“When people are laughing, they’re generally not killing each other.” Alan Alda
Does it bother you when others laugh at you? Are you able to laugh at yourself and especially the challenges in life?
Seeing the Humor in Life
I’ve been writing about Jung’s Shadow and dealing with difficulties lately, and to balance things out a bit, today I’m writing about laughter. A couple of weeks ago, I had a pretty funny experience with a turkey. I was working in the front yard and heard a strange gobble. The female turkeys commonly wander through my yard, but this didn’t sound like them. I looked around and spied a Tom at the bottom of my driveway, with beautiful red and blue coloring on his neck, gobbling and fanning his tail feathers and flirtatiously looking in my direction.
It was the first time I’d seen a Tom in the neighborhood and I blurted out, “You are one beautiful boy!” He began walking up the driveway toward me. I ran inside to get my camera and came back outside while he completed his slow strut to the upper, flat part of the yard. Wanting to get a picture, I asked enthusiastically, “Would you show me your beautiful feathers again?” He looked at me and unfurled his feathers. I was shocked.
He continued walking across the yard a few feet from me, gobbling pleasantly and showing his feathers when I asked him to do so. When I stopped taking pictures, he looked at me, sensing our little encounter was over, and wandered into the neighbor’s yard. All afternoon, I heard him gobbling through the neighborhood. I felt rather sorry for him because it was clear he was looking for a lady turkey, and the best he could do was to get the attention of a human one.
Sharing the Joy
Later, when I told the story to friends, it gave us all a good laugh. Then one friend pointed out that this wasn’t the first time I’d attracted a turkey, but she hoped it was the last. With this, we practically fell out of our chairs. Although I don’t really think of my “exes” as turkeys, the joke was too clever, and laughing at myself felt very cathartic.
Releasing Ego Needs Enhances Our Spirituality
Laughing at ourselves is a good way to put the ego in its place. For a second, my ego wanted to object to my friend’s remark, but some part of me, the wiser part, said, “Let it go—share the joy of the laughter. I don’t know when I’ve laughed so hard or long, and the laughter washed away some emotional debris that had been building up. My vibrational energy felt higher the rest of the evening.
Well into adulthood, I found it difficult to laugh at myself. I was never a care- free child because of many illnesses, including rheumatic fever and a heart murmur that lasted until I was twelve. There was often tension in the household with my parents arguing and also the fears created by my brother’s illness as well. I was well into adulthood before I could laugh at myself and not feel humiliated if others made fun of me.
As the core of who we are is strengthened, we become more resilient. Our confidence cannot be eroded by a friendly joke, and as we are able to see the humor in our life circumstances, we are more able to let go of the need to protect the ego. We learn to let go of the need to be right all the time. We learn to accept our own mistakes as human, fix them if we can, and move on, trying to be wiser the next time.
Being The Wise Fool
I have a great fondness for Shakespeare’s plays, for his wisdom is boundless. His tragedies always include, among the characters, a fool who is usually part of the king’s court. He entertains, but more importantly, he hides behind what appears to be his stupidity in order to confront the person in power with his own folly. While others laugh at him, he makes fun of the king or opposes his actions in a way that entertains even the object of his ridicule. As Isaac Asimov stated in A Guide to Shakespeare, “That, of course, is the great secret of the successful fool—that he is no fool at all.” The fool is often the wisest man. Humor often allows us to state truths that otherwise we could never express.
When we can play the fool and laugh with others, we raise our vibration and experience joy. It is also a great defense against those who might use humor to hurt us. If we can find the humility to admit we are not perfect and not feel defensive at another’s derision, we can sabotage their efforts to harm us. Laughing at ourselves diminishes their power over us. As Alda points out in the opening quote, laughter takes us to a positive place that tends to bring people together, not separate them. Perhaps when the leaders of the world meet, they should begin their meeting with each offering a joke to remind themselves, We Are All One.
How has laughter served you well lately? Please comment.
© 2012 Georganne Spruce ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5
Related articles: Dr. Wayne Dyer – You Are Not Your Ego (video)
- Laughing Matters (whatashrinkthinks.com)
- Laugh … let go … and be healthy (mybigearth.com)