Over the past two months, I've introduced strategies to be more attentive, thoughtful and compassionate. But I haven't gotten to the point of really being happier, more joyful, a little more lighter when we speak, think, and behave. Mindfulness can be pretty flat sometime. Focusing on how to be calm and steady eliminates anger, restricts judgements, and reduces anxiety. But it can be a little somber. We need to start placing serious value on Laughter.
Laughter is proof that God exists and really needs us to lighten up.
We have gotten so confined in conflict: Me vs. You, Us vs. Them, "I know more than you do vs. oh, yeah? says you!" is keeping us away from this beautiful and most basic neurological responses in life. It is the one human expression that can both release tension, fill our hearts with love, and promote immediate intimacy and understanding better than any other emotional mechanism we have.
We are made for laughter. It is brought forth from within us the moment we can make consistent eye contact with another human being.
I will go as far as saying that, next to smiling, it is our deepest form of mutual connection. And to prove it, I'll propose this question about laughter to bring you all into the same circle of humanity.
Ever smile when you see a baby? Ever lower your voice when you hold a baby?
And have you ever acted way outside any reasonable resemblance of sane behavior for no other reason than to make a baby laugh? And kept doing it just to keep the baby laughing?
Yes, you did.
And, when you were a baby, it happened to you, too.
Laughter is a reflex to unimpeded joy. Then we age. We "decide" what's funny, what's not. We let our head into the process and take our heart down a step. We develop a "sense" of humor, true, but we limit the range of laughter as it applies to what we learn and observe as worth laughing about. Different kinds of humor, from cerebral to slapstick, are acquired tastes. We become discerning with our laughter.
And that takes us back to laughing when we're a baby.
The stimulation as a baby is experienced directly from one heart to another. Not one person thinks of how they look when they make a face at a baby. And not one baby think, "Hey, buddy, you really look kind of foolish" when they see that face before they laugh. We just go for it.
Thus, the thesis for the week.
This week will be an attempt to untie the assessments of laughter, and take reason out of our reactions. Our laughter, this week, will be based on the life we life and the gratitude we feel. Remember, grateful people are happy, according to David Steindl Rast.
And happy people laugh like crazy. See you tomorrow.