Having worked with many spiritual leaders, I’m tempted to see a sense of humor as a universal index of spiritual development.
Douglas Abrams, The Book of Joy
It’s a wonderful gift, a sense of humor that lifts people up rather than cuts them down. To hold a situation lightly without making light of it requires a certain talent – and a particular way of looking at the world. Desmond Tutu put it this way:
It’s not about the belittling humor that puts other people down and yourself up. It’s about bringing people onto common ground…the humor that doesn’t demean is an invitation to everyone to join in the laughter. (p. 220)
I’ve looked for and found this kind of humor in those I count among the spiritually mature. Perhaps I should start looking for spiritual maturity among those with a good sense of humor. Religious affiliation may be unknown or non-existent, but prophets and mystics are bound to show up when and where I least expect them. And laugh at how long it took me to find them.
[Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Abrams, The Book of Joy; New York: Avery, 2016]