A Spiritual Parable

If spiritual practices are working for you they bring a lightness of heart and a twinkle to the eye. Authentic spirituality is richly endowed with laughter. Tibetan lamas, for example, seem to exude infectious good humour as well as joy. The Dalai Lama certainly does. There is not doubt that one of the many qualities that endeared me to Samuel as a spiritual teacher is his ever present sense of humour.

Once you taste the Infinite, the world of duality loses its sting. It becomes nigh on impossible for you to take your little self and its many foibles all that seriously. You learn to laugh at yourself and that is extremely liberating. This does not mean of course that your compassion for the suffering of others is diminished.

On the contrary, you become more sensitive to that suffering and are better placed to help to alleviate it. In Joseph Campbell’s words you are able to ‘ participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.’

The following excerpt from Anthony Mello’s delightful anthology of humorously charged spiritual parables says it all:

The Master was in expansive mood and his disciples sought to learn from him the stages he had passed through in his quest for the Divine. ‘God first led me by the hand’ he said ‘into the Land of Action. There I dwelt for several years. Then He returned and led me to the Land of Sorrows; there I lived until my heart was purged of every attachment.

That is when I found myself in the Land of Love whose burning flames consumed whatever was left in me of self. This brought me to the Land of Silence where the mysteries of life and death were bared before my wondering eyes.’ ‘Was that the final stage of your quest?’ they asked. ‘No’ the master said. ‘One day God said ‘Today I shall take you to the innermost sanctuary of the Temple, to the heart of God himself. And I was led to the Land of Laughter! (1989:17)