taoist practice


The Transforming force of laughter,
With the focus on the
Laughing meditation
by Dhyan Sutorius, M.D.
Duivendrecht, the Netherlands

Laughter is a very special phenomenon. Unfortunately its (psycho) therapeutic value is underestimated and the incredible transforming force, hidden in laughter, is not used to its full extent. Laughter is a very good anti-stressor and gives a profound relaxation. I like to drew your attention to the laughing meditation, a structured
exercise of 15 minutes with 3 stages: 1. stretching all the muscles. 2. laughing (and/or crying). 3. silence. The laughing meditation is no therapy, but it can be - as laughter is so healthy-very therapeutic* It can be used as adjuvans in all kinds of therapy and also in other situations it can enhance the coping with all of life's woes.

The laughing meditation Is a morning meditation. but is also possible to do R later, before lunch or dinner Bladder and stomach should be almost empty. It can be done alone or with "the other" in the mirror, or with any group of participants Stay all the time in the moment and be total in every second of t hus short meditation, without forcing.

Since 1878 I conduct this laughing meditation. which I learned from Osho in 1976. at 811 kinds of medical or other congresses and meetings, sometimes with more than 800 laughers, several times partly broadcasted on radio and television In different countries. In 1985 I founded the CENTRE IN FAVOUR OF LAUGHTER, and since then I conduct also "laugh shops". Laughter brings you in no time in this moment, in the here and now. The "laughing muscles" are In general rather rigid, but will get better trained If you laugh more often. And every day you will feel A will be easier and easier to do!

Meditation can be described as "awareness without thinking" or to be in the NO-MIND That is possible in many situations when you do something totally with awareness. This can happen when you are running, dancing. or working in the garden

1. Stretching, total stretching (5 minutes)
Use all your energy to stretch your muscles and, If possible. start yawning. While stretching it is good to breathe out, in the sama position Inhale and continue stretching breathing out. In the last minute of this first
stage stretch your lingers and your face muscles and without laughing make strange faces

2. Laughing and/or crying (5 minutes)
Smile and slowly, with a relaxed throat, start laughing without any force, until you have really heartfelt belly laugh. Focus all the time your awareness on what there Is in the moment, and whatever you feel in that very
moment laugh with that. It 15 more a matter of allowing and of letting go Let-go is the secret of meditation.
Specially in the first minute let it built up slowly, just let it happen. No forcing at all. "allegro ma non troppo", no screaming, no yelling, only laughing and/or crying, not from the throat, but relaxed from the belly. Just let
bubble your belly, let it be a belly ballet! If you have an other feeling or emotion, for instance when you get angry, then use the total energy of that of that emotion to laugh or to cry with it. In the last minute of this stage
close your eyes and continue laughing.

3 Silence {5 minutes)
Suddenly stop laughing and keep your eyes closed Let your whole body be still without any movements. The slightest move merit will change your state of consciousness Breathe in total silence Without controlling the rhythm of your breathing. Just let it happen Every time when you find yourself thinking, feel a "good bye!" for those thoughts and focua your awareness on your body, on the contact with Mother Earth and also on the feelings you have in that very moment, whatever you feel. whatever ft is. fee) a "YES!" to that Allow yourself to laugh without a reason. You may use any reason or situation, which let you laugh. Or use a first class trigger: make a top ten of your favorite problems in such a way. that the heaviest problem you have right now, is your favorite problem number 1. and so on so forth. Suddenly you look at it from a totally different angle and more in perspective with ail other things in life. Laughter transforms and makes things lighter Sometimes I feel it my self a 5 If I dive from the "heir' In my head, into the "paradise" in my belly!

It is batter to "tough with" than to 'laugh about" someone or something, placing yourself on the pedestal. To "laugh a" or to "laugh about" is cold and unpleasant, to "laugh with" is warm and accepting That Is why it is so
pleasant to laugh with your partner, with children, with friends, with) colleagues or with grandma; It is all heart energy'

As laughter and crying are very dose, it is possible that In the second stage your laughter suddenly turns Into crying, if that happens, enjoy the crying, cry with all your energy from your belly, until the crying finishes by itself, and then start actively laughing again. So you may also laugh with your tears or cry with your laughter
if you can cry and allow yow total being to go into If and dissolve into it. you will ham a totally different quality of laughter arising in you Mow it.... it is beautiful' Osho

