The Power of a Smile and a Laugh

A man went into a pet shop.  He asked the man behind the counter, “Do you sell wasps?” “No.”  “Well, you’ve got one in the window!”

Did you smile at this joke, or did you groan?  We all have our own sense of humour.  Our mood matters too.  When life is hard, it can be very difficult for all of us to see the funny side of things.  Yet laughter, or even a smile can lift  our spirits.

Just pretending to smile can change our mood.  Try it.  Look in the mirror and pretend to smile.  See what happens.  Often statues of the Buddha show him with a smile on his lips.  This is not accidental.  They learned two and a half thousand years ago that changing our physiology changes our mental state.

Laughter is also a release.  Physically it enables us to expand, to breathe more fully. It can also  expand our way of seeing things, put things in perspective and help us to take life less seriously.   It opens us up to possibilities

Laughing together also connects us.  As the pianist and comedian Victor Borge put it,  “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people”.

Possibilities, change, connection.  Isn’t that what much of Jesus’ teaching is about?  We don’t hear much about Jesus laughing – though Canadian artist Willis Wheatley has depicted him doing so.  Nor do we hear of him telling jokes – but he might smile at this one:

Communicating with God

A poster in a French church advises: 

When you enter this church it is possible that you may hear the call of God.  However, it is unlikely that He will call you on your mobile, so please turn off your phone.

If you want to talk to God, come in, choose a quiet place and talk to him.

If you want to see Him, try sending a text when you are driving.

[With thanks to The Pump, a community magazine covering four villages in Herefordshire]

Chris Dawson

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