(February 28, 2002)
Just because we’ve had a wake up call is no cause for alarm.
— Swami Beyondananda

There’s an old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. And they say the Chinese have no sense of humor. Ha! Well, the times got very interesting in 2001, especially around 911. Our hearts go out to those who responded to the emergency call with courage and clarity. But, as the Swami has said, that is just the first step. If we really want to get the most out of this situation, we must answer the emergen’see call as well. And to help us do just this, Swami has taken time out of his busy schedule (he’s furiously working on a series of blank meditation tapes to help us really clear our minds in these stressful times), and answer some questions us on the current State of the Universe:

SWAMI: I understand I am wanted for questioning. Well, go ahead...shoot. In the figurative sense only, of course.

US: Okay, Swami. How can we keep from feeling stressed out and fearful in these uncertain times?

SWAMI: Well, the way I look at it, the only thing certain in life is uncertainty. So if you put your faith in this uncertainty, the more uncertain things get, the more certainty you will feel. Ah, you will say, this is totally unpredictable -- just as I predicted it would be. And it cannot hurt to relax a little bit. Just because we’ve had a little wake up call is no cause for alarm. And if we’re gonna be woken up, we may as well wake up laughing, right? And leave laughter in our wake. Because laughter is a tried-and-tested emergen’see treatment that helps us emerge from the darkness and see the light. When we let the bells of laughter ring, we are pealing away
fears and frustrations ... and reminding ourselves of what we love in life.

US: To change the subject a little bit, what about this war on terrorism? Can killing people actually bring about peace?

SWAMI: Well, in the short run, absolutely. Killing is a time-honored form of pacification. Ghosts notwithstanding, I don’t think you can find anything more peaceful than a dead person. But at some point, the MartialPlan must transform into a Marshall Plan, otherwise we will indeed have peace on earth -- but no human beings left to enjoy it.

US: How about the peace movement?

SWAMI: I have to say, this entire situation has been a challenge for the peace crowd. I mean, it’s hard to give peace a chance when you’re dealing with folks who think an olive branch is something you poke somebody in the eye with. To someone who sees nonviolence as a sign of weakness, nonviolence simply begets more violence. To them, it’s like taking Gandhi from a baby.

But there’s still a way for peace proponents to get their goomba-yayas out. And that is to keep reminding everyone that if war is a necessary evil, then peace is a necessary good. And if we want the good goods more than the bad goods, we must be prepared to put more of our resources into creation than destruction. And the best way to do that is by supporting the alter native economy -- any product or service that alters us natives for the better .. support it. For example, if you’re getting lots of value from a particular web site ... buy there. Now is the time to put your money where you mouse is.

Like everything else, patriotism has its season -- but dying for something... well, frankly there’s no future in it. So the peace movement must help the world keep it’s eye on the real prize. It must plant and cultivate the seeds of what we are living for -- this is our spiritual victory garden.

US: Finally, Swami, this is the beginning of the year. Any predictions, particularly regarding the so-called New World Order?

SWAMI: Actually, I don’t believe in predictions. Predictions are ... too predictable. If we really want to create a better reality, my suggestion is turn of the TV -- and tell-a-vision instead. And then put yourself into the picture. For if we really want a New World Order, we have to fill out and send in our New World Order Form. As my beloved guru Harry Cohen Baba used to say, Life is like a good deli. It doesn’t matter what’s on the menu. If enough people order something ... they gotta make it.

Copyright 2002 by Steve Bhaerman. All rights reserved.
To hear Swami’s State of the Universe Address in its entirety, go to www.wakeuplaughing.com.

Swami Beyondananda on Love and Laughter Swami answers your questions ... and you will question his answers

February was the Month of Love. One out of twelve is pretty good, but I think we can do better. So here I am, Swami-on-the-spot, offering my advice to all of those who’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places, or have actually found the right places, only these places are attached to the wrong people. Now you are probably asking yourself, what does an elevated soul like myself know about the down-and-dirty business of sexual politics? I will tell you. It is true that I practiced celibacy for fourteen years. But when I turned fifteen, I said, ‘Enough of that. What else have we got? So...questions, anyone? Hello, you’re on Karma Talk:

Dear Swami:
I’m a young woman who was brought up in a strict family where we were told in no uncertain terms that the purpose of sex was procreation, and procreation only. I have since switched religions, but I still believe in sexual purity and chastity. Problem is, every time I go to the beach to meditate I get distracted by these guys with skimpy briefs and terrific tans. How can I channel my energy into more spiritual pursuits?
Anas Lass,
Long Beach, California

Dear Anas:
What you face is a common dilemma. We are biological beings, and these natural urges demand release. And yet, society’s mixed messages put us in a difficult situation. We’re damned if we do, and dammed if we don’t. And if we try to submerge the urge to merge long enough, the dam is bound to break, and then we get like that poor televangelist a while back whose ‘delusions of glandeur’ cost him his career. So relax and enjoy the brief diversion.
Even the most spiritual young woman gets off on a tan gent from time to time.

Dear Swami:

My wife and I have been happily married for 27 years, and now all of a sudden and inexplicably, she refuses to cook. What’s wrong?
Israel Bummer,
Skokie, Illinois

Dear Israel:

Not to worry. She’s just going through menupause.

Dear Swami:
What’s your position on same-sex marriages?
Evan Jellick,
Lynchburg, Virigina

Dear Evan:

I would think that same-sex marriages would be boring, what with having the same sex all the time. For variety sake, I would recommend different sex, but keep the same partner.

Dear Swami:
We hear it all the time: All you need is love. We’ve been holding hands, linking arms, rocking back and forth for almost 35 years now, singing these songs and we don’t seem any closer to love than we were back then. What’s going on, anyway?
Aretha Flowers,
Birmingham, Alabama

Dear Aretha:

Well, for one thing we’ve been using the wrong affirmation all these years. By singing, “All You Need Is Love,” we are affirming that we don’t have it. If we already had it, why would we need it? The Bible tells us that we are made in the Creator’s image. In other words, God is Divine and we are Fruit of Divine. But we forget that the great “I Am” is none other than We. This forgetfulness is called “I-Am-That-I-Amnesia.”And when we forget our divine roots, our search for peace and love is bound to be fruitless. We keep looking for love in all the wrong places -- out there, for example. So as a reminder, I suggest that the next time we hear that song, we change the lyrics to “All You Be Is Love.” One of the best ways to be love is to express ourselves joyfully in the world. And laughter is the currency of joy...so pay it forward! Laugh lovingly, love laughingly, and maybe, just maybe, we might actually launch that blisskrieg we’ve been threatening all these years
Copyright 2002 by Steve Bhaerman. All rights reserved.

Swami’s Love and Laughter Special.
Says the Swami: "Many people have found themselves challenged by the recent economic downturn, and some have even had 'near-debt experiences." Well, to paraphrase those 60s icons, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, "Laughter will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no laughter." To help you wake up laughing ... and leave laughter in your wake, the Swami has put together a special package including his hilarious book on healing laughter, Duck Soup for the Soul, his latest audio cassette, Beyondananda and Beyond: Two Takes on Healing Laughter, and his latest music and comedy CD, Drive Your Karma, Curb Your Dogma, a $38 value for just $29.77 + 4.23 shipping. Not only that, but act right now and receive online Swami's Joke-A-Week (Zen Cohens from Harry Cohen Baba) for ten weeks. To order, call Swami's hot line 1-800-SWAMI-BE or visit www.wakeuplaughing.com.