It's an old story, but it crossed my mind again this morning:
I once had a Zen chum who went to India to stay at an ashram run by Sri Rajneesh in Puna. This was the same Rajneesh who would later get his ass in a crack by living a high and manipulative style in Antelope, Oregon. But at the time, he was gathering up his fame and Marsha went to his ashram.
I got several notes from her while she was there and one of them came together with a packet of exercises used in the ashram. And one of them struck my fancy:
After waking up in the morning, lie in bed for five minutes and ... laugh.
I tried it. It wasn't easy to get started. Lying there all by myself, I couldn't think of anything funny to tickle my brain with. So I just faked it ... expelling very contrived heh-heh-heh's as I lay in bed. And pretty soon the utter falseness of my effort really did make me laugh. And then the laughing seemed to take on a life of its own. It was utterly ludicrous and delicious ... just laughing ... laughter feeding on laughter feeding on laughter.
The closest comparison I can think of is the old game in which friends lie in a circle, each one with his or her head on the belly of the nearest person. Someone starts laughing. His or her belly bounces and thus bounces the head on that belly ... which leads the body connected to that head to similarly laugh. And a circle-jerk of laughter erupts.
Only the exercise Marsha sent did not include anyone else. It was a solo activity. But, strangely, the effect was precisely the same as it might have been among friends: Towering laughter. I think the only reason I stopped was because I had to take an equally towering leak.