This Sunday, Sadhvi Vrindaji gave an assignment to all the participants of “The Art of Devotion” camp. She asked each one of us to cry for Lord for 15 minutes everyday for the next one week. The idea to write this post came from this assignment as I have been following the practice of devotional crying now for almost 2 years.
I got introduced to this spiritual practice two years back while reading the book, “The Gospel of Ramakrishna”. Thakur was a big advocate for crying in front of the Lord to purify the heart and increase the yearning for the Lord. If there is one practice that has become a second nature of my spiritual journey, it is this offering of tears to the Lord. If anyone ever wondered how come the bhajans I write come to me, this is the secret, as counterintuitive it might feel, this is all the puja I do and this is my ritual, and my personal experience has been very rewarding and whatever little devotion has sprouted in my heart, I owe it to the Lord, my master, and this one spiritual practice: The Practice of Devotional Crying.
So, what is this practice? Devotional crying is an act of crying (feeling overwhelmed) directed towards the Divine. The purpose of devotional crying is to develop an intimate bond with the Lord. But before I elaborate on this practice in detail, it is important to understand the process of crying in detail.
Tears are the outcome of our focussed attention towards any single emotion for a considerable length of time with great intensity. It can be a positive emotion or a negative emotion, but every time you cry, you would observe that you are quite alert and aware, and the feelings and emotions at that point are intense and difficult to control within.
Three important factors that help you develop this practice are
- Mindfulness, being aware and alert of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
- Ability to bring intensity to the chosen emotion.
- Faith that Divine exists and everything that is happening around us are happening as per Lord’s will.
The Practice of Devotional Crying:
Step 1: Start with paying attention to your feelings in a day? How are you feeling, in general, this week?
( Let’s say you observed that most of your thoughts are negative and full of anxiety )
Step 2: Pay attention to the thoughts, events, and attitude that cause those feelings to arise.
( Let’s say you realize that you are feeling fearful and sacred, recognize all the thoughts that make you feel scared, observe the events around that makes you feel this way, or maybe people around you that makes you feel this way. Think of all the people who lost their lives, the number of people impacted all the inconvenience that has come due to this event. This step is required to bring intensity to that particular emotion. Usually, we talk a lot about how we feel but here we are not articulating to anyone but trying to feel the emotion until it becomes intense).
Step 3: Once the emotion becomes intense, acknowledging that all these thoughts and events are manifesting as per his/her supreme will. So, let go of all the triggers that caused the emotion and focus intensely now on the dominant emotion.
( Let’s say you are feeling scared due to pandemic or negative thoughts related to the pandemic, or maybe you heard some fearful news, etc. Now, here instead of thinking about triggers like the pandemic, news, etc, focus only on feeling scared, feel this emotion intensely and observe how it feels)
Step 4: Communicate to the Lord seated in your heart, that you experience this emotion and tell him what you want him to do about the emotion?
(Just imagine that if you really get a chance to communicate to Lord, what would you like to communicate to him? Remember, that there are no events here at this point in time, like communicating to Lord that the pandemic should go away will put the focus towards a particular event and will no more remain a spiritual exercise that will remove any impurities within you. But feeling fearful in this case, is the emotion at hand, communicate that you are feeling this way and do to want to feel this way. Try your best not to convey in words, rather convey in feelings.)
If you repeat this exercise, for 7-1o times, you would at some point of time feel overwhelmed and tears would roll out of your eyes. Tears that have fallen for Lord. In the beginning, you might see yourself with more negative emotions than positive, it’s very natural. The magic of this practice is that we learn to release our emotions and feelings without directing them towards, any individual being or situation.
The universe will respond to your tears in the most beautiful way possible. As you devote yourself to this practice, you will realize that there are emotions that you experience, there is an entity that is “You” who is experiencing those emotions, and there is Lord, the supreme awareness, that makes all of this possible. Tears will start trickling on its own one day, without the need of any practice when you would experience it first hand, that all these emotions are the bars of prison you have set upon yourself, some made up of Gold, yet some of them of silver, and few are ugly, rusted iron. And you need to cut asunder all, Gold, Silver and iron alike to set yourself free.
May you cry with all your heart to Divine within 🌼🌼🌼
All Glories to Lord in the form of Rudra( the one who makes us weep)
All Glories to Master who inspires us each moment with his presence alone.