Life…A Cosmic Comedy

Religion has been missing one very fundamental quality: the sense of humour. It’s unfortunate, because it has made religion sick.

A sense of humour is an essential part of the wholeness of man. It keeps us healthy, young, and fresh. And for centuries the sad people have dominated religion. They have expelled laughter — from churches, mosques, and from temples. The day laughter enters back into the holy places they will be really holy, because they will be whole.

Laughter is the only quality that distinguishes man from other animals. Only man can see the ridiculous, the absurd. Only he has the capacity and the consciousness to be aware of the cosmic joke that existence is. It is a cosmic joke; it is not a serious affair.

Seriousness is a disease, but seriousness has been praised, respected, honoured. It was absolutely essential to be serious to be a saint; hence only, people who were incapable of laughter became interested in religion. And people who are incapable of laughter are not human yet — what to say about their being divine? That is impossible — they have not yet become human. Hence I have tremendous respect for the sense of humour, for laughter.

Laughter is far more sacred than prayer, because prayer can be done by any one. Laughter requires intelligence, it requires presence of mind, a quickness of seeing into things. A joke cannot be explained: either you understand it or you miss it. If it is explained it loses the whole point; hence no joke can be explained. Either you get it immediately or you can try to find out the meaning of it; you will find out the meaning, but the joke will not be there. It was in the immediacy.

Humour needs presence, utter presence. It is not a question of analysis, it is a question of insight.

To be able to laugh, you need to be like a child — egoless. And when you laugh, suddenly laughter is there, you are not. You come back when the laughter is gone. When the laughter is disappearing, when it is subsiding, you come back, the ego comes back. But in the very moment of laughter you have a glimpse of egolessness.

There are only two activities in which you can feel egolessness easily. One is laughter, another is dancing. Dancing is a physiological method, a bodily method to feel egolessness. When the dancer is lost in his dance he is no more — there is only dance. Laughter is a little more subtle than dance, it is a little more inner, but it has also the same fragrance. When you laugh…. it has to be a belly laughter.

Laugh so that your whole body, your whole being becomes involved, and suddenly there will be a glimpse. For the moment the past disappears, the future, the ego, everything disappears — there is only laughter. And in that moment of laughter you will be able to see the whole of existence laughing.

Lao Tzu had a sense of humour. Maybe because of that he could not become the founder of a great religion. He used to ride a buffalo. Now, couldn’t he find a horse? Anybody could have afforded at least a donkey — but a buffalo…? And that too, sitting backwards! The buffalo is going one way and Lao Tzu is looking the other way. He must have created laughter wherever he passed. Life is not a tragedy, it is a comedy!

The Battle Within…

“The nun Wu Jincang asked the Sixth Patriach Huineng, “I have studied the Mahaparinirvana sutra for many years, yet there are many areas I do not quite understand. Please enlighten me.”

The patriach responded, “I am illiterate. Please read out the characters to me and perhaps I will be able to explain the meaning.”

Said the nun, “You cannot even recognize the characters. How are you able then to understand the meaning?”

“Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon’s location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger, right?”

The story fascinated me completely and I began to wonder how many times in my life have I just bothered about the finger and not the moon. Another parallel I can draw here is from a book called “Sphere Of Silence” by Dato Vijay Eswaran. He talks about two friends who go to the beach for a walk to watch the sunrise. One friend is totally enamored by the beauty of the rising sun and is enchanted with the scene, while the other focuses on the mosquitoes biting him !

How many of us miss the sunrise for the mosquitoes…how many of us focus on the finger rather than the moon. The battle is within ourselves. Where is my focus and what do I want? In the bargain, what am I missing?

Eckhart Tolle said, “analyzing the the pointer is pointless”. Yet, we are all of guilty of it. We tend to analyze the pointers without noticing it. If we are discussing about whether something is good for us or not, especially if we come to a philosophical or emotional debate, we are discussing the validity of models and concepts. We can also go out and experience something directly.

Inner Belief – My Map

The map is the concept of what we have in mind about something. It’s a belief, an image or a thought-pattern. We use this map in the same way as we use a city-map to find a location. If our map is correct, we will find our location. If it is slightly incorrect, we have to correct it by new knowledge, optimize it. If it is completely incorrect or we move to another city, we have to replace the map altogether. We need to keep changing our map… regularly.

A second map is the map of self-image. We  also call it the ego. It is the map of ourselves and we act from it. We want to improve our self-image and we use our intellectual abilities to do so. We have our desires and we set goals and work towards them. The map called the ego is a very useful map that we constantly create ourselves. But here is the important thing: it is still a map.

It’s nice to have a map, as long as you know it’s a map

Which means two things…

1. The map can change : in other words our ego, who we think we are, can change and this is the basis of personal development. This changing map includes our thoughts, beliefs and actions: the whole world-view and the self-image.

2. The map is not the territory : as long as I don’t let my ego get the better of me, my life can be dedicated to a lot of good things. The moment “I” becomes stronger than the “We”, the map becomes our territory. Bhagvat Gita beautifully describes the ego as, ” nothing but identification of oneself with their body than soul.” Once we start digging deeper within ourselves, we understand having an ego  to self protect is good, but being egotistical is self destruction. 

So how do we recognize this…

1. Awareness

2. Practicing silence

3. Listening

4. Writing our thoughts, dreams, opinions…

5. Reading & reviewing those thoughts, dreams, opinions…

6. Submitting to a learned one…who in turn will teach us what we don’t know or understand.

 This doesn’t mean I remove maps from my life.  I need the map to function in the world and to relate to everything. So I create maps and use maps in a very intense way, in the best way possible. But there is one difference: I constantly try to dis-identify the map from the territory. So I know that my self-image is my self-image but not the self.

It has truly helped in keeping the negative energy at bay and empowering me to work on what I truly deserve in my life.

Have a thoughtful day… 🙂