This may sound strange coming from the ‘Giggling Guru’ but nevertheless, it’s true. It’s all right to cry. I’ve shed tears to drive away my sadness. Laughter and tears are both hardwired in us. Sometimes it’s a drop of tear and sometimes a smile that leads us through life.
I went to Canada in 2003 to hold a laughter workshop. After the second day of the session I went back to my hotel feeling exhausted and tired. There was discomfort and pain in the lower part of my abdomen. I thought perhaps it was the famous and irresistible Napoli pizza that I had been hogging for the last three days!
I decided to skip dinner and sleep early. But I felt restless and uneasy. I was experiencing a kind of sadness in my body but I did not know why?
It was a dark winter night and the gloomy foggy weather only added to my anguish. While trying to figure a way to deal with my sadness, thoughts of parents started drifting into my mind. Though they were no more, I thought of writing a letter to them and expressing all that I never could when they were alive.
I picked up a pen but there was no paper. I found a cardboard box which I opened up to write. As the words flowed, tears started pouring. Suddenly I got up and realized I was dreaming.
It may seem weird but as I could not complete the letter in my dreams, I decided to complete it in reality. I sat on the chair and thought about my father. He died at the age of 89. Throughout his life he was a stern and egotistical person. All of us at home were scared of his temper and stayed as far away as possible.
But as he aged, he mellowed down and sometimes cried like a child. It was sad to see him in this condition. A fortnight before he died he went stay with my elder brother in our native village where he contracted some infection and fell ill. My brother sent for me as I was the only doctor in the family but I was too busy in Mumbai. I told him to call a local physician. Three days later my father was no more.
I was overcome with a feeling of severe guilt. I felt awful at not being by his side in his last days. Years passed but I could not live this down. It remained within me as my grief.
As I let my emotions flow on paper I felt relaxed. My stomach pain eased and there was no tightness in my neck. That was the day I cried the most in my life and felt relieved.
I introduced this cathartic exercise in the laughter clubs to help release suppressed emotions and pent up feelings. Participants are asked to write a letter to someone they love or to anyone who has made a difference to their lives. While doing this exercise most of them would break down crying. In case the person is alive they could actually post the letter, if not they can keep it on their grave or immerse it in the river.
Earlier I felt sad about my sadness. For the first time I got in touch with sadness. I found it to be so liberating. In fact, it deepened my laughter. I realized that crying can bring profound elation perhaps more than laughter.
Dr. Madan Kataria
This article is from Dr Kataria's Book "Inner Spirit of Laughter" . You can download the E Book for just USD 8.95. To Buy Click Here.