“If it were not laughed at, it would not be sufficient to be Tao.” – Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
Did you ever have a bad day? Everything seems to go wrong and you are completely lost in anger, frustration and self-pity. It gets worse and worse, until the final moment when, say, you have just missed the last bus. There is some critical point where it gets so bad the absurdity of it all overwhelms you and you can do nothing but laugh. At that moment you uplevel your predicament, you see the cosmic joke in your own suffering.
Meditation, because of the space it allows around events, gives you the chance to see the humor of your predicament. Awareness of the passing show of one’s own life allows a lightness to enter it where only a moment before there was heaviness.
Humor puts things in perspective. There are many levels of humor – there is a humor of survival, a humor of sex and gratification, a humor connected with power. Beyond all these there is a humor that is filled with compassion. It is reflected in the tiny upturn in the mouth of the Buddha, for he sees the humor in the universal predicament: all beings are lost in illusion, yet he knows that they will awaken from that illusion for they are, at heart, already enlightened. He knows that what seems so hard to them is from another perspective their own path to liberation.
Often the perspectives about yourself and the universe that you arrive at through meditation make you want to giggle or laugh. This giggle is without malice. It’s a cosmic giggle, one that I identify with my guru, Maharaj-ji. For his giggle was not of this world. It was not a social or personality giggle, but rather a cosmic chuckle, the delight in the fun of it all. His giggle was from the plane that gives us the term “lila,” the divine dance of life.
– Ram Dass
Photo by Natesh Ramasamy via Flickr. Used under the creative commons license.