To laugh is to live! Did you know that infants (according to scientific studies) have no ability to discern between the sound and “look” of an adult laughing or crying? Check it out for yourself. Take a picture of yourself laughing and see how similar you appear as when you are very sad, on the verge of tears. With laughter as well as with crying the voice becomes loud and the noise it makes sounds forced; the breath becomes rapid and distressed, and one’s face crinkles up in a most distorted fashion with both emotional displays …. sending mixed signals to an infant. Often the results are surprising, with even a young child of 4 or 5 crying when others are in reality, laughing. Why? Because they confuse the harsh sounds of boisterous laughter with human throes of sobbing. When I first found this out I was struck by how similar all human emotions are, and how extreme they take us to either a “high” or a “low” when they’re allowed to be felt in extremity. A really deep sadness hurts almost enough to want to die. An enormous uplifting joy makes us feel like we’re on an artificial “high,” lifting us right off the ground. Both extremes of the pendulum transport us out of our ordinary selves into an extraordinary way of seeing life. But there’s always the opposite sway of the pendulum: when the extreme emotion is over we usually have the opposite of it to feel as well. And that’s no darn fun. I call this the “rollar-coaster of emotions.”
The word “serenity” implies a balance of emotions, a state in which neither extreme (of despairing sadness nor of hilarious joy) is allowed to rule our passions. Wow! Y’mean we have choices over how our emotions take us over? Well, yeah! But of course this takes practice, believe me. The payoff is tremendous though. To experience the state of “Serenity” is how I feel when a delicious piece of chocolate is melting my mouth, only the sensation of serenity lasts really looooong compared to the fleeting euphoria of Godiva. Try it: go to the mirror and make a little curled-at-the-corner smile. Like the one you always see on statues or images of Buddha. Indeed, this is called the “buddha smile” and this expression is a teaching of how one ought to practice yoga: with a serene pleasant expression on one’s face. Along with the eyesight being steady and fixed on a certain point (to hold steady in a pose, yes, but also to calm the unsteady mind) this is what we yogis call the drishti … our gaze.
Try it. Remind yourself gently to have a pleasant uplifting look on your face. Curl the outer corners of your mouth into a tiny smile. Not an outlandish or fake or stilted one. Just a gentle smile. As if someone had just whispered in your ears, “You are a beautiful person, and I love being with you.”
See how that make you feel! And watch how it makes others feels who you come in contact with throughout your day.
Your pal sending lots of love, laughter, and Lightness, Lordflea