By Dr. Kirk Prine

Here is an excerpt from my upcoming book, “The Missing Thread to an Abundant Life.”

You know those times when you know you need to laugh and you need to cry?  There is a biblical saying, ”those who sow in tears shall reep in joy”.  Joy and pain are right next to each other and laughter is the bridge to release the pressure valve.  Here I talk of laughter as part of the ecstatic path to success and activating your purpose.

Laughter seems like the perfect closure to a chapter on the Simple Steps for the Missing Thread to an Abundant Life. Laughter has often been the closing experience to a profound journey with Spirit.  After a 13- day fast, I broke into full belly-laughter with a group of people praying.  Waves of kundalini washed through each of us as we laughed for over an hour. Following many rebirthing breath-work experiences and ecstatic massage experiences, I have burst into moments of laughter, joy, ecstasy, grief and Samadhi.

In the heart of the AIDS years, I brought together a national conference called AIDS: Living in Recovery.  Elisabeth Kübler- Ross spoke, stirring people’s stories of grief, unfinished business and then laughter.  One of the speakers, Therapist JoAnn Loulan, spoke on sexual healing, awakening participants’ consciousnesses while getting them laughing.  Presenter after presenter whose words were not funny seemed to well up waves of laughter.  The presenter who evoked the direct path was Annette Goodheart, Laughter Therapist.  She pulled people up on stage with her who were very sick, who had almost died or were caregivers of very ill people.  Annette’s whole teaching was to laugh for no reason.  Not because something was funny, but just to laugh.  Moments after having people on stage with her, she would ask a few questions about their health and before you knew it, they were laughing uncontrollably.

Another story she told was of the tradition of an African tribe during a funeral.  Painting the picture Annette shared, these people believe the spirit is no longer in the body of the deceased, but have traveled on.  So a part of the ceremony of the dead as he/she is being carried away off through the hills to the cremation site, is to drop the body along the way.  Of course, the crowd who had lost many friends and lovers roared with laughter as she told the story.  The playfulness of approaching the body as in the African tribe story seemed to uncork the grief in the room with joyful relief.

In some of the work Donny and I have done is a retreat called Ecstatic Gatekeepers: Conversations with our Ancestors.  It is a weekend to celebrate our connection to the dead.  In the weekend, we construct a manikin-like figure called “the friend” to represent our ancestors.  As we carry the “the friend,” we make sure we drop him along the way to the fire.  Annette’s own story was she has a chronic condition of low blood pressure and she could easily die if her blood pressure was not  raised regularly.

So, she began using laughter as a way to raise her blood pressure and give her energy to live.

Laughter, as Annette and people like Norman Cousins reported over the years, changes the body chemistry.  It acts as an internal organ massage with many benefits.  It is an emotional balancer and I believe clears our energy fields of clutter momentarily.

In my years of being a psychotherapist, I spent a number of years doing sex therapy with couples.  So much of the work had to do with getting couples to find what pleasured them without a performance expectation.  Although I don’t know of any studies to validate this, I was aware couples who had fun, played together and laughed together seemed to enter into increased functioning more easily.  Laughter clears the pathways in the physical and energetic bodies so the erotic experience flows without struggle.

In summary, I would say laughter is allowing oneself to lose control.  Ecstasy is not a controlled experience. Pleasure is not a controlled experience.  Healing is not a controlled experience.  When laughter flavors your journey, you may be praying your most authentic prayer.  It is a prayer through the body that lubricates your joy and potential for your creative juices to flow.

Laugh hardily and heartily!

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