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“The ego is humourless.”
~ Dr David R Hawkins
Yesterday I had an interesting discussion that could have easily turned into an argument. It was with a lovely and talented person who is very vested in a certain self-improvement practice. In our discussion I suggested desire is a negative emotion and to have true freedom we need to let it go. Then I listened as she tried to convince me I was misinformed. The energy of her “education” had a very distinct quality. Actually it was what was lacking that caught my attention. Humour. It was absent of lightness and breath. There was no smile in her voice as I listened over the phone. Eventually the energy shifted as she dove into a light hearted story. “Whew!” I remember thinking, ” That was heavy.” Incidentally, “heavy” is a hallmark of the ego. When you can’t find any humour in the topic and the energy feels heavy this is another example of pride. Watch for it, because it’s very common. If you notice this heaviness on the news (and really, why are you watching the news if you’re letting go?!) use it as a trigger and find the energy in your body. Let go.
If you’ve been suffering from some dark thinking and you can’t seem to quiet your mind, and let go, watch a comedy. I really enjoy some of the old comedies like, I Love Lucy, Carol Burnett and Pink Panther. The comedian Jim Gaffigan on Netflix or YouTube is brilliant for dissolving the righteous anger of the ego. Speaking of anger, avoid angry comedians as their energy tends to have an anchoring of pride effect instead of dissolving it.
When was the last time you had a huge belly laugh or laughed until your eyes watered and your tummy hurt? These experiences are powerfully healing. Often joy lives right underneath a sticky, negative emotion. Let that go and voila, instant funny-bone!
Another way to your inner funny-bone is by being difficult to offend. People who are always offended are often disconnected from their sense of humour. They aren’t usually funny either. St Francis of Assisi suggested we go through life as if we were “wearing a loose garment”. This way, life is not constricting or suffocating. When you don’t offend easily you are open to the present moment and this is often where humans are delightfully funny. Imagine yourself at a comedy show where your favourite comedian is on stage performing. If you disappear into your thoughts during the show you will miss out on the fun. So humour is another powerful way to live (and laugh) in the present moment.
Q: How much “ego” do you need?
A: Just enough so that you don’t step in front of a bus.
~ Shunryu Suzuki
I love the humour provoked by silly questions. Just for fun and for letting go what might be in the way of your funny bone, ask yourself these giggle inducing questions. As the energy lightens, breathe into what comes up in your body. Then move on to the next question. This can be a really delightful experience if you let go any resistance you have to experiencing the playfulness of these questions. Here goes:
When cheese gets its picture taken – what does it say?
Why is abbreviation such a long word?
How did a fool and his money ever get together?
Why do they report power outages on tv?
Would a fly without wings be called a walk?
Do radioactive cats have 18 half lives?
Why are cigarettes sold in gas stations?
How do you know when it’s time to tune your bagpipes?
Is it true that cannibals don’t eat clowns because they taste funny?
Are you allowed to buy anything specific at a General Store?
Whatever happened to B batteries?
When a cow laughs does milk come out it’s nose?