On average, women cry five times more than men, but we all cry. Some people, like myself, rarely have a big crying event but find themselves weeping periodically. If you research crying, you’ll learn there are three kinds of tears:
- Basal: Eye lubrication and drainage.
- Reflex: Caused by irritation like dust or onions.
- Psychic: Caused by strong emotions.
The psychic tear is our focus today. The Greek word for soul is Psuché, thus we are talking about SOUL TEARS. Soul crying need not be an emotional meltdown. It’s often a subtle, tearless, but deep inner awareness that hints at strong emotions. The best description I have is that of AWE. Soul crying is an experience with Awe. It’s the dawn of light illuminating the depth of our very life.
While science can reverse engineer this process to reveal psychic (soul) crying as directly connected to neurotransmitters produced by the hypothalamus, it’s unable to get us much farther. Scientific observations can’t go beyond the tear/ limbic system framework because science is incapable of exploring the subjective. Science often views non-physical reality as an oxymoron. While science is true, crying proves it’s not all that’s true.
The reason we cry goes beyond the acetylcholine crossing our synapses. Words are tiny tools we employ to describe that which is not a thing. This “no-thing” is experienced in countless ways. Our eyes can barely make it out, but it’s in full view through the eyes of our heart. We all recognize some aspect of it, but no one has perfect proximity. Our relative distance to this “no-thing” is directly proportional to our psychic (soul) crying.
What is the no-thing I’m struggling to describe? Beauty. Beauty is why we cry.
All forms of crying are the perfect response to beauty. Crying is the complete, wordless expression for that which is beyond words. Crying is the cathartic intersection of the eternal and the temporal. Similarly, yearning and longing are low-level crying. We intuit them as the event horizon for unconsummated beauty. Crying cleanses us experientially without explaining, defending, or pretending. Soul crying is our authentic deep calling to Deep (Psalm 42:7).
While science proves the physical/ emotional link in our bodies, spirituality exposes the holistic proximity to the eternal within our soul (psyche/psuché). Beauty is accessed by everyone in every time and every place. Some more than others.
Tears of joy illuminate beauty a bit easier. Tears of sadness or loss are proximal to beauty because sadness proves beauty is seen but not possessed. We mourn not our loved ones, but the experience of beauty only they provided. We cry for either consummated or unconsummated beauty. You thought you were depressed, but the cry within is the taproot of true homesickness.
Beauty is the impetus of all creation and all endeavors. It’s behind, before, and surrounding all we make, do, or seek. It’s the unwritten hope of all things to which we give ourselves. Crying is the human circumference surrounding all facets of experience, knowledge, hopes and dreams. It contains them all. Crying is the experience that sums all that we cannot count, or carry. Our ambition is birthed in beauty, though often distorted as we apply it.
Beauty is why we cry. Gratitude is beautiful. Suffering and loss are ultimately beautiful. Awe is beautiful. Creation is beautiful. Struggle is beautiful. Tears are beautiful.
“God has made everything beautiful in it’s time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
Crying is the eternity within making contact with eternity beyond. Beauty hybridizes consummation with isolation, and satisfaction with loss, resulting in tears. Beyond our words or descriptors, pain and joy are lost together in beauty and this brings forth our cry. Crying releases tension because it forces us out of duality.
The slightest glimpse of beauty will trigger a reaction. We feel it and then make a decision: be with the beauty or turn away. Whether we run toward or from beauty, we are affected. Vulnerability and callouses are both caused by beauty, and both forms cause a cry. The cry of the soul is known deeper than our own outcrying.
The beauty of nature explains the subtle restorative cry. Being with nature, taking it in, and grounding in the present, we recalibrate priorities and the deep soul cry emerges that beckons beyond into a bigger life.
The best advice I can offer is to learn the voice of the cry within you. Whether the cry is tearful or contemplative, out loud or faint, it’s a road that leads you to beauty. When you see it, don’t turn away. Just bow your head and follow it. As you gaze into the face of beauty, your head will again rise and your life will gain incremental restoration.
Beauty and tears are the foundation of the new world.