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Awakening the Clown Within
Humor - Much Missing Trait in Spiritual Equation
Well, enough has been written, said, done, even sung about on this beautiful planet of ours that's making so many folks cry in confusion, disappointment, and uncertainty in every aspect of living with self and others. Let's face it, most of us are really taking ourselves and life way too seriously than it deserves.
Thinking now about how much we are missing the sense of humor, I am tempted to call it one of the most precious aspects of our spirituality. It's something that makes us humans unique and privileged among all other advantages we enjoy over the animal kingdom.
Or it only seems to be the case, thinking now of wars and other idiocies of arrogance that we share with even those tiniest insects. I am not saying this to spoil your mood, but merely to point out that with our ability to laugh we should really do more of this and less of that.
With Laughter and Song
A few times during a typical day our family may say things to each other using a cartoonish voice, to maintain a carefree atmosphere, and also for a stress management. It's actually nothing unusual for us to watch Bugs Bunny and Friends once in a while or to compare the silliness of a life situation with a scene from Inspector Clousseau movies.
Then, as we get together with our long time friends, now all retired like ourselves, we tell and hear jokes, even those old ones, everybody is laughing probably remembering how funny they were when told for the first time. Anyway, it's better to tell old jokes than tell old health complaints and hear full reports about everybody's doctor's appointments.
We sing a lot, with one of the friends playing guitar, and his son playing piano. Among those songs we never forget to sing together our childhood songs. It's honestly like an instant tune-up to our souls. O.K., some of my friends may have achieved it already with those few beers, but humor and singing along certainly adds to the spirit of togetherness.
Still the Best Medicine
It may be the right moment to mention the amazing curative and rejuvenating powers of laughter. Some of you folks may have read about that classic case of Norman Cousins who cured his terminal illness by closing himself in a hotel room over the weekend and watching one after another the Marx Brothers oldies and other of his favorite slapstick comedies.
There is even a doctor who popularized so called "laughter meditation", where a large group of people form a circle and pointing at each other around laugh their guts out. What an ingenious idea! So simple and so effective, while being so close to the deepest needs of human soul to drop all ego-defenses, all concerns, and just be kids again.
Those Exaggerated Matters of Importance
Sense of humor must have a lot to do with spirituality. We even call funny folks "highly spirited, and we call alcohol "spirits" because it put us in that mood. Those of you who might have read some of my other articles probably noticed some of my "peculiar" personality traits, so here is some more, as it pertains to this humorous, at times satirical tone of my self expression.
Ever since I can remember myself, I have had this knee-jerk reaction of seeing as funny what I experienced as grownups' giving an exaggerated importance to things. That serious tone of voice and a solemn expression on their faces as they would talk about work, money, politics, and rumors around the neighborhood...I just couldn't get it what was so special about all that.
Of course, it wouldn't have been prudent to openly laugh, maybe they would also look at me as a "strange kid" - but I managed to express my "position" about all that only in some secret giggling with friends, who maybe didn't get it my way, but they didn't mind making fun of the grownups.
Am I in the Right School?
My teachers were adding to it with their lectures while making them sound like a matter of life and death. I remember asking myself: "Really, what's the big deal about imaginary numbers and logarithms? What's that to do with anything in real life?"
I remember my math teacher - back in the old country they were called "professors" - with those saintly pale face and light blue eyes saying it almost in a whisper: "Everything in universe can be expressed with mathematics". Much later in life I always remembered that whispering voice when I heard Clint Eastwood say : "Go ahead, make my day."
Well, folks, I just couldn't help seeing something absurd in the way grownups made things look so important. Like that art teacher, sorry - professor, who got tears in his eyes explaining the style of Renoir. Call it "immaturity" if you wish, but I am calling it just a "pronounced sense of humor". Mind you, in many other aspects of life I was quite a serious dude.
Rituals for Fun
I also found extremely amusing those "rituals" in my army service, and in those few rare visits to church as a gesture of friendliness. Being an army drill sergeant I caught myself so many times suppressing laughter as I was shouting those commands and that bunch of uniformed clowns obeyed like puppets.
When no officer was around on the practice field, a few times I made them march in circle for a while. They smiled but obeyed. Well, orders are orders.
And in those few instances that I found myself in the church for someone's wedding, funeral, or baptizing, I was hoping not to come closer to the preacher, for the fear that I would have to call him "father" - since in all cases he was much younger than I.
That would have really put me in a "sinful temptation" to produce a little more than a smile, and if he would also raise his eyebrows in surprise, I don't know if I would have been able to contain it anymore. Yes, with that sense of humor I must have been already "born a sinner".
Anyone Relating to Any of This?
As you may have noticed so far, I just can't take seriously human parading with attaching too much serious significance to anything. After all, we live and then we die, so what's the fuss over anything?
From my spiritual standpoint I think that we are enormously complicating ourselves, life, and our coexistence. Instead of being pissed off at it, my nature is processing it as something comical, and I guess that would be a simple explanation of it.
Maybe I am expecting too much from you, if I hope that at least some of you may relate to all this - but I hope I am not. But then again, maybe I am just wired that way in my mind - while life actually deserves to be seen as very serious matter. I don't know, and I shamelessly admit that I don't really care much.
I remember that kid that I used to be lying on my back and studying the cracks on my grandma's bedroom ceiling and seeing the outlines of human faces in some of them - while my brother and I were forced to take an afternoon nap along with grandma.
That's another thing I couldn't understand for quite a while - why did we have to take a nap, we were kids and we were not tired? Complaining to grandma didn't help much, so we got stuck with that routine. It dawned on me much later that grandma needed a nap and since there was no one else to watch us little rascals, we had to join her.
There was also our polio stricken aunt, but she also needed a nap. Of course, we chuckled quietly at their snoring, but at the time it was just another of many of those things were grownups didn't make any sense to me.
A few Words for an Epilog
In this article I mostly tried to reach those stern, stiff, humorless, too proud, authoritative mentalities that are having a hard time figuring how ultimately nothing matters one bit.
Indeed, we are here to explore our spiritual essence, to produce some harmony in this world, to invent and to discover, but maybe more than anything else, we are here to be playful and happy, to laugh and sing, and discover that part of our being kids that adulthood didn't succeed to screw up - the clown in us.