The First Principle of Cosmic Comic Consciousness It’s a Joke – Laugh By Steve Bhaerman
"Life is a comedy of situations, and you’re just having an episode."
-- Swami Beyondananda
When my wife Trudy and I were in Europe several years ago, a friend who works as an interpreter told me a story. She was translating a talk and the speaker told a joke. She translated the joke, and the audience laughed. Naturally the speaker was impressed because jokes are particularly challenging to translate, given not just the language but also the cultural nuances. "How did you translate that joke?" he asked.
She said, "Oh, I just said, 'It's a joke. Laugh.'"
I've enjoyed telling that story for years, and then recently I recognized that simple phrase as the official mantra of Cosmic Comic Consciousness: It's a joke -- laugh.
Life is full of surprises, not all of them funny. Sometimes in recalling a pleasant and delightful twist of fate, we will say, "And then ... a funny thing happened." Other times, the joke is on us. So interesting that the words human, humor, humility and humus all come from the same root. Might this indicate that the nature of being human often involves humility, or even humiliation as your proverbial face is ground into the dirt (humus)? And that humor might be the appropriate response?
It's a joke. Laugh.
So the first lesson and practice in Cosmic Comic Consciousness is to remember and use this mantra at the first signs of "irregularhilarity". I'm not saying this is the way to respond to a true tragedy, or devastating loss. I'm just suggesting that when we're confronted with the things that usually plug us in, irritate us, make us grumpy -- what my friend and colleague Caroline Casey calls "harrumphitude" -- take a second to test the mantra.
It might not take at first, but it will eventually.
In so many of the non-dual paths and mindfulness practices people are engaging in these days, the idea is to recognize oneself as more of a "space" than a "thing". Taking a second to try on this mantra, to test the possibility that maybe there IS something funny about it after all might be just the intervention to create "space" between the experience and how you interpret it.
This week, when faced with a minor irritation -- or even a major upset that doesn't involve physical distress or something terrible happening to a loved one -- as soon as the thought occurs to you, do the following:
- Take a deep breath.
- Take nine more deep breaths.
- Say to yourself, "It's a joke -- laugh."
Repeat these three steps as needed. Chances are, at some point you will laugh out loud. Oh, and it might not be for hours. Or maybe days. However, by implanting that thought, your mind will not be able to resist looking for and then finding the joke. Once it does, notice what happens. Is the "charge" around the incident diminished? Is there a physical sensation that you notice? Is there an "aha" in the wake of the ha-ha? Is there a take-away insight? A transformation?
Please feel free to send me any stories of achieving “fool-realization” in testing this mantra at email@example.com
When you practice the mantra, "It's a joke -- laugh", and you find the joke hidden in the picture, and you DO in fact laugh, you have achieved Cosmic Comic Consciousness.
Steve Bhaerman is an author, presenter and comedian who has spent the past 34 years in the guise of cosmic comic Swami Beyondananda. Swami’s comedy has been described as comedy disguised as wisdom, and wisdom described as comedy, and noted author Marianne Williamson has called him the “Mark Twain of our times.” He can be found online at https://www.wakeuplaughing.com/ and you can find out more about his work as creative consultant here. https://wikipolitiki.com/hire-steve-bhaerman-creative-consultant/