Meditation often brings up intense emotions that can lead to crying or tears. If you’ve ever cried during your meditation practice, you’re not alone. Many meditators experience crying and wonder what it means on a spiritual level.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Crying during meditation often signals an energetic release and shift taking place as your consciousness expands. Tears are part of the cleansing process as stuck energies, traumas, and blocked emotions stored on a cellular level come to the surface to be healed.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the deeper spiritual meaning of crying during meditation and how to work with these emotions for profound healing and awakening.

Common Causes of Crying During Meditation

Emotional Release and Catharsis

One of the most common reasons for crying during meditation is the release of suppressed or repressed emotions (1). As we quiet our minds and go inward, emotions we’ve kept bottled up tend to surface. Meditation facilitates emotional breakthroughs and cathartic releases – it allows us to finally “let go”.

Studies show that over 63% of meditators report emotional purging including uncontrollable fits of laughing or weeping.

This emotional purging is a sign of inner healing and has tremendous therapeutic value. The more we fight our feelings, the more harm we do. Meditation enables us to create a safe inner space where we can allow even our most difficult emotions to flow through us with acceptance and compassion.

Kundalini Awakening

In yogic philosophy, kundalini refers to the primal evolutionary energy present in us all. Awakening this latent energy can power intense spiritual development but also emotional/physical detoxification. As progress is made, some report crying spells as blocked energy is released.

Studies suggest crying associated with kundalini awakening has unique biochemical properties – the emotional tears may contain stress hormones and other toxic byproducts expelled from the body’s energy channels. While the process can be challenging, embracing it aids in self-realization.

Expansion of Consciousness

Heightened awareness cultivated in meditation can trigger poignant emotional reactions not typically experienced in ordinary states of consciousness. Our narrow perception expands – we may feel more basic human emotions like grief, joy, fear or bliss in very raw, powerful ways.

Neuroimaging confirms that regions of the brain linked to self-awareness and empathy light up brightly during meditation. As our inner universe enlarges beyond day-to-day concerns, we connect more deeply with all beings.

This leaves some meditators profoundly moved to tears by the vision of humanity’s shared plight.

Healing Old Wounds

For many on the spiritual path, tears signify inner transformation – the healing of past traumas, release of unhealthy mental patterns and opening of the heart. Silencing our habitual egoic voice can unleash a flood of unprocessed memories and emotions.

By encouraging radical self-honesty, meditation creates opportunities to mourn losses from our past, forgive those who caused us pain and make peace with our perceived imperfections. Determining the roots of emotional wounds guiding the tears and showing compassion for ourselves in the process can be profoundly curative.

Interpreting the Meaning of Your Tears

Pay Attention to Physical Sensations

When crying occurs during meditation, carefully notice any physical sensations or reactions in your body. Are your shoulders and chest tight or tense? Is your breathing more rapid or shallow? Are you experiencing muscle twitches or spasms?

Tuning into the physical side can provide clues about buried emotions coming to the surface.

Notice Thought Patterns

Tears may also coincide with certain thought patterns. Quietly observe the type of thoughts arising when crying starts. Are you ruminating over a painful memory? Replaying an unresolved conversation? Or having self-critical thoughts?

The narrative running through your mind often exposes inner turmoil linked to the tears.

Identify Energy Shifts

Intuitive individuals may cry due to picking up on shifts in energy — both personally and collectively. You may notice chakras opening or emotional blockages dissolving right before the tears begin flowing. Or you might feel connected to global events and cry as a form of release or purification.

These energetic experiences can feel intensely cathartic.

Consider the Progression of Your Practice

Tears during meditation may also indicate positive progress or milestones. As your practice deepens over time, crying can emerge as part of spiritual awakening or activating higher states of consciousness.

It may correspond with breakthrough moments of inner wisdom, unconditional self-love, or oneness with all beings.

In short, tears signify you are touching into deeper aspects of your inner world or consciousness through meditation. Rather than judging the experience as good or bad, simply allow the tears to flow with mindful presence and self-compassion.

Over time, their meaning will become clearer based on associated patterns or breakthroughs. If needed, speaking with a meditation teacher or therapist can also help unpack any challenging emotions that may surface.

Common Reasons for Crying During Meditation Related Interpretations and Meanings
Releasing long-held grief, trauma, or emotional pain Healing process underway; emotions surfacing are ready to be felt, expressed and let go of
Experiencing profound spiritual openings or shifts in consciousness Sign of spiritual progress; becoming more attuned to higher states or absolute reality
Connecting deeply with all of humanity and the world Expanding heart and mind; transcending separateness and merging into oneness
Triggered by thoughts, memories, or unresolved issues Opportunity for greater self-awareness and understanding; chance to work through core wounds

For further reading on interpreting tears during meditation, check out these websites:

Working Skillfully With Emotions During Meditation

Making Space for All Emotions

When emotions arise during meditation, the key is to make space for them rather than resisting or reacting (Mindful Minutes). Suppressing emotions often backfires. Instead, notice emotions with an attitude of openness and non-judgement. Simply label the emotion, such as “joy,” “grief,” or “anger.”

