Smiling and laughing has been proven to be good for our health, both physical and mental. When we smile and laugh our body relaxes, releases tension, endorphins and boosts our immune system.
The Indian doctor Madan Kataria did research into these health benefits and concluded that it would be a wonderful idea to practice laughing. He started a laughing group in his local park every morning in Mumbai with open-minded volunteers. This turned into the laughing yoga practices that he has taught all over the world. The basic concept he calls simulated, stimulated laughter. Fake it till you make it, little exercises that stimulate laughter.
We don’t have to join a laughing group to practice these wonderfully easy and simple techniques. We can do it anytime, anywhere, because there is a technique called the silent laugh. We can even smile and laugh internally without twitching a muscle, see how long you can hold it without actually not smiling and laughing at the absurdity, probably not for long. Try smiling to yourself, closing your eyes while you watch your own smiling face from the outside. Look into your smiling mind. How does it feel? Gently let a giggle expand into a gentle little laugh. How does that feel?
If you are a follower of the Buddha, the omniscient Longchenpa and has spiritual friend, there are a few things you can do to connect to the practice of smiling and laughing.
In the Flower Sermon, the Buddha holds up a flower and twirls it. His disciple Mahakashyapa sees it, smiles and in this moment their minds mingle as one. Imagine that you are there with them in that moment and smile. Omniscient Longchenpa said:
Since everything is but an apparition,
Perfect in being what it is,
Having nothing to do with good and bad,
Acceptance or rejection,
You might as well burst out laughing!
Try laughing out loud with the great Longchenpa. If you have a spiritual friend that you perceive as enlightened, you have probably heard him or her laugh a few times. Isn’t that just the most contagious and wonderful sound in the whole world? Imagine hearing it for your inner ear and laugh along. Finally, imagine the moment when all sentient beings realize their true nature, and all burst out laughing together in one eternal moment of complete joy and bliss in the whole universe. Laugh with all sentient beings in this moment.
Please smile and laugh a little more everyday. It will make the world a happier, healthier and funnier place. Ha ha hi hi.
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