Laughter has meditative powers and medicinal powers. It certainly changes your chemistry; it changes your brain waves, it changes your intelligence — you become more intelligent. The parts of your mind that have been asleep suddenly wake up. The laughter reaches to the innermost part of your brain, to your heart. A man of laughter cannot have a heart attack. A man of laughter cannot commit suicide. A man of laughter automatically comes to know the world of silence, because when laughter ceases suddenly there is silence. And each time laughter becomes deeper it is followed by deeper silence.
It certainly clarifies you — from the traditions, from the garbage of the past. It gives you a new vision of life. It makes you more alive and radiant, more creative. Now, even medical science says that laughter is one of the most deep-going medicines nature has provided man with. If you can laugh when you are ill you will get your health back sooner. If you cannot laugh, even if you are healthy, sooner or later you will lose your health and you will become ill. Laughter brings some energy from your inner source to your surface. Energy starts flowing, follows laughter like a shadow. Have you watched it? — when you really laugh, for those few moments you are in a deep meditative state. Thinking stops. It is impossible to laugh and think together. They are diametrically opposite: either you can laugh or you can think. If you really laugh, thinking stops. If you are still thinking, laughter will be just so-so, it will be lust so-so, lagging behind. It will be a crippled laughter. When you really laugh, suddenly mind disappears. And the whole Zen methodology is how to get into no-mind — laughter is one of the beautiful doors to get to it.
LAUGHTER RELIEVES TENSION & CREATES RELAXATION
Understand the mechanism of laughter, how it happens. If I tell a joke, why do you laugh? What happens? What is the inner mechanism? If I tell a joke, expectation is created, you start expecting. Your mind starts searching for what the end is going to be, and you cannot conceive the end. A joke moves in two dimensions: first it moves in a logical dimension, you can conceive it. If the joke goes on being logical to the very end there will be no laughter. Suddenly the joke takes a turn and becomes illogical, something which you could not conceive.
And when the joke takes a turn and the result becomes illogical, the expectation, the tension that was created in you, suddenly explodes. You relax, laughter comes out of you. Laughter is a relaxation, but a tension is needed. A story creates expectation, tension. You start feeling that now the crescendo, now the crescendo will come, something is going to happen. Your backbone is straight like a yogi, you have no more thoughts in the mind; the whole being is just waiting, all the energy moving towards the conclusion. And all that you could conceive is not going to happen. Suddenly something happens which the mind could not conceive; something absurd happens, something illogical, irrational. The end is such a turn that it was impossible for logic to think about it. You explode. The whole energy that has become a pillar inside suddenly relaxes. Laughter comes out of you through this relaxation. Man is bored, hence he needs laughter.
The more bored he is, the more and more laughter he will need, otherwise he cannot exist. All your tensions disappear and there is a 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 are back again in your dark cave.
LAUGHTER UNITES BODY, MIND AND SOUL
Laughter is not one-dimensional; it has all the three dimensions of man’s being. When you laugh your body joins it, your mind joins it, your being joins it. In laughter the distinctions disappear, the divisions disappear, the schizophrenic personality disappears.
LAUGHTER ENERGIZES YOU
Laughter brings your energy back to you. Every fiber of your being becomes alive, and every cell of your being starts dancing. Zarathustra is right when he says that the greatest sin against man done on the earth is that he has been prohibited from laughing. The implications are deep, because when you are prohibited from laughing certainly you are prohibited from being joyous, you are prohibited from singing a song of celebration, you are prohibited from dancing just out of sheer blissfulness. By prohibiting laughter, all that is beautiful in life, all that makes life livable and lovable, all that gives meaning to life is destroyed. It is the ugliest strategy used against man. Seriousness is a sin. And remember, seriousness does not mean sincerity — sincerity is altogether a different phenomenon. A serious man cannot laugh, cannot dance, cannot play. He is always controlling himself; he has been brought up in such a way that he has become a jailer to himself. The sincere man can laugh sincerely, can dance sincerely, can rejoice sincerely. Sincerity has nothing to do with seriousness. Seriousness is simply sickness of the soul, and only sick souls can be converted into slaves. And all the vested interests need a humanity which is not rebellious, which is very willing, almost begging, to be slaves.
