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July 21, 2017 6 Comments
Laughter, it has been said, is the best medicine. Being able to bring humor into the world can be a wonderful, healing thing. There will always be suffering, misunderstanding and conflict. It is the nature of the world. In recognizing the impermanence of all things in life and in making peace with that truth we allow ourselves to fully embrace life in all of its ups and downs. Being able to laugh at life's craziness is good, but being able to laugh at our own craziness is great!
As Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, stated "Change is the only constant." And the Buddha: “The world is afflicted by death and decay. But the wise do not grieve, having realized the nature of the world.”
Some years ago I had the unusual experience of a practice known as Laughter Yoga. I was in a group of friends at Ananda Village, which is perhaps the largest and oldest spiritual community in the United States with over 800 acres of wooded property and over 200 residents including families and monastics. We all laid down on the floor and rested our heads on each others' bellies. Before we knew it, one person's laugh had multiplied into many as a ripple of laughter passed from one stomach to another. It was a powerful experience of happiness for no reason!
If you search "Laughter Yoga Seattle" on Google, you'll find that there are several "Laughter Yoga" meet ups and groups in the city. I highly recommend it!
On the same note, we just received a new arrival at East West called The Man Who Refused Heaven: The Humor of Paramhansa Yogananda. The book contains many stories and jokes that Yogananda told during the course of his life. It seems that most masters and advanced spiritual teachers share a distinctly joyful sense of humor. Perhaps next time you find the day not going your way, take a moment and listen to your favorite comedian. Yogananda said that laughter allows the soul to become more receptive, therefore opening the individual to experiencing higher states of awareness.
Here's one for you!
From one of my favorite spiritual jokesters, Buddhist meditation teacher, Ajahn Brahm (check out his recent book release Kindfulness in our Mindfulness section!):
Why did the Buddhist coroner get fired?
Because he’d always record the cause of death as ‘birth’.
Have a happy, humorous Friday!
With laughter and blessings,
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