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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

A Lesson from Psalm 126

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Sep 10th 2010


old bookWhether you are a staunch believer or staunch skeptic, the Psalms are beautiful poetry that has much to teach us. One of them in particular speaks to the paradox of emotional freedom. When most of us think of emotional freedom we may picture someone running through a field of daisies on a sunny day with arms spread and laughing. Acclaimed songwriter and singer Debbie Friedman recently reminded me of the true path to emotional freedom in her song using the words of Psalm 126.

It reads…

“Those who sow in tears 
will reap with songs of joy.”

We don’t have to be so afraid of our tears, in fact, what we can interpret from this ancient text is that those who able to just be with the tears as they arise, will later reap in the joy as it arises.

As Kahlil Gibran says,

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. 
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.” 

How can we learn as individuals and a culture that embracing our pain neutralizes the fear that is there and creates an opening for the joy to arise?

This is difficult because we’ve been programmed and continue to be programmed that pain is something to be feared and we need to constantly long or strive for comfort. This is what keeps us stuck and suffering.

This is a universal concept in all of the wisdom traditions and understood very well by the popular media who too often capitalizes on it with children and adults.

So, it’s time to recognize the spaces in our lives that are occurring all the time to choose to pay attention differently. Seek out small moments of discomfort whether physical or emotional and take 30 seconds to just get curious about it.

What is the feeling, how does it manifest in your body, what thoughts come along with it?

After reading this blog, take a moment to find a way to remind yourself of this. Perhaps set it in your calendar, put a sticky on your desk or maybe a string around your finger. The gravity of our everyday habitual patterns of living is strong, so we need the reminders.  

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom we can all benefit from. 


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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