This month we have been talking about connecting with the lightness in our lives when the world seems so heavy. Susan’s favorite recommendation for finding that lightness was through laughter.
One of her favorite things was a statue of the Laughing Buddha that she kept on her desk as a reminder to not take everything so seriously. She also turned to her sister and together they “mastered the art of using laughter to turn something painful into something light.” She wrote, “Over the years, our laughter certainly has helped us ‘enjoy our misery.’ Even today, when one of us calls the other upset about something in life, we end up laughing ourselves silly.…The laughter helps us lighten up and detach from the drama which allows us to see the more important larger picture which is filled with many blessings. It balances the heaviness of the pain we are feeling with the lightness that comes from humor. And balance is what creates a world devoid of struggle. As long as we’re not laughing at anyone’s expense, laughter is, indeed, a gift for which to be grateful!”
People tend to take themselves seriously, even though there is so much joy and humor to be found in everyday living. Susan suggested learning “to laugh at ourselves with feelings of deep love…similar to a parent laughing at the fumblings of their children as they learn to walk.” For really, we’re all learning how to walk and so often we stumble or tumble and make a mess of things. Taking our mishaps too seriously only ends up feeding our misery.
A favorite Zen meditation of Susan’s was “to let your hair down, stick out your belly and roar with laughter.”
We don’t have to mimic the lifestyle of the Laughing Buddha to experience joy and lightness. We just need to make the effort to uncover that something wondrous within ourselves that brings out our inner Laughing Buddha. It’s there, we just need to lighten up to find it.