> Ananta (born, Tapan Garg) is a disciple of
> spiritual Guru, Shri Mooji. His quest for
> self-realization began in 1998, at the age of 23.
> He spent the initial few years involved with Sri
> Sri Ravishankar's Art of Living Foundation. At one
> point, he seriously contemplated becoming a
> teacher of the Art of Living, but life led him in
> a different direction when he came across the
> teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj and later,
> Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi and Shri HWL Poonja
> He was deeply inspired by Nisargadatta's book "I
> Am That". He also spent some time with Ramesh
> Balsekar and occasionally attended his satsangs in
> The search for Truth finally led him to his Guru
> Shri Mooji in January 2009. The instant Ananta met
> Mooji he felt a deep sense of having come home. He
> experienced a complete sense of surrender to Mooji
> and in his Presence, he discovered all that he was
> seeking. With Mooji's blessings, Ananta has been
> sharing Satsang since 2013.
When she returned to Lucknow she shared how difficult the journey was in satsang with Papaji. He smiled and replied, 'I wondered why you wanted to teach in Bodhgaya,' as his famous giggle echoed around the satsang hall.
I have known one person who does not need to be tickled. Just from far away you make the gesture, and that is enough. Here there is also one person, everybody knows her. She is sitting so buddha-like, but just if I do this right now…
(The Master jiggles his fingers in a tickling gesture towards Avirbhava, who shrieks in surprise. Each time he "tickles," everyone roars with laughter, and the Master himself is chuckling behind his sunglasses. He alternates his tickling gestures with a series of hand movements to calm us down…Until the next outbreak of laughter.)
And where is Anando?
(The Master, spotting Anando, begins to jiggle his hand in her direction and is laughing himself. More waves of laughter.)
That is Anando, I could see.
This is the only way buddhahood arises: the master has to tickle. Now do you see the effect? I have not even tickled Avirbhava, neither have I tickled Anando, and you are all laughing!
(More "tickles" and more laughter ensue.)
This tickling is called, in the sutras, The Great Transmission. I have not even touched…
(He "tickles" several people, laughing, and everyone is carried along with him again.)
The master can only create a device. The device has no logical connection. Now do you see why you are laughing? Of course Avirbhava, at least, is tickled from far away—remote control. But why are you laughing? I have a remote control…
(The Master demonstrates his remote control on Avirbhava, and we all laugh some more. He laughs, and then motions to her to be still.)
Calm down. Just sit like a buddha…close your eyes (He giggles)…look inside.
(Another burst of laughter.)…
You have just seen it. Do you want to see it again?
(The Master begins to "tickle" again provoking waves of laughter, with a few chuckles from him.)
I have two remote controls—one for Avirbhava and the other for Anando. Wherever they are in the universe…just tickle and they will laugh. And with them, others will laugh for no reason at all.
I want you to understand: enlightenment is so light, so loving, so peaceful—just like a laughter. The theologians have made it so heavy, so burdensome, that people ignore it. Enlightenment should also be entertainment at the same time.
I can’t remember if he asks for questions, I just remember my hand being in the air at a particular moment and his pointing at me. The noise level drops to zero as I stammer forth. Can’t remember my exact words, only a paraphrase:
“I recently spent one year in isolation, meditating. During this time hidden channels in my body were awakened…and eventually energy streamed into a place…a location in my head…that I can only call the third eye. Now, it continues on its own without my intervention, and my head cracks while it does…”
The Guru interrupts me. His acolytes turn their faces expectantly, as if ready to savor his reaction. My fellow floor sitters turn to stare at me.
“It is not possible. The head does not crack. There are no muscles in the head…” replies Muktananda.
Giggles and titters, as if the crowd were saying, “You don’t know that, stupid? Everyone knows that!”
“Then something is cracking in every room I’ve occupied…”
“It wasn’t your head.”
“It must have been the radiators then,” says someone in the crowd.
More derisive laughter. I’m not so much annoyed by people laughing at me as by the complete refusal to accept the possibility of a head cracking. That’s what growth is all about, from infancy to maturity—the head changing imperceptibly over time.
“That is impossible; the skull cannot crack,” he continues.
“But can it change its shape?”
“That is another matter.”
He whispers to someone behind him in a light green robe. Everybody rises. Question time is over.
In his denial, is he saying that it didn’t happen to him so therefore it couldn’t happen…period? I don’t put any limits on the power inside me.
Obviously, once maturity is reached, cracking might be difficult, but not impossible. Being him, I would have wanted to hear more. Being me, I believed he could look at me and see my inner workings, and therefore know I was telling the truth.
