Tag Archives: silly

Laughter: The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have Meditating

In the latest episode of The Chopra Well’s 30 DAYS OF INTENT, Natalie and Iman get silly with some laughing meditation. They visit Stephanie Nash who leads them in an intimate and, at times, goofy session. We interviewed Stephanie on her experience teaching laughing meditation and how the practice has changed her life.

The Chopra Well: We love laughing! And Natalie and Iman do, too. Why is it so hard, then, to laugh in the more controlled setting of a laughing meditation session?

Stephanie Nash: Laughing is a spontaneous act – as we all know. Why are we not, then, laughing all the time?

Well, with the stresses and worries of life, our minds become occupied with concerns of the past and future, with less room to allow the natural response to freely take over. We develop tensions that become habitual of holding back our tears, of swallowing them with tightness in the tongue, throat, and jaw. Laughter is not something that we tend to deliberately stifle – it’s usually more of a case of not leaving space for it, and thus it’s harder to notice how tension makes it less likely.

“Why is it so hard … in a controlled setting”?  Because something that is spontaneous and happens naturally will be easier. That, however, is not the point here. The key is not necessarily to have it feel the same, the key is to stretch so that there is more tendency to laugh and smile as natural responses in life. And it’s been proven that simply doing the actions of smiling and laughing there are physiological, psychological and emotional benefits, even when the laugh or smile is not authentic.

CW: If we tend to hold ourselves back from laughing spontaneously, what are some things we can do to open up and loosen the muscles a bit?

SN: One way of “stretching” or “lubricating” the pathway is to deliberately smile or laugh – without the natural impulse. Yes, it often can feel quite false at first. What I’ve tried to do is make it an exercise that is practical and can be done by anybody during the course of his or her day. Just 30 seconds 2-3 times a day, can help shift any habit pattern of sadness, depression, anger, or fear.

CW: Natalie and Iman seemed a little bit wary at first to laugh. Is it ever hard or awkward for you when you’re first teaching someone the practice?

SN: I’d say that most people are a bit surprised at the notion of “laughing for no reason.”  Some, as I believe Natalie brought up, might even find it to be insane. So right there you’ve got concepts and judgments that get in the way of them experiencing the potential freedom that could be experienced. Does that make it more challenging for me to help people experience the possibilities? Sure, but that’s my job. And some people are going to be more naturally inclined to laugh or open to the possibility than others.

Also, and this is not unimportant, this was the first time I’d ever taught anyone who hadn’t come of their own choosing. Also, I did not know until moments before Natalie and Iman arrived that they had no idea what they were heading into. So that made it particularly challenging for everyone, I think. All those factors added together to create a unique challenge given the nature of this work, but working through challenges usually leads to some interesting growth.

Also, I’d say that 95% or more of the time that I present laughing meditation it’s to a group, and that makes a big difference. Different groups have different dynamics, but there are always a few people who really let out a huge guffaw that affects the group, and/or there are a couple of people with very funny, unique laughs, and that alone can set off the group into peels of laughter. Hearing a good laugh can be like being tickled, which is what I try to supply with my laugh. Then, after someone has experienced that, when they attempt to do it on their own, it’s definitely easier because the natural recall of the positive experience of the group returns and supports the process.

So, when teaching people privately, it will naturally be a bit more challenging. It can be easier to teach one person than two, depending on if it’s a comfortable, intimate relationship or if they are relatively new to each other. So then, naturally, it’s not only more difficult to abandon oneself to the laugh during the teaching, but at home, the remembering of that initial discomfort may be recalled, reinforcing more resistance.

CW: Do you practice laughing meditation daily? Have you noticed any effects of laughing meditation on your life or overall health?

SN: Yes, I practice the smiling practice 3-20 times a day, and the laughing practice I employ if I realize I have not heard the sound of my laugh that day. Because I do this a lot, I laugh a lot and am more prone to laughing. But when I work as a meditation teacher with people in deep pain or grief, laughing is not the natural or appropriate activity, so I use the laughing meditation to balance. It’s like taking a “positive” vitamin, in the same way we may review our day – Did I exercise? Drink enough water? Meditate? One can notice if one let out a good deep laugh that day, and it’s an easy fix.

Since I started employing laughter and smiling, I’ve been happier and am more motivated to move, create, and serve. I notice many people commenting on how much younger I look.  I’m 55 years old now, and I probably feel better and stronger than I did in my mid-30’s.

And there is also a tangible shift in my life circumstances and relationships from this practice. An undeniable shift is on job opportunities, people wanting to assist me, or come to my workshops. I mean, who doesn’t want to be around a happy person? And the relationships and students I draw into my life reflect it back, so I am then not just generating it myself but receiving it from others. This triggers a quite authentic impulse to smile or laugh, and this lovely positive feedback loop develops. When smiling and laughing, you notice the world smiling and laughing back, and it feels like the world is buoying you up.

The last thing I feel I should say is that I find laughter to be a wonderful and totally underutilized component to happiness. When I’m counseling or teaching meditation to someone, I always also emphasize exercise, getting out in nature, employing mindfulness in daily life, along with some kind of fun, creative energy release. But there is no question that smiling and laughing can supply the fuel for all that.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and don’t miss Tuesday’s episode on orgasmic meditation!

Who said spirituality and humor don’t mesh?

Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, the creators of Smosh, have a mission of making people laugh. If you visit their YouTube channel, that goal is bound to be realized. It’s hard not to laugh at their goofy, irreverent humor. Their most popular video has nearly 100 MILLION views, and it’s an infomercial for the imaginary product, Beef n’ Go, meat in a tube. Random? Well, if it gets millions of people around the world joining in merriment, then Smosh must be on to something!

