Laughter is the best remedy!
Updated: Nov 15
Blessed is the man who lives his life in reason and good humour; for in trial and tribulation, common sense shows us the way. Let the world be drowned in misery; all our troubles will turn to laughter. If we smile at life's adversity, peace and love will win the day.
So rousingly ends (Jeremy Sams' translation of) Mozart's Così fan tutte, words by Lorenzo Da Ponte. What an irresistibly witty pair they were. Mozart regularly gives me brain orgasms.
If you can't stand me being philosophical and arty farty, please just skip to the end for the practicable advice on 'Laughing Chi Kung'.
The last production I worked on before the first 'lockdown' was a beautiful, very joyful English Touring Opera production of Così directed by Laura Attridge and conducted by Holly Mathieson. The opera is a poignant farce with a microscope on trust, sex, fidelity, worldly-wisdom and deception.
After a baffling and emotionally entangled conclusion, it moves to Mozart at his most uplifting in a heartbeat, and the six characters sing the above passage to finish the opera. Laura had the singers come out of their characters and address the audience for this, giving the finale an especially 'epilogue' feel, and rightly so... everyone is suddenly moralising in unison! (When I first saw this done in rehearsal my body went all tingly.) This is Mozart confirming "LOL! What a farce and drama this life is! This opera is like the way you and I behave, and it's totally crazy! If only we respected each other more deeply none of this catastrophe would ever have occurred! Hahaha!" Also the audience ideally should have been laughing throughout the farcical show as a signal of sanity, and this is the cherry on the cake. In terms of the coming out of character thing in relation to my point about spiritual awakening and reclaiming our true identity, see my first blog article All the world's a stage, but what we are is INFINITE LOVE! We see six psychologically tortured individuals coming into the light of sanity, and the audience recognises that (aware or not) on the deepest level. Like looking into a dog's or a baby's joyful, wide, non-judgemental eyes. We can't help but smile. Beautiful. Unless you're a psychopath, in which case your place is to be stuck in the drama forever.
I think people intuitively go to see drama (films, theatre, opera, etc.) for healing. I've always been drawn to this notion of catharsis: a purging of our own emotions through drama. When we cry during a film, we are not usually personally upset, but we love the experience and feel good afterwards. It's a process of unblocking something inside.
Crying is great, but laughter is totally the best remedy for everything! Counter to how serious 'adult' society portrays the value of fun (the promise of adulthood and all its associations is one of the biggest scams perpetrated on humankind), it's actually a sure sign of sanity to laugh. It cuts tension of all kinds, it's essential for bonding, and, well, people just love to laugh. I often found myself in forbidden fits of giggling at school and I irrationally just find a lot of things hilarious. Life isn't that serious really.
Laughing Chi Kung
Anyway, for a while I've been very interested in Taoist self-healing practices, and the philosophy states that disease (dis-ease) begins with energetic blockage. I totally feel this to be the case. I mean, do seek medical advice if you have any health concerns, but I love this practice and know it does me good.
What is laughter anyway? Laughter is the literal bodily function of setting you free; moving the energy and making the internal structure lighter again, however temporary the relief.
If you've never come across it before, this might be a more hilarious introduction to Chi Kung, but you'll love it. Look, you might feel stupid and weird, but just trust Mantak Chia here:
Alternatively, just go and watch something funny. The video definitely counts as that too. When I first came across this man, I thought "whaaat a load of mumbo jumbo". But now his practices are benefitting me so much. In fact, over the last five years or so, every worthwhile discovery has come with the mind first saying "Nope, can't be true". It's almost like that voice in the head is intentionally sabotaging me...
In any case, take a break from the news, know that stress is harmful, chill out, have a good stretch, and start having fun with child-like enthusiasm again. Also, Jesus said:
"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
Mantak uses modern science in total harmony with ancient Taoist tradition, and he justifies how it can literally slow down the aging process when Chi Kung is made into a regular practice. Look at him. He's nearly 80 and looks like a baby.