Spirituality is often considered a serious business with no fun, wit or hilarity. But the fact is that if you are able to see the humour in this drama called life, you are one step closer to self-realisation, writes APARNA KAPOOR
Q. How do you make God laugh?
A. Tell him your plans.
I am sure you smiled. It explains the basic principle of staying at peace with yourself and your life, making it clear that nothing is in your hands. There’s nothing about you or the situations you are in, that you can control. A serious point explained in a humorous way.
But Spirituality always makes everyone ridiculously uptight. ‘How dare I laugh at this? This is a serious business of life and death,’ is what people think.
This uptight approach towards spirituality makes people elude it, especially the younger lot. They seek fun to overcome the stress they bear. But if spirituality would make them smile, they would accept it too.
Laught it off
Laughter carries peace under covers. Most situations, when taken seriously, seem overwhelming and insurmountable, pinning us down. If we learn to laugh at them, a new perspective can emerge, which may be less imposing and more manageable. We could handle even a sticky situation with ease. ‘If I can laugh at this, then it sure is manageable’ This realisation alone brings peace and eases tension. This is a very physical, but factual experience.
There is a neurological study that shows that laughter and stress cannot coexist in the body at the same time. Laughter dislodges stress. It quite literally makes the mind and body peaceful.
Not only humour is helpful in finding peace, but peace helps us find humour too. It is actually a chain reaction.
Take yourself lightly
While on the spiritual path, we forget that we still are here in this world to have a human experience and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, laughter and humour included.
Out of all the species, humans are the only ones who have two unique characteristics. The first one is being able to talk and second, being able to laugh. No animal is ever spotted laughing.
But these traits are often wrongly used. We wag our tongues to hurt people and resist laughing even if our heart screams out loud to laugh. We refrain ourselves from letting go of all the tension. One who can laugh at oneself is someone who has overcome his anger and ego, two hurdles in spiritual growth. So, the one who can laugh at his own self, could be called a liberated soul.
Seekers often feel that it is mandatory to present a sullen look, perhaps to be taken seriously.But spirituality doesn’t have a dress code. Just be yourself and laugh if you should. Laughing doesn’t make spirituality of any lesser worth, but will make life a smooth sail.
Humour sets you free
To relate humour and spirituality, let’s understand the difference between our physical form and the essence of our soul. We identify ourselves with our physical existence. In other words, we see ourselves with all the layers of our being which encloses the core of our being. By learning to laugh at these veils and pretensions we, in a way, are able to slip out of these covers, connecting us to our soul. The core content is what needs to be cherished, the spark of divinity then shines within.
We enact happiness with humour. We embody happiness within, giving ourselves a chance to feel the tingly feeling of joy. That, in a way, motivates us to do make all the efforts to be happy and stay that way.
Laughter and humour are like tools to self realization, like meditation. When one meditates, one focuses on the essence and streamlines the peripheral things, just like laughter focuses on pure happiness, ignoring the rest. With repeated efforts of staying happy and laughing at every given opportunity, we actually make an effort to get comfortable with all the discomfort in life.
One who is too serious and finds it difficult to laugh easily actually may be nurturing an ego, making up a false facade of the physical existence, ignoring the core content. Ego leads you nowhere.
Try this: Look at things which you worry about and have a good laugh. Keep laughing until you see your problems from a different angle. This may sound outrageous, but in all probability you may see your problems from a different angle realizing that there’s no point to take these worries, or for that matter, even life so seriously.
So, laugh out loud when you still can and remember that ‘If life is a treasure, then laughter is its key!’