“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.” -Mark Twain
A deep long laugh is therapy for the heart, mind and soul. Most people would agree that sharing deep long laughter with others is as intimate an experience as crying. In fact, the emotions are not opposites as we sometimes think; they live close beside each other, which is why the best laughter brings us to tears and that the deepest crying can often end in laughter.
“I love to laugh” the Mary Poppin’s song that portrays the uncontrollable laughter that literally lifts her wacky relations off the ground has never failed to make me laugh. One of my dearest friends, who has shared more deep laughter with me than any other person I know, used to break out with that song whenever things got too serious. The truth is that we often forget that we know how to laugh, and just like sharing intense crying is difficult for some people. It is the same with laughter.
The remedy for this might be closer than you realized. A recent feature in the New Yorker magazine about The Laughing Guru is determined to change all that. His practice, which is sometimes called laughter yoga, is all about finding the place that holds our deep long laughter. The giggling guru, an Indian Dr. Madan Kataria, has started a quiet revolution of laughter throughout the world.
The laughing clubs that have no dogma and limited training in provoking irreverence have only one goal – to get people to laugh more often than they do, for longer than they do and that they don’t need to rely on humor to get there. His laughter clubs and his book argues that deliberate human interaction and engaging in simple forms of play is enough to get you laughing. Laughter is one of the most contagious interactions we have and even if you start out faking it, real healing laughter will erupt from the intent.
There are laughter clubs all over the world and one here in Eugene tomorrow that I am going to check out. Although I haven’t yet read the book, Laugh For No Reason, I definitely want to learn how to bring more laughter to my days.