When Was the Last Time You Laughed?
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said: I’m not bossy, I’m just always right. It made me laugh out loud and it reminded me of something I needed to remember: one of the most powerful tricks we can keep up our sleeves along the journey in this life is a good, healthy sense of humor.
The Ego insists on being taken seriously regardless of how ridiculous its attitude and expectations are most of the time. But when we’re able to step back and laugh at ourselves it’s like relaxing a fist and letting some light in through the cracks.
Laughter changes our perspective. It changes our energy. It shifts us to a new frequency.
It’s possible to laugh and cry at the same time - these are just different outputs streaming from the same release valve - but it’s impossible to laugh and bear down rigidly on ourselves at the same time. These are opposite positions: one is open and one is closed.
As much as we can, we want to be intentionally, passionately cultivating ease for ourselves. When we’re in ease, we’re in flow. When we’re in flow, we can be guided, we feel lighter, more possible, more hopeful.
Happiness can be tricky to strive for but ease is straightforward. Where are you clenching, holding, contracting? Bring the breath there. Bring some laughter there. Deep breaths and belly laughs are like earthquakes that break up the stuck, stubborn ground in us.
One of my favorite things in the world is Eckhart Tolle’s laugh. I’ve learned so much from his teachings over the years, but even better than the wisdom he imparts are the long stretches during his lectures when he giggles. He never rushes past these moments. He lets himself giggle and jiggle and sniffle and snort as long as his body needs to. He inevitably takes the house down with him; it’s nearly impossible to watch a spiritual master bust out into a belly laugh without following suit.
The Buddha is known for the same - big generous belly laughs. For the profoundness of the Buddhist teachings, there is also a clear directive running through that we are not meant to overthink and dwell on our negative circumstances. Acknowledge and let go. Take yourself lightly so you can live in joy.
I also love Joe Rogan’s early stand up on the ludicrous nature of reality - where he ponders out loud how no one ever talks about how “f*cking weird it is that we’re on a f*cking rock flying through the universe”. It’s some of the best existential comedy out there, IMHO.
Same with Russell Brand. The live shows where he broadcasts humiliating photographs of himself and then makes fun of his own celebrity/Ego are so funny I have to hit the pause button and wipe my eyes from laughing so hard.
Kate Bush sang: Have you ever seen a picture/of Jesus laughing?/And do you think/he had a beautiful smile?
Laughter matters! Let’s not gloss over that. The best way to tame the Ego is to tickle it with a feather. So don’t forget to take your medicine this week :) don’t forget to seek out the stuff that floods you with joy and makes your belly jiggle. It’s not frivolous to do so; it’s life affirming.
Till next time friends!