I had the pleasure of going to a brief but masterfully delivered laughter meditation class at the Serpentine Gallery this last weekend by “musician, mystic and laughter meditation practitioner, Laraaji” who lead a series of workshops during the opening days of the Grace Wales Bonner exhibition that has since become a lasting shrine of sound.
Here is a pic from the beginning of the workshop. I really dug his orange blanket full of treasures pregnant with spiritual meaning; combined with a tremendously trustworthy and calming American voice.
It was a cracking workshop, just 45 minutes long but during that brief time he effortless vehicled fifty members of the public into contagious laughter all the way from interactive song and contagious group laughter through to a delightful, “healing”, meditative space.
I wanted to make a note of what I felt were the masterful features of how he did it before I forget:
- He’d begun already as we filed into the room with pretty music of the om-ic sort
- He then led straight in without introduction to call and response, beginning with amusingly simple and enjoyable-to-copy sounds
- These sounds were just at the limit of working memory, but satisfyingly effortless to recall like a six digit number spoken verbally (try having someone repeat “297692” vs 203618647″: the 8th number is the straw that breaks the phonological loop‘s back).
- After having us sing back to him musically sounds along the lines of “tumtumtumtum”<>”tumtumtumtum” // lumlumtumtum<>lumlumtumtum, “tumbumbumtum”<>tumbumbumtum”, he gradually evolved the call and response into laughter-esque sounds along the lines of “hahatatahatahata”
- Then he made quite a good joke about a landlord (somehow the worldly reference from such a guru made it unexpectedly funny, though I forget the joke).
- Then he has us smile with our mouths and with our mouths and our eyes, and explore the difference in the latter and the feeling it occasions inside: actually feeling happier due to the feedback.
- Then he has us all stand up and assume a liquid body (flopping around most liquidly, which allowed I guess any narky tension to flow away)
- Then he had us hold our hands, consecutively, on our heads, throats, hearts, chest-bone, and belly and direct laughter to them and and explore the different qualities of laughter that brings resonance to these places.
- By this stage we’re all feeling pretty doused in merriment
- All the while playing pretty music
- Then he had us bring our arms right up into the air, fill our lungs to the brim, and deflate in laughter: a neat way of making sure the internal force is there to power and laugh that begins, which proved very powerful and effective.
- Going through this many times consecutively had us all overflowing with spontaneous laughter, which quickly became contagious in a way that itself is rather fascinating, and served to re-project one into hilarity every time one came off the ridge down into a trough of mere giggling.
- Then he had us lie on our backs and listen to polyphonic gong and other nice instrument music as we basked in the afterglow of delighted sparkling emotion that follows deep laughter.
Here he is explaining it himself, meanwhile, to someone called Daniel Blumberg “from Hebronix”.