LAUGHTER IS MEDICINAL
Laughter has meditative powers and also have medicinal powers. It certainly changes your very chemistry; it changes your brain waves, it changes your intelligence — you become more intelligent. The parts of your mind that have been asleep suddenly wake up. The laughter reaches to the innermost part of your brain, to your heart. A man of laughter cannot have a heart attack. A man of laughter cannot commit suicide. Laughter needs a great learning, and laughter is a great medicine. It can cure many of your tensions, anxieties, worries; the whole energy can flow into laughter. The sense of humor is part, an essential part, of the wholeness of man. It keeps him healthy, it keeps him young, it keeps him fresh. Laughter brings strength. Now, even medical science says that laughter is one of the most deep-going medicines nature has provided man with. If you can laugh when you are ill you will get your health back sooner. If you cannot laugh, even if you are healthy, sooner or later you will lose your health and you will become ill. Laughter brings some energy from your inner source to your surface. Energy starts flowing, follows laughter like a shadow.
Dancing and laughter are the best, natural, easily approachable doors. If you really dance, thinking stops. You go on and on, you whirl and whirl, and you become a whirlpool — all boundaries, all divisions are lost. You don’t even know where your body ends and where the existence begins. You melt into existence and the existence melts into you; there is an overlapping of boundaries. And if you are really dancing — not managing it but allowing it to manage you, allowing it to possess you — if you are possessed by dance, thinking stops. The same happens with laughter. If you are possessed by laughter, thinking stops. And if you know a few moments of no-mind, those glimpses will promise you many more rewards that are going to come. You just have to become more and more of the sort, of the quality, of no-mind. More and more, thinking has to be dropped. Laughter can be a beautiful introduction to a non-thinking state….
In a few Zen monasteries every monk has to start his morning with laughter and has to end his night with laughter — the first thing and the last thing! You try it. It is very beautiful. It will look a little crazy — because so many serious people are all around. They will not understand. If you are happy, they always ask why. The question is foolish! If you are sad, they never ask why. They take it for granted — if you are sad, it’s okay. Everybody is sad. What is new in it? Even if you want to tell them they are not interested because they know all about it, they themselves are sad. So what is the point of telling a long story? — cut it short! But if you are laughing for no reason then they become alert — something has gone wrong. This man seems to be a little crazy because only crazy people enjoy laughter; only in madhouses will you find crazy people laughing. This is unfortunate, but this is so.
It will be difficult, if you are a husband or a wife it will be difficult for you to suddenly laugh early in the morning. But try it — it pays tremendously. It is one of the most beautiful moods to get up with, to get out of the bed with. For no reason! — because there is no reason. Simply you are again there, still alive — it is a miracle. It seems ridiculous — why are you alive? And again the world is there. Your wife is still snoring, and the same room, and the same house. In this constantly changing world — what Hindus call the maya — at least for one night nothing has changed? Everything is there: you can hear the milkman and the traffic has started, and the same noises — it is worth laughing for!
One day you will not get up in the morning. One day the milkman will knock at the door, the wife will be snoring, but you will not be there. One day death will come. Before it knocks you down have a good laugh — while there is time have a good laugh. And look at the whole ridiculousness: again the same day starts; you have done the same things again and again for your whole life. Again you will get into your slippers, rush to the bathroom — for what? Brushing your teeth, taking a shower — for what? Where are you going? Getting ready and nowhere to go! Dressing, rushing to the office — for what? Just to do the same thing again tomorrow? Look at the whole ridiculousness of it — and have a good laugh. Don’t open your eyes. The moment you feel that sleep is gone, first start laughing, then open the eyes — and that will set a trend for the whole day. If you can laugh early in the morning you will laugh the whole day. You have created a chain effect; one thing leads to another. Laughter leads to more laughter. And almost always I have seen people doing just the wrong thing. From the very early morning they get out of bed complaining, gloomy, sad, depressed, miserable. Then one thing leads to another — and for nothing — and they get angry. It is very bad because it will change your climate for the whole day, it will set a pattern for the whole day.