Deepak Chopra interviewed Smosh this summer at Vidcon in San Diego, CA, and the interview is featured on our latest episode of Who Are You?. It’s as cute, funny, and sweetly awkward as you might imagine, especially next to The Chopra Well’s more serious videos on meditation, personal transformation, and consciousness. When Deepak first asks Anthony and Ian the title question, “Who are you?” they provide some typical answers: their names, what they do, what Smosh is. He repeats the question several times, and they finally realize what he’s looking for. “Oh, in the deep sense! That’s a very good question! See, we’re not used to being deep.”

Throughout the discussion, the Smosh creators come across as witty, goofy, and playful. If Deepak’s probing questions unnerve them at all, they take in their stride and find ways to joke and banter as always. Anthony and Ian even get Deepak laughing! Who said spirituality and humor don’t mesh? Check it out and let us know what you think:

Subscribe to The Chopra Well for more episodes of Who Are You?, and don’t forget to pay Smosh a visit, too!

Side 1: Middle Aged Sexuality

Do you think it’s possible to not trust someone and not even be consciously aware? A month ago I’d have been certain it wasn’t possible. Today, my mind is shifting and wondrous feelings are coming at me so fast I don’t know if I recognize them all. It’s energizing and humbling at the same time. I thought I was broken. As in, certain biological functions were lost to me, that I had missed the boat per se.

Back in the day, I was so needy and insecure that faking it was second nature because I didn’t want to give anyone reason to leave me. Pathetic I know. But true none the less. When my firstborn’s father threw the switch and I had my first real ‘event’ I became his slave for life. My body and mind screamed “MORE” and I guess more was too much. My last real ‘fireworks show’ was in 1986. No that is NOT a typo. 24 years ago, wow – I better move on (I’m starting to get depressed). I realize now that needy and insecure coupled with desperate and green were a devastating repellant for what I then thought I needed most. Love. Inexorably confused in my immature heart and brain, so cliche in retrospect; love equalled sex. It doesn’t, but back then it did.

After fireworks guy left me and my son was born, I was disappointed to learn that just because someone flipped my switch, it wasn’t automatically “on” with everyone. I know, I know – many of you are reading this thinking “Is she for real?”, “How naive can one person be?”. The answers are yes and very, respectively. In another post I’ll have to explain a little more of my background but for now you’ll just have to take my word for it. Anyway, not only wasn’t it “on” – I started wondering if it disappeared entirely! Women weren’t supposed to peak until their 30’s, so at 19 I was wondering if I could be a freak of nature? Ho hum, ho hum – it was back to faking it for me.

No one has since come close to manifesting the big O for me. I might start to get there, but evidently it was a very elusive, ummm, creative, um circumstance… You get the idea. Regretfully, I had no support system, no one I could ask and feeling broken at such a young age is very isolating. A couple years later my almost-ex husband found me and I continued to fake it for the majority of our 20 years together. I say majority not because he was able to take me to the top but because toward the end I just didn’t care enough to fake it anymore.

Or maybe I started caring about me more. Finally… Hmmmm, that will require further analysys. But, again, I digress. We separated 18 months ago and in the past two weeks, simply by intercepting a call for my son, I’ve experienced such sexually charged emotion through phone conversation that it has been amazing. My first instinct when it started was to run from it. Instead I took a deep breath and allowed it to wash through me. Not fighting it, not encouraging it, simply experiencing it with intent was amazing.

The rationalizing started the next day. Again, facing each moment with intent – no expectations, no judgement, no need for permission – was and is empowering. In my more somber moments recently, it ran through my mind that I trust my caller more than I would have thought possible. The anonymity may play into that (another thing to think about…) but I trust him. I feel comfortable enough to just be me. I knew that in the last several years I no longer trusted my husband. In experiencing new trust however, I look back and realize that I stopped trusting my husband very close to the beginning of our relationship and I didn’t even recognize it for what it was.

I can say with absolute certainty that I will be all of me, no faking allowed, from here on out. I will wake up each day with the intent of being the best and most of me that I know how to be. I intend to face each day with integrity and banish the sense of failure and shame I’ve wrapped around me like a shield. I intend to build a life full of the promise of intent and the wonderment of following through. I am so glad I stumbled upon this website. Intent.com – who knew?

I can be silly again too. Me – silly. Not the comedic relief I’ve developed over the years but actually silly! Anyway, I had to look it up on Wikipedia to be sure but since he’s 12 years younger than me, if I allow the next phase to evolve, I’ll be a ‘cougar”. RaWR… or maybe PuRR… We’ll have to see which suits me – maybe both or neither.

Well, after a short break on Intent.com, I’m refreshed and ready to finish my workday with focus and mindfulness.

I’m so glad you could join me. This is KrisSalys – still emerging, still becoming…


In keeping with the keeping on writing, I’m writing a writing I wrote. Enjoy!

                                                                                      The RoyalTea

Pour the tea, ladies
With random teacakes to the sky
Beckon all to the castle for crumpets and pie.
                                  Last on the list
Of the queen’s royal requests
Were bumbleberry pie and raisin biscuits.
First on the list
For the King’s mighty court
Were wine and cheese and nutberry bisque.
The court was all gathered
The knights and the knaves
                                              And bottom-list fancies
                                            of the king’s lowly slaves
Were pumpernickel,
wheatberry and valley fresh wine.
Running in time with the daily requests
Were the attendants in long flowing dresses and aprons of gray
To gather the crumpets, the cheeses and the raisin biscuits
And call for the minstrels to liven the day.
Gaiety of children sparkled the air
As they gobbled up cupcakes and newberry pie
The party was festive, the merriment played
The contented guests stayed and stayed.
And in the garden
The quiet monk prayed
There are kumquats in the garden
And everyone’s inside eating cheesecake.
January 10th 2009
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