Tell me, what’s the difference between a new partner and a new dog? After a year the dog is still excited to see you… As Mrs Monk is hot on the trail to get one, I’m wondering if I should start worrying… You know how it is … some days you’re the dog and others you’re the lamppost…
It is October and we are moving into a cooler season and shorter days. It’s not unusual to feel a bit melancholy at this period. Less sun means less happy hormones getting pumped into our system. What will help us to keep that smile… inside and out? Humour! And “do not take it too seriously” approach.
I have a wooden statue of the Laughing Buddha at home. Laughter is an integral part of spiritual awakening and I wonder who made the first joke. A wise man or a fool!…
When you laugh, you are present!
What you probably already know is that laughter has a great impact on our body and spirit … reduces stress hormones, boosts the immune system, regulates blood pressure and is even said to improve memory and so much more positive stuff.
But did you know it works also as a meditation? When you laugh your brain waves settle into a balanced pattern. There is no thought, no tension, no past, no future. It’s about as close as you can get to a pure state of meditation.
Not taking ourselves too seriously keeps us on track, authentic and Present.
One of the reasons that humour is so important in the Drunken Monk Project is that it keeps a focus (yours and ours) on Grounding what really matters. When we are working, or even now when we’re writing this article (well, I am writing and Mrs Monk keeps squeezing my balls with “write it more juicy!” comments), we might argue, but always with a laugh! Not taking ourselves too seriously keeps us on track, authentic and Present (and helps us not to get a completly nuts)!
Staying down to earth builds a solid foundation on which to build a healthy spiritual practice. The foundation is the understanding that we are all one. From the same source, the same consciousness. There is only the appearance of separation, like waves in the ocean.
a “Zen stinky” trap
Even on the spiritual path it’s too easy to get serious about it. Sooo many people take their spirituality so seriously! And when we get serious, we get identified with our ego. And from there it is just a short step to build up the ( Spiritual ) self image that we are “something special”.
This I call the “Zen Stink”. Energetically it’s a smug feeling, as if someone is more important than everyone else, better, more advanced, higher. Of course it’s true that some people are more skilled, more practiced at doing and being, but there is the trap. The trap that “just because I am better at something then I am superior” .
It can be subtle and for sure there is a part of it in all of us. So just a side step reminder on not being judgmental and hard on yourself. The key thing is to notice, to be aware of when those silent thoughts and feelings creep in.
An inner smile technique
So Laugh! At yourself when taking things too seriously! Giggle to yourself! Make it an intention and bring some light into your heart and let it flow to those around you.
To help things move along, a helpful technique is what Buddha calls the “inner smile”. It’s the feeling as if you have an extra pair of lips on the inside of your mouth and they are smiling. This can have a direct effect on your mood and adds to the overall healing power of laughter. You’ll notice its more difficult to frown and it’s cheaper than botox!
Do you know, how would Buddha use email? … without attachments!:-)
I’m sure I don’t need to go into how it feels to laugh. I would just like to encourage you to reflect on the last time you had a really good belly laugh and hold the intention to have another.
To summarise, focus some time every day to have a chuckle. You’ll feel grounded, light and it will help you fend off those seasonal moods in a healthy and natural way, with no side effects or hangovers.
And lastly, always do your thing and avoid arguments with idiots, … if the boomerang you’re throwing doesn’t come back it’s probably just a stick.
Have a laughly day!