The greatest criticism of spiritual or religious people is that they take themselves too seriously.
Think Pharisees. What an uptight group of men. No sense of humor whatsoever.
Clowning around is a pathway to laughter. Look at all the spiritual traditions...they all have their jesters, their jokers, their holy fools.
These playful prophets encourage us not to take ourselves too seriously.
Without humor, life becomes oppressive and difficult. It is an essential element in spiritual health.
Did you know that children laugh as much as 100 to 200 times a day? Adults go from zero to only a few in a day. There's something wrong with that equation. It's time we adults lighten up and get in touch with the playful child within.
Humor is holy. It is healing. And it is downright fun.
Check out some of the benefits:
- lowers blood pressure
- conditions the abdominal muscles
- reduces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline
- increases the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells
- increases antibodies in saliva that combats upper respiratory infections
- helps move nutrients and oxygen to body tissues
- and much more!
With benefits like these, we can't go wrong.
When I was a kid, being asked to say the blessing in front of many others at special meals like Thanksgiving was terrifying. My dad, sensing my hesitancy and always the jokester, jumped in with, "Bless the meat. Bless the skin. Open your mouth, and cram it in!" His humor lit up the room and added the levity I needed.
Thank God for humor.
Be a clown today. Make people laugh and bring out the child in them. You'll find that when you act like a clown, you'll meet and encourage the clown in others.
Whenever I go out to eat, my server inevitably asks, "Can I get you anything else?," to which I respond, "A million dollars?"
Heh, heh. Works like a charm.
Or, here's another easy exercise. Take time to read the comics. Read them and laugh. You'll find that they contain great wisdom about the nature of life. I like to cut out cartoons that make me laugh. They hold a special place on my refrigerator as "Laugh of the Week."
Read the introduction to 31 Days of Spiritual Growth here, and find links to all posts in this series.