‘We think too much and feel too little’ said Charlie Chaplin in his film ‘The Great Dictator’.
Self-initiated laughter – laughing, just because – has the potential to transform life by thinking less and feeling more. It is a great daily practice.
In the past twlelve months I have experienced this four times with Dr Kataria, Founder and President of Laughter Yoga International.
Self-initiated laughter is an ancient practice from many traditions around the world and like all such practices it endures because it works.
Its most recent form is perhaps the ‘laugh for no reason’ in laughter yoga. The insight behind this practice is that the physical, emotional, psychological, social and spiritual benefits of laughter come from the act of laughter itself. This is commonly understood in all laughter practices, whatever their name.
What is less well understood in laughter yoga is its deeper purpose – activating the inner spirit of laughter. It is easy to experience the health and happiness aspects of the exercises such as the oxygenation, the energising, the physical release and even the social interaction – ie the ‘what’ – and lose sight of their the inner aspect, their purpose – the ‘why?’
This is understandable because the health and happiness aspects are immediate and therapeutic. Thesa aspects are important, beneficial and obvious, and fortunately are experienced by millions of people worldwide.
The inner aspects of laughter yoga , like those of all ‘inner’ practices, are a different journey. They are subtle, nebulous, intuitive and initially tender & delicate. They expose us to feelings we often shy away from. Fortunately this inner spirit of laughter allows us, and therefore also others, to face these feelings courageously, openly & generously. It allows us to transform as a person. It also transforms our laughter yoga (and every other laughter practice).
We start this journey when we start allowing ourselves to feel, especially as we develop the ability to feel unflinchingly.
I encourage us all to explore this journey, together.