You’ve likely found this article because at some point during meditation, Reiki, or other healing energy work like acupuncture, you spontaneously began to cry, and wondered what it meant. Maybe you were heaving with sobs, or perhaps just silent tears slid down your cheeks. Either way — what happened was important, and has a message for you. Let’s explore the meaning of crying during meditation.
First, let me explain my qualifications for writing this article. I’m a practitioner of Reiki in Boston, and crying during Reiki is a phenomenon I’ve experienced numerous times with clients. (I’ll go more in depth about these stories in a moment.)
With regards to my experience in crying during meditation, I meditate daily, and on certain powerful occasions, found myself suddenly breaking into sobs. (This is distinct from the other phenomenon I experience of seeing colors during meditation.) It’s taken many months of reflection and research, but I now have interpretations on these tears that might help you understand yours. Here goes.
Crying During Reiki
Even if you haven’t tried Reiki healing touch energy work, understanding the meaning of crying during Reiki will actually help illuminate what’s happening when there are tears during solo meditation. Why? Not only is Reiki a form of meditation, but because Reiki is usually done with two people in a room — the client and the practitioner — there is more data about what’s happening during the tears. (See more about how to pronounce “Reiki” here.)
What do I mean that two people provides more data? As the Reiki practitioner, I describe what energy, aura colors, and emotions I’m seeing in the client’s body from my end, and the client can share, from her point of view, what she’s feeling and thinking, as well as any life situations that might be reflected. Putting our experiences together, we can more deeply analyze what’s going on with the tears than we would be able to, meditating alone.
So, what is going on when a person cries during Reiki? It’s nothing to be scared of, and there’s nothing bad or wrong happening. In my experience, every time tears happen, it’s when I place my hands on the client in a Reiki position which touches a specific chakra (energy center) that has been blocked, holding on too tightly to something.
The calming Reiki touch helps the chakra’s energy start to open and flow again into balance, which causes a huge release of the pent-up energy — and thus the flood of tears. It’s a key indication of chakra balancing and energy work healing the body. Allow me to give you real-life examples from two chakras to illuminate how the tears indicate a positive release.
Crying and the Heart Chakra
In my years practicing Reiki, I’ve found the most common chakra that causes crying during a Reiki session is the fourth or heart chakra: the region associated with compassionate love, and with seeing a green aura. This Anahata chakra is accessed by placing hands gently on the upper chest on the front of the body (avoiding sensitive areas for women), or by having the client lay on their stomach so the practicioner can place hands on their upper back, behind their heart.
Here’s a story about this chakra and tears from a recent new Reiki client. As I placed my hands along her body in the Reiki positions, I was feeling fine — just letting the energy calmly flow. Then I got to her fourth, heart chakra at her upper chest, and OOF! I, myself, started crying! I looked down, and the client had tears flowing from her eyes, too.
Huh? Was it all in my head? I moved my hand placement to her throat (the blue chakra) and the tears instantly stopped for both of us. As a test, I moved back to the heart chakra… and BOOM — I got that sobbing feeling in my chest again, billowing out with emotion, and the tears poured out. Nope, it wasn’t in my head! There was some serious sadness that had been trapped in that chakra, which was now finally releasing.
I began to discuss the meaning of the tears with the client, once we’d both gotten a good cry in. It turns out that for her whole life, she’d been seen as “The Strong One” in her family. People came to her day and night to lay their troubles at her feet for her to solve and soothe. This woman was the shoulder to cry on for everyone else — but was never allowed to sob, herself. There was an ocean of tears built up inside her chest, aching to escape!
To help balance the trapped heart chakra energy, I placed one hand on the client’s upper back, then the second hand on other chakras, in order. For example, by placing that second hand on the seventh, white chakra, or on the first, red chakra (both of which had calmer energy) I was able to move some of that pent-up heart energy into healing flow with the rest of the body.
During the closing debrief of our Reiki session, the client said she felt much lighter and more balanced after our hour together and her good cry — but we both knew this wasn’t a 60-minute fix for everything! I encouraged her, in the coming days and months, to try to release tears whenever possible… be it via a sad movie, a conversation with a friend, meditation, or just letting herself really feel what was there.
We hope that moving forward, she begins to balance the give-and-take of her role in the family, transitioning from being “The Strong One,” into being a caring person who ALSO is allowed to have her OWN moments of vulnerability and emotion. Tears hold great healing power!
The Second Chakra and Tears
Though crying is most common during Reiki on the fourth chakra, in my experience, the second, sacral chakra also sometimes correlates with tears. This Svadhisthana chakra is located right below the navel, and is associated with creativity, sensuality, and reproduction, as well as seeing an orange aura.
