As we sat down for the wedding feast, a friend remarked that, whenever he was at a wedding, the host always seemed to seat him as close as he could to the lavatory. With great humour, he added that waterfront properties are always the most valuable. His wife asks everyone not to encourage him. But they do. Then, in a moment of
seriousness, he asks who really wants to be at the top table, where you are under constant surveillance and analysis.
We all think we know who should be at the top and the bottom of every table. In our minds, we have it all worked out, and can list 1000 reasons why it should be so. It seems that there is an over serious Pharisee in all of us. If this is true, we might as well get it out into the open. Good spiritual teaching asserts that knowing we are in prison is
the first step to getting out of prison.
But it's hard to be grateful when our hidden egos are exposed. That is why it is so important to be able to laugh at ourselves regularly, and often. Or to put it in the words of Thomas Merton, to cast aside our awesome solemnity and join in the dance.
When we can laugh at the laughable ideas of our own importance we put things in right balance. We can see the bars of the prisons we create for ourselves, and see, perhaps for the first time, that the door is only locked from the inside.
Robert Wicks, in his thrilling, "Touching the Holy: Ordinariness, Self-Esteem and Friendship" suggests that, among our friends, we should have at least one prophet, one cheerleader, one harasser and one spiritual guide. (P.93) Check to see if you have this! In their company, when our negative or positive grandiosity comes into view, laughter is the way we are restored to the joy of humility and of our humanity.
There is no other way