Seriously? Why?

Eleanor on the meditation cushions. If you could give this picture a caption, what would it be?

Eleanor (looking very serious) on the meditation cushions. If you gave this picture a caption, what would it be? Feel free to answer this question as a comment (and have some fun with it!)

A friend called the other day and asked me to come over for tea. She is usually super-busy during this pre-holiday season, so I was delighted to be meeting her in the middle of the week, and didn’t think anything unusual was going on, until I showed up at her house and she was on crutches.

I don’t feel at liberty to share specifics (about how she broke her ankle the day after I sprained mine) but as she told me the story of how it happened, I felt a laugh start to well-up inside. I just couldn’t help it. At one point (during my laughing fit) she said, “I am so happy that you are laughing about this!” I could tell that she meant it. She and I have spent much of our adult lives around colleagues who consider themselves to be “spiritual” and “healers” and yet so many lack levity and a sense of fun, having more of the attitude, God-forbid you laugh at something serious (and life is very serious), and don’t you dare laugh at me.

I believe it is a gift of being human to laugh, and yet it is amazing how many adults seem to lose the ability to laugh for fear of looking inappropriate. Just think of all the places and situations where we have been taught not to laugh: school, the doctor’s office, meditation, work, funerals, weddings, vigils, prayer, church…

Someone may get mad at you for laughing at their serious story, but if that laughter is real (not ironic or sarcastic) then trust it. You didn’t think it up, or create it, in that moment. You didn’t hope it would come. It just burst upon you without warning. How do you know that it isn’t bringing the true healing that’s really needed in the situation?

When we’re true to ourselves, we become instruments of truth for the planet. Because we’re all connected, we touch the lives of everyone around us, who then affect others. Our only obligation is to be the love we are…Finally, I can’t stress enough how important it is to enjoy yourself and not take yourself or life too seriously. One of the biggest flaws with many traditional spiritual systems is that they often make us take life too seriously. Although you know that I abhor creating doctrines, if I ever had to create a set of tenets for a spiritual path to healing, number one on my list would be to make sure to laugh as often as possible throughout ever single day, and preferably laugh at myself. This would be hands down over and above any form of prayer, meditation, chanting, or diet reform.” Pg 185 from, Dying to Be Me, by Anita Moorjani

31 thoughts on “Seriously? Why?

  1. Mary – I imagine Eleanor saying “You woke me up to tell me that??” I can’t believe you wrote this post today. Last night at the end of my exercise class, the instructor said something that I thought was very funny. I was the only one who laughed out loud (and I did it loudly!). Everyone in the class turned and looked at me. Instead of being embarrassed, I said “What? I thought it was funny!” There was a point in my life that I probably would have been mortified to have something like that happen. I’m so glad I don’t feel that way now!

  2. What a great time of year to remember the value and healing quality of laughter! At our family get-togethers it never fails that as we reminisce about something that happened, and which we all might recall a bit differently, someone, usually my brother Bob, comes up with a great ‘line’ that prompts us to laugh until we cry…I feel my inner flame flare up when I laugh! It feels as wonderful and special to share a ‘good’ laugh as it does to share a hug. So I love your tag of ‘divine laughter’…I hadn’t thought of it that way…until just now. Yes…divine laughter! Thanks Mary!

  3. “Look DEEP into my eyes…you are getting sleepy….”

    “You WILL feed me tuna for lunch Mom.”

    “Don’t even THINK about this spot Luke!”

    “Mere mortals….”

  4. I’m loving the comments but can’t think of any myself. I’m about to bake dog bisquits so my mind’s in another direction. Annie, the 2 1/2 yr. old Aussie has managed to get her nose into the flour/bulger wheat mix on the counter and spread it around on the floor…but laughter… I grew up with four uncles ribbing me unmercifully. There is no way I could ever take myself seriously with them around. Laughter produces good endorphins and that is a good feeling, indeed..
    SandyP in Canada

  5. Laugh, laugh, laugh…I’m remembering all the “serious” moments in life, I could have just laughed at! Thank you, Mary!

  6. This is so true – reminds me of something that happened to me this week: A friend asked me help out at a charity that was providing disaster relief to the Philippines.. I expected lots of serious people speaking about terrible things, but I went along to spend some time with my friend.

    When we got to the big warehouse, the only job they needed volunteers for was mixing paint (!) – they consolidate cans of donated paint to use in their shelter work.

    We ended up having a delightful time wearing coveralls, prying ancient lids off cans of mystery paint and pouring the contents into big vats. Everyone was laughing about the weird colors and how much fun it was to get so messy, and I met some of the nicest folks. No one even mentioned the typhoon, which we couldn’t do anything about, but I would like to think that someone out there in the world ended up with a beautiful colorful home.

  7. Eleanor: “Today I am invisible, you do not see me resting here, just keep walking past…” Come to think of it I think people give off this vibe as well on days they don’t want to engage.
    If asked, I would say that I laugh a lot, alone and with others BUT the other day I was watching the Funniest Videos show on TV and laughing so hard it was hard to breathe! It suddenly hit me that I haven’t laughed THAT hard in a long while ~ need to fix that quick!
    Get well wishes to you and your friend and Love to all from Georgia where it’s frigid!

  8. Funny you should write about this today. Last night I saw a TV program that had a scene that had me rolling on the floor laughing. Every time I thought of the scene I would break out laughing – and I woke up this morning laughing. I thought “that’s the way I always want to wake up”! Thanks for always putting into words what I seem to be feeling about life.

  9. Caption for the photo – “Don’t even think of meditating right now – I am too comfortable!”

    Elizabeth Holleman, Vice President
    Aladdin Travel & Meeting Planners
    Member of the Tzell Travel Group

    http://www.aladdintravel.com
    Phone (336) 510-7621 Fax (336) 499-6774
    Cell (336) 416-7033
    342 N. Elm Street, Suite 6, Greensboro, NC 27401

  10. In case anyone needs a jump start, I bet you won’t be able to not join in with this adorable baby:

    and Eleanor’s advice to us this weekend” “Take a chill pill, flock!”

    Happy Weekend to all. My son turns 40 today, I can’t believe it!

  11. I live with PTS (quite well now) and my therapist always tells me that he knows I’ll be ok because I’ve never lost my ability to laugh even at the worst of times! Having a true sense of humor means you can have perspective. People who lack that tend to wallow in a pity swamp of their own making, long after the trauma or stress would resolve. If you can’t laugh, you’re not really living! I mean, seriously, is anything in my life at this point even comparable to what is happening to the people of the Philippines, Syria, with life-threatening illnesses, etc. Not even close!

    Eleanor – “Yes, you may stroke my head now, 3 times, and then off with thee.”

  12. Good story. Yesterday my husband I started laughing (mine is a weird
    hard-to-stop cackle, actually) about something absurd a weatherman had said on TV earlier. We were in the waiting room of a car dealership, waiting out an oil change. I just loved it…it set the tone for the whole day. Neither of us can believe they didn’t come to check on us…must be they were watching us on a camera somewhere, shaking their heads in bewilderment 🙂

  13. Eleanor, ” Do you really think that I am going to move off this comfy cushion so that you can meditate? I think not.”

  14. Susan, I will go to bed smiling this evening remembering the adorable laugh of the cutest little girl in the video you shared. WOW, she made my day and while she was only watching the family dog eating his/her meal. Wouldn’t it be so wonderful if we could all be that free with such a beautiful laugh.

  15. I imagine her saying *ho hum……I’ve got this meditation thing mastered…..meditation is EASY……….what’s next*?

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