REAL PEACE IN TIMES OF STRESS / HUMOR
An attitude of humor, says CAROLYN ROSE GIMIAN, cuts through seriousness and stress and makes life cheerful and light.
Anyone who meditates knows about it. Natural funniness is the term that
Chögyam Trungpa used. It’s not making fun or mocking. It’s natural
cheerfulness, light touch, appreciation, and joy. Sometimes in the
meditation hall, someone giggles, amazed by a toe wiggling in front of
them. You pick up the giggle and soon everyone is laughing, trying not
to laugh, laughter exploding. How naughty. Back to the breath.
meditation in your own little home: Sitting might seem self-serious,
then you lighten up and you see or hear or sense something delightful
and unexpected. Wind moves the curtains and rattles the blinds. Look out
the window. A robin skittering across the yard stops to listen for
worms. A squirrel chatters at you from the woodpile. And yellow
dandelions are ruining your green lawn. Oh, wow! Take a sip of morning
coffee. Back to the breath. Unexpected smile.
then, there’s the rest of the day, the complications of life: child,
boss, husband, or wife. Bills, car out of gas, late for work, neighbor
hates your weeds coming under the fence. The taxes are due. Big argument
with your world. Little skirmish with the washing-machine repairman or
laugh at it. Can’t make fun of it. Can’t get rid of it. It’s our
precious life, our oh-so-precious life. In the midst of clouds, the sun
peeks through. Big sky! What a surprise. We could wish for that much in
our grimy little reality.
Toast is burning. Where
are my glasses, honey? Are you coming home for dinner? I have such a
busy day. No, I can’t pick up the cleaning. Will you please call the
bank today? You
drop your cup and the shards go everywhere. Everything stops for a
moment. Nobody’s hurt. Sweep it up. What were we arguing about? Natural
funniness. Just what is!
what Chögyam Trungpa says: “Humor is an appreciative gesture. That is,
things don’t seem to be as heavy as we think they are, but they seem to
be floating above the ground, and seemingly hilarious, funny, swift, and
lucid. At the same time, humor is not particularly casual or haphazard.
It comes from delight and it comes from celebration. A sense of humor
from that point of view is very transparent; at the same time, it is
very definite. It has its own background and sanity.”
We are so lucky that this uncompromising yet kind world gives us
opportunities for a fresh glimpse. With all the stress, speed, and
anxiety of modern life, we’re so lucky that some things never change.
Moon and stars, rain and snow, a gap between every thought. Phew—it’s
possible to relax, to smile in the space between things, to see the
simple humor of it, at least for one breath, just as it is.
Carolyn Rose Gimian has edited many of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s books, including his Collected Works and Smile at Fear.