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The Great Cosmic Scherzo

Listening generally puts me into a peaceful frame of mind, but every now and then a sound strikes me as funny, pleasantly rattles my serenity, and thus breaks up areas of mental and physical rigidity. Silly sounds snap me into the present in a way that immediately shifts my brain chemistry, my perception, and my awareness.

We are in trouble if we cannot laugh.

A lack of humor is essentially a refusal to let oneself be taken in a different direction, and implies one has an attachment to a particular outcome or state of being. Listening as a mindfulness practice is sacred, but it need not be serious. When I hear a refrigerator cluck like a chicken, or a cat make a sound like a hiccup in the middle of a meow, or a door make an unusually long, sonorous and melodic yet geriatric creak as it opens, I know I'm fully in the present moment if I can laugh in surprise and delight. Life and the practice of listening would be grim, grey and hopeless if I could not let ridiculous sounds shake me from my mood or train of thought.

We have a good problem if we cannot stop laughing.

There are many benefits to maintaining one's composure, but it can be good to lose control now and again, especially for the sake of laughing, which boosts the immune system, lowers stress hormone and blood pressure levels, and improves heart health. After nearly a decade of working intimately with extended vocal techniques, the resulting sounds still occasionally catch me off guard and throw me into giggling fits. Even if humor was not the original intent, extended vocal sounds can hit an astounding level of hilarity when a group of people intentionally make those sounds together.

Humor may or may not be in the ear of the beholder.

It's entirely possible that the sounds that put me in stitches of mirth are not funny to anyone else. In thinking of the sounds that tend to shake me from my seriousness, I've noticed nearly all of these sounds involve glissando's, which I take to be a personal sonic-humor-quirk, or the toppling of expectation, which is a universal cornerstone of good comedy.

Jokes play with our assumptions.

Assumptions are rooted in past experience, which means they color the clarity of our perception and experience of the present. Herein lies the importance of jest. As our expectations and beliefs are thrown asunder in the quivers of laughter, they are also illuminated. Ergo...

laughter enlightens.

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