VIEWS: 9 PAGES: 7 POSTED ON: 8/9/2011
QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. Please don’t turn upside down The Age of Laughter The New Age is Fun! It’s not a book. It’s a dance! By Roland Schutzbach 3 Sample Chapters Book Information One of four forewords: Steve Bhaerman Cheerful Foundations Three Sample Chapters: 1. Bodhisattva in Metro 2. The Bodhihaha 3. Is Faust boring and depressing? Book Information I invite you to join Roland on a journey to happiness that begins in happiness. Steve Bhaerman Roland Schutzbach, Ph. D., Switzerland, philosopher of laughter and happiness, proclaims the “Age of Laughter” in his breathtaking and blissful writing. He explores the spiritual, philosophical and historical foundations and describes a global coalition of joy already in existence. His insights about the Laughing God open the view to a new philosophy and spirituality for humanity. 1 Roland travels the world with his inspired wife Christina. He includes the insights of these journeys in his reports about encounters and philosophical dialogues in Switzerland, India, Nepal, France and Spain where he meets happiness, joy and a deeper understanding of life. In India and Nepal, he experiences inspired communities which surpass his own visions of a coalition of joy. Roland also comments on his findings by views back into his own biography which has been extraordinary from the beginning. Inspiring connections between boundless laughter and spiritual traditions of the world lead to the conclusion that each of us can happily transform the whole world by transforming himself. Roland laughs with Radio Vatican and discusses blissful aspects of Christianity. He attends World Laughter Day in Southern France 2010 as a honorary laughter guest. Quotations and comments of living masters of joy as well as inspired visions in literature and philosophy broaden the perspective. A Resources Website contains additional material like films, photos, laughter animation videos, interviews and links to the worldwide coalition of joy. More than other works in this genre, this book puts laughter and fun into the centre of human consciousness development and emphasizes the transformational value of humor and a light heart. With forewords by Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of the International Laughter Club movement in India, Corinne Cosseron, International School of Laughter in France, Steve Bhaerman, political philosopher from the USA, and poet Nicholas Ostis, Consciousness Mushroom co-creator from everywhere. Why Wake Up Laughing? By Steve Bhaerman “There are two kinds of mystics in the world, the optimystics and the pessimystics. The pessimystics are very much in touch with reality. The optimystics, however, are happier and live longer.” -- Swami Beyondananda These are what American revolutionary (and evolutionary) Tom Paine would have called “soul-trying” times. We seem to be on the verge of a great awakening, and yet so many people want to hit “snooze” and go back to sleep. Fortunately or unfortunately, the alarm is ringing so loudly we can no longer sleep through it. And the world at large appears more serious to us. We do have control over one thing – the world at small. That is, we can do something about our own internal response to external situations. We can choose to contract into fearful protection, or we can expand into loving laughter. There is plenty of evidence out there for the world being a place of struggle. We can choose to be “right” about that, or like the above-mentioned “optimystics,” we can choose to be happy. 2 There is a classic Far Side cartoon that depicts a scene in hell. Amidst the smoke and ashes, fire and brimstone, one soul is cheerfully wheeling a wheelbarrow filled with ashes, whistling a happy tune. One of the devils is saying to the other, “You know, I don’t think we’re getting through to that guy.” OK, that’s just a cartoon. So what about real life? In his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, Viktor Frankl recounts his experiences in a Nazi death camp during World War II. He and a fellow inmate made a pact. Every day they would find some reason to laugh. That way, even though they were physically imprisoned, they could experience the spiritual freedom of choosing to laugh at their situation. As an indication of how transcendent humor gave individuals in this most dire of situations a sense of internal power and leverage, one of the jokes that circulated inside the camps involved two Jews who decided to assassinate Hitler. They knew that Hitler’s motorcade passed a certain intersection every day at 11:00 a.m. So, they wait for him. Eleven o’clock comes, but no motorcade. Eleven-fifteen, and still no Hitler. When the Führer fails to show up by 11:30, one of the assassins turns to the other and says, “Gee, I hope nothing has happened to him.” Yes, that’s an extreme example. But if individuals can choose to expand