A friend once shared a Sikh saying that the highest sense closest to God is a – sense of humour. This was one of the most profound things for me to consider and I resonated deeply with it. In all of my spiritual studies, I’m very fond of hearing about the levity of the divine which is so salving in a realm of human culture that has been dominated by stoic religious doctrines and even fanatical fundamentalism that cannot handle pokes of jest. I think part of the dilemma also lies in the fact that humour is so much deeper than people understand. The HOLY fool is an archetypal force in consciousness, an eternal pulse of the cosmos. Sadly, I see too often seriousness being coveted increasingly, and even humour being shirked altogether in a realm of overly sensitive feelings that are profoundly resistant to the deflating energies of humour. But this deflation power was the holiness of the fool and why the court jester held such a high esteem in the royal court–they helped to keep the ego of the King & Queen in check, conspiring with them to hold the axis to the higher realms in proper alignment. If one takes too long a puff on the holy tree of sovereignty, one can easily be inflated into a tyrant where one is unable anymore to separate the God from the human. Indeed, Kings & Queens were seen as being emissaries for the divine but NOT the divine itself. The court jester would show up always to poke fun at them, let a little air out of the inevitable inflation of doing the work of stewarding the divine down to Earth and help our humanness to always be our native land. What many don’t realize is the poking of fun is actually a deep act of lovingness, honouring the travails of embodying the incredible powers of consciousness by helping us to always remember to come back to our centre; be light; keep the proper shape of the ego with its crazy task of being a mutable holder of identity.
Dr. Bradford Keeney always spoke adoringly of his times in the Kalahari with the San Bushpeople. One of the marvelous things he shared of their ancient culture was their constant teasing of each other, what they called ‘poking the meat’. They too understood that humour serves an incredibly important purpose to keep us within proper realms of ego, so that if a hunter came back with a huge kill, they would all assail him with jokes and such to make sure he didn’t think too highly of himself. I also recall endearingly the Dine Medicine Woman, Walking Thunder, relating to us once of how she went to visit a terminally ill friend whose family couldn’t seem to raise his spirits. She spent a few minutes alone with him and when she walked out of the hospital room, he was roaring in laughter for the first time in weeks! Now bear in mind, this is a very holy lady, and my own assumptions of what ‘holy’ meant revealed themselves in that I couldn’t think of what she could have bestowed to bring forth the elixir of laughter. Was it a medicine song hypnosis? Some kind of stimulating herbal tea? She wryly smiled at us: ‘I told him the dirtiest joke I know’.😂
In a world bereft of the holy fool, of the sacred trickster, everything is suddenly dangerous. But it shouldn’t be. We would be wise the next time we get offended by a joke or slight of humour to reflect and ask ourselves is this perhaps some good medicine to keep our inflation in check? Because we will inevitably get inflated at moments in life as we are a continuum for great, cosmic powers. And in turn be triggered. I’m happy that I have friends who can nimbly weave through my own pretenses and keep me honest through a few tickles and even sometimes in some devastatingly sardonic slights because I know they aren’t really slights at all but affectionate rubs, necessary. A world that can’t make fun of itself is not that much fun, is it? And fun is ESSENTIALLY divine.
This hasn’t always been my prescriptive approach but I am learning add more humour, much to my counterparts of physcotherapists dismay. Not all appreciate the less static approach of humour but can feel the lightness in an already tense and tightly controlled shelter environment. To measure success is determined by various factors of body mind and spirit of participants. Willingness and acceptance is different for everyone and my role is to turn habitual users of shelters who are addicted to drama and attention to educating themselves for a lasting and stable environment for themselves first. It’s like a recipe you put together, together. How it turns out depends on how bad the individual wants change or just a free hand out.
“It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously.” – Oscar Wilde
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