The Spirituality of Humor.
I have always loved laughing. Sometimes I laugh so hard that I cry. I am so altered in my interiority that I almost feel drunk, laughing drunk. It is a great feeling. But of course, I love the extremes.
As I was thinking of a topic this morning, my friend Bob messaged me and asked what I would write about today. I asked him to give me a topic so he gave me two: the value of humor and loving ourselves before we can truly love another.
Well, humor resonated with me more today, not because the other topic doesn’t warrant a great deal more attention, but because I find myself in need of some mirth today.
I believe that there is a very base element of all spirituality that is all about humor. Not sarcasm. Humor. I think of the Dalai Lama...he is known to be a jokester. A prankster even. He laughs with his whole being. He is almost always smiling and laughing even when the subject matter is deathly serious. He is able to bring to everything he does this lightheartedness that is neither divisive or dismissive. He just sees, so therefore, he laughs.
I think this kind of humor is the foundation of all spiritual progress and growth. I think I have to get rid of all the deathly serious things my head comes up with and find the laughter and then comes the joy. A true joy of living, breathing and loving the life that is in front of me.
Of course I am nowhere near the Dalai Lama. No, I get pissed off on the daily about shit that doesn’t even matter. I get upset over small things then act in a way that makes them big things and I disconnect from those around me with these trivial, unimportant things...repeatedly.
I do, however, aspire to grow in this area. To allow the humor and fun and lightheartedness of life to come closer to me. To not take everything as such an affront. To allow life to just unfold and do a better job of not having a way about it all. I get so married to my way. And if I review my past, my way is so frequently wrong, bad, stupid and the path that will bring more pain, not less.
Life has to be about more than seeking pleasure and avoiding pain but sometimes I wonder. Despite my sincere desire to do it differently, that is where I end up a lot of the time. That or just wanting to numb out. I feel like most of the planet is just numbing out. It takes a lot of courage to live life without anesthetic. I do better somedays and not so great on others.
But humor, humor seems to be the root of spiritual growth. Yoda had it. The Dalai Lama has it. The Pope, well honestly I don’t even know who the Pope is right now, so I can’t add him to this list. Pema Chodrön has it. It has been a long week so my brain is not able to come up with more people...I am sure there are more people walking the earth that have that twinkle in their eye and get the joke.
And that joke would be this: life is here, happening, unfolding and we are missing it. We have all these plans, schemes and designs about how we want it to go. And we get super pissy when it doesn’t go that way. But life is going to go down the way it goes down no matter what we think or feel or scheme, so we might as well enjoy it. Laughter and humor make the journey far more enjoyable and grant us the ability to lighten the fuck up and enjoy the ride.
I would say here that I am committing to more laughter in my life but that is just another avenue of numbing out. A new “strategy” to live life. Life is not a strategy, life is this moment right now where I put words on the screen in an effort to connect to you. I can make it all about how many likes I get or how many people read my story today. But that is just my ego looking for constant validation which is how I miss life completely. Where is the humor and joy in that?? Nowhere!
I have a co-worker that when she makes a mistake and it is pointed out to her, she find the humor in it. She doesn’t get all trippy and upset. She just acknowledges her fuck up, and then makes a joke. And the joke is always on her. It is refreshing as my reaction to an error I make is much more dramatic. I feel the need to apologize profusely and promise to never do it again. She is much more relaxed about it...which no one has ever accused me of being too relaxed. But she takes it in and then finds the humor...because it is right there. She gets it...I far too often, do not.
I guess my whole point today is that I believe that humor is an entryway and a path on the path. A lightheartedness that is life affirming and loving and supportive of spiritual growth. When I can laugh at myself, I can laugh at all the crap life throws at me all while trusting that life unscripted can be a great deal of fun, if I let it.
Humor just might be an entry point to feeling the love of this life. Laughing the best avenue to access it. Finding joy in the mundane, the humor in our own foibles just might be the easiest way for us to access the path to enlightenment. And even if it isn’t, we will enjoy the ride, laughing all the way.