The husband and wife are being driven crazy by the continued presence of the wife’s brother, who came to spend the weekend but is still there six months later. They decide that the wife will cook a chicken and the husband will pretend it is overdone. They will put the matter to the brother-in-law. If he says the chicken is good, the husband will throw him out; if he says the chicken is bad the wife will throw him out. It can’t fail!
The scene is set up as planned, with much pretended shouting and recrimination, while the brother-in-law silently stows away his food. Suddenly the husband and wife stop shouting and turn to him.
“Harry,” says the husband, “what do you think?”
“Me?” says Harry, biting into the chicken leg. “I think I am staying another three months.”
Must have been a very watchful man. Must have been very careful, alert. He is not caught in the trap. The trap was certainly very subtle. Unless he was very alert, it was bound to trap him. He does not give any opinion. He simply states a fact, that “I am going to stay three more months.”
Live watchfully and you will not be trapped. Live unconsciously and on each step you are trapped; your life becomes more and more imprisoned. And nobody is responsible except you.
At a unconscious level, you can indulge in a blame game that never ends. The world contains enough malefactors to keep blame going for your entire life. My parents made me this way; my boss hates me; corporations are evil, and so on. As we keep projecting blame outward, the short-term effect might be that you feel better. It’s crudely satisfying to judge, blame, and hate. But even as the roster of villains proves endless, blame postpones the day when you have to face your own involvement. The wisdom is not unconscious. There is no point in abandoning blame in order to feel better, to look good in the eyes of others, or to play the role of saint.
Rather, getting beyond blame is a way to actually solve the problem of suffering. In a sense, to act like a saintly martyr who turns the other cheek and patiently awaits for goodness to prevail is just as superficial as blaming other people. Life is dynamic and complex. If you are ever going to get to the bottom of your own suffering, you have to be alert, aware, and constantly flexible. Playing a role, like taking a rigid moral position, freezes the mind.
Owning your own feelings, rather than blaming them on someone else, is the mark of a person who has moved from contracted to expanded awareness.
Learning from story Another Three Months: Be Humorous
All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.
Humor certainly can be a spiritual force in our lives if it creates lightness and openness. We all know that cruel jokes and mean laughter can create hurt feelings and divisions between people. But comedy that reveals our common humanity is liberating, joyful, healing and affirming, and that is spiritual.
Have you ever been in a tense or difficult situation when you suddenly burst into a fit of giggles? Or feel a release or rejuvenated after watching a side-splittingly funny movie?
It turns out there’s some scientific veracity behind the old adage “laughter is the best medicine.”
“Laughter activates the body’s natural relaxation response. It’s like internal jogging, providing a good massage to all internal organs while also toning abdominal muscles,” says Dr. Gulshan Sethi, head of cardiothoracic surgery at the Tucson Medical Center and faculty at the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine.
Studies have found that laughter can have healing properties; and it’s contagious. Here are four reasons why you should start laughing today.
1. Laughter is Contagious: When you’re feeling down finding friends to laugh with can help your brain trigger its own laughter response and foster closeness, both of which contribute to your sense of well-being. Why do you think that sense of humor is such an important trait when looking for a partner? We like the feeling of shared laughter and our body wants as much of this feeling as possible.
2. Laughter Reduces the Stress Response: When you laugh there’s a contraction of muscles, which increases blood flow and oxygenation. This stimulates the heart and lungs and triggers the release of endorphins that help you to feel more relaxed both physically and emotionally.
3. Laughter Boosts Immunity: According to one study done at Indiana State School of nursing, mirthful laughter may increase natural killer cell levels, a type of white blood cell that attacks cancer cells.
4. Laughter Increases Resilience: The ability to acknowledge mistakes without becoming angry or frustrated plays an important role in developing resilience. Laughing at mistakes allows us to recognize that making errors is a part of being human.