Laughter, Mirror of the Soul

The world speaks one language called laughter. It is the shortest distance between people. It is the place where people of every continent, race, religion, and culture meet. Mark Twain got it perfectly when he said: “The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.” It brings people together. It is the one irresistible phenomenon that connects and opens the most distressed of hearts. Laughter is a powerful medicine. No one can do without this medicine for too long. A perfect dose of it creates a healthy and well-balanced person. While God remains the Prime Mover over the universal, laughter is the prime connector wherever there are people. Those who can tactfully handle the “serious” world and the “funny” world simultaneously rule the world. Laughter is the master key; it opens all doors. No heart is too grim; no person is inaccessible.Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughing

Laughter reveals the truth about the human person. Although the manner a person carries herself, speaks, acts, thinks, cries, what he believes, and gets involved in reveals a great deal about that person, laughter is the quickest way to know that person. Through laughter, the innermost secrets of the person’s soul are revealed. It is the mirror of the human soul. It touches the deepest layer of the soul. While a smile only touches the lips, laughter bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles around. Many trust and judge others by their laughs. Fyodor Dostoyevsky went so far as to say: “If a person laughs well, he’s a good person”. That means if he/she lets the heart expresses itself, the real self comes out. Our true color is a beautiful reality that is fundamental good. Laughter brings it out.

lllA sincere, genuine, effortless laughter is irresistible. Who does not like a person with an easy laugh? Who can be unmoved before the laughter of an innocent child? Who does not throw a smirk when he sees or hears a loud, deep, joyful laugh? It can bail a person out of anything. Ingrid Betancourt, a French journalist who was held in captivity for 6 years by the Columbian guerillas, asserts “I knew of no instruction manual for reaching a higher level of humanity and a greater wisdom, but I felt intuitively that laughter was the beginning of wisdom, as was indispensable for survival”. Apparently laughing was the only antidote to her misery in the jungle. She chose laughter in the midst of darkness and light was found. So laughter can empower us. In this sense comedian Craig Ferguson is right: “You gotta laugh because if you didn’t, you’d cry”. Laugh! It will change your interior disposition and your thoughts. Laughter gives rives to a new you—new world, new perspective, and new horizon. Learn to laugh and do it often. Cultivating a cheerful disposition is the most conducive mean to laughter.

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It is universally accepted and scientifically proven that there are many social and healthful expediencies to laughter. Just being around people who laugh often causes laughter and creates a better atmosphere. It is very contagious. Laughter is attractive. A good sense of humor is part of the top three features women look for in men. Having a good humor should be everyone’s priorities. Everyone knows how people who laugh easily create us by their laughter. As victor Hugo puts it: “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face”. No one enjoys winter. Laughter is beneficial for relationships. Research shows that people who use laughter and smile when discussing a sensitive subject feel better in the immediacy and report higher levels of satisfaction in their relationship. Happier relationship means longer relationship.

If only we could always laugh. Life requires us to be serious. Those who laugh too much are not taken seriously. This is where the ancients’ view of laughter makes sense. From Plato to Aristotle to Kant, laughter is seen as disgraceful. They saw it as an emotion that overrides self-control. The Stoics and Aristotle concur with Plato; they believe that laughter should be permissible, but ordered. In this vein, St. Basil the Great wrote “raucous laughter… is indication of a disordered soul, and a lack of self-mastery”. All other theories are a footnote of Plato’s view of laughter. It is only in the last century has laughter accorded so great a value. So although it is a necessity, it is the sign of a good life, it must be exclaimed virtuously.

mI hope this did not start a negative view of laughter in your mind. I only wanted to present both sides. As you know, nothing good exists without a good rule. Self-control is the rule by while laughter is measured. A cheerful and joyful heart is a peak into the eternal chamber of God. God has a good sense of humor as we often say. It is believed that if we could grasp the universe as it truly is, we would have to laugh because it would be interesting seeing the divine wisdom behind it all. That’s why holy people who get a privileged glimpse into God’s mirror always have a good sense of human. They see purely and it is humorous.

In conclusion, while laughter is beneficial to the soul and a sign of happiness, it needs to be done with control and under the right circumstances. So when Dostoyevsky says that laughter reveals the man, he is right after all. It tells you what moves that person. So do laugh, but do it appropriately.

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Did You Smile Today?

A smile is worth a million dollars. Laughter is worth 10 millions. A genuine smile can make someone’s day; it opens up new world, new windows of opportunity, and as Victor Hugo said: “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face”. A smile is something powerful even when it is not seen. You have seen children laughing, before such a wonder, who can remain unmoved? Mark Twain was right when he said that nothing can stand against the assault of laughter.boy child

Dale Carnegie reports that companies in the sixties prefer to hire a smiley secretary with less competence than a skillful one who rarely smiles. True smile is captivating; it makes you stop for a moment to think what life is all about. We can be so busy moving from one thing to another, we never take a moment to smile. So as you go about your business today, stop in front of the mirror and smile. You look so much better when you smile. Before you start the meeting today, ask the employees or you boss to smile for 10 seconds. They might think that you just being bizarre at first, but it will completely change the atmosphere in the room. Smile as you are answering your phone today, smile with the clerk at the store today, smile; it will change how you communicate. Try it and let me know. It works.

You have every reason to laugh, but you prefer to focus on the wrong end of the spectrum. If people who are caught up in the war going on right can smile, if those people exposed to that disease can smile, if that little girl who never have a chance to walk can smile, so can you. It is not bad; you may not want to smile, you may feel that you have no reason to smile or laugh, you may think the joke is not really funny, but why should you not smile, just smile. Force yourself to smile. Act as if you were already happy, and you will slowly become happier. Action seems to follow feeling. Smile changes your thinking. Burst out laughing when you find the time. Create the occasion. Start humming a song out loud in the car, at lunch, while walking, while taking a tower. If you sound awesome, laugh at yourself. It will completely change you. That will change the way you react to people and things. Do you want to look like a terrible grouch, grumpy old person who never sees a good day, or do you want to be a happy, rich, friendly guy who is happy and make others happy? Your choice! You want to be happy, who doesn’t? Know that it does not depend on outward conditions; it depends on your inner disposition.

Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughingDo you wonder why you don’t too many friends? Well, how often do you smile when you’re greeting people? Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. Have you ever traveled abroad? Everyone laughs the same way; without seeing someone’s face, you cannot differ between an Asian, an American, an African, a European, or a Latino. They all sound the same. Smile makes us one; it connect us; a mile allows people to see themselves in you. Don’t be afraid to smile. You can be greeting people with a curled lip. Smile. Have an easy smile. Start smiling very often and people around you will catch up; it is very contagious. Be generous with yourself. Smile. Laugh. It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and nature’s best antidote for trouble.

NB: don’t go around laughing at people’s misery, or unfortunate occurrences. They will kill you. Give them a helping hand instead. All the examples given here are created by you; they come from within. Plato, Aristotle, the Bible are very critical of laughter directed at putting someone down. We all hate being humiliated. However, they urged a laughter that rejoices in the good that comes to other people. So it is the philosophy behind laughter they hated, not laughter itself. “When the Lord delivers Zion from bondage… our mouth was filled with laughter, and on our lips there were songs…. The Lord has done great things for them’(Psalm 126:1-2).