Have you ever (when in a safe context and space) laughed through pain, or through a painful story when working through your own challenging experience or when helping someone else work though a painful story of their own?
I am not referring to those who laugh in situations that they find awkward out of discomfort either, but instead, I am referring to the genuine full-belly laugh that comes from a place of truly understanding the hilarity and absurdity of a situation, event, or experience? If you have, then you would have touched upon some very important truths about life, the nature of our minds, and the insanity of our collective experience.
Congratulations! You are one step closer to getting a grip on this whole insane situation.
My maternal grandmother lived a crazy and tough life. This made her into, by all standards and definitions of these words, a crazy and tough person to be around most of the time. Virtually everyone who she has ever had a personal relationship with has experienced a lot of pain from interacting with her in their lifetime (although, simultaneously, she also served as a caretaker in her occupation and tenderly supported numerous people through their end of life experiences).
Some people feel absolute terror when her name is mentioned in a sentence, and some have very strong feelings of upset and hurt feelings when they speak of her. But, when I think of her (even after holding onto my own remembrance of how she expressed no empathy at some irrelevant concern that I had one day as a child, an experience that I uselessly carried around for several years before finally coming to a greater understanding of its irrelevance later on), I always smile when she comes to mind and think of her fondly (even while generally staying far away from most of the people in my family for all of the psychological benefits involved).
I smile when I think of her because, not only do I feel like I understand why she would behave in the ways that she did based on her experiences in life, but, also because I remember her humorous telling of her pain. Even though my cousins got upset and felt pity for her when she told her stories, she and I, one day, laughed so uncontrollably through the telling of the madness of her experiences, that we bonded on a deeper level, and during that entire experience, she never sought out, or accepted, any pity whatsoever. I greatly admire her for that.
Some people may not understand why we laughed through the madness of her narrative, but, let’s face it, it is the same reason why shows like the prank horror series Scare Tactics can sometimes be hilarious. This world is an insane place, and sometimes (but not in all cases of course) the things that we feel are catastrophic to us are only an illusion, a good learning experience, or a flat out joke that we can reflect back upon at a later date, even when they feel incredibly real and devastating in the moment. The only way to effectively deal with the madness of it all, in my opinion, is to either laugh through the pain/discomfort, or to express compassion towards our sorrows as we either try to change conditions to make things better, or liberate ourselves from the suffering of our experience through basic acceptance. I cannot judge my grandmother, nor can I judge her life since her story belongs to her and I can only share in my own way of participating in it, so I choose to laugh with her, instead of at her, and my reaction always only reflects my state of acceptance of my own suffering in the world.
The point of life (big statement, I know), I feel, once we free ourselves from the trappings of ego and the insane demands of our insane societies that seek tell us who, what, how, why, where, we should be, and sometimes even tries to tell us who we are (as if anyone has the authority, or the expertise, to do so) is to come to our own personal self-realization and an understand our divine essence. Everyone on Earth, and out there in space (since we have now traveled that far as a species) is, therefore, on an equal playing field for suffering and enlightenment, and therefore cannot be ultimately judged by another human being (outside of those who create a wrong that they need to correct legally), since perfect physical gods an goddesses do not exist.
This is no wonder why when a person truly self-realizes, they simply come to greater Love as opposed to greater judgment in the world. When one self-realizes, they will have transcended their own ego expression in maya (felt the fear, the anger, the happiness, the desire, the hunger for truth, and so forth that all humans feel) and will therefore have recognized what the insanity of everyone in our species truly creates having lived through it. They will not self-realize and decide that some insanity is better than others, they will see it all neutrally, because it is all one and the same. No enlightened being comes back from their experience of connection with the divine with more opinions; they come back with greater understanding and compassion, because until one has mastered the illusion, one simply participates in it in the same way that some institutions of religion, governments, and spiritual “non”-profit organizations simply organize their insanity into digestible (or repulsive) forms as opposed to transcending the insanity to begin with.
Personally, I always find, despite not being a Christian, Jesus Christ’s example to be one of the best displays of true enlightenment that can be found in modern history, because not only did he always extend his Love out to everyone equally having lived as a humble carpenter, returning from his 40 days and 40 nights of desert sufferings to give the message of peace and overcoming temptation, but he always simply tried to point everyone back to their own heart as a guide instead of asking his followers to follow any ridiculous doctrine or to shell out some cash for any cause. Even though he knew that some followers would still idolize him and attempt to leave the responsibility of the saving of their own “souls” on him instead of doing their own work like they were required to, he still kept sharing his message. He not only bore his suffering/”cross” well in an insane society that literally murdered/crucified him, knowing very well that his message of Love would fall on many deaf ears, but he Loved all the way until his very last breath (in suffering), and this is why, I feel (or hope) that he was able to obtain true liberation and eternal salvation.
