December 27, 2001
Swami Chaitanya Keerti
The beginning of a new year, seriously, is a laughing matter. It is indeed a laughing matter because in the realms of time there’s no beginning and no end. Life exists in the timeless dimension of the eternal now. This is something to be meditated upon, laughed about, which is why you should begin the so-called New Year with laughter meditation.
In Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy, Osho urges us to shed our accumulated misery and engage in laughing meditation. Laughter will unburden us and enlighten us. He wants us to bring the Buddha quality to our laughter. What follow are the words of Osho on the subject of laughter.
“You have to understand the psychology of laughter. You laugh very easily, but your laughter has a different quality than that of the Buddha. You laugh because your life is so miserable that any moment, any incident which looks ridiculous helps you to forget your misery for a moment. All your tensions disappear and there’s laughter. Hence laughter is a great relaxing phenomenon. It is tremendously healthy. Within a second it takes you beyond all your tensions, but only for a moment … and you’re back again in your dark cave.
“A Buddha laughs without laughing because he has no tension. He doesn’t accumulate the energy in tensions that can explode in laughter. And he knows that life is ridiculous, that people are doing things that are laughable. Laughter is something ingrained in the very cells of his being; it doesn’t come just to his lips. His clarity makes him see things that perhaps you go on missing seeing.
“We are so attached to our suffering that laughing happens, generally, only as a release of tension. Only rarely, very rarely, does laughing happen without cause. We can’t laugh, we cannot be happy, even in our laughing there is pain. But laughing is so beautiful, it’s a deep cleansing, a deep purification.”
Osho has devised a ‘laughing technique’ to be practised every morning upon waking up. He says: “It will change the whole nature of your day. If you wake up laughing, you will soon begin to feel how absurd life is. Nothing is serious: even your disappointments are laughable, even your pain is laughable, even you are laughable.”
When you wake up in the morning, before opening your eyes, stretch like a cat. Stretch every part of your body. Enjoy the stretching; enjoy the feeling of your body becoming awake, alive. After three or four minutes of stretching, with your eyes still closed, laugh. For five minutes, just laugh. At first you will be doing it, but soon, the sound of your very attempt to laugh will cause a genuine laughter. Lose yourself in laughter.
This technique may take several days before you’re really able to do it. We are not accustomed to laughing; we have forgotten what has been the easiest thing to do. But keep trying; soon, it will be spontaneous. And then, every morning, enjoy!