At the end of a busy day, a man and his wife were sitting at home on the veranda in the quiet of twilight, broken only by the sounds of the gentle wind and the swash of the waves. They were enjoying a glass of wine together.
As the sun slowly sank below the mountains, she broke the soothing silence saying, “I love you so much I don’t know I could ever live without you.”
The husband, a tad surprised, asks, “Is that you or the wine talking?”
She replies, “It’s me … talking to the wine.”
And the two burst out laughing!
Source: Recycled and retold by Philip Chircop sj
Learning to laugh a little more just may save your life, not to mention your marriage. To paraphrase Henry Ward Beecher, “A marriage without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road.”
Still not convinced? Listen to these other voices:
- Laughter is an “instant vacation”. | Bob Hope
- You can’t stay mad at somebody who makes you laugh.” | Jay Leno
- We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh. | Agnes Repplier
The Master was in an expansive mood, so his disciples sought to learn from him the stages he had passed through in his quest for the divine.
“God first led me by the hand,” he said, “into the Land of Action, and there I dwelt for several years.” Then God returned and led me to the Land of Sorrows; there I lived until my heart was purged of every inordinate attachment. That is when I found myself in the Land of Love, whose burning flames consumed whatever was left in me of self. This brought me to the Land of Silence, where the mysteries of life and death were bared before my wondering eyes.
“Was that the final stage of your quest?” they asked.
“No,” the Master said. “One day God said, ‘Today I shall take you to the innermost sanctuary of the Temple, to the very heart of God.’ And I was led to the Land of Laughter.”
Source: Anthony de Mello, Taking Flight
(Image Books, 1990) page 126
One day God said, “Today I shall take you to the innermost sanctuary of the temple, to the heart of God himself,” and I was led to the Land of Laughter.
God laughed and begat the Son. Together they laughed and begat the Holy Spirit. And from the laughter of the Three, the universe was born.” | Meister Eckhart, a 13th century theologian and mystic.
There was nothing pompously about the Master. Wild, hilarious laughter prevailed each time he spoke, to the dismay of those who were solemn about their spirituality, and themselves.
Said one disillusioned visitor, “The man’s a clown!”
“No, no,” said a disciple. “You’ve missed the point: a clown gets you to laugh at him, a Master gets you to laugh at yourself.”
Source | Anthony de Mello, One Minute Nonsense,
(Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, 1992) Chapter 35
Published in the USA as Awakening: Conversations with the Masters,
(Image, 2003) Chapter 35
“If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself and if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others.” | Susan Sparks, an ex-lawyer turned comedian and Baptist minister
“We can never truly learn to laugh at ourselves until we learn to accept the things about ourselves that are either impossible or impractical to be changed.” | Jeanne Robertson, humorists
There is a story about the greek gods. They were bored, so they invented human beings, but they were still bored, so they invented love. Then they weren’t bored any longer, so they decided to try love for themselves. And finally they invented laughter, so they could stand it.
Source | Movie, Feast of Love
PONDER AND CONSIDER
Boredom. Love. Laughter. How do these three words and three human experiences relate to each other?
Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws.
The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by a hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.” Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology.
When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?”
“Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister. “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so damned seriously.’” “Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.” After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask are the other rules?”
“There aren’t any.”
Source | Rosamund Zander and Benjamin Zander, The Art of Possibility
PONDER AND CONSIDER
- Humour, laughter and lightheartedness can bring us back down to earth and back to reality. Humour has the power to put our life and situations in proper perspective. When we let go and lighten up, we can free the demanding, critical, and controlling parts of ourselves and open up to a world of “what’s possible.”
- As often as possible lighten up and get out of your own way. Step back from your intensity and your compulsive need to be right. Smile and breathe slowly and deeply.
- Daily try to approach the unfolding day’s events and happenings from a position of what’s possible rather than what can’t be done.