In the midst of the craziness of existing in human societies, we will be faced with a number of different pressures and judgments, from our ego-selves, from others’ ego-selves, from religious and “spiritual” figures who are put into (or assume) power simply to uphold certain oppressive regimes in the name of so-called “Gods” or in the name of patriotism or the “good of society,” but always remember that your journey is for you to live and only you can obtain liberation for yourself, or judge how far you have come or are going on your path.
Of course, as a species, we humans are naturally bound to form opinions/ego-based mental distortions/vrittis, or adopt those that have been passed down to us at the early stages of our life until we can recognize how useless these distortions truly are in the face of actual truth, but with practice and time, freedom from this and other seductive vrittis can be attained, and we can learn to remain equanimous in this insane world in order to open ourselves up to true understanding.
The same can be said for our perspectives on suffering. We can liberate ourselves from it, and open up to true understanding if we choose to do so, but equanimity/neutrality is always the key. Even though we sometimes resist suffering in favor of better feeling experiences, for example, joy does not simply come from resisting suffering altogether; it comes from putting suffering into its true context of understanding in order to use the understanding gained from it for our own personal evolution.
Joy comes from the acceptance of the insanity of our world, the understanding that our karma (actions) can change the shape of our world, and the knowing that we can liberate ourselves from all of these things by journeying inward in order to connect with our true nature. Even while existing in this world, we can transcend it. This does not mean that we actively seek out misery for its “growth potential,” tolerate abuse, or try to generate problems it in the world, however, (if this were the case yamas and niyamas would not exist); it simply means that we do not push against our inevitable suffering too much once we are experiencing it. Instead of resisting or rejecting suffering in our lives, we are better served with working to understand its place in the context of our existence since our very own Four Noble Truths always remind us that suffering has both a beginning and an end.
With these understandings in mind, we are best served seeking to put all of our pains into their appropriate contexts and looking closely at what they reveal to us so that we can use their insights toward our joyful journey back to who we truly are.
When I look out into the world, especially at exposed fleshy pictures of “friend suggestions” on Facebook, or at the endless parade of useless opinions being shared on Youtube or in movies, I often feel a roar of laughter rising up from my belly as I see it all as “madness everywhere.” I also observe others, and myself, looking at the madness, and I always hope that we keep everything in perspective instead of letting the insanity get us bent out of shape.
Always, remember that life is here for all of us, and we must all find our way back our true expression/form one way or another. The beauty of being a human and becoming a human-being is that we do not have to wait until our particles are recycled back into space through death in order to achieve our goal of connection with our source or divine expression because our “advanced” brains have the ability to self-realize while we are in physical form.
While living our one life here on Earth, it is best to look at everything neutrally as a witness who lives in the experience of what is being witnessed, a witness who can also influence what is being observed as well as being influenced by it. It is best that we work to connect further with our true nature despite the suffering that we endure, or observe others enduring or creating in the world, because this awareness is worth the freedom that it brings.
And when we liberate ourselves from the trappings of our mind and truly use the matter in our skulls for the purpose of enjoying our journey back home to ourselves, we are better equipped to help others as well (if we choose to do so) in being liberated from their suffering, which can create a better overall world for all of us that honors our existence and creation. This is not required at all, but since we are here and creating anyway, I still think that it’s worth it.
When we recognize that our world is just a reflection of experience being experienced, we can rest in peace (pun not intended, but accepted, whether comfortably or not) with all that exists. We can rest in the knowledge of our ever-present connection with our true self as an experiencer and observer, and everything can simply be, or everything can be transformed if we choose to make it so.
Always remember that, we, as a species, no matter how far we individually or collectively stray from our truth, can always, find our way back to it. We can always be grateful that we are never so truly disconnected from our natural essence that we cannot liberate ourselves from the illusion of our separateness when we assume individual expressions and ego-identities while in physical form. And, we can, therefore, also liberate ourselves from the pain of suffering even though we cannot ever be truly free ourselves from the experience of it as long as we exist in physical bodies that are literally made to feel pain as a form of information, and ultimately deteriorate with age.
As the experience and the experiencer, we can always find a way to connect back to our ultimate expression by remembering who we are, so always remember to do a little laughing at all of the madness that we have created as a species and will probably continue to create until we either all become enlightened or create our ultimate extinction with our continual over-consumption and lack of concern for life outside of our species (I’m hoping that that joke does not manifest, but by the way things are going right now as I finish up this post, this may very well be the case).