Episode 2: Laughter

It often catches us by surprise. There is something healing about the spontaneity of a moment that infuses us with a joy that cannot be contained, and has us erupt in laughter.

I try not to take myself, or my work, too seriously.

I find that well placed laughter and well-timed humor can not only lighten the mood, it can make people more productive, willing to do the hard work for which they were called together. It can defuse any tension that is building and threatens to disrupt relationships.

One of my favorite scripture passages is Luke 12:32: “Do not live in fear, little flock, it has pleased your Creator to give you the kindom.” What a beautiful reminder of how God’s chosen disposition for us is joy, not fear.

One of my favorite songs is called “Born,” performed by a remarkable couple from Cincinnati who call themselves “Over the Rhine.”  The refrain says: “I, I was born to laugh. I’m going to learn to laugh through my tears.”

Thich Nhat Hanh once wrote: sometimes, my joy is the source of my smile.

We experience joy, and the body responds with a smile, or a grin, or a laugh or a chortle or a twitter or a tee hee. We can’t help it.

There is something infectious about a smile. A well-timed, unexpected, quick little smile from a stranger can change our whole outlook. A well-timed, unexpected, quick little smile TO a stranger can also change their whole outlook.

Thich Nhat Hanh also said, though – that sometimes my smile is the source of my joy.

Sometimes, my smile is the source of my joy.

At times, I find myself welling up with anger, or disappointment, or sadness. Sometimes, I can identify the source of those feelings. At other times, I can’t. I just feel that way without any apparent cause or provocation.

In moments like that, I have taken to smiling. It’s a simple thing. It’s also a choice. It’s a conscious decision to let go of a mood, a feeling, a disposition, an outlook that clouds my judgment, affects my performance, hinders relationships. It is an active pursuit of a different way of orienting myself within and presenting myself to the world.

Do not live in fear, gentle one – it has pleased your Creator to give you the kingdom.
You, you were born to laugh. You’re going to laugh through your tears.

Sometimes your smile is the source of your joy.

Gentle soul, may you find joy on your wanderings through this world. Thank you for listening. Be open to the sacred that surrounds you on your journey into the mystic.

Categories: Column Into the Mystic

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