Laugh Your Way to God

Swami Chaitanya Keerti

Osho’s unique vision was to meditate and celebrate life in all its colors and celebrate death as well. He said, “My sanyas is celebrate everything. Celebration is the foundation of my sanyas – not renunciation but rejoicing; rejoicing in all the beauty, all the joys, all that life offers, because this whole life is a gift of God. I teach love for life. I teach the art of living your life totally, of being drunk with the divine through life. I am not an escapist.”

In the past, the concept of sanyas has been to escape to Himalayas or to live in some ashram, but Osho rejected that concept and urged his sanyas is to be creative and celebrative, and not to take life so seriously. Life is a play, a leela. He told us,“I am in tremendous love with life, hence I teach celebration. Everything has to be celebrated, everything has to be lived, loved. To me nothing is mundane and nothing is sacred. To me all is sacred, from the lowest rung of the ladder to the highest rung. It is the same ladder: from the body to the soul, from the physical to the spiritual, from sex to samadhi – everything is divine!”

Laughter Meditation

Osho gave a unique meditation to start the day. This meditation is laughter meditation: Every morning upon waking up, before opening your eyes, stretch like a cat. Stretch every fiber of your body. After three or four minutes, with eyes still closed, begin to laugh. For five minutes just laugh. At first you will be doing it, but soon the sound of your attempt will cause genuine laughter. Lose yourself in laughter. It may take several days before it really happens, for we are so unaccustomed to the phenomenon. But before long it will be spontaneous and will change the whole nature of your day.

A disciple writes about this meditation: This is a five-minute morning meditation that I learned from Osho. It was one of those major life-changing experiences. For me laughing for no reason was a big jump towards taking responsibility for my moods. If I wanted to drop my misery and be happy, I could just choose to do this meditation and be so. It’s not like anything you would imagine as meditation if you think meditation is only sitting silently on a cushion. Laughter is a state where the mind disappears in an explosion of joy, and as I understand Osho, this is a sure-fire way to get a taste of meditation. It is certainly relaxing and energizing, and it flushes all your “problems” away. You don’t have to limit yourself to only five minutes, nor do you have to do it only in the morning.

Laughter brings inner energy to the fore. When you really laugh, for those few moments, you are in a deep meditative state. Thinking stops. It is impossible to laugh and think together. When you really laugh, suddenly, the mind disappears. And the whole Zen methodology is how to get into no-mind.

Dancing and laughter are the best, natural, easily approachable doors to attaining no-mind. Existence melts into you; there is an overlapping of boundaries. And if you are really dancing? Not managing it but allowing it to manage you, allowing it to possess you? If you are possessed by dance, thinking stops. The same happens with laughter. If you are possessed by laughter, thinking stops. And if you know a few moments of no-mind, those glimpses will promise you many more rewards that are going to come.

Before the mind disappears, there open two alternatives: sleep or sushupti and satori. When thinking disappears, these are the two alternatives left: either you move into satori – a fully alert, no thought state; or a fully asleep, no thought state – sleep. And sleep is more natural, because you have practiced it long. If you live 60 years, for 20 years you have been asleep. It is the greatest activity that you have been doing; one-third of your life is spent in sleep. Laughing, how can you fall asleep? It brings a state of no-mind and no thought, and does not allow you to fall asleep.

In a few Zen monasteries, every monk has to start his morning with laughter, and has to end his night with laughter. It will be difficult, living in a family set-up, to suddenly laugh early in the morning. But do try it; it’s worth getting out of bed laughing. Yes, for no reason at all. Isn’t it good to be alive?

One day, you will not get up in the morning. One day, the milkman will knock at the door, the spouse will be snoring, but you will not be there. One day, death will come. Before it knocks you down, have a good laugh – while there is time, have a good laugh.

And look at the whole ridiculousness: again the day starts; you have done the same things again and again for your whole life. Again you will get into your slippers, rush to the bathroom – for what? Brushing your teeth, taking a shower – for what? Where are you going? Getting ready and nowhere to go!

Look at the whole ridiculousness of it and have a good laugh. Laughter leads to more laughter. And almost always I have seen people doing just the wrong thing. From early morning they get out of bed complaining, gloomy, sad, depressed and miserable. Then one thing leads to another and for nothing.

And they get angry. It is very bad because it will change your mindset for the whole day, it will set a pattern for the whole day. In their insanity, Zen people are saner than you are. They start the day laughing. There are so many ridiculous things happening all over! God must be filled with laughter down the centuries, for eternity, seeing this ridiculousness of the world. The people that He has created and all the absurdities? It is really a comedy. He must be laughing.

Osho said, “It is only through meditation that you start becoming a man. You start getting out of the animal kingdom. Something greater than the animal starts happening to you through meditation. On the one hand, it makes you a human being. On the other hand, it brings great excellence in whatsoever you do. The secret is that meditation releases awareness in you. To me awareness is the only virtue and unawareness the only sin.”

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