Osho said, “You cannot live without laughter.” He has a wonderful point! When I got sober, it wasn’t the war stories that hooked me but the echoes of laughter in those dungy, smoky meeting halls. For one thing, there were others there who could relate to the mistakes I made and my subsequent suffering. It was there that I discovered my ability to laugh, not at others, but at situations and circumstances otherwise too dark to face. Ultimately, this is what initially gave me permission to begin the letting-go process regarding my shame and fear.
So, a funny thing happens when we introduce something like a laughing practice or laughing meditation in a recovery setting. Initially, it might be awkward for some of us to laugh for no real reason, but then a transformation happens: the laughter becomes genuine laughter, and the tension held within our bodies begins to unravel. Try it: laugh. You can laugh about the ridiculousness of laughing. At some point, the inevitable will occur: the guise of false perception will melt down, and along with the side cramp, you might find you are able to let go of what you think you “should be” and come to find solace in who you are.
According to Osho, there are three kinds of laughter: the first is laughing at others. This type of laughter is inherently unkind and unhelpful, yet also the most common in human behavior. The second is when laughing at ourselves; this type of laughter is definitely something to strive for. It’s not only beneficial but it really helps us lighten up a bit. The third type of laughter is when we laugh–not at others or ourselves, as outlined in the first and second types–but just to laugh. I imagine this type of laughter to be the most freeing of all. I have always been guilty of two things: seriousness and ironically, spontaneous and unfettered bursts of laughter. I rather prefer the latter: it’s proof that laughter allows us to soften and simultaneously open up enough to finally begin to take the world less personally.
Don’t forget, Rule #62 in the 12×12 says, “Don’t take yourself too damn seriously.”