I admit that there have been times in my life (like yesterday for instance!) when I’ve taken this whole Spiritual-Growth-Awakening-Transformation thing a bit too seriously!
Maybe you know what I’m talking about… carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders can feel pretty darn serious!
But, let’s face it… it’s not our fault!
And I’m going to take absolutely no responsibility for this and put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Spiritual models that have set us up to be serious spiritual seekers! (Ummm. That was a joke 😉 )
But seriously (and don’t call me Shirley) the problem for many of us spiritual people in the West, is that our models of spirituality are all pretty darned serious.
Think about it: have you ever seen a picture of Jesus smiling? How about God? Any candid camera style snapshots of the big guy in the sky cracking up?
And how about bible stories? When was the last time you had a good belly laugh while reading that good book?
Many of us have gotten into the bad habit of taking our spiritual growth far too seriously!
And this spiritual seriousness is the source of a LOT of our stress and anxiety, worry and fear!
Eastern religions seem to have a bit more lightness (although don’t get me started on Kali!)
But at least we have images of laughing Buddhas and The Dalai Lama seems to exude a lightness in the midst of his profound presence. You often see him smiling or grinning. And sometimes it sure looks like a pretty mischievous grin, if you ask me!
Rumi and the Sufis certainly have a more lighthearted approach to the Divine.
And most indigenous peoples have some form of “Trickster” who shows up when things get too serious. Speaking of which, I saw a Coyote in broad daylight on a hike last weekend… Coyote happens to be the Trickster for many Native American tribes. Could it be that I needed a reminder to Lighten Up?
Many of us, on the Path of Awakening, miss that lightness. We can get stuck in the heaviness, the density and even the darkness that comes up as we move through resistance, clear out old energies and open to new awareness.
There are times on the path when, like Francis you just need to Lighten Up! (And please don’t tell me you don’t know who Francis is… or Shirley for that matter!)
So that’s why I’ve created this list of ways to break the grip of spiritual seriousness.
You might want to print out this list and put it somewhere obvious.
I recommend taking a proactive approach to lightening up. Do one of these things at least once a day… and more when you feel the damp, heavy blanket of spiritual serious descending over you!
So without further ado (what the heck is ado anyway?) here are…
12 Ways to Bust Out of Spiritual Seriousness!
1. Watch a funny movie.
When spiritual seriousness rears its serious head there is nothing better than a good funny movie. Take a break and let the laughter break the spell. Extra points if it has absolutely no redeeming qualities!
2. Hang out with funny people.
When you catch yourself getting serious, it’s time for a fun infusion. You do have some fun friends, don’t you? Call them up and go hang out with them. Invite them over for an afternoon tea and fun break. Extra points for every stupid joke told!
3. Take a break from your serious friends.
You know the ones I’m talking about! Now, don’t worry, you don’t have to dump them forever. Just take a few days off. You’re in fun infusion mode. No need to have your fun parade rained on. Extra points for not answering the phone when your parents or some other especially serious people in your life call!
4. Watch a couple of funny YouTube videos.
Sometimes a hilarious five-minute video will do the trick and snap you out of that serious space. Can’t go wrong typing in “Funny Animal Videos.” Extra points for stopping after just one!
5. Do something just for fun.
When spiritual seriousness strikes the last thing you feel like doing is anything lacking in a definite purpose. That’s why doing something that seems to be completely purposeless is an especially good antidote. Go to the beach. Go for a hike. Play a game of golf. Put on a CD you haven’t listened to in a while. There’s got to be something you can think of that you could do…just for the fun of it. Extra points if it’s during work hours and you’re playing hooky!
6. Get drunk (alright tipsy works).
No, I’m not condoning alcoholism here and I don’t recommend that this one becomes your default “go to” serious breaking method! This one is more for those mostly teatotaling types like me. My friends used to call me “No Mas” because after one beer I was definitely NOT serious anymore! Well, every once in a while, a drink or two can help break the grip of seriousness and open the door to let the fun come out. Extra points for playing pool really badly while drinking a beer!
7. Go on a news boycott.
Let’s face it: the news is pretty darned serious… you might even say it somber, sobering, or downright depressing! When the serious spell starts to grab hold of you, take some away from the news. It makes a huge difference. Extra points if you use your regular news reading time to catch up on the comic strips!
8. Hang out with some kids.
Kids, especially the little ones, haven’t had enough time hanging around with us to get too serious. So spending time with them is a great way to relieve the serious stuff. Don’t have your own kids… Call up friends with kids… trust me, they will be thrilled to let you “borrow” theirs! Extra points if you build sandcastles along with them!
9. Go bowling.
All right, it doesn’t have to be bowling. Could be badminton, bocce ball, or anything that is so far removed from your normal athletic pursuits that you won’t care how bad you do and will just let yourself have a goofy good time. Extra points for getting one of the “bumper” lanes and perfecting your two-handed, underhanded bowling throw!
10. Have a Karoke Party.
Invite your friends over for a night of Karaoke. I’m sure There’s an App for That! Everyone sings. Prizes for the most out of tune rendition of I Did It My Way! Extra points if you actually go out to a Karaoke Bar!
11. Dance like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.
This is a twist on the “Dance like no one is watching you…” quote. As far as I can tell there’s absolutely no way to remain serious while doing some of JT’s moves from Saturday Night Fever. A close second would be dancing to the Village People’s YMCA. If you can keep a straight face while acting out those letters you’re a better person than me. Extra points for bringing the boom-box outside and doing it where your neighbors can watch… or even better… getting them to join you!
12. Have a Game Night.
Pictionary. Charades. Spoons… Games are a great way to break the spell of seriousness and get some serious laughter going… although I saw some pretty serious competitiveness come out of the least likely people during our last game of Spoons. So be prepared for anything. Here’s a list of some new ones I hadn’t heard of… I feel a game night heading our way! Extra points for not keeping score!
Oh, and I’d love to hear from you. Share some of your favorite funny movies, hysterical games and other ideas you’ve used to break the spell of spiritual seriousness. Share your ideas and techniques in the comments below!