Rose and I live on four acres in Eastern Washington. We spend a lot of time in conversation by our pond and fire pit. Our time together last night was particularly enjoyable. We made up this poem:
After much laughter,
My heart feels so fine,
I find myself seeking,
After laughter divine.
We recited this poem dozens of times while dancing around the campfire. We sang alternating lines to each other. We sang it like a country song, we sang it like blues. We sang it like a church hymn. And every time it seemed to open up to more insights into the nature of laughter and it made us laugh all the more. Mediation upon laughter – what evokes it and what inhibits it – became the center of our conversation.
My first insight was that laughter is a response to the “Aha!” moment of a sudden mental illumination. Rose immediately responded by saying “Right! It’s a “ha” moment – like a ha and a ha and a ha! Ahahaha!”
We both laughed – especially since the pun was (contrary to most) actually a pretty good one that captured the meaning in a memorable form. The “Aha!” moment is what happens when we “get” a joke.
This led to the idea of freedom of thought and personal discovery as central to laughter. In as much as laughter is a response to the “Aha!” moment, a lack of laughter indicates a lack of freedom to think independently and to explore the world with childlike wonder. This is something Rose and I have been talking about a lot lately because we have seen that dogmatic religious and political organizations tend to inhibit free thought. A sure sign of a mind-controlling cult is a lack of authentic laughter that spontaneously bursts forth from a direct personal recognition of light and truth. The suppression of truth manifests as a lack of authentic enlightening laughter.
This then made me think of the Charismatic “Holy Laughter” movement which encourages people to mindlessly “laugh” without any reason whatsoever. This appears to be a psychological compensation for the absence of authentic laughter that can only burst forth upon a direct recognition of truth and light. It follows the primary Charismatic paradigm designed to excite the flesh to mimic the things of the Spirit. Is laughter missing? No problem! Just following me and say “Ha. Ha. Ha.” until the “Spirit” takes over. When there is no truth nor light they manufacture a hideously deformed false cackle and “drunkenness in the Spirit.” It is amazing to watch the audience pick up and obey the commands from the Christian teacher stage hypnotist. For example, immediately after Kenneth Hagen tells his audience that those filled with the Spirit at Pentecost must have been “acting like drunks” folks begin to put on “drunk faces” and slide off their chairs as if completely intoxicated on alcohol:
Wow. That demonstrates the power of suggestion. Let it warn everyone of the danger of opening your mind to the control of others.
Obviously, this is not the kind of “laughter divine” Rose and I find ourselves seeking. On the contrary, we do not seek the laughter for its own sake, but rather as the response of our souls to the direct perception of light and truth. And how do we seek the truth? That is another theme we have been following for months in circles around the campfire. The first condition to find truth is quite simple: Be still and know … (Psalm 46:10). When the heart and mind are made quiet, the truth swells up from your belly, and you know what you really feel. It might take hours, days or weeks to put into words, but there it is – the primal state of knowing comes first, then the words that helps us share it with each other.
Well, this is my first “stream of consciousness” post and I am very happy with it. I will be posting more under the category of “Thinking Freely.” Comments are most welcome.