Exploding laughter, a freeing experience, a divine comedy. Excerpted from Margot’s upcoming book ‘Sex, Love and Awakening’.
Osho had said “come and see me afterwards” when he sent me to Vipassana1, so I did. As darkness fell, we assembled at Lao Tzu Gate, walked silently along the path that led to Chuang Tzu Auditorium and sat down before Osho’s empty chair.
About 40 people were there and the mood was serious, silent and focused, probably because many were participants in a workshop or training and therefore wrestling with various inner demons as they looked within themselves.
Osho entered through a side door, greeted us with a namaste, slowly turning to face each person in our semi-circle, and sat down. Eventually, my name was called, and I went to sit at his feet. I looked in his eyes. Not a line on his face. No tensions anywhere. Fleetingly, I thought of Oscar Ichazo’s ‘ego fixations’ and realized it would have been impossible to find Osho’s type through facial diagnosis.
“I don’t have a question,” I told him. “I just wanted to see you and say ‘thank you’.”
He smiled, asked me to close my eyes, then gently laid a finger on my third eye, or sixth chakra, which is located between the eyebrows.
Gradually, I started to feel a tremor like a rumbling that seemed to come from beneath my coccyx, deep in the centre of the earth, almost like an earthquake. The rumbling approached the surface at the spot where I was sitting, penetrating my pelvis which started to shake, rattle and roll… and I found myself laughing uncontrollably.
It was an irresistible laughter that took over my entire body like a tidal wave, surging through my sex, my hips, my belly and moving up into my solar plexus and chest, where I now abandoned any and all reserve and let it rip.
I was rolling on the floor, in front of Osho, helpless with laughter. I guess it was like an epileptic fit, in the sense that there was nothing I could do but surrender. More laughter washed through me. Something was undeniably hilarious… life… us… this.
This laughter was not my laughter. It was a universal laughter, bigger than the auditorium. In the middle of it all, I caught a glimpse of Osho’s face and he was chuckling.
My time with him was up. I knew it, but there was no way could I get up. I was still shaking uncontrollably. Two helpers had to carry me to my seat. By now, the whole room was laughing. The glee had become contagious. Everybody was infected by it.
Another name was called and darshan proceeded.
It took me almost the whole evening to calm down. By the time it was over, I felt spent, exhausted, every part of me extended, distended, like a balloon inflated to the max and then suddenly emptied as the air whistles out. But something had fallen into place inside me, rearranging itself. I felt round and fulfilled.
For several days afterwards, every evening, at exactly the same time as that ‘laughing darshan’, whatever I might be doing – having dinner with a friend in a restaurant, writing a letter, cooking food, walking down the street – the laughter came back. It rushed in without warning, like a volcanic eruption, shaking everything inside me and showing me, undeniably, the hilarious aspect of whatever situation I was in.
Tears would start streaming down my cheeks, to the point that, after a couple of days, I started to carry a pack of ‘laughing tissues’ in my bag.
Naturally, this had the effect of preventing me from taking myself seriously. It also presented me with a new approach to meditation, because laughter had the effect of making me detached. As I laughed, I felt the presence of my inner witness, taking distance to perceive the amusing side of every dimension of human existence.
I realized that I couldn’t laugh ‘at’ something without stepping back from it. It was a very freeing experience, especially because there was no ‘me’ involved in doing it. It was happening of its own accord. Another gift from the master.
One time, I was having dinner with a good friend who lived and worked in the ashram. She was in a serious mood, recounting a personal issue. The boss of her department was a well-known and much feared Italian ‘mama’, the head of the kitchen. My friend explained how this mama was a total control freak and gave her no space to be creative. She went on and on about her bad boss, wondering how such a ‘dictator’ could be allowed in Osho’s ashram.
I was listening, sympathizing, realizing that life in an ashram also had its troubles, just like anywhere else. At that moment a cartoon-like character, a vision of this big-bosomed, fat and fierce, Italian ‘pizza-mama’ appeared in my mind’s eye.
Suddenly, there it was again… the rumbling, the laughter exploding so strongly it almost blew my food away from the plate. I looked into my friend’s eyes, helplessly. She looked back. She started laughing.
This ‘serious problem’ was becoming the focus of the most hilarious story ever told. We were simply characters in a never-ending saga – my friend, myself, the ashram, the Italian mama, Poona, India – and the laughter grew and grew until it was so big that it seemed to encompass the whole world.
Yes, in this moment, it was all a gigantic joke. It was, as the Hindus call it, Leela, a divine game with no real purpose except to entertain itself. Being here, being human, being part of it all, was a divine comedy.
This gift lasted one month. For 30 days, every evening, the laughter erupted and I surrendered to it. Every day, more and more, I found myself feeling lighter, unable to take life seriously, unable to identify with any problem, whether mine or someone else’s. This gift enabled me to glide through the day gracefully and freely, without getting caught in personal dramas, projections, resentments, or such. There were no hooks in my being.
Note by the editor 1) – Vipassana refers here to a residential retreat where participants remain in silence and without interaction with others for 5-7 days. The main meditation is sitting upright and watching one’s breath. It is a technique developed by Gautama the Buddha.
Excerpted from chapter 5 of Margot Anand’s upcoming book, ‘Sex, Love and Awakening’, scheduled to appear at the start of 2017 with USA publisher, Llewellyn (to be also published in France, Australia, England, Holland, and Bulgaria… so far). It will also be available in e-book format.
Another excerpt from the same book: Tantra: Breaking Rules, Setting Boundaries
More about the topic of Laughter on Osho News
Margot Anand graduated at the Sorbonne in her native Paris. She received sannyas from Osho on Feb 14th, 1977 on Valentine’s day. Osho asked her to lead Tantra groups at his community in Pune which she did for two years. Margot developed her own Tantra Love & Ecstasy Training and became renowned for her books on Tantra – the first in Europe. Margot lives now in Bali, Indonesia. margotanand.com
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