Well, it finally happened. During yoga teacher training I broken down and cried. Not that I didn’t think it would happen, it just happened so unexpectedly.
The focus this weekend has been the Yoga Sutras, the Eight Limbs, and Meditation. This afternoon we watched a documentary called The Dhamma Brothers where two meditation experts taught a 10-day course on meditation to inmates at a maximum security prison. Most of the inmates who took part are doing life without parole; one has been on death row for 18 years. To say that it touched everyone who watched it would be an understatement.
We discussed the film afterwards, where the instructor asked how we felt. Something led me share the connection I saw between all of those men (many of whom where black) behind bars, and the reality show #Intervention that chronicles people battling addiction.
What is the connection? The reason so many people end up behind bars is same reason so many people become addicts: They either experienced a childhood trauma that was never resolved, or to fill a deep emotional void that was ripped open when they were abandoned or betrayed by a parent – usually their father. This last point really landed with me, and was the spark that ultimately caused me to break down.
There are so many people among us who are in such mental, psychological and emotional pain. They’ve been suffering for years and have never effectively dealt with the pain or what caused it. For me, as I shared with the group, the source of my pain is not only growing up without a father, but learning as an adult that my family never told me who my real father was to cover up my mother’s extramarital affair.
Then I talked about my son, Luther, and how much I love him. I said that I work so hard to be there for him in every way, because I don’t want him, when he gets older, to look elsewhere (gangs, drugs, crime) to fill the emotional void that I, as his father, can and should be filling from day one. I spoke about how my love for my son breaks the curse of my fatherless childhood, how his love fills the void in my soul,…
and that’s when I broke down and wept.
I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. The rush of emotion was just too much for me withstand. Among fellow yoga teacher trainees and instructors (people whom I’ve grown especially close to and fond of), I cried my eyes out.
To be honest, I had never shed one tear as a result my fatherless childhood. I just “sucked it up” and did what I had to do. But today, that, along with the combination of all the aforementioned things, well…, my heart burst wide open.
I needed it. The love and support shown by the other students and instructors confirmed it. The emotional demon that had been building up inside my heart for 40 years was finally released. I let it go. And I am so glad that I did.
In fact, one student paid me one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received afterwards. He told me, “One of the things I really like about you Dutch, is your passion for not just yoga, but for helping people. I can actually feel your passion and how sincere it is, and I’ve always admired that about you.”
Wow. What can you say, right?
Anyway, just thought I’d share.