So, I am disappointed, but not much. It only reinforces what I’ve learned. I figure I need a few experiences like this to learn to ignore conventional wisdom.
(deleted for brevity - Corboy)
Good for you, I say to myself while walking into the bistro across the street from the ashram. You got laughed at and you deserved it. Now wake up, continue on your way, and forget conventional wisdom—even from the mouths of the so-called enlightened.
The "A" List of Andrew Cohen: A Catalog of Trauma and Abuse, Hal ...
Jul 18, 2013 - Read also: "Andrew Cohen and the Fall of the Mythic Guru in an Age of ..... ridiculing, laughing at, insulting and dismissing other teachers, ...
What Happens When Your Guru Disappears? - The Daily Beast
Mar 27, 2015 - The controversial American spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen did just that about ... accompanied by his particularly annoying, cackling laughter.
high-status fraternity brothers produced more dominant laughs and fewer submissive laughs relative to the low-status pledges. Dominant laughter was higher in pitch, louder, and more variable in tone than submissive laughter.
Previous research, published in Psychological Science, demonstrated that holding a position of power can influence the acoustic cues of our speech. The voices of individuals primed with high-power roles tended to increase in pitch and were, at the same time, more monotone. Listeners, who had no knowledge of the experiment, were able to pick up on vocal cues signaling status: They rated individuals in the high-power group as being more powerful with a surprising degree of accuracy.
Findings from the fraternity brothers also showed that low-status individuals were more likely to change their laughter based on their position of power; that is, the pledges only really broke out into dominant laughter when they were in the “powerful” role of teasers. High-status individuals, on the other hand, maintained a consistent pattern of dominant laughter throughout the teasing game.
In another study, the research team tested out whether naïve observers could detect an individual’s status based just on their laughter.
A group of 51 college students was randomly assigned to listen to a set of 20 of the laughs recorded from the fraternity brothers. Each participant listened to an equal number of dominant and submissive laughs from both high- and low-status individuals. Participants then estimated the social status of the laugher using a 9-point scale.
Indeed, laughers producing dominant laughs were perceived to be significantly higher in status than laughers producing submissive laughs.
“This was particularly true for low-status individuals, who were rated as significantly higher in status when displaying a dominant versus submissive laugh,” Oveis and colleagues explain. “Thus, by strategically displaying more dominant laughter when the context allows, low-status individuals may achieve higher status in the eyes of others.”
I'm intrigued by how comedians co-ordinate the responses to their routines from the stage.
It's also difficult to learn to have the confidence to leave a pause for the audience to laugh, and to cope if they don't.
Comedians are very sensitive to the way that laughter can grow and fade in a room, and leaving a space for laughter to happen at all is a real skill.
Kiri Pritchard-Mclean, a stand-up comedian who also teaches comedy, points out:
"It takes a lot of confidence to stand on a stage and do nothing while the audience laugh - and it is hard to learn to come back in at the right point - not to trample on the laughter or wait too long and lose the momentum of the room."
Dean said he started analyzing audience laughter and found that a good, solid laugh usually comprises an initial burst, then a pause for breath, then a rise to a peak. He teaches his students to come in with the next joke just as the peak has passed, like Berle did. That’s the first principle, which he calls classic timing, or one-liner timing.
The second principle involves what’s called tagging your jokes, adding a quick verbal redirection after the punch line, once or even several times. For instance, Dean said, he might say, “For Father’s Day I took my father out. It only took seven shots.” After the audience laughs at that, he might add something like, “Most people don’t get their priest that drunk.” That’s a tag, adding a new twist that surprises the audience and keeps them laughing.
Normally you don’t want to interrupt laughter, but tag timing is different, Dean said. The key is to deliver the tag when the audience is taking its breath after the initial burst of laughter. A good comedian can ratchet up the laughter with repeated tags and even begin to train the audience to hold its breath, to anticipate the tag like a dancer anticipates a change in a drummer’s beat.
For the rest of the article, go here
Perhaps more than other any other art form, comedy cannot exist for its own sake. Comedy requires a bond between performer and audience. And if either ingredient sucks, comedy doesn’t happen. But just as in real cooking, the container you put your ingredients in has some influence on the soup you’re creating.
"A bad space can be large or small, but the key ingredient is usually layout. An audience needs to feel comfortable to loosen up enough to laugh, and they need as few distractions as possible."
I realize that calling something "perfect" can seem too bold. But I believe perfect spaces for comedy do exist. A perfect space is small enough to be intimate, with minimal distractions.
