Day Twenty Four: Laughter

Daily Journal

It’s been a busy week here, and I’ve been working some voluntary overtime to help crush my debts. Today, I managed to watch a documentary about St. Francis of Assisi on YouTube called “Reluctant Saint” that I thoroughly enjoyed and thought I would share with you.

I’m going to keep today’s entry a bit brief for the sake of time management, but I did want to share a small personal story of a small experiment I did with generosity about a month ago.

I was working through the “Dharma Essentials” course taught by Lama Marut (more about white American Buddhists tomorrow, by the way!) I was doing the journal exercise called “The Book”, which I highly recommend.

I decidedto commit a random act of generosity for the day. My company had given me a small productivity reward: a vendor token for the vending machine in the lunchroom. I decided to give up this vendor token by offering it to a co-worker, just randomly. On a side note, I’ve just started giving small amounts of money to homeless people in the last two years. (Previously, I ignored them when they approached me or told them I didn’t have any money, which was usually true, but sometimes not). The idea is that generosity is the antidote to greed and envy, and sometimes seems to improve our karma.

The first girl I approached and told her that I was on a diet and didn’t want any junk food and offered the token to her. She protested. “But they have granola, and you can use it for bottled water!” She did not want the token.

Second try with a rural southerner type guy. “No, but thank you. You keep it.”

Third try. Immigrant from Africa. He was confused. Why would I not want to keep my token for myself. He seemed suspicious, like I might have a weird motive. You could tell he wanted the token, but felt awkward by the offer. “Are you sure you don’t need this?” I told him no, he took the token and thanked me.

Interesting social experiment. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Everyone involved seemed at least a little awkward about receiving the token, although no one ever has a problem receiving these tokens when they are given to us by our employer. Why is that?

Deng Ming-Dao on Laughter

To paraphrase today’s entry, a refreshingly simple one to end the day.

The laughter of children is always uplifting.

The reason: The laughter is pure and without an adult motive, such as jealousy, insecurity, sadism, cruelty, or absurdity.

Sometimes, when we hear the laughter of children, we lament the loss of our childhoods. We are always in a hurry for children to grow up. Let them live each year and let them play. Let their laughter cheer you up.

Tomorrow, I discuss white people stereotypes as they apply to spirituality.
Should be fun.

B.G.

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