The Science of Crying. Tears Can Reboot your Genetic Code!
Repression kills our emotions. All of them. Our sadness, despair and abandonment, are all safely locked away, out of site and out of our conscious mind. Repression also buries our joy, our feeling of connection,
of being loved, valued and accepted for who we are.
From our earliest moments of life, we are compelled to control and inhibit our natural expressions of laughter and crying. We are forced to abandon the most basic and uniquely human form of language.
It is well known and understood. That in order to begin to ‘feel’ again, to live with an exposed and open heart, we have to risk encountering loss, grief and loneliness. So we find ourselves trading in intimacy and emotional bonding in order to avoid the emptiness and fear born of our deep, hidden painful memories. Our un-expressed and unheard cries for safety and security, for love and acceptance.
In his groundbreaking book ‘The New Primal Scream’, Arthur Janov describes how our brains handle extreme trauma and emotional overwhelm. He explains that the brain has a particular way of coping with more stress than the body can handle. He states…
“Ordinarily, neural information about hurt is relayed to the Thalamus. When the pain is not overwhelming, information is then sent to the hypothalamus which initiates a variety of responses, including crying. That makes up the healing process. When repression exists, information and tears are rerouted away from the hypothalamus. If this did not occur, the excesses of hypothalamic activity in blood pressure, pulse,and temperature for example, would be lethal. It is therefore important that the hypothalamus not accept all of the input. The excess neural energy of the pain is rerouted and finds its neurotic destination in the Limbic system and it is because of this bifurcation that full healing cannot take place”.
Basically, he is saying that as infants and children, when we are forced to deal with more fear, trauma or pain than we can handle, the brain puts some of the emotion into deep storage where it is locked away, and so we can no longer cry and release this element of the wound. It does this to protect the organism, to keep us alive! Over time, the Limbic system fills with more and more ‘censored’ pain and the effects on our bodies and lives from this emotional pool of unfinished business manifests as many dysfunctions. These can include psychological problems including self sabotage, addictions or other types of anesthetics, which allow us to function with some sense of normality. It also affects our physiology. Our bodies become sensitive and we may develop allergies, intolerance to certain foods and damage to the immune system. It can even repress diseases that can lie dormant in our systems, unable to be exposed and treated and so continue to poison us throughout our lives.
But there is an even more dramatic effect that is less well known about what happens to our bodies during a lifetime crippled by early repression. Stinted by the inhibition of our freedom to express both our pain and our joy. Our evolutionary pattern or genetic code that runs our bodies during our life, can actually stall in the face of deep repression! This means that we are running on a faulty code, a fundamentally dysfunctional system breakdown at the level of our DNA. Our ‘operating system’ begins to crash.
So when we begin the process of reactivating the lost pain and traumatic memories, when we begin consciously healing ourselves by allowing the limbic system to re-open and slowly release the old wounds. We are actually allowing our bodies genetic code to reboot. We are in effect, switching ourselves off and on again! This is why it so crucial to find a way to open this portal and begin the process of revisiting and releasing this deeply buried mass of pain and sorrow.
Janov goes on to write…
“Weeping is healing. Feeling is healing. Repression is ‘antihealing’. Every process of our brain and body has an evolutionary rationale. To block weeping is to run against the sweep of evolution. That is why those who weep deeply seem to ‘restart’ the evolutionary process – beards begin to grow at age forty, wisdom teeth develop at forty five, breasts begin to grow at age thirty five.
The genetic code can now proceed to its destination; that destination is growth, healing and health. Not a bad job for minuscule droplets of moisture. Imagine! Tears have the power to transform our physiology, change our personality and re-fire the evolutionary engine. What has seemed like weakness to so many of us turns out to be one of the most powerful forces on earth”!
Sometimes, I get this feeling that all of the songs, lyrics or pieces of music that I will ever write, have already been written. They lie like bones, under a thin crust of Earth. Waiting to be revealed, to be discovered by the Archeology of expression. Art, brought to life – using just relaxed presence, a quietened mind and an honest heart.
That’s how creativity works in me. I allow the feeling, the notion, or the idea to just float around. Feeling it, being with it. Whatever is challenging or inspiring me in my life at that point. And then, as I allow my attention to wander in a fertile moment, a gentle breeze blows away some dust, exposing something. Stones? Or bones.
If its bones, then I begin to pay more attention, gently brushing away the dust, following what is exposed, whatever becomes interesting or inspiring. Or, if nothing comes, if its stones, I meander off to a different spot and begin to explore again. Soon, the fragments connect, the dots begin to join, the bigger picture emerges and suddenly, there it is. The song is made manifest. Brought in to the realm of sensory perception to be heard. To be healed and inspired by. And perhaps, to leave the listener moved, to something deeper. Something real.
I marvel at this new baby, this new chunk of expression. I am in awe and I often ask,
“where did this come from?”
” Am ‘I’ the songwriter, am ‘I’ an Artist, am ‘I’ a Musician?”.
What does being creative mean?
The dictionary defines the word creative as; [relating to, or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something].
So then, what is the source of our imagination? From what or where do we get ‘flashes’ of inspiration. and does it happen to us, or do we happen to it? Is it the subconscious or the superconscious?
Exploring this mystery is one of the most exciting parts of the creative process for me. It means that not only has music and expression become my spiritual practice, it also relieves me of any great attachment to the work. It doesn’t have to be my music. It is just the music. I discovered it. I didn’t invent it.
A musical Archeologist or ‘Arteologist’, following a creative flow, putting my attention on what life lesson or situation I’m in. Whatever is relevant to me and my life at the time. Almost like consulting an oracle, with no concern for others opinions, criticisms or judgements. Nothing is personal. If I can relinquish ownership in a creative sense – to not have the music be mine, to drop the need to have it be a reflection of ‘who I am’, then I don’t feel I have to take credit for it. It was always there. I have just revealed it. It belongs to creation itself. In this way the music can be completely honest and vulnerable. I can find the courage to write about the difficult, painful and also the ecstatic and joyous, without inhibition. Then It becomes a part of my healing. Then it is therapeutic. I get to release pain, fear, wounds and trauma, through this process, through this connection to the creative energy of life itself.
But it gets better! The act of expression, true, authentic expression, means that I get to share my inner world with anyone that wishes to know. And really, what do they ultimately want to know? That their own inner world can heal and grow too.
In the realm of lyrics, rich in symbolism, metaphor and rhythm, powerful messages can be received. Great insights can occur and when music is added, when melody and harmony join the words, then our hearts are immediately activated. It is almost impossible to fight back the rise of sorrow, of joy or bliss when it comes, floating on an emotional flying carpet of soaring music. It is almost irresistible.
Music is the language of the inner world, the voice of our beings. Apart from sex and food (which are both survival driven), music is the one other way to have a shared experience of ecstasy and profound emotion. It evokes the very energy of what we really are. Loving, fragile beings, trying to find our way, trying to connect. Then expression becomes more than just our expression. More than just our creative process. Then it becomes contagious. It becomes the ‘collective creative’.
Infected by its power and potency, others begin to dig, to dust a little to see what treasure lies beneath their crust, their Earth. and so it spreads and grows… this is where things get truly creative.