In this final clip, I’m telling the same joke I told in the first example, to perhaps forty people. But you can see how conducive this space is to comedy energy.
For one thing, the seats are almost on top of one another. There is no elbow room. If you’re sitting next to someone, you’re almost on their lap, which does wonders to break the ice between strangers. Another big factor is the space’s low, almost cave-like interior, with its stone walls and low ceiling that seem to magnify even a small crowd’s laughs.
This is the club that Dave Chapelle was in when he said: “You people are lucky. You know you have the best indie club in the country right here.”
Comedy can inhabit any space, from tiny back rooms that seat ten people, to world-class performance spaces such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre. But the layout of a room can tell you what to expect before the first audience member ever steps across the threshold.
1.3.1 The Venue and the setting
The venue the performance is taking place at has a great deal of factor to contribute with.
The comedian has to work with the given venue and the way the space is set up, the size
and seating of the audience, and the general nature of the space (Quirk, 2011).
According to Lee (2012) comedy venues – such as night clubs – tend to emphasize the
illusion of authentic communication. The venues support the illusion of closeness between
the audience and the comedian since this setting stimulates the feeling of intimacy and one on-one
conversation between the audience and the comedian. Since Stand-Up gigs come in
all shapes and sizes (Quirk, 2011), larger venues – like sports arenas – use jumbotrons or
other screening devices to capture the comedian’s emotions and mimics so even the furthest
seats can engage in the feeling of closeness (Lee, 2012). The size does, however, moderately
alters the dynamic of interaction (Quirk, 2011).
To this Quirk adds: “A successful room will usually show some evidence of an attempt to influence
the responsiveness - and even the behaviour - of the audience. The space is laid out to direct the
audience’s attention toward the performer and enhance excitement about the gig. Occasionally,
perception of commercial success is also managed by the layout of the space. The dead space in the room is minimised and the audience are prevented from becoming comfortable enough to be sedate, so that energy may flow more easily into laughter. (Corboy italics. Note how most satsang set ups are exactly like this.)
These efforts are usually subtle and audiences are
rarely aware of the way that both they and the space have been arranged to encourage responsiveness.
These activities are, nonetheless, common practices orchestrated specifically to influence the behaviour
of the audience” (Quirk, 2011, p. 229)
The room will change the attitude and overall act, the comedian must adjust to its
conditions (Quirk, 2011).
Group dynamics in Stand-Up Comedy
Tracing these ideas back to Stand-Up Comedy, group dynamics is one of the factors why
people tend to join in and laugh, when the rest of the group laughs. One could argue this
is due to a certain degree of conformity the individuals in an audience are prone to. This is
presumably the reason why producers put laugh tracks into some TV-shows (Lockyer &
Myers, 2011). To be added though: “However, it is often clear for an attentive viewer that
something is amiss - the ‘audience’ laughs too aggressively or the timing is wrong. This clearly
illustrates that audience responses are not just bland, predictable and uniform, but that they are
sequentially sensitive and precisely timed to the witnessable performance in progress” (McIlvenny,
Mettovaara, & Tapio, 1992, p. 230).
Theatre will sell their tickets seating all of the audience members next to each other so
even if the show is not sold out, the audience is seated as a group and the influence of group
dynamics will increase. Theatres might also “paper the house”. They will give away free
tickets to cast members who will distribute them to friends and family (Downs, Wright, &
Ramsey, 2012). Still bearing in mind the simple idea of contagious laughter and that the
more people around the individual are enjoying the show, the more likely the individual
will join in and enjoy themselves (Provine, 2001).
In addition, he says it is crucial for the mere sound of the laugh not to escape the room, if
however the ceilings are high or the crowd half-empty this will happen and it will be to no
benefit. Furthermore, Quirk’s study states, that greater comfort makes the crowd more
passive which is unwanted.
The introduction – the acquisition of initial credibility – of Stand-Up comedians is often
done by comperes who act like an anchor for the show. They host the event and provide
the audience with information about the upcoming or past act, they secure the continuity
between acts, which may completely differ one another. Essentially, they ensure the
coherences of the whole show. However, one of the most important tasks the compere is
entrusted with is the aforementioned introduction of the acts – comedians. The basic
outline, which must not be, but in most cases is included, resembles the following:
- Contextualisation in which small details of background are offered about the
- Framing of response that directs an audience towards greeting the comedian with a certain attitude
- Evaluation of comedian by the compere as he or she passes comment on the
performance skills of the comedian
- Request for action from the audience by the compere – usually for applause
- Introduction of the comedian by the compere
- Audience applause
(Rutter, 2000, p. 466)