Posts tagged: William Braud


By , February 26, 2009 3:36 pm

Tears often come at times of great joy, love of nature, music, spiritual experiences, weddings, births. A number of researchers have asked people to describe their positive experience of tears and crying. See “Why Cry?” Part One: Are Women Better At Crying Than Men?” and “Why Cry?” Part Two: Videos of Thinkers vs. Feelers on the MBTI
“Tears of Wonder/Joy” by William Braud 

In this wonderful qualitative research article,  William Braud  is doing a “phenomenological description” of the experience he calls “tears of wonder-joy,” with many concrete examples. He asked people to exactly describe this experience.

In a section called “Felt Experience,” (I wonder if the author is a Focuser!), Braud describes that participants reported positive affect and “feelings of joy, peace, awe, love, compassion, empathy and acceptance. There are feelings of unity, union, oneness, closeness, connection and immersion.” Read Braud’s article for a complete description of these powerful, positive experiences.
Braud goes on to define “wonder-tears” as an innate biological “empathy indicator,”  an indicator of entering the numinous (holy, sacred) and a  “signal” toward what is meaningful for each individual, a “sign post” on the path.
Now, imagine adding Intuitive Focusing to go deeper, to articulate these deeper meanings, as I teach in my article, “Finding The Meaning Of Tears.” The Focuser can articulate the landscape of their own soul, their “unique blueprint” in the Rogerian sense, using tears of being touched and moved as a kind of moral “compass,” keeping the keel of one’s soul-ship on one’s unique path, leading to action steps toward “carrying forward” on this path of meaning.
Here is the link to the entire article,
“Experiencing Tears of Wonder-Joy: Seeing With The Heart’s Eye” by William Braud . 

Tears ARE Transformation, Felt-Shifting Happening
I have found another wonderful phenomenological study of tears, this one, “Nine Psycho-Spiritual Characteristics of Spontaneous and Involuntary Weeping” by Rosemarie Anderson, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA. Anderson confirms my own experience that a certain kind of tears IS transformation happening, is our body’s sign that something is changing, shifting at the deepest level, an “integration,” not simply a by-product of the deepest felt-shifting but part and parcel of it. She states that tears may be the border between mind/body/spirit, an essential part, perhaps even a causative factor in transformation.
See my paper
“Affect in Focusing and Experiential Therapy” , which makes the same argument in terms of tears of “cathartic unfolding.” 
Anderson cites the dissertation of one of her students, Dufrechou, J. (2001). Coming home to nature through the body: An intuitive inquiry into experiences of grief, weeping, and other deep emotions in response to nature. Unpublished doctoral dissertation proposal,  Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA. I have not found a copy, but I would love to read it.
The Fountain and The Furnace: The Way of Tears and Fire by Maggie Ross
AND Rosemarie Anderson cites the book on The Way of Tears that I have been seeking since a friend loaned it to me over twenty years ago:

Ross, Maggie. (1987a) The Fountain and the Furnace: The Way of Tears and Fire. NY: Paulist Press.  And a related article: Ross, M. (1987b) Tears and fire: Recovering a neglected tradition. Sobornost, 9(1), 14-23
Now to find the book! You can get it used from $22 up through


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