COULD YOU SPEAK TO US ON LAUGHTER, ITS MEDITATIVE POWERS, ITS CHEMISTRY ON THE BRAIN, ITS POWER OF TRANSFORMATION AND HEALING… ITS RELATION TO SILENCE, THE GAP, CLARITY, VISION…
ITS CONTAGIOUSNESS, ITS RELATION TO DIFFERENT EMOTIONS… ON HOMO RIDENS — THE ESSENTIAL HUMAN CONDITION, ON HOW TO RECOGNIZE TRUE, AUTHENTIC LAUGHTER FROM HYSTERICAL, EXHIBITIONIST, OR HYPOCRITICAL LAUGHTER, ON HOW TO BE A CHANNEL OF PURE JOY?
Prem Nistal, I have just been talking about laughter, its meditative powers and its medicinal powers. It certainly changes your very chemistry; it changes your brain waves, it changes your intelligence — you become more intelligent. The parts of your mind that have been asleep suddenly wake up. The laughter reaches to the innermost part of your brain, to your heart.
A man of laughter cannot have a heart attack. A man of laughter cannot commit suicide. A man of laughter automatically comes to know the world of silence, because when laughter ceases suddenly there is silence. And each time laughter becomes deeper it is followed by deeper silence.
It certainly clarifies you — from the traditions, from the garbage of the past. It gives you a new vision of life. It makes you more alive and radiant, more creative. If you are a singer, your song becomes more celestial; if you are a musician your music starts going beyond sound, starts reaching silences. If you are a sculptor, then your sculpture will not be what Gurdjieff calls objective… Ordinarily a painter or architect or any other dimension of creativity is only your projection, your imagination. But there is another kind of art, which is not your imagination but your insight. For example, sitting in silence near the Taj Mahal in the full moon night you will find yourself falling into silence without any effort.
The Taj Mahal was created by Sufi mystics. History tells only about the man who for thirty years paid thousands of artists, but the history has no idea that the people who were the architects were Sufi mystics. And it was not an imaginative thing; it was something so that if somebody sits silently looking at it, it will create the same feeling, the same vibration in which the architect was living. The Taj Mahal is a scripture, it is a message, it is not just a beautiful building. It is not just for the tourists to come and take photographs, it is for meditators to sit and just watch: the very form of the architecture creates something in you. The people who made the building were aware that they were making a device for meditation…
As mind disappears and leaves behind a silence, a space of meditation, your vision about everything that you do is completely different. If you are a painter you will paint something not with the mind, but with the clarity that your painting will give health, insight, peace, silence, to anyone who will just look at it. In this sense we are more primitive than people like Mozart or Beethoven. Our music is very poor, because our music is simply clumsy; it does not create any spiritual peace, it does not give any meditative silence; more often it is sexual. It functions on your sex center. It makes you closer to the animal rather than closer to the Buddha. Classical music takes you very high, beyond your reach; perhaps you would not have been able to reach alone. Just listening to that music and you have gone for a new journey, far away from your thoughts, far away from your emotions, into spaces of eternity.
And you are asking how to distinguish true, authentic laughter from hysterical, exhibitionist, or hypocritical laughter. Two things to be remembered: one, you should not bother about others. You should not judge. There is no way to judge from outside whether the person’s laughter is authentic or not, healthy or hysterical; exhibitionist, hypocritical, or real, coming from the very deepest sources of his being. So first thing, don’t be bothered about the other person. It is uncivilized. Just think about yourself, that’s enough, and then the distinction is not difficult.
The authentic laughter is not about anything. It is simply arising in you as a flower blossoms in a tree. It has no reason, no rational explanation. It is mysterious; hence the mystic rose. The hysterical laughter is sick. It is about somebody else; it is not healthy and it is not going to give you all the benefits I have talked about. It is insane. The exhibitionist is one who is laughing just to show others, but the laughter is not coming from his being. It is just superficial, social. If everybody else is laughing and you are not laughing you are being a little unsocial.
They say that if you tell a joke to an Englishman he laughs twice: once just to be social, just to say that, “Yes, I understand.” And the second time in the middle of the night when he understands it. If you tell a joke to a German he laughs only once, just to be social. The second time to laugh never comes. He never understands a joke. And never tell a joke to a Jew, because he will stop you in the middle. He will say, “It is all rotten, an old joke, and anyway you are telling it all wrong.” It is useless to tell a joke to a Jew — he will not laugh. He will even make you sad — why did you talk to this man?
Different nations will behave differently. But one point you can understand yourself: whether you are laughing just to be in tune with others… then laughter is only exhibition. You have not understood the joke and you are laughing — it is hypocritical. But always remember not to judge others. That is very primitive, uncivilized, inhuman. Only look at yourself.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Discourse Series: YAA-HOO! The Mystic Rose
Chapter title: Laughter and tears — a cleansing of the heart
21 April 1988 pm in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium
Osho has spoken on ‘laughter, silence, creativity, love, meditation’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses.
- A Sudden Clash of Thunder
- Beyond Enlightenment
- The Book of Wisdom
- The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 11
- Sat Chit Anand
- From Death to Deathlessness
- The Divine Melody
- The Invitation
- Satyam Shivam Sundram
- The Zen Manifesto: Freedom From Oneself