It doesn’t take much to make some people laugh. You know them. Maybe you are one of them–always poised on the edge of joy. At Indiana University and others, there are “laughter” researchers presenting scholarly papers at annual meetings of such groups as the International Society for Humor Research, delving into the source of joy. My colleague, Valerie Minard, writing for the November 10, 2015 edition of MyCentralNewJersey.com, takes the conversation deeper. She gives us a glimpse of the spiritual source of joy. Such spiritual grounding does, indeed, make laughter the best medicine. Here’s Val:
There is a hilarious Youtube video of a man waiting at a train station in a kind of “Candid Camera” situation with hidden cameras rolling. The idea is to see how others will respond when they see him howling with laughter. When he enters the train station, all his fellow-commuters have glum faces. Then he starts to chuckle, then laugh, and this laughter wells into a belly laugh.
At first, everyone acts suspicious of him— perhaps wondering about his mental stability. But then gradually each person begins to smile and finally laughs out loud himself or herself. I think those people were so ready for a good laugh, that once they had begun, you could see all the stress, frustration, and bitterness disappear from their faces. I think we all can agree that laughter is contagious. But do we realize why laughter does us so much good?….Could this unconscious bubbling up from within that uplifts our spirits, be related to our connection with a fundamental joy that’s at the core of being itself? If so, does this help explain the power behind a good laugh?….