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Home / Articles / Columnists / Life 101 /  Garvity & Levity
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Wednesday, April 7,2021

Garvity & Levity

By Cary Bayer  
An apple fell from a tree in England, like apples have been doing on that island and everywhere else on the planet where there are apple trees, ever since there have been apples. But in 1666, an observing Isaac Newton embarked upon understanding why they fell. And at what speed. And why they didn’t fall up?

He answered these questions, and others as well, in his universal law of gravitation. His insight is full of a lot of mathematics that might put you in a grave mood, but suffice it to say that while you might not understand his science, you understand gravity every time you fall down and go boom. And never fall up.

The fruit of his work – pun intended – was the Law of Gravitation. To understand what physics calls the most powerful force on Earth – other than love, which is the domain of metaphysics – he said that he stood on the shoulders of giants. This shoulder-standing should not be confused with Hatha Yoga teachers who do shoulder stands.

Years ago, when I developed the comic character The Wise Guy, the 4,000-year-old disembodied swami, he was delighting audiences with his maxim that, “It’s not gravity that keeps the heavenly bodies together; it’s levity.” You can google The Wise Guy; he’s the author of “The Lost Teachings of the Oy Veda.”

“Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.”

– G. K. Chesterton

If the understanding of gravity is among the greatest achievements in the long history of physics, perhaps the understanding of levity might be among the greatest achievements of the realm of metaphysics. The word “meta,” which comes from the Greek, means, among other things, beyond or transcending. So if gravity is connected to gravitation, perhaps levity is related to levitation.

The greatest metaphysical teacher who I had the privilege to study with was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. And he taught that there were three fields of life – the field of action, which Newton understood; the field of thought, which Freud and the psychologists investigated; and the field of Being, which the yogis explored both intellectually and experientially. (By the way, I would be remiss if I failed to say that Maharishi was also reviving an ancient teaching of levitation taught by the great Yogi Patanjali that enables people to lift up off the ground. While not quite levitation – it’s closer to a kind of frog-like hopping – it is a rather extraordinary and, if I do say so myself, exhilarating experience.)

Having been trained by Maharishi to teach people how to connect to the transcendental field of Being through meditation, I have seen hundreds of times how it lightens the spirits of those learning to meditate. By way of full disclosure I taught Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation for three decades, and Higher Self Healing Meditation (which I developed after so much TM teaching), for the last 10 years. I haven’t stood on the shoulders of giants, but I have witnessed the shoulders of so many hundreds of people – whether they were giants or dodgers – who I taught to meditate, just simply relax. People carry tremendous amounts of tension in their shoulders – all those shouldas and shoulds – and when tension leaves the body with each meditation, some of it leaves from there.

Levity involves the awakening of a lightness of spirit. It’s not something that needs to be developed, a skill you have to learn that you don’t know, because you had it as an infant, a toddler, a small child. Eventually you were taught by parents and teachers to get serious, to stop having so much fun. In short, you were taught to be grave, and it very well might be that all those fatalities from heart disease occurred, in part, by taking life so very gravely.

As a class clown and eventually a stand-up comic years later, I’ve seen how taking things lightly adds inches to your smile. And probably years to your life, for as the Biblical maxim from Proverbs goes: “A light heart lives long.” As my favorite comedian, Groucho Marx put it, referring to the comedy of his brothers and himself, “Because we are laughed at, I don’t think people really understand how essential we are to their sanity.” Elsewhere, he noted, “If it weren’t for the brief respite we give the world with our foolishness, the world would see mass suicide in numbers that compare favorably with the death rate of the lemmings.” My second favorite comic genius was Charlie Chaplin, who had a most telling observation about whether life was grave or light. He wrote: “Life is a tragedy in close-up, but a comedy in long shot.”

In other words, being grave sends you faster to the grave. And being light sends you faster to the Light.

 

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