Earlier in the week the subject of laughter waded into my mind stream and I thought what a funny word it was all on its own. It should be spelled lafter which is like rafter only not as wet or high; or be pronounced altogether differently with a lot of huffing and gargling in the middle.
After chuckling an embarrassing amount of time at my own joke, I noticed that my headache had disappeared. I pondered on. Is it true that laughter is the best medicine? According to Norman Cousins who studied the biochemistry of human emotions it is.
When told he had a terminal illness, Cousins developed a recovery program that focused on love, faith, hope and laughter. “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep,” he reported.
Norman called laughter, inner jogging. Laughter is said to be the only activity that can exercise your liver, one of the most important organs of the body that charged with cleansing impurities. Not only that but the old complaint, feeling ‘liverish,’ meant to be bad tempered or unhappy. (Do I detect a link here?)
Perhaps laughter, in exercising the liver, jiggles it into a faster production rhythm and a more energetic cleaning cycle, kind of like speeding up the agitator in a washing machine, or setting the idle on high in a car. Maybe it’s a joke a day, rather than the apple, that keeps the doctor away.
Further proof of the efficacy of this treatment approach can be seen in the figurines of the laughing Buddhas where the typically enigmatic smile and meditative pose is replaced by a roly-poly fat guy laughing. It reinforces the position that one cannot be enlightened without understanding that absurdity of it all.
While I was pondering the more sober aspects of laughter I came across some great quotes. Here’s a few:
God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. Voltaire
Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. Kurt Vonnegut
When the highest type of men hear Tao,
They diligently practice it.
When the average type of men hear Tao,
They half believe in it.
When the lowest type of men hear Tao,
They laugh heartily at it.
Without the laugh, there is no Tao. Lao-tzu
So in closing my suggestion is, tell a joke and save a life.
(There’s a new post on the art site at http://MarieTaylorArt.wordpress.com)