by Bernard De Koven on August 28, 2012

Games, playfulness, the pursuit of fun: theses are the gifts I’ve brought to people who practice Laughter Yoga. The laughter they evoke is the kind that, in this article, at least, I call “purposeless.” Though Dr. Kataria likes to talk about “laughing for no reason,” the kind of laughter that my kind of “pointless” games evoke is very different from the intentional laughter of Laughter Yoga, and adds something that Laughter Yoga practitioners have found of real value.

I make it a practice to engage strangers, playfully. I do it whenever I can – when I take a walk, when I’m shopping, even at the doctor’s office. I make little jokes, ask them about their babies or pets, say generally stupid things. And the smiles that get generated in the process, certainly the smile on my face, is quite genuine – not because I’m making myself smile, but because of the little dance we’re engaging in, that little moment of playfulness. Granted, it’s kind of an art. Or, certainly, a “practice.” But it brings with it the same kind of purposeless delight that games bring. Only instead of high energy laughter, I get chuckles, and almost always smiles.

I wrote an article a while ago on what I call the Endless Blessings Game. At the end of the article, I describe a deeply instructive moment I shared with my friend and mentor Zalman Schachter-Shulami. I only recently realized that what he does with his blessings is the same as what I do with my little silly exchanges. That moment of playfulness goes very deep into the soul. The smile that it generates changes consciousness – mine and the people I share that moment with. It comes from my heart. It shows on my face. And theirs.

I originally posted this message in response to a friend, Laughter Yoga teacher, and frequently commentator on Deep Fun posts. You can find it in the comments section of My Kind of Laughter. It’s is an elaboration that I thought would be worthy of a separate, but equal post.

A Playful Path photoA playful path is the shortest road to happiness.
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