Recently I did a laughter yoga workshop for a group of Australian indigenous men.

They are from a group known as the “Stolen Generations”. What this means is that as children, they were forcibly taken away from their parents and Aboriginal families and adopted to white parents, causing unbelievable trauma and hurt. The government (and church) had a policy that the parents were incapable of giving the children a proper up-bringing in terms of our own (weird) culture. This practice was widespread from before 1900 and continued right up until the 1960’s & even into the 1970’s!! Unbelievable but true!

Before the workshop I decided to do research around this and found information on Google which wasn’t available anywhere even just 10 or so years ago:
Between the years of 1770’s when white man first settled and the 1850’s between 80 and 90 percent of the indigenous population were killed either by slaughter or by disease brought by white man, sometimes deliberately in jars! (This info is verifyable according to best known population historical data.)

The entire remaining population was driven off their land on the eastern & southern sides, mostly thousands of miles away to the Northern Territory. This invasion is one of the most devastating & cruel in human history, including complete extinction of some tribes including the entire indigenous population of the state of Tasmania. I had no idea about  this and realised just how well covered up it has been in our society.

As you can imagine I became a bit nervous about presenting the workshop. I had no idea how I would be received. When I first stood up I totally blanked out and forgot all the bullet pointes that I had remembered & visualised.

Fortunately the one thing I did remember was to demonstrate my practice laughter. After a long laugh (heightened by the nerves) I relaxed, remembered everything and the workshop went off like a real hit. It was an amazing and humbling experience for me.

The quality of these people, especially their forgiveness was overwhelming. Their own culture is based on sharing and high spiritualism and all that I spoke to were proud of it and very much aware of its advantages over our own one with its materialistic craziness of competition and scarcity.

One guy came up to me at the break and

said something which has left a lasting impression on me:
“You know this is exactly what we do (have done for thousands of years)....we get together (usually around a fire) we share experiences, we meditate, we dance and we laugh!” Another said: “With what we have had to go through in our lives (as an example, a large  % of them had served extended jail sentences) we have learned to laugh about it!” 

It was a fantastic session, and it totally expanded my heart.
I left with the utmost respect for these men.

Aidan Tavendale
14/2/2012 07:30:08 am

If your like me, and you can't stand getting up early no matter what job your doing. Early being, 5am, and perhaps you stayed up bit late the night prior. Although 10.30 isn't late. These last few mornings I have been doing 10 mins of Laughter meditation on arrival at work, which would be 5.30am. While it certainly doesn't take away long term tiredness, it certainly helps you feel more alert and friendly for the next hour as you slowly wake up to attack the world. I just lie down in the car, and start listening to YouTube Laughter Meditations in my car.

Aidan Tavendale
28/2/2012 05:28:18 pm

Did my first proper Laughter Meditation via Skype tonight, with no headphones and with only myself in the room. While LM via Skype does not have the exercises, it still has the sounds of laughter, and I've come away after 15 minutes on quite a brillant high, even though I haven't attended a club physically. Well Done Skype Laughter Yoga. Only 5 of us online tonight.


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