Zen people are more sane. In their insanity they are saner than you. They start with laughter…and then the whole day you will feel laughter bubbling, welling up. There are so many ridiculous things happening all over! God must be dying of his laughter — down the centuries, for eternity, seeing this ridiculousness of the world. The people that he has created, and all the absurdities — it is really a comedy. He must be laughing. If you become silent after your laughter, one day you will hear God also laughing, you will hear the whole existence laughing trees and stones and stars with you.
The Zen monk goes to sleep in the night again with laughter. The day is over, the drama is closed again — with laughter he says, “Good-bye, and if I survive again tomorrow morning I will greet you again with laughter.”
Try it! Start and finish your day with laughter, and you will see, by and by, in between these two more and more laughter starts happening. And the more laughing you become, the more religious.
Millions of people have forgotten how to laugh. In the Soviet Union psychologists are preparing manuals for people to be taught in schools, colleges, hospitals, on how to laugh, because they have discovered what I have been saying to you continually: love and laughter go together, and laughter is one of the greatest medicines. At the same time it is also a great meditation. Only in the Soviet Union are they working very deeply to find out what happens when people laugh. Their blood flow changes, their brain cells become more active, their heartbeat becomes more rhythmic. Something like laughter has been found by the scientists to be of tremendous importance — but they are being immensely stupid about it. They think it has to be a training; every schoolchild has to be trained how to laugh. And if in the Soviet Union everybody is trained how to laugh, no laughter will exist at all. Now they are saying that in every hospital there should be a special ward, a humour ward where all the patients should tell jokes and laugh. It is very calculated: what their medicines cannot do, laughter can do. But to me, if laughter comes as a training it may do something, but it cannot be a total transformation where in a single moment your whole being is thrilled, vast, rejuvenated, and there are no side-effects.
Today one-third of the diseases in the world are created by the doctors. Not knowingly — just because of their medicines, which are going to have after-effects. For the moment they may be useful, but they may create something in your chemistry, in your hormones, in your biology. And you may never connect them. You had taken the aspirin only for your headache — to be exactly true, only for your wife! — but that aspirin is going to have its own effects, and you are a complex phenomenon.
It is a poor humanity who needs training to laugh. The day would be very ugly when birds ask, “First train us, then we will sing the song.” And the peacocks will say, “We don’t care about the clouds. First train us; then we will open our wings.” But the peacocks dance as the first clouds of rain start coming; there is no training for it, no training school for peacocks. No training for the birds, no training for the flowers — why should man be trained for everything? Why should he not be allowed to be spontaneous?
There is some fear in spontaneousness, because the spontaneous behaviour is unpredictable. You may laugh at somebody and he may simply look at you as if you are an idiot. There is no need for him to laugh in response — he is being spontaneous, he is feeling like looking at you as an idiot. Nothing is wrong in it; it is his problem. You were laughing — that was your problem. Why get mixed up? To avoid such situations, people have been trained for everything: how to walk, how to talk, what to say, when to say it. Naturally, by and by they become very phony — just actors in a drama, repeating dialogues.
Be spontaneous! When laughter comes, don’t stop it. In this world, everything has become fake, because you believe in the fake. Be simple, be just yourself. There is no need to act. Whatever action comes spontaneously, let it come; enjoy its spontaneity. Then you will see a beauty, a centeredness, a simplicity. Something authentic — not fake, not pseudo. All this is so simple.
Just be innocently simple. Truth is very simple; it needs no training, no preparation, no homework. You simply are what you are. Just accept it and expose it to the world.”‘