DEFYING GRAVITY: Using Levity to Uplift in Unfunny Times

“The world is in serious condition largely due to our conditioning to be serious. Seriously.” — Swami Beyondananda

If serious times have got you down, maybe levity can lift you up! Here’s three ways how, what Swami Beyondananda calls, ‘Cosmic comic consciousness’, can heal your heart and free your mind:

1. Levity Helps Us See from a Higher Perspective. Here’s a true story about the transformational power of humor. During the Cuban missile crisis, American and Soviet delegates were meeting to discuss possible trade between the two countries. When news of the missile crisis hit, everything stopped. There was tremendous tension in the room. Finally one of the Soviet delegates suggested they each go around and tell a joke. He volunteered to start.

“What’s the difference between capitalism and communism?”

“In capitalism, man exploits man. In communism, it’s the other way around.”

The room exploded in laughter, and they were able to continue their business. Why? Because the joke simultaneously “busted” both ‘isms’ and celebrated the human heart and spirit we all share.

2. Hearty Laughter Re-Heartens the Spirit. In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor Frankl wrote of his time in a Nazi death camp. He and a fellow inmate made a pact. Each day they would find something to laugh about, because as long as they could laugh, their spirit could not be imprisoned. To give you an idea of the leverage — or, better word, ‘loverage’ — humor provided in these dark and dire times, one of the jokes that circulated among the inmates involved two Jewish guys who planned to assassinate Hitler. They knew his motorcade would be passing a certain intersection at 11am and they were waiting. But 11am came and went and Hitler never showed up. 11:15, 11:30 and still no Hitler. When he hadn’t come by 11:45 one of the assassins turned to the other and said, “Gee, I hope nothing has happened to him.”

Somehow extending that generosity of spirit to their oppressor gave those in the camps heart and hope.

3. Humor Busts the Trance of Duality and Shows us a “Third” Way. Ever wonder why jokes come in three’s — a minister, a priest and a rabbi? A minister, a priest and a rabbi are discussing their legacy, what they want the eulogist to say at their funerals. The minister says, “I want them to say he was a family man and a pillar of his community.” The priest said, “I want them to say he was a holy man and a leader of his flock.” The rabbi said, “I want them to say LOOK — I think he’s BREATHING!”

Comedy and laughter can take us above and beyond this or that, and point us in a creative and constructive direction.

Join us — Wake Up Laughing, AND leave laughter in your wake! Enjoy Swami Beyondananda’s cosmic comedy show Saturday, May 19, 7pm at Unity of Livonia, 28660 Five Mile Rd., Livonia, and his playshop Sunday afternoon, May 20.

Performances are a fundraiser for Citizens for Peace. For tickets and info call Colleen Mills at: 734-425-0079 or visit: www.citizens4peace.com.

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