Contributor: Francis van Schaik
Humor makes the path to enlightenment a lot more fun. We tend to think that personal development is something very serious. That seriousness is not strange in itself. “Who am I?” and “What am I doing here?” are serious philosophical questions.
But couldn’t it be anything other than just serious and heavy? Isn’t humor also an art of living? Couldn’t putting things into perspective help with the development of wisdom and spirituality? It’s a question that isn’t asked very often.
Humor and laughter fix something that isn’t right. And that is not only fun and relaxing, it can also help in very difficult moments. If you feel cramped with pain and sadness, it can happen that a smile is close by. Because there is so much tension that it simply looks for a way out, in the form of a joke. It is not for nothing that laughing and crying often go together: by laughing you burst open and pent-up sadness finds a way out. The stone in your stomach softens, if only for a moment. What often doesn’t work with talking a lot, does happen with laughing. Such a smile, in the words of Leonard Cohen, creates the cracks in reality that allow the light to enter again. Perhaps sticking to humor and lightness when it comes down to it is far more important than all the other arts of living put together.
Humor in difficult times
Laughter liberates, no one described it more poignantly than the Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl in ‘The meaning of existence’, a book about his time in the concentration camp that is often quoted when it comes to questions of meaning. You can’t choose your situation yourself, says Frankl, but you can choose how you react to it. Therein lies your freedom, even if you are imprisoned. “I wouldn’t have made it without humor,” he writes. He agreed with another prisoner that they would tell each other a funny story every day, a story that would take place after their release. It is precisely in the most difficult times that you need to laugh every now and then. As an outlet. As a counterweight. To make the weight bearable. To be lifted from the heaviness of the day.
Applying humor in your personal growth
But how do you do that, bringing lightness to your spiritual path? To start by practicing putting things into perspective and self-mockery. That should be a cinch, because let’s face it: the path to the open chakras is paved with awkwardness, muscle aches, and snoring during yoga class (not to mention other noises). If you can laugh about that, instead of falling prey to embarrassment and embarrassment, life immediately becomes a lot easier. You can boost your personal growth through humor and laughter, especially by looking at yourself with kindness. By cherishing the moments when there is something to laugh about, and also looking up those moments as often as possible. By living with a smile.
Humor in your meditation
Laugh without reason? Sounds weird, but it works. There is even a yoga form that revolves around the relaxation that laughter gives: laughter yoga. Suitable for beginners, because complicated postures are not involved. Such a laugh session is simple: you start laughing from your stomach, with a deep ho-ho-ho and hahaha – that’s fake, but your brain doesn’t realize that. It feels uncomfortable at first, but the positive hormones do their job. A good laugh feels like all the trivia from your worry list has been washed away. It is a relieve!
Put your hand on your stomach and laugh out loud. By laughing, you make happiness hormones, and it has a relaxing effect. The more you do it, the easier it becomes to laugh. Find reasons to laugh out loud. Watch YouTube videos where people are laughing. Then you automatically participate.
Francis van Schaik
Francis van Schaik is een coach van jongeren en ook een student van menselijke relaties met de natuur, de wereld en de Waarheid. Ze levert regelmatig bijdragen aan ons online magazine. Francis is de bijdragende redacteur van deze pagina.