through love and laughter in life- threatening circumstances, what about mere “laugh-threatening” circumstances – those things that occur in every day life that tend to separate us from our sense of happiness and well-being? The Age of Laughter has been written to cheerfully and playfully remind us that happiness is not an externally- imposed condition, but an internally-generated state that can be learned. It is a response we can choose – if we choose. I invite you to join Roland on a journey to happiness that begins in happiness. By the way, studies now tell us that the act of smiling – even when there is no reason to smile – stimulates the body to produce “feel good” hormones. So in the area of happiness generation, “fake it until you make it” now has been proven to work. Imagine: smiling for no reason and laughing for no reason will give you a reason to smile. So, if you want to have high smileage on your ho-ho-ho-dometer when you trade in your karma for a new one, read on and enjoy. May you wake up laughing, and leave laughter in your wake. Steve Bhaerman, April 1, 2010 3 Cheerful Foundation In this first part I write about the cheerful foundations of joy and a life of bliss. I reveal the secrets of laughter and expound on the millions of people who are making the experience of laughter and happiness a daily reality. I sometimes go beyond the borders of conventional writing by using the foolosophical style – a style inspired by laughter. Be seduced, dear readers! In general, this book is written for people who are already aware of the power of happiness and turned on to joy. They might not need to be convinced, since they have developed their sense of joy and feel what is right. Yet, my discoveries might inspire them to live more playfully and celebrate life with a deeper commitment! Science has focused on the “homo sapiens”, the man who knows. The foolosopher talks about the “homo ridens”, the man who laughs. A new species is burgeoning. And it’s high time! Bodhisattva in Metro If you want to see the best laughter animation, check out this film on Youtube! If you don’t laugh at the movie, please stop reading this book. Immediately1! Hahahaha! I won’t explain much because I expect you to go right now to the Internet and watch this movie. If you don’t have access to a computer, visit a good (or sad) friend with one and laugh together. In brief: A man enters a metro. The people in the metro are sad, tired, in a bad mood, disinterested, and reluctant. Normal behavior for a big city, right. The man smiles and starts laughing for no reason. He galvanizes the whole metro. Everybody laughs heartily and the collective mood is transformed and uplifted. The clip, which has been seen millions of times around the world, illuminates my point. There is no reason to be sad, but there is every reason to laugh. One catalyst transformed the whole environment. The fact that all these people who were in a funk before laugh three minutes later reveals that the gray, somber mindset has no real substance. It was and is a projection, a habit, and a result of our conditioning. But we can laugh it away in a minute or three. When the man starts to laugh, there is first no reaction or a negative reaction, if any. How can this stranger dare to be happy? Doesn’t he know how bad the world is and that there is no reason to laugh? Why doesn’t someone stop him? You can read these sentiments in people’s faces. 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jedd2FiZTqM 4 But the Bodhisattva does not care. Indeed, he is so amused and in such a hilarious mood that his laughter persists until the others join in. Hahahahahahaha! Hahahahahaahhaha! The whole metro laughing! Nobody serious any more besides one man who enters later. And he’s really funny because he is so serious! You will read below my findings about the Bodhihaha. The man in the metro is, of course, a Bodhihaha: a new kind of amused master who enlightens without teaching. He teaches by laughing, by expressing the joy of life! At the conclusion of the video, the Bodhihaha changes trains and continues his important work (play!). You might say that this film is done with actors and that this would not be possible in reality. Wrong! We have done it on a Swiss tram, and laughter lovers around the world have laughed in other metros! In our case, we entered the tram with our laughter students. One of them read a joke in the newspaper and laughed. The others in our group joined in and soon the people on the tram, helpless to resist, were also laughing. Hahahahaha! So much pleasure and joy in a tram in Switzerland! In the film you notice how the faces of the people profoundly change when they laugh. Indeed, their identities are transformed. We have experienced this phenomenon over and over in our seminars and presentations, whether with public audiences or nurses in a hospital. The serious atmosphere quickly dissipates and, voila, we have a group