What did the yogi say to the hot dog vendor? “Make me one with everything.” Then the yogi gave the hot dog vendor a $20 bill. “Hey,” said the yogi, “Where’s my change?” The hot dog vendor looked at him and said, “Change comes from within.” Baboom! Cue the laugh track…
Who said the spiritual path has to be serious? Do saints and prophets and the truly enlightened never laugh? I think the best teachers and gurus always see the light and humor in the world around them. Sometimes we “seekers” think that only by being serious about things like the perfect alignment in the posture, never missing a meditation, or setting a standard for ourselves that is almost impossible to reach is the way we learn Truth. That is the perfect trap for judging ourselves and then everyone around us. Spiritual conceit is alive and well within the spiritual community. Better to just “drop it” and lighten up. Why not see the light, joy, and humor in the world around you?
Laughter yoga is one of the fastest growing types of yoga spreading throughout the world today. Began as an experiment to see if laughter would increase one’s chance for healing from serious disease, the answer came back in a heartfilled YES! Long ago, Dr. Bernie Seigel, whose books transformed the way we see illness (one being Love, Medicine and Miracles), taught us that the immune system is strengthened by humor. Cancer patients can improve and, as an added bonus, lighten up their journey through the process. Prioritize humor in your life, Dr. Seigel would advice. Laughter feels good and has (unlike many pharmaceuticals) no bad side effects and costs nothing.
So read a funny book. One that I like is Growing Up Laughing by Marlo Thomas. It is chock full of funny stories and jokes. Or look at some silly pictures. Get together with a friend who brings out the humor in you. See a movie that makes you belly laugh. It could be any movie, as stupid and goofy as you like. One of our all time favorites is the spiritual cult film “Groundhog Day.” We have seen it so much we can practically recite the lines. We never fail to have a good laugh and learn a little spiritual truth along the way. Whatever lightens up your life is the key choice. You pick it. It’s YOUR laugh after all. Have some fun! It is not a wasted, vacuous endeavor. It is healthy “medicine” for the soul.
So give it a try. Laugh your head off! Who knows? It might be catching. You might become addicted. You might start seeing the world differently. Maybe when you laugh, the world will laugh with you. As Swami Muktananda, one of my favorite teachers said, you might “see the world as a divine play, as the light of your own soul, and enjoy it while still laughing happily.”