By identifying the emotion and allowing it to be there, you deprive it of some power over you. Paradoxically, emotions tend to pass more quickly when you grant them space.

Practicing Non-Judgement

It’s natural to judge emotions as “good” or “bad,” but this judgement often causes more suffering. Instead, work on relating to all emotions with equanimity in a non-judgemental way. Remember that emotions are transient mental states, not permanent facts.

No emotion, pleasant or unpleasant, defines you. One technique is to mentally repeat phrases like “It’s ok. This too shall pass.” Or simply return attention to the breath. A non-judgemental attitude helps you remain centered rather than getting entangled in the drama of emotions.

Releasing Tensions in The Body

Emotions manifest physically with sensations like tightness, trembling, flushing, etc. Bringing attention to these body sensations can help “metabolize” the emotional energy. As you notice any tension or strong sensations, breathe into them and imagine the breath smoothing out knots and dissolving blockages.

You can place a hand over the area as you breathe into it. Even two minutes of conscious attention to tense areas can stimulate deep relaxation. Yoga, stretching, or short mindful walks also help discharge emotions through the body harmoniously.

Journaling for Further Insight

Writing reflectively about emotions that arise during meditation provides further opportunity for insight. Describe what emotions came up and how they felt physically. Explore possible root causes or triggers. Consider if the emotion reflects an unmet need or if past experiences are involved.

Imagine what a nurturing inner voice might say to that emotional part of you. Journaling can reveal recurring patterns around certain emotions as well as steady progress in skillfully relating to them. It also helps contextualize emotions as fleeting states rather than absolute truth.

When to Seek Additional Support for Emotional Challenges

Meditation can bring up challenging emotions that may feel overwhelming. While this can be part of the spiritual growth process, it’s important to seek additional support if you are struggling with mental health issues or emotional distress.

Working with a Teacher or Guide

An experienced meditation teacher or guide can provide invaluable support when difficult emotions arise during practice. Some signs that working with a guide may be helpful include:

  • Feeling flooded by emotions like anxiety, panic, anger, grief, etc.
  • Having traumatic memories resurface
  • Experiencing feelings of isolation or despair
  • Struggling to manage daily life due to emotional challenges

A qualified teacher can guide you through challenging experiences with compassion. They can also help determine if there are underlying mental health issues that require professional counseling or therapy.

Considering Therapy or Counseling

Seeking help from a licensed mental health professional like a psychologist, therapist or counselor may be necessary if meditation is revealing:

  • An anxiety disorder or clinical depression
  • Unresolved trauma or PTSD
  • Thoughts of harming oneself or others
  • Alcohol or drug dependency issues
  • Deep-rooted emotional wounds or dysfunctional relationship patterns

Counseling provides a safe space to process challenging emotions, identify unhelpful beliefs, and learn coping strategies under the care of a professional. In 2019, an estimated 19.1% of U.S. adults experienced a mental illness, indicating therapy can benefit many people working through spiritual challenges.

Type of Therapy Details
Cognitive-behavioral Identifies unhealthy thought patterns
Psychodynamic Explores role of past in current issues
Humanistic Focuses on self-actualization

Trying Other Healing Modalities

Modalities like yoga, energy healing, breathwork and art therapy can also help ease emotional distress and trauma that surfaces during meditation. A few to consider include:

  • Kundalini Yoga – Uses movement, chanting and meditation to release blocked energy
  • Reiki or crystal healing – Transmits universal energy to bring harmony
  • Equine therapy – Interacting with horses can reduce anxiety
  • Expressive arts – Using creative outlets like painting, writing or dance to process emotions

Having a support network is also invaluable when working through challenges. Confiding in trusted friends and family members, joining a meditation community or support group, keeping a journal, and not being afraid to ask for help when needed are all important.

With additional support, the difficult emotions that arise in meditation can lead to profound healing and spiritual awakening rather than remaining stuck or overwhelming. Be compassionate with yourself in the process.


Crying during meditation is actually quite common among meditators across traditions and levels of experience. While the tears may catch you off guard at first, they often signal profound energetic shifts taking place as your consciousness expands.

Learning to skillfully allow space for difficult emotions, release body tensions, and cultivate self-compassion prepares you to navigate any waves of weeping that arise in your practice.

Over time, you may find great peace and deep inner healing emerging from within your own tears. With an open and curious attitude, crying during meditation can cleanse your energy body and open you to higher states of being.

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