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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. May's Theme: "Humour"
Volume 3 Issue 4 ISSN# 1708-3265
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The Power of Humour

with Dawn Baumann Brunke

"Never underestimate the power of humour." This sage advice also happens to be one of the Top Ten Reminders on the Path to Enlightenment. How do I know? Simple. My wise, old dog-pal Zak told me so.

Over the course of many years of talking with a wide variety of furred, feathered, and fin-tailed folk, I have come to discover each species (and, of course, each individual being) has their own unique brand of smiling and laughing with the universe.

I remember once having a conversation with a chatty bird who interspersed his observations with a keen wit. At one point, he teased me because I failed to understand his point of view even though (as he pointed out) he had explained it several times. It was true: I just couldn't "get" the gist of what he was talking about.

"That's because you don't have a bird-brain," quipped the bird.

I laughed out loud in amusement over the way he must have plucked the phrase from my brain. And, like a fool, I began to explain how normally the phrase is used in the opposite way, and to humans, a bird-brain means…

"If you have to explain the joke, it's not very funny," he interrupted, with the avian version of clearing one's throat and rolling one's eyes. Ah! I was instantly laughing again - this time at myself for not understanding the joke was at my expense and this little bird with the big sense of humour was obviously playing around with our human-centric idioms. Thus followed a longer discussion of how having a "bird brain" is not at all a diminishment of faculties - as some humans believe - but yet another example of the incredibly diverse, finely-tuned and astonishing ways there are of seeing the world.

What I have come to find is, for me, laughter is quite often a doorway into such larger spaces of seeing, feeling and be-ing in the world. Laughter opens us up to other ways of perceiving reality. And, sometimes, it changes who we are.

I recall a time when I was having a great deal of difficulty accepting a new idea several animals had shared with me. Because I felt such resistance to even considering the material as a possibility, I supposed I also must be holding a good deal of inner fear around it. My pal Zak was encouraging me to shift the fear by going into it and (hopefully) moving through it.

"How would you describe the fear?" he asked me. "What does it feel like?"

"Right now I can feel it in my mouth, almost like I have to gag or throw up," I told him. "Like I am keeping something in and not wanting to give it up."

"Could it be the old reality?" he asked in such a way I had to smile. How could such a little dog hold so many clever selves inside - for in that moment he was simultaneously alert teacher and smart-ass guide, gentle partner and wisecracking friend. I began laughing, not only with pleasure at being with Zak, but at the obvious answer to the question.

"Laughing out loud helps," I observed after a moment, and Zak laughed with me, as good dog buddies so often do.

"Yes," he agreed. "It is a movement outwards and onwards - that rush of expansive energy! Laughter is a key way for you to release. For others, tears or talking or physical movement may be easier. There are many different ways to release and open. For you, however, it is often laughter and humour, especially when it is a simultaneous laughing of yourself and the situation. Do you feel how that old fear - or, that old you - becomes transformed?"

"I really do!" I exclaimed. "It's like that inner heaviness is changing into something light - as if the fear is a big brick wall and laughter transforms it into something light and thin and fluffy-flowing, like a sheet airing out in a breeze. It's like holding in rotten eggs and then laughing out an airy meringue!"

I sat with the image for awhile. And then a thought occurred to me: "So, maybe the quality of fear - or whatever belief or opinion is being held like the brick wall - actually changes as well?"

"A good question," said Zak. "Has the quality itself changed, or has your perception?" He paused with a bit of Zakky slyness. "Or both?"

"Both?" I pondered. "Yes, both. That feels like the answer right now."

"This is important to see. For on an intellectual level, you might have answered, 'It is all perspective and how we see things.' And from one point of view that is true: it is merely one's perspective which changes how we view reality. But in reality - this reality we are playing with at this particular time and space - it was both that changed. What you were holding was heavy and old and probably bad smelling. And what you released was changed by virtue of your perspective, which is to say 'you' shifting the form of 'you'.

"Let us say you continued to hold the old reality - the fear and heaviness of nervous energy. At that moment, you were holding both form and reality in a certain way. However, with the act of laughing, you shifted your form and, thus, shifted reality. It is as if you walked beyond a doorway with laughter. (And, if we were to observe it more closely, we could also speak about a certain frequency of laughter which allows this change, this shift, to occur). Laughter is what unlocked the door for you, allowing you to walk into a whole new version of reality with a different way of being: a whole new you!"

Amazing, isn't it? How one small laugh can change things so quickly, so fully? Humour offers us the opportunity to shake loose our own self-imposed bonds, freeing us from expectations and assumptions, confining beliefs and small mindedness. It presents us with a ticket to ride, suddenly awake and alive in the flow of the ever-smiling universe, opening ever wider to our own perceptions of what Is. This is the power of laughter. And why every laugh holds the potential to heal, transform, enlighten and launch us into joy.

Dawn Baumann Brunke is the author of Animal Voices: Telepathic Communication in the Web of Life and Awakening to Animal Voices: A Teen Guide to Telepathic Communication with All Life. Both books explore the deeper nature of our relationship with animals, nature, each other and ourselves. For more, see Dawn's website.

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