Be Playful

Posts Tagged ‘humour

man-laughing
Photo by Per Ola Wiberg.

girl-smiling
Photo by Victor Bezrukov.

flying-angels-1
Photo by poshyananda.

‘Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly’
~ G. K. Chesterton

The Secret to a Life of Beauty

Have you ever been so captivated by someone that your life suspends itself for a moment whilst you absorb the infectious radiance of their being?

There is a secret to this life of beauty.  The secret is humility.

A humble person is like a child at play.  Like a child so engrossed in her imaginary world that she forgets to question how realistic pink dragons and invisible giants really are, humble people are so engrossed in the act of living fully, and of sharing this utter-aliveness with everyone they meet, that they forget to wonder whether or not they are really being humble and generous.

Humility, then, cannot be learnt.  As soon as you try to learn humility, you begin to reflect on how humble you are being, and you are invaded with self-consciousness and pride.  Humility cannot be learnt – it must be lived.

Light-hearted Humility

There is something light-hearted about humble people.  They abound with laughter.  They know deep down that the world we live in is a place to be cherished and enjoyed.    They also know, even more deeply, that it is a far from perfect world, that all human existence is far from ideal.  They know how to laugh at the absurdity of the world and the incongruence of their own lives.

Humility cannot be taught, but light-heartedness and laughter can, and this is one step towards the humble life.  Humble laughter is not cynical or spiteful, but beautiful and ripe; it is laughter that resounds from the core of your being.

Laughing at something – not mockingly, but genuine laughter of delight – is to cherish that thing, to recognise its true value whilst realising that it will not last forever, that it is not ours to keep, but only to share with others.

What then, can we laugh at?

Laughing at Ourselves

lady-laughing
Photo by doug88888.

Humble people laugh at themselves.  They know that they will never have complete control of their life – so instead of trying to control their exterior lives, they let the true life within them flow out into the world.

Laughter exposes the gap between what we think life should be like, and what life is actually like.  Humour is only possible because of the conflict between dreams and reality.

Being able to laugh at yourself makes life less stressful.  It helps you realise that although you can’t control when life knocks you down, those knock-down moments don’t have to control how you feel.

It is often said that the saddest people are the funniest people.  Those who have experienced the worst in life no longer need fear it, and are able to laugh at and within everything life throws at them.

Laughing at the world

girls-laughing
Photo by World Resources Institute Staff.

The world is an absurd place.  We think we are safe, building up a secure castle around us, and suddenly the walls fall down and we have no idea what happened.  Powerful people pretend they are in control and know what’s going on, but really they are as blind and clueless as the rest of us.

Stock markets crash, oil prices soar, and food shortages plague much of the world.  We used to laugh at the few lone voices that predicted these things would happen.   Now, would it not be better to laugh at the power that thinks it is in control, but never sees these things coming?

Laughing is an act of standing up for justice.  It allows us to look beyond the pomposity of everything considered important and everlasting, and to see its fallibility and transience.  It reveals the incongruences and contradictions in the world.  It deflates the inflated and elevates those who have been devalued.

Laughing at other people

children-laughing
Photo by sytoha.

To laugh at other people is to delight in the beauty and wonder of all that they are, and everything they bring to the world. Laughing alongside them, we share in their joy and happiness.

Laughter builds community and relationships.  It breaks down barrier of mistrust and fear, puts rivalry to one side and makes reconciliation possible.

Perhaps most importantly, having a good laugh makes you fun to be around.

Health Warning

At the risk of taking laughter too seriously, I’d like to share its health benefits.  According to medical people, laughter can:

  • reduce stress
  • boost your immume system
  • lower brood pressure
  • lift your mood
  • protect your heart
  • make you instantly relaxed

In Conclusion

Humour and humility both recognise the foolishness of pretending to be something we are not. They both know that every person is a fallible, messed-up, beautiful human being – and that this is the reason to sing, dance and smile in celebration of being alive


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