“Everything that I’ve read suggests that enlightenment is lightening up”. – Comedian Mike Myers
An episode of The Sundance Channel’s series Iconoclasts paired comedian Mike Myers with spiritual author Deepak Chopra, who actually already knew each other and had been doing some work on Myer’s upcoming film “The Love Guru.” Actor Robert Redford, the visionary behind the Sundance Channel, explained the concept behind the series this way: “Iconoclasts can be a beautiful clashing – a collision of high profile types- that’s stimulating and entertaining for audiences.” Regarding this particular pairing he said, “Obviously there’s admiration going both ways, and the connection between the two of them becomes straight out entertainment, because it’s just different.”
Myers and Deepak spent the day together on camera in preparation for a symposium on comedy and spirituality that evening, held in a small theater in New York. “I don’t think that a having a sense of spirituality and a sense of humor are mutually exclusive,” Myers explains. “One of the things I love about Deepak is that he has a sense of humor about what he does.”
Myers attributes his perspective to what he learned from his own “comedy guru,” Del Close (who also worked with John Belushi, Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd), who connected comedy with the profound and profane. Myers explained it in this way, “Ha Ha and A-Ha are connected – they’re related industries.”
At the theater later that day, the discussion seemed surprisingly to circle around a central theme. “Lenny Bruce defined comedy as pain plus time; Bergson described comedy as the realization of one’s own mortality,” Myers begins. “The laughter is just an involuntary response of the recognition of your own mortality.”
Chopra initially responded by explaining, “When your soul responds to the paradox of our existence, to the contradictions of our existence, to the fact that wherever there is joy there is suffering, when your soul recognizes this, it can do nothing except laugh.” Later, Chopra returned to the theme of mortality. “We’re all on death row and the only uncertainty is the method of execution and the length of reprieve.” Myers followed this rather gloomy thought with a hearty “Goodnight!” Over the laughter, Chopra continued, “Do you realize that I’ve been talking about the most morbid thing in existence…and you are laughing? Do you see that? Confronting our mortality makes us laugh.”
Overall the pairing was refreshing, both because it elucidated how well-versed and educated Myers is, despite the silliness of his work; and how down-to-earth and light-hearted Chopra is, despite the seriousness of spirituality. Myers closed the show with the following quote: “Everything that I’ve read suggests that enlightenment is lightening up”.
Laughing at Anger
You may have heard people in movies say they laugh at danger, but laughing at anger might be more prudent. When we are confronted with angry, mean people, we may be able to use laughter to lighten the mood and break the tension. “Disarm you with a smile” say the Smashing Pumpkins. Though if you follow their advice, be sure it’s not an evil or malicious smile, but a sincere one that comes from knowing that anger is temporary and sometimes unjustified. When we know that there is more to life than the anger of the moment, we can step back and laugh at our circumstances.
In addition to easing tension, it can be better for our health. According to an article from the American Heart Association’s website, “Theoretically… if laughter releases protective chemicals in the body, laughing during anger may counteract potential adverse effects to the [heart]. While stress may be associated with a sense of urgency, anger and hostility…a ‘hearty’ laugh often coincides with a feeling of well being and euphoria.” The article goes on to warn us though, “We don't know yet if forcing yourself to laugh when you're angry is beneficial, but there may be effective, practical ways for people to lessen their discomfort or hostility…we may be able to find ways to take ourselves less seriously."
It is good to keep in mind that in some cases, laughing might just make the angry person angrier, so we need to use discretion. It is likely funnier (and safer) the further away they are--similar to comedian George Carlin’s theory that says the further away a person is, the worse the name that we call them.
So next time you find yourself being yelled at, take a moment to consider laughter as an appropriate, and more enjoyable, response, and lighten up!
Reprinted with kind permission from The Daily Mantra.com.
Malayna Dawn is an author and freelance writer with about 1000 uplifting, thought-provoking articles and one spiritual adventure fiction novel that will inspire you to experience your own life's adventure in a new way.
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Drawing on her lifelong experience as a student of metaphysics in Unity, her degree in communication emphasizing multicultural beliefs and comparative religion, and her experience in the entertainment industry, she offers her perspective on the beliefs and symbols of all cultures—including pop culture, which is often dismissed as merely entertainment rather than the powerful connection to our deeper selves that it can be.
Using your imagination, creativity and personal inspiration, you can learn to entertain new possibilities and discover a different way of looking at the world, infusing it with personal meaning to make your life your own personal work of art.
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