I hear many of my colleagues associate laughter with happiness. While I understand where they are coming from, I have a different perspective.
But first let’s review the definition of 4 different states of being (*) to see where happiness fits in there:
1. Pleasure: Is a “physiological” sensation rooted in the body. Examples of this state include:
- Relationships based upon fear or need (as opposed to love);
- Obsessions with food, drugs or alcohol The need for money or power;
- Any unquenchable desire.
Anything that stimulates the senses is pleasure oriented. Those who are in this state of being are at the mercy of all kinds of things “outside of themselves” of which they have no control. Anyone dependent upon outside stimulation is a prisoner of existence and is experiencing the lowest state of being.
2. Happiness: Is “psychological” in nature and is a step up the ladder from pleasure. It is more refined, more cultured. You can say that pleasure is a lower form of happiness and happiness is a higher form of pleasure, however, they are two sides of the same coin.
3. Joy: Is spiritual and is totally different from pleasure or happiness. It has nothing to do with outside circumstances or the stimulation of mental or physical influences – it is an inner experience of peace and serenity produced by “ones choice” to be here and now and grateful for the opportunity to experience life to its fullest irrespective of one’s current circumstances.
4. Bliss: Is the highest state of being. Once you’ve reached this pinnacle, you have reached to the very inner core of your being where the ego ceases to exist, however, it is way too esoteric for the purposes of our discussion.
It is true that laughter can make us feel good, but (1) that’s not an absolute fact (Laughter did not change this man’s life but made it worse) and (2) why confine “feeling good” to the category of happiness when in fact it could be either pleasure, happiness or joy? I guess what my colleagues are really saying is that they are using laughter to seek happiness, but only in that it helps them to allow joy.
As we’ve seen above “happiness” is an idea, while “joy” is an experience.
I see laughter as a path that’s not about changing ourselves but rather the quality of our experiences, and that can be used to:
- Help us realign with joy by expanding the energies of the best of who we are through fully being.
- Create a pool of attraction for a different way of being.
This is what Laughter Wellness aims to achieve.
(*) Source: Joy: The Happiness That Comes From Within, by Osho.