SHINE: Joy by the Spirit — Tears are Stepping Stones to Joy

SHINE … By the Spirit™ with Tonya M. Evans

Tears are Stepping Stones to Joy

© 2012 Tonya M. Evans

March 6, 2012

“When you are experiencing sorrow and sadness, when the tears are flowing, remember they can be stepping stones to joy.” www.spiritualityandpractice.com

Recently I went to the eye doctor complaining of red, tired eyes, a dull aching pain and occasional sharp pains. He diagnosed me with dry eye and mentioned I wasn’t making enough of my own tears and needed some prescription artificial ones.

Huh? This completely perplexed me.

Clearly, I thought, this poor well-meaning doctor has no earthly idea what he’s talking about because over the last few months I’ve done more than my fair share of crying.

Now if he’d said I’ve run out of tears that would have been far more believable. But from my humble non-MD point of view, I don’t have a problem making them. Of this I am quite sure. But I kept my thoughts to myself, stuffed my prescription for Restasis into my pocket, and went along with my day.

The entire episode got me thinking, though, about the purpose of tears, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Being the curious academic that I am, I researched the topic of tears (okay, I Googled it!) And I learned a lot! First of all tears consist of water, protein, mucous and oil. I also learned that not all tears are created equal. Three types of tears actually exist.

Basal tears are always present in our eyes to keep them from drying out. Reflex tears are the body’s response to irritants in the eye and are produced to literally wash them out of the eye (like when you’re peeling an onion). And then there are those Emotional tears. Aha! Those are the ones I have in full supply! I guess that doctor knew what he was talking about after all.

It is our emotional tears that serve as stepping-stones to Joy.

So there is actually a physiological and emotional benefit to “having a good cry”. The benefits are backed up by science and anecdote alike. Scientists have asserted that emotional tear production actually releases chemicals [prolactin, Adrenocorticotropic hormones and leucine-enkephalin] that have built up in the body during stressful times. “These researchers believe that emotional crying is the body’s way of ridding itself of these toxins and waste products.” [Source: howstuffworks.com]

As for the spiritual impact of crying, allowing yourself to cry in response to your own or another person’s pain and sadness (or, of course, for a happy occasion) is an act of connection and of surrender. Crying allows us to be and to feel instead of rushing to fix things or shutting down altogether.

Crying can also be interpreted as a prayer or meditation. And sometimes crying is all we can do or at least where we begin. We are hard-wired physically by Source to cry. Tears are a natural and divine detoxification process and one of the most blessed acts of compassion and surrender we can experience.

So don’t deny yourself a good cry. Every teardrop brings you one step closer to JOY!

Click here for additional information about the benefits of crying.

For more spiritual food for thought from Tonya, visit www.wisdominthewhisper.com

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