of guffawing, happy people. It works every time! More on this later. To the esteemed members of the Coalition of Joy: There are millions of us who know about the priceless healing power of laughter. Let’s get together and make the whole world laugh! Television and the internet will spread the news! The Bodhihaha The Bodhihaha is a new form of spiritual master. The word consists of two parts. The first part, Bodhi, comes from Bodhisattva. A Bodhisattva is, in the Asian tradition, a master who has reached enlightenment (the embodiment of satva or goodness.) Having achieved that, he can leave the earth and immerse him/herself in the bliss of nirvana. But since he feels infinite compassion for all beings, he remains on earth to aid in our spiritual growth. The second part is laughter. Ha ha. Hahahahaha! A Bodhihaha is, therefore, a person who has reached enlightenment through laughter. 5 There is another little difference. The Bodhihaha does not leave the earth either. He stays because it is so great to be here. Only on earth can the stomach bounce while you laugh; only on earth can you have all these pleasures: the give and take of human relations, inspiration, sex, music and the arts, love, nature and, well, you fill in your favorite things. The Asian tradition says that our life on earth is an illusion and that the wheel of reincarnation is a drag we should try to escape. As soon as we have purified ourselves, we can escape the suffering of being here. The Bodhihaha says that life on earth is joy and beauty. There is no reason to go away! On the contrary, let’s enjoy this beautiful life by laughing and creating together and loving, respecting, even honoring one another. Furthermore, the Bodhihaha does not teach. He just loves, dancing through life knowing that he is doing what God does. Let’s become Bodhihahas! Hahahahahahahahahhahahhahahhahahahhahahahhahahhahahhahahahahahhahahhahahhahahahhahahhaha! Without intentions, without plans – but full of joy and fun! Is Faust boring and depressing? In high school we analyzed “Faust”, Goethe’s legendary tragedy. At the time, it was very boring. Only later did I discover its rich treasures. Still, it is somehow depressing. In my book, I stress the folly and limitation of a thinking based on suffering. At that time I had a good friend, Achim, with whom I researched modern existential philosophers such as Sartre and Camus. We had lots of excitement and believing in nothing, we laughed about everything in a nihilistic manner. Oh, to be 17. High school was so boring to us that we slept through most of the lessons. The highpoint of German humanistic education is the study of Goethe’s “Faust” in the last year when we are 18 or 19. Our teachers were so banal! Even today, I feel they did not have a clue of the profound wisdom of this work. So we kept sleeping. In the years 1967 and 1968, life in Germany was rather bourgeois and staid. The country was still overcoming 6 World War 2, and few dared to defy convention or challenge the status quo. School presented book knowledge, not vital, practical knowledge. That said, Faust is a revolutionary work of spiritual dimensions. Although Faust is a highly educated professor, he sells his soul to the devil because he feels he does not know anything. By doing so, his life is immediately enriched. He becomes younger and cavorts with a beautiful girl. Then he gets into great trouble due to irrational behavior. In the end, everyone thinks he is lost. The devil shouts, “He is lost, he is mine.” But the angels sing, “He is saved, because all his life he was searching.” The story is a little depressing because, according to the book, it seems that we can be saved only when we are struggling and committing wrong deeds all our lives. Foolosophy insists that we can celebrate salvation every day and sail and dance through life! By the age of 28, I had become quite serious, deeply inspired by Goethe’s Faust and Rudolph Steiner’s anthroposophy. Now an adult, I derived wisdom from Faust, a classic example of German philosophy. The Germans have been always deep thinkers, but they have traditionally suffered from a lack of sense of humor. Thus, the abundance of German tragedies and the paucity of comedies in German literature, theater and film. One of my goals is to transform German tragedy into comedy! The story at high school has an amusing conclusion. In the end, Faust becomes a contributing member to society. He wins land in Holland and helps people. At the final oral examinations, the director of the school asked me about this period of Faust’s life. As I had been sleeping, I had no idea. So I said, “He did something good for society.” “But what?” “Well, something useful.” I didn’t get a good grade but that did not concern me. The director said: “Schutzbach, you don’t know much. But you know how to express yourself. That will serve you well in this life.” Well said! He was right. 7
"The Age of Laughter"