In this book she describes also shortly her experiences with the laughing meditation, which I conducted once in a Church, at the 10th anniversary of a medical center m Zeist in the Netherlands;

"After 5 minutes being silent {the third stage of the laughing meditation), with closed eyes. we all find one or two words that express(es) our feelings. "Surprised" I feel I do not have special thoughts and feel nice next to my friend The pain. that I got in the a joints of my fingers, by trimming a rosebush, is suddenly gone. I feel energy streaming through me My friend feels heavy and tired and she got a headache. (Note: this friend oppressed her tears all the time. instead of enjoying the tears coming out! Dhyan Sutorius) With such a
totally different experience we leave the church. I decide to laugh more. That helps me surely on my way It is almost dancing!

Then I think of the fortyfour year old man, dying, with whom sometimes I can laugh Incontrollable. In that moment there is no past, no future, dying Is gone for a moment. As if he feels guilty, he than wispers: 'You
know in my whole life I have never laughed so intensely and enjoyed being together as now!"

With Wouter van der Schaar, a medical psychologist from the University of Amsterdam. I did in 1985 a research about the effects of this laughing meditation done

0none remark about hysterical laughter (le for rire, schlapp lachen). If you totally want to stop laughing, than you can. The sudden silence in this third stage of the laughing meditation Is the big difference with all the
other laughter. Your whole awareness is needed to be totally present in the moment.

The key of this meditation is always to focus your awareness on what there is for you in that very moment. Whatever ft is, laugh (or cry) with it!

Laughter has everything to do with ACCEPTANCE: the moment you accept totally the situation, the other or yourself you can laugh. If someone gets some insights In a certain - sometimes difficult - Situation, then
quite often a roaring laughter emerges from the belly. It is also possible to do this the other way around: starting with laughter. ... and the insights follow as shadows!

When you have a heartfelt belly laugh, all parts of your being - the physiological, the psychological. the spiritual - they all vibrate in one single tune. they all vibrate in harmony! Osho

Some responses of participants after having done a laughing meditation: a deep relaxation / a feeling of being "whole" / a feeling of being unburdened / a feeling of peace / the pain Is gone or the pain is less /I feel my tears or I feel sad/1 feel as if I took a shower Inside myself / a feeling of ACCEPTANCE: a huge 'YES!" for what is NOW. what I have NOW. for what I am NOW I Henriette Adama van Scheltema, a Dutch lady. who is trained by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. M.D.. wrote [n 1966 8 book "Dead Is no more dead, my experience with dying" (Editor Vrij Geestesleven in Zeist, Netherlands. 1988)

by chronic pain patients, who could do this. after 3 weeks having done a daily laughing I can recommand the laughing meditation at ail kids of congresses or meetings, or at work just in the first 15 minutes of the
lunchbreak, only for those who want to do this It is a first class energizer

As you have noticed. I am vary fascinated by this phenomenon of laughter and I like to collect as many different experiences with laughter. If you like to share with me your experiences with laughter in general and with the laughing meditation »n particular. I invite you to write this down and to send it to me in a letter. I wish you many good laughs.

Meditation, they felt in general better , they laughed more during the day, (their laughing muscles were more trained),the pain was not, always less. Sometimes it was, sometimes but they could always handle their pain better. So in process of accepting they were more advanced.

Also people with high-pitch voices will get a voice coming more from a natural level. Speaking, singing, crying and laughing come from the same center in your belly. When a child falls on the floor, anyone can hear if the
crying comes straight from the center in the belly or a little bit higher, a little bit harder to let know the parents or the caretaker to give a hand to help. Also with laughter, you can hear If the laughter Is forced, if the laughter is harder than the person feels It The sound or


(till 11.00 f>.m) the timbre of the laughter or the crying reveals dearly if it is forced or not.

Postpone your opinion about the effects of the laughing meditation on yourself until you have done this every day for at least 3 weeks (or even better 6 weeks) And every day as it It <s lot the very first time, be open to
something new. To me - even after many laughing meditations - It is every time new. fresh and mindblowing!

DIARY: before and after the meditation it is good to find one or two words, which are the closest to the feelings you have in that moment And if no words are coming up then perhaps you see an image or a picture, that shows your feelings of that moment the best. After the laughing meditation you can write down those words or images or pictures and also-as a personal sharing or feed back o how the laughing meditation was that time. Do it the next day again as if you have never done it before, and so on so forth. After several weeks you will have a very interesting laughing meditation diary.