People speak about the importance of health and exercise, the importance of education, the importance of discipline… but what about the importance of fun? Fun is an element in adults lives, and even in kids lives, that is often neglected and dismissed as unimportant. But fun has lots of benefits:
- It makes you happy! …and therefore healthy! Woo-Hoo! Endorphins!
- It’s a much safer environment to learn in, as opposed to fear
- It helps to release tension
- It creates space to explore and release unprocessed emotions
- It’s a place where we learn to interact and communicate with others
- While having fun, because fun always involves interaction with other people, we learn to play and live under certain basic rules of mutual respect… which is the only way to keep the fun going!
So dude, have some fun!
Even in modern medicine and psychology Doctors have realized the importance of being happy. Health is impossible without it, and therefore patients are commonly prescribed Prozac and other mood boosting drugs when complaining about chronic pains and other various illnesses. (1)
There are even whole modern medical fields, like Medical Clowning and Laughter Therapy, which are proven to strengthen the immune system, enhance health and to improve the way patients cope with their disease. Humor was even proved to almost double the chances of In-Vitro Fertilization patients to become pregnant. (2,3,4,5)
When we have fun, we step out of ourselves; out of our worries and our usual thought patterns. So having fun is a kind of meditation, and a well needed one.
Having fun is an indispensable social service that needs to be administered much more often in our society, a society that sees work and production as higher values than having fun and being happy. And because fun and happiness are a social engagement, when we have good healthy fun we inevitably make other people happy too. It’s a way to promote global health and well-being.
Families and communities can hardly survive without fun being a part of their routine. Fun is simply the best way to relive tension in any form of relationship whether personal or professional. Fun is of course an attitude rather than an action. And if we could maintain the attitude of fun more in our lives, we could possibly prevent tension from accumulating at all. If we all did it, we would create world peace. Fun really is just much more fun than fighting and being grumpy.
Some “spiritual” people believe that people learn faster through suffering; but fun, security and happiness are a much more nurturing environment to learn. Why can’t the same lessons be learnt through joy? We do learn only, or at least mostly through our own experiences, but not only through the hard ones. And what makes those experiences hard anyway? Isn’t it our attitude? So why not approach life with a fun attitude? It will definitely be a winning attitude!
Yoga is really a practice of attitude, actually what makes it yoga or not is your attitude. If you do yoga poses while thinking about how much you hate someone, you are not doing yoga at all. On the other hand, if you are simply jogging or even making love passionately with your partner and your mind is totally there, you are definitely doing yoga. Yoga is in the mind. Yoga is what you think rather then what you do. Yoga is WHY you do it; it is your attitude.
Happiness is an attitude too. And like yoga, it is something that needs to be practiced, especially if we have cultivated the opposite habit throughout our life.
Do something fun everyday! If gloomy thoughts come, shake them off with some more fun. Don’t let sad feelings possess you, the longer you let them stay the harder it will be to uproot them. It’s not that hard to get rid of little weeds, but it’s a different story once they strike deep roots.
One of the best ways to stay happy is not to have time to think about how sad you are. Keep yourself busy with having fun, or in helping others be happy and have their needs met. Either way, being happy is a selfless pursuit. Being sad and solemn is selfish and with it’s negative effects are contagious, but when you are happy you are a light in everyone’s path making their hearts light and their faces shine with smiles.
I’ve seen a lot of unhappy people in the Ashram as well as in many other places. I’ve been unhappy at times myself (durrrr). It’s a kind of mood you sink into when your purpose is not clear, when you are not sure anymore why you are doing the things you are doing. And it increases the more you complain about it… it’s not fun. It’s a valid feeling, but it’s a stupid one. It doesn’t benefit anyone, especially not yourself. Sometimes you need to be extreme to get out of it. Sometimes you just need a good friend. But what about starting tonight, with a little tiny step forward… to just go out there and have some fun!
Spirituality is not measured by how much meditation you do, or if you wear white or orange, or if you say Namaste. All these things are a bunch of useless pretence. Happiness is here and now inside of you and all around you. It’s in your body and it is in the world just as much as it is in your heart and in your soul. Come on! Let it shine!
People need to lighten up! Oh, I’m so heavy sometimes… that’s why I love teaching kids yoga – it reminds me that life is about playing, exploring and having fun!
In yoga we say that the divine is “Ananda”, or bliss in English. The happier you are the closer you are to that absolute bliss or God. Don’t let yourself be bound by all these rules and practices. Break free! Live your life like you want to live it! Let this bliss burst out of you like a rising sun! This would be real yoga.