Want to be Spiritual? Have a Sense of Humor

If I had to settle on one religious or spiritual practice, it’d probably be smiling. People forget to smile when they meditate, and they forget to relax. We can’t expect to laugh at the cosmic joke if we’re approaching it like it’s an epitaph (even though that’s part of the joke in itself).

By Lee Glazier

“Everyone wants to be somebody so long as that somebody is not oneself.” – Lin Yutang

I never really felt satisfied enough just being me.

I always felt that I needed something to validate myself, to explain my life, to justify me being here. I was always trying to peddle something, to offer some kinda message to the world, ya know? Fuckin’ exhausting, Dudes. Now, I just write because writing is fun—it feels good.

Because I’m just not that person—I’m not a winner, a star or a go-getter. I’m not a, uh, main character, man. I’m a supporting actor. I’m the comedic relief, the supportive friend and the old sage who gives the protagonist guidance before getting cut in half by a laser sword. The assertive, alpha personality rows the boat, and I put some water under it or some wind in their sails. But I’m not an alpha; I don’t even speak Greek.

And that’s okay. You don’t have to speak Greek to read the Odyssey; you can just listen to David Bowie sing it. I grew up thinking that I had to be someone great, someone influential. That totally killed my natural buzz. I don’t know how I got starstruck, but it happened when I was super young. I wanted to be famous, man.

I wanted to change the world.

But that, ya know, urge to change things comes from a deep sense of lack, Dudes; it comes from dissatisfaction. That’s why I dig Zen and Taoism: we can dance around the this-or-that mindset. When we, uh, oh hell, my train of thought just derailed. When we, oh yeah, this-or-that thinking turns everything into a bummer, because we’re always winning or losing; there’s no in-between.

That kind of mind only jumps into water to bathe, or to get clean. But the in-between mind, the abiding mind, just digs swimming. Ya don’t have to be covered in dirt to find a reason to jump in the water. It’s possible to try and change things for the better, but also feel satisfied with the way things are at the same time.

That helps us from getting too uptight when it comes to our goals, Dudes. Humor helps too.

Without a sense of humor, our sweet dreams can turn into nightmares, and that’s not cool. This might be alright if our dreams were all about building a better unicorn or something, but we dream ourselves to life, too. That’s where the uptightness—the real trouble—starts. When we dream ourselves into someone who doesn’t exist, who can’t ever exist, then we go crazy.

Life’s a lucid dream though—we can change it. We’ve got these truly awesome fuckin’ imaginations; we can use them to craft something so simple, sweet and complete, or something overly complicated, chaotic and half-finished.

We can dream ourselves awake.

We can step outside and ease into the sunrise, letting the morning speak for itself instead of putting words into its mouth.

It’s poetry in motion, and it’s so far-removed from the achiever, alpha, main character mentality that it’s incomprehensible to that kind of mind. And that’s alright. Some people sleepwalk, others sit awake—the world needs both in equal measure, but neither of them should take themselves too seriously. Seriousness is a huge problem these days. Everybody just goes around scowling all the time.

If I had to settle on one religious or spiritual practice, it’d probably be smiling. People forget to smile when they meditate, and they forget to relax. We can’t expect to laugh at the cosmic joke if we’re approaching it like it’s an epitaph (even though that’s part of the joke in itself). And if the practice I’m doing isn’t helping me to laugh more, and love easier, then what good is it?

I try to smile whenever I can, and I Iaugh so much that it’s probably a little obnoxious. At least I don’t laugh like fucking Ricky Gervais, though. That dude’s got the most undude laugh. It kinda blows my mind. Laughter’s a neat thing. I mean, what is it? It’s like the anti-yawn. The fact that we can laugh, man, that we’re biologically programmed to communicate hilarity in that way, shows that humor is a product of evolution.

We’re programmed to find things funny. Does that means that humor exists in some kinda existential way, that it’s built into the overall pattern of things? Air came first, then the respiratory system evolved to use it. What if humor evolved in a similar way, Dudes? What if it’s an adaptation to something perfectly simple, but ultimately profound?

I doubt it, ya know, but it’s fun to think about. Anywho, smiling and laughter. I try to end each day with a laugh, I like to go to bed feeling good because when I do that, I tend to wake up feeling good, too. The mind hangs onto shit—it’s a collector. I might as well give it things that are easy to carry and that don’t take up much space.

What’s truly funny, is that when we spontaneously smile, laugh, or even break into tears, that’s when we’re ourselves, ya know?

That me that I was always so desperate to find has always been just a giggle away.

 

If I had to settle on one religious or spiritual practice, it'd probably be smiling. ~ Lee Glazier Click To Tweet

 

Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

“Dude” Lee Glazier is a Dudeist Priest, Zen adherent and Taoist enthusiast from Golden, Colorado. He likes reading, writing, hiking, taking baths, listening to classic rock, drinking White Russians, smoking, and having the occasional acid flashback. The only thing he truly believes is that everyone needs to slow down, mellow out, and unwad their underpants. He feels that that would solve all the world’s problems in a heartbeat. “Do you have the patience to let the mud settle and the water clear?”

 


 

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The Tattooed Buddha

The Tattooed Buddha was founded by Buddhist author Ty Phillips and Dana Gornall. What started out as a showcase for Ty's writing, quickly turned into collaboration with creative writer, Dana Gornall and the home for sharing the voices of friends and colleagues in the writing community. The Tattooed Buddha strives to be a noncompetitive, open space for the author’s authentic voice. So while not necessarily Buddhist, we are offering a dialogue that is aware and awake to the reality of our present day to day, tackling issues of community, environment, and compassionate living.

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