“The surest signs of enlightenment are joy and laughter.” Alan Cohen
Humour puts the light in enlightened communication. Experiencing a moment of enlightenment is sacred but not solemn. It is transcendent and yet very human.
And I say, “experiencing a moment of enlightenment” because I am wondering if this is not in fact, the goal. So, often we think of enlightenment as a static destination; a state that we can reach and forever remain. But, what if it really does simply come down to moments. If now is all we have, then isn’t that enough?
As long as we are in this human experience here on earth, I truly believe that it is the enlightened moment that will most serve us. We move in and out of it. Maybe, the goal is to simply weave together as many moments of enlightenment as we can.
Enlightenment means clarity, illumination, insight, and spirit. You can also think of it in more literal terms such as to lighten up, to release burden, to overcome heaviness or to get out from under something.
Humour is No Joke
The use of humour in dark moments has the capacity to do just that. Lighten. Have you ever been in a situation that was not the least bit funny and yet, you felt an urge to giggle? Some may say that this is simply a nervous reaction to discomfort and it very well could be. Perhaps, it is the desire of our spirit to lighten our load and laughter is one of the quickest ways it knows how to do that.
My friend, Christopher Witecki, a Spiritual Life Coach enlightened me recently about the state of affairs in the angelic realm. Now, whether you believe in angels or not isn’t really the point. Think in terms of the role that spiritual practice might have in your life. Christopher told me that the angels basically exist in laughter all day. They play, they joke and they engage in antics that are joy-filled and exuberant.
You have no doubt heard that Laughter is the Best Medicine. And I know that you can all identify with the feeling you get after a really good belly laugh. There is nothing like that! We could all benefit from doing that several times a day!
So, when it comes to being of service in the world, let’s step away from that stark, cold, sterile and everything is “oh so serious” approach. I am not suggesting that we minimize the challenges that are faced by others or the struggles we experience in our own lives. But, for crying out loud, it wouldn’t hurt to lighten up a bit.
And let me be clear, I’m not talking about laughing at the quirks of others, making fun of people or cracking ill-humored jokes at the expense of others. That isn’t being funny. That’s bullying. It’s only funny if all involved can laugh.
I’m taking about bringing lightness to our work. I’m talking about staying connected to a foundation of joy in your own being so that you can hold the vision of joy in the direst circumstances. And I’m talking about having a sense of humor when it comes to the way you see yourself.
I have said it for years; if we can’t learn to laugh at ourselves, then we will miss at least half the jokes we could enjoy in our lifetimes. I bet it’s even more than that.
Let’s face it, the human experience has its challenges for sure. And we human beings are pretty funny creatures. We often go in circles doing the same robotic things day in and day out and then act surprised when we end up in the same place. We make choices that are non-sensical at times. We have quirks and traits that can be quite comical. All the best comedians are the ones that take the shared aspects of our human condition and shine the funny light on them.
Rob Barrett has been a friend and colleague for many years and has always been one of the most joyous and funny people I know. Rob has a background in Social Work and has been the Executive Director for a number of agencies in Thunder Bay, Ontario (Canada) including The Catholic Family Development Center and The Shelter House. Rob is currently the Executive Director with YES Employment Services.
I can hardly wait for you to meet Rob and share in the energy of this very enlightened man. Listen to our interview below:
Elizabeth Bishop is the creator of the Conscious Service Approach designed to support helping professionals to reconnect with and fulfill their desire to make a difference in the lives of those they support. Following the completion of a diploma in Developmental Services and a degree in Psychology and Religious Studies, she completed a Masters in Adult Education through St. Francis Xavier University, providing the opportunity to test and refine the elements of the Conscious Service Approach. Elizabeth is the host of Serving Consciously, a new show on Contact Talk Radio. Simply tune in to www.ctrnetwork.com and click Listen Live at 12pm PST every 2nd and 4th Friday.