By Cayce Hill
How odd, I thought as I sat at the edge of my yoga mat after class, crying. It had started with a sudden discomfort in my throat and tightness at my brow. I had become hyper aware of my body and observed quietly as the sensation crawled down my spine and settled deep into my belly. And as my body continued to change, my mind struggled to make sense of it all. It was the end of class and everyone else was rolling up their mats, fresh off the highs of deep breathing and nonduality. And here I was, a witness to my own experience. Just the opposite of what our instructor had advised, I had never so clearly been divided in two.
My mind raced to come to an answer, and so I thought back on the class I’d just taken, trying to pinpoint what could have triggered my strange episode. I thought of the philosophical discussion we had opened class with, and how refreshing it was to be brought back to basics. I remembered the peace I felt sitting in lotus as a hundred voices chanted om. It was the sort of yoga class that leaves a mark in your heart, and I couldn’t have been happier to be a part of it. But why, I wondered, the tears?
In a corner of my mind where I don’t usually go, I found myself wondering what typically makes me cry. I know myself to be sensitive but have rarely examined what’s brought me to genuine tears—the kind of tears that usually catch me off guard and reflect the well-buried negative beliefs I hold. The most troubling, in this instance, was that I was somehow inadequate. That no matter how hard I tried, I would never be able to perfect my yoga practice. And here I was, in a spacious room filled by the vibrant pulse of my own breath, feeling quite whole. Participating in my own divinity. How wrong had I been to believe otherwise?
I remembered a time I’d laughed so hard that I‘d cried; my stomach ached, my eyes burned and I couldn’t breathe. It was a beautiful moment of release, one of those that are too few and far between. And at this particular moment, my face sticky with sweat and tears, I realized that I was actually beginning to feel a sense of relief. The tears started to flow more freely then, and I allowed them—the same way I’d done after hearing something side-splittingly funny. The only way to let the tears pass was to relax and let the sobs come. And so I let them.
I later stood in line to connect with my teacher, and when it was my turn to thank him, I told him about the crying episode I‘d just had. I explained that something he’d said had connected with a sensitivity in my life, and he asked what that sensitivity was.
“That we are somehow not enough,” I said. “That I will never be enough.”
“Of course you are whole,” he cheered. “It’s a great relief, isn’t it?”
I deeply believe there is a perfect time for all things. At this particular moment, I was not only meeting the man who would later become my guru, but also learning to confront my own divinity. Much like the punch line of a gracefully told joke, I had learned that peace and love were not things to be obtained, because I am already both peace and love. Perfect.
I knew then that the tension inside me to “achieve” something in my yoga had been released. There was nothing to achieve, I only had to participate in my own divinity, which brought once again an infectious fit of laughter. How beautiful that tears and laughter can come from the same place of healing. And how wonderful that they can catch you so completely off-guard, at the edge of your yoga mat and everywhere else life‘s journey takes you—for you are enough.
Cayce Hill is a native Californian who now lives, writes and breathes deeply in Melbourne, Australia.
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