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Laughter in meditation hall during retreat

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Hello,

I had an experience during a Goenka retreat several years ago that I wanted to share.  It was approximately the 9th day of the retreat and occured during the final group sit of the day before the evening dharma talk.  There was probably about 50 people present during the retreat.  It seemed like we were about 3/4 the way through the hour long group sit in the meditation hall when in the back row of the men's side of the hall I heard someone begin to make noises which I initially thought was crying, which is not uncommon during retreats as the experience can elicit intense emotional experiences, which I imagine most of us are aware of or may have experienced along the path.  Although, the meditator in the back of the room was not crying, he was laughing. As others began to notice his laughter the entire meditation hall was overcome by a wave of rapturous joy and almost everyone began laughing which seemed to last about 30 seconds to a minute.  The teacher up front seemed in shock at what to do to manage the situation and eventually in a booming voice said "keep your mind on sensation! If you cannot maintain silence and composure, leave the hall until you can."

The experience was amazing! It was fascinating to me how powerful the rapture was and was an intersting example and teaching of Annata (no separate/independent self). 

I'm wondering if anyone else had had similar experiences of rapturous laughter during retreats?

Metta,

Drew


RE: Laughter in meditation hall during retreat
Answer
8/14/14 5:01 PM as a reply to Drew Miller.
That's interesting.  I think I might have been at that course.  Was it at Dhamma Kunja in July of 2012?  If not, then pretty much the exact same thing happened on the exact day and time.  

I remember being in deep meditation when I heard the laughter begin to spread.  I thought, "hmm, I wonder if this will trigger one of those laughing fits I've heard about.  Well, I'm not going to laugh, I'm meditating!"

Then about two seconds later it spread through the whole hall and I was laughing with them.  Even after it died, it took all the concentration I had to not start again.

It has nothing to do with dhamma, but check out this radiolab
http://www.radiolab.org/story/91595-contagious-laughter/

RE: Laughter in meditation hall during retreat
Answer
8/14/14 5:51 PM as a reply to Teague.
Ha ha! emoticon Yes! We were there together. It was Dhamma Kunja, July 2012.   What a trip emoticon

RE: Laughter in meditation hall during retreat
Answer
8/14/14 6:29 PM as a reply to Teague.
Also,  I had a very similar thought as the wave of rapture was building but eventually started to laugh too....I wonder "who's" thought that was and/or how many others experienced a similar thought? ;)

RE: Laughter in meditation hall during retreat
Answer
8/14/14 11:15 PM as a reply to Drew Miller.
Far out.  Well, hello, fellow Goenka sitter.  That was a nice course with beautiful weather.  My then girlfriend/now wife was also sitting the course and she didn't laugh.

RE: Laughter in meditation hall during retreat
Answer
8/14/14 11:57 PM as a reply to Teague.
Right on! Your wife did well keeping the noble silence..strong discipline and resolve in that one emoticon.  It sure was a joyous occasion. Seemed to good to pass up at the time.  Perhaps becoming/identifying with that joy significantly impeded my progress towards liberation? Hard to say emoticon.

RE: Laughter in meditation hall during retreat
Answer
8/15/14 12:06 AM as a reply to Drew Miller.
Are you guys in portland?

RE: Laughter in meditation hall during retreat
Answer
8/15/14 12:09 AM as a reply to Dream Walker.
I used to be until about 2010.  In Anchorage AK now. You in Portland?

RE: Laughter in meditation hall during retreat
Answer
8/15/14 12:43 AM as a reply to Drew Miller.
PM'd you guys