Beginning New Year’s Day With Swami Keerti’s Laughing Meditation from Issue 81/82
So, when you wake up in the morning, the first thing to do is to start laughing consciously. Though you as well as others may not think very highly of your mental sanity, do not allow these perceived notions of madness to impede laughter.
The science feels soft—laughter healthier
than jogging—but who would argue against
“regulated hormones” or a “strengthened
immunity”? Swami’s been good for me,
so I part curtains, lock doors and windows,
start laughing my ass off. I am standing,
so to enable unimpeded breath-flow in the body,
and pad the room in crazy-eights, honking
like a sick duck of some soon-extinct species,
maybe, say, the blue-necked Tibetan booby.
All this distracting movement, I decide,
is generating too much extraneous thought,
so I drop to my floor pillow, cross my legs
between a few buttery fingers of sun.
Still, the effect falls short of utter joy, closer
to that diesel Volkswagen from graduate school,
hacking through every morning below 40° F.
Then the racket in my throat morphs
into a noise of crying—mournful, stifled hiccups.
I try to conjure an absurd image and come up
with this: me sitting on a floor in India
forcing maniacal stutters, a few select,
hungover friends watching and shaking heads.
Osho maintained laughter is the highest
spiritual quality, lacking from most religion,
so I sputter along, try to crank the motor
to ignition, raise the booby in a splashy ascent,
keeping just a little lid on the ruckus
so the girl who cleans my room won’t hear.
She’s newly eighteen and out there somewhere.
At last, the effort peters out into sudden
and I hope meditative silence. I close eyes
and enter my being, barge right in. I feel alright,
tight in the abs, light-headed, foolish in the sense
of amused fool and seeker. I’m going home,
Swami Keerti, and however your lessons travel,
I thank you. And wish you much laughter.
Enchanted Circle from Issue 66
Of course it’s a story you’ve heardㅡ
a man driving drunk and alone along an edge
of sunset, overcome by his entire life
pinned to the board of this moment.
Our landscape, say, sketched in frontier huesㅡ
mountain circle dotted with name like
Arroyo Hondo or Questa, even Red River.
What he pursues is not, we know, to be found
in passes, the fiery gradation of sky,
the jags and gorges of the Sangre de Cristo.
On this route the ma has seen elk,
and brown bear, but tonight requires only
an illusion of forward movement,
one to bring him home or destroy him.
The horizon unreels its sharp, beautiful history
of space and time, caring nothing
for shredded marriages, incantatory bottles,
or Merle Haggard croaking through speakers.
These rituals achieve a desired effectㅡ
the man, we notice, is crying as he navigates,
fully surrendered to song and tears
and damage done, nourished by the syrup of pain.
Be kind. He, too, finds himself absurd
amid stones and rivers, recognizes the trite
theme of his passage. He looks at hands,
bare fingers, knotted on the wheel.
His rented ride ascends through Eagle Nest,
Toward Angel Fire. The engine squeals, strains
propels nevertheless across misty terrain.
For in our small story, unheard by implacable
And darkened sky, unheard in the valley,
each man is, until it’s over, his own weary chauffeur.