything, to feel safe. Eventually, that lack of control became more familiar. As I learned to let go completely, I was able to shed these tears more easily, quickly and painlessly, often even soundlessly. And oh, they bring with them states of utter peace and spaciousness afterwards!

5) Tears of Joy & Gratitude
“Tears of joy” is a common phrase because tears don’t only come in sadness. These are the tears that fall when something we just didn’t think would ever happen does or when we finally realize how truly blessed we are. We feel such peace or love or joy and realize we are home as the rest of the story of our lives dissolves into this moment. And if we are open to it, we enter into Open Heart Tears.

6) Open Heart Tears
These are the tears that pour from the eyes when they are open…when the eyes behold so much beauty that one can’t help but expand in every direction to meet it. This is also very much like the tears of Pure State, but here, innocence is gone and wisdom takes its place. We have triumphed over the structures that closed us off and told us “I am not”. They are the tears of ecstasy, the sweetest tears I know.

Tears are really an incredible gift. In fact, all tears are Tears of Grace. And to tell our children, especially boys, that “crying is for sissies” or “big boys don’t cry” is intolerable cruelty. It is so sad to me that I spent so many years torturing myself over my need to shed them. It is so sad to me that as a culture, we deny our right to them or hide them away like a shameful disease. There is so much crying to be done! So many beautiful tears to be shed! Cry them all!

Author's Bio: 

Dielle Ciesco is a Voice & Sound Healing Coach who helps people experience the healing power of their own voice one on one, by phone, and in groups. She can be reached at 828-333-4051. Visit her website at http://www.TheVoiceofLife.com.