A Sense of Play
laughter as a way of touching God
Laughter relieves tension, lowers stress hormones, improves neurochemistry, settles the heart, and boosts the immune system. So we learn from science.
Laughter is also a way of touching God. So we learn from open and relational (process) theology. There's a lightness in the universe, open and spacious, in its exploratory dimensions: an openness to novelty. And there's a lightness in God, in whose spacious heart the universe unfolds. The lightness of God and the lightness of the universe cannot be sharply separated. They belong together, because God is the adventure of the universe as an ongoing Life.
To be sure, lightness is not the whole story. There's a tragic side of God, too. But the lightness is indeed part part of God. and if we lose sight of it, our lives become embattled with bitterness. Laughter is a pipeline to the lightness of the universe and the lightness of God. In addition, and importantly, laughter is fun. In the language of process philosophers, it is satisfying in its intensity, a form of rich experience.
Among the many qualities of heart and mind that make life valuable (see the slideshow on Process and Spirituality below), play is as essential as love. Without love there can be no play, and without play there can be no love. Laughter is a form of play, human and divine.
- Jay McDaniel