Here’s an example from a recent Reiki client. As I moved through the hand positions on her body, I felt relaxed, calm energy. Suddenly, as I placed my hands on her hips (the second chakra), I felt a rush of emotion. I looked up, and the client had tears rolling down her cheeks. I stayed in that area, working on releasing and balancing the energy while she cried.
The client later said that what she felt was akin to a “click” — a door swinging open to let out hunks of pent-up emotion that had amassed through years of dealing with infertility, trying and trying and trying to have a baby. Indeed, that second chakra was home to a packed-in tangle of feelings for her!
As she cried, she breathed deeply, letting the clenched-up energy flow at last. At the end of the session, the client said she felt much better — released and newly connected with love for her womb, no matter what happened in her continued fertility quest.
So what causes crying during Reiki? These clearly show: the phenomenon is caused by pent-up emotion in a specific chakra of the body finally being released, often connected to important life circumstances. These tears are nothing to be worried about and aren’t harmful. They’re a sign that energy is finally starting to flow again: the first step in healing and balancing.
These tears can also guide our way to positive life changes. See my other article, “How Many Reiki Sessions are Needed?” for elaboration on why it’s so useful to book more than one energy healing session in order to work through and fully process emotions, and “5 Reiki Principles” to see why kindness to yourself in all states of emotion are key to wellbeing.
Crying During Meditation
Now that we have that background from Reiki, we can more easily answer the question: “Why do I cry during meditation?” The reason for tears while meditating is that there has been an emotion or thought that has been too-tightly bottled up in your body, and through the relaxation of mediation, you’re finally clicking open that door to let it start to release.
“Is it OK to cry during meditation?”
In answer to the question, “Is it OK to cry during meditation?” is: YES, it is GREAT to cry during meditation — it is a sign that you are relaxed enough to let trapped energy start flowing again. This can lead to important life revelations and changes, as well as the delicious other effect of simply feeling better. It’s not good for our health to keep emotions so tightly bottled and locked away!
Crying During Meditation as a Message
Here’s a real life example that illustrates all these points. Two years ago, a friend was doing a meditation on the “Insight Timer” app about understanding relationships. About seven minutes into meditating, sobs began to heave from her body. What was going on? The teacher on the audio recording had merely raised the topic of relationships, then guided the listener to breathe deeply and put a hand on the heart, tapping into their body and starting to relax.
My friend cried for a full half hour, long after the 12-minute meditation had finished. What the heck was going on? She pushed it out of her mind for weeks, but a nagging feeling kept surfacing that there was some message the tears were trying to tell her: something having to do with her heart and relationships that would be harmful to ignore.
Months passed, and she began, first in individual therapy, then in couples therapy, to dive into what was going on in her marriage. It took nearly a year, but finally she understood why she started crying during that meditation: She was deeply unhappy in her relationship with her husband, and had bottled it up so tightly (to protect her children and stability) that she could barely face it herself.
This tactic of pushing down feelings could only go for so long, however, before she would become utterly exhausted and spent — unwell both inside and out. At last she realized that, as difficult as divorce would be, it would provide a far better life for her and her children than continuing to deny the misery of her marriage.
The moral? Crying during meditation is often an indication that there’s a truth inside which we’re so scared to face that we’ve trapped it behind a door. Consider that allowing it out — first through tears, then through the mind and heart — could actually be less scary than continuing to live with the sadness!
Crying During Massage
All of these principles hold true for starting to cry during a massage, acupuncture, or any other bodywork. This is sometimes also connected to getting a headache after massage or other modality — the emotions are being processed through the energy work.
Crying During Meditation or Reiki, in Sum
I’m very curious now to hear your experiences with — and thoughts about — crying during meditation or Reiki, and also about how it relates to feeling tired after a Reiki session. When has it happened in your life, and what have you interpreted it to mean? Do share!
Want more about chakras? Check out my article about the “Earth Star Chakra” — the chakra that’s actually OUTSIDE of your body. If you’d like to learn more about Reiki, or are a practitioner like me, see my posts about the symbol, Cho Ku Rei, or about distance healing with the symbol Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen.
The author and artist, Lillie Marshall, is a National Board Certified Teacher of English who has been a public school educator since 2003, and an experienced Reiki practitioner since 2018. All art on this site is original and hand-drawn by Lillie. She launched DrawingsOf.com Educational Cartoons in 2020, building upon the success of her other sites, AroundTheWorldL.com (established 2009), TeachingTraveling.com (founded 2010), and ReikiColors.com. Subscribe to Lillie’s monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media to stay connected!