The Seventh Sense, Humor
By Cathy Eck
We all know about the five physical senses. Clearly, if someone loses his or her sense of sight, hearing, or even taste, his or her life experience is deeply compromised. Likewise, those with sharper senses often have a heightened life experience.
Most people also know about the sixth sense. The sixth sense relates to our intuition, gut feelings, or the voices we hear inside of our head. Many don’t consider it a real sense because it is not physical. But clearly those who use this sense have a much easier time in life. So we could logically conclude that sharp senses, whether physical or mental, contribute to our ease in life.
The Seventh Sense
There is one more sense that is just as important as the other six. That is our sense of humor. Life for most people becomes so serious that the seventh sense has been labeled a talent reserved for comedians and pundits. But we all have a sense of humor; and when we step on the self Improvement road, a pure sense of humor has the potential to turn a dirt road into a superhighway.
It is not easy to laugh at our flaws, problems, diseases, fears, or emotions. And yet, no more powerful tool for transformation exists. There are lots of laugh therapy groups out there. That is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about real, authentic humor that comes from deep inside. Authentic humor laughs because it gets the inner joke. A true comedic moment is not just relief from the stresses of the day; it is a permanent transformation. The comedian that can get us to see the utter stupidity of our false self or get us to remove the mask that hides our true nature is a rare one. That is the power of an authentic sense of humor. We all have that power. We were born with it.
The Dream that Changed my Mind
Years ago, I had a vivid dream that taught me the power of laughter. I was standing in the barn where my daughter boarded her horses. A big, black dog mysteriously appeared just feet away from me. The dog was dirty and frothing at the mouth. I was terrified. Just as the fear was close to paralyzing me, I heard a voice. My sixth sense had stepped up to help. The voice said, “Laugh at it.” That was a pretty simple instruction. I followed the voice’s wise guidance, and laughed and laughed. The dog whimpered and ran away.
I suddenly understood the power of the seventh sense. As a child, my sense of humor often kept me safe and happy. Over time, I lost touch with it. I began to focus too much on reality and became painfully serious. Oh I could laugh at a comic, joke, or funny movie. But I couldn’t laugh at myself or at life. I was ashamed of my mistakes and humiliated by my direct way of speaking. My family convinced me that I should live in a small box so that I would not disappoint them or hurt their feelings.
Hurting Other People’s Feelings?
The reason I was put in a box was so I’d stop laughing at their beliefs. Beliefs are funny, really funny, because they make no sense at all. They do nothing but harm the believer, and yet people will go to war for their limiting beliefs. People who identify with their false self think you are laughing at them. They think they are their beliefs. They don’t get that you are freeing them and honoring their true power when you don’t take their silly, powerless beliefs seriously.
In truth, you can’t hurt another’s feelings. The human mind was perfectly designed so that our emotions are in response to our own thoughts. Let’s say that I don’t invite my friend to the movies. If she feels hurt, it is only because of her thoughts about my action or me.
If my friend thinks, “I always get left behind.” Well that is not true because she doesn’t always get left behind. She will get an emotional charge in her body to set her straight. If she thinks, “Cathy was so rude.” That is not true either, and she will get another emotional shock. Each time she adds another belief to her chain of thought, she gets a shock of emotion. She has to falsely believe that her emotions are validating her thoughts to keep the chain alive; and that is really, really, really not true. I might have been the catalyst for the chain of painful thoughts, but she created the thoughts. She also had the power to stop them. If my friend honestly assessed her own mind, she would have thanked me for exposing her false viewpoint.
Our false view of life is what brings us problems, makes us sick, and eventually kills us. It is the big black, rabid dog. The best thing we can do for others and ourselves is laugh at that dog. Why? Because laughing at it proves that we know it is false.
It took many years of clearing beliefs from my mind before I realized that the greatest honor we can give to our true Self is to laugh at anything that tries to cover it up. If we laugh at our own false self, we give permission to others to do so as well. People don’t have to pretend not to see the elephant in our room so relationships become more intimate.
At the same time, I’ll be the first to admit that when my beliefs are banging at the door of my mind, they appear very real. It takes strength to look at those beliefs and laugh. That is when you need a friend who doesn’t take you serious, who believes in you.
Perfect friendships are rare. Laughter is a key ingredient. In a perfect relationship, we laugh our flaws away; we purposely challenge each other’s baggage. Friendships often end when one person takes something serious and wants sympathy instead of laughter. One person thinks that their beliefs are right, and the other’s beliefs are wrong. The relationship descends into the old familiar mutual suffering and sharing of problems and woes. The perfect friendship is over; or if it lives on, it exists as a superficial acting gig. There is just no love or intimacy in shared suffering.
It is never too late. You can still go back and laugh at those people who gave you their beliefs in the safety of your own mind. It is powerful therapy. But, to do so, you need to let go of the belief that it is not socially acceptable to laugh at authority figures. Laughing at the evening news could end disease, war, and crime. If we could laugh at our politicians and business leaders instead of believing them, we would identify dishonesty before they take us to the cleaners. False prophets disappear when you laugh at them. We should never be afraid to laugh at a doctor’s diagnosis. If he or she is a true healer, they will laugh with you.
It is not considered politically correct to laugh at someone with a disease or other problem. But what if laughter is the perfect cure that is right in front of our eyes. That would be some joke, wouldn’t it? All this money and time spent trying to cure things, and all we had to do was realize it wasn’t real true, and laugh at it. Try it. You might be surprised at the results.
You may remember the story of Norman Cousins who healed himself of a rare disease by watching comedy. The problem was that he couldn’t sustain it. He died a couple of years later. Comedy outside is doing. It is not the same as comedy inside which takes us toward being ourselves. If he could have laughed at himself instead of the Marx Brothers, I think he would have made it.
I watched Josh Blue on Comedy Central the other night. He is the comedian from Last Comic Standing with cerebral palsy. He made the joke that he needed to stop laughing so much about his condition because he might lose his material. He gets it. Whether or not he heals his body, he’s having a fun life. I doubt if he sees a problem anymore.
Laughter lifts you up because it defies gravity; seriousness or gravity takes you to the grave. It is a slow form of suicide. In short, one who can laugh at their problems has real power, the power that creates miracles. So have a good laugh today.