Laughter is the Best Medicine
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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Also in Journal
The days leading up to this New Moon have been full of change. And indeed, change seems to be the name of the game for the next 28 days.
We’re dealing with a lot of discomfort right now. It’s never helpful to blame the planets -- that’s a surrender of power we cannot afford. It is helpful, however, to understand the ways they reflect what’s going on, connecting us to the archetypal realms which offer insight and guidance.
At the collective level, there are some things that are in massive dying processes right now. Distortions of power. Manipulations and exploitations of bodies and hearts. The veil is so thin we’re no longer able to pretend it’s even there. It can be pretty difficult to know how to breathe, let alone act, in that level of chaos.
Scorpio knows the way through, though. Scorpio is ferocity all grown up and made wild and fierce with remembrance of constant evolution.
In October of 2017, Jupiter entered Scorpio for its 13 month tour through the depths. Jupiter teaches us about truth, belief, intuition and expansion. In the sign of Scorpio, it can magnify fears and emotional residues, especially when it comes to themes of sex, power, death and anything hidden. This New Moon sees Jupiter in the last degree of Scorpio, magnifying all we’ve learned in the past year.
The world’s collective wisdom about addressing life’s obstacles is tremendous. And yet, day to day, we seem unable to answer these deceptively simple questions: Am I on the right path? Am I doing the right thing?
Sometimes, it seems the world has conspired against us. Maybe on the way to that new job interview, every light we come to turns red, and every door seems to close, then we get in a fender bender. Or when we date someone new, our friends yell at us, our parents chastise us, we lose money, things break and fall apart. After a long day, it seems like the universe couldn’t have made it any more clear that we were heading in the wrong direction. Then we wake up the next morning, and our current job seems so boring and pays so little that there has to be a better alternative, and so-and-so’s “good morning” message to us was so sweet, how could we not go on another date with them?
"I wonder how it is that people's philosophies have come to spin faster than the changing seasons."
Masanobu Fukuoka, author, One Straw Revolution
Well, the season has officially shifted. The days, getting shorter. The big leaf maple trees, dropping their magnificent, big leaf maple leaves, all over the farm, and all over western Washington.
The mornings alternate between moderate and near frosty temperatures. Just ask momma goat and her morning milker in the lower field!
The Foghorns in the Saratoga pass often echo throughout the early hours, giving amplification to the magical mist which fills the air all around, before giving way to vast blue sky of the afternoon, and the blissful hue of golden hour in the early evening. A perfect time to visit the alpacas and bench on sunset hill.