Laughter Clubs: for free or for fee?

We promote Laughter Clubs that are free and public. Thousands around the world volunteer their time to make them happen, freely and unconditionally, from the heart as an act of service.

We are often asked how these people can make a living if they don’t get paid. The answer is that getting paid is not their intention and this is not how they make a living.

People who (want to) make a living with Laughter Yoga offer Laughter Yoga classes, presentations or workshops. Getting paid is expected. There is a fee to attend. The event leaders have to train and practice first so that they can deliver a service that is of value. It’s a different public and a different logistic. Where Laughter Clubs are easy-going (you pretty much do what you want; anybody can do it) Laughter Yoga classes are and must be of a professional level otherwise people won’t come back.

There is no conflict between free and for-fee events. Actually, they complement each other. Every person we know who is professionally active with Laughter Yoga leads a free Laughter Club (note that “free” does not mean that you can’t have a donation box). It’s where they can to practice and refine their skill. It’s also their marketing window.

On a different level, generosity leads to abundance. Selflessness leads to joy

From the volunteers’ perspective, Dana or donation is one of the few deep values of generosity left in the world, where something precious is offered without charge. Laughter Clubs strive to honor this noble tradition of Dana, so that the practical wisdom they share on the art of living is kept free from pollution and misunderstanding.From the student’s perspective, Dana is a way to attempt to act in the same way as the teaching is offered, freely and unconditionally from the heart without expectation of return. Through Dana as students we offer our support to the ongoing work of the teachers. So when we give Dana, we do not give for ourselves, but so that others may continue to benefit from the teachings. If donation is given with this attitude, then it is purifying both individually and collectively.

How many times in a day do we give to others our time and money with the thought of getting something in return? We are trained habitually to expect a return; we work and expect remuneration, we are kind and polite expecting friendship and civility, we buy expecting a certain kind of product. If the expected or planned return does not materialize then we suffer!

The giving of motiveless or pure donation transcends our habitual patterns and as a result is free from the suffering of expectation and instead full of the joy of selfless action. The practice of giving unconditionally in all aspects of our lives is a very deep Yoga. To give is to let go; the sorrow and tension lie in holding on and holding back.

The Dalai Lama was once asked why he is always so happy, he replied after contemplation “Perhaps it is because I spend every waking moment thinking about the welfare of others”. There is no higher gift that can be given to others than these sublime Yoga teachings. So by giving donation we are aiding the welfare of everyone. We should give what we feel we are able to while also maintaining the attitude described above. It is not so much to do with how much we give but the attitude of mind as we give.

The Buddha once said “Some provide with the little they have, others who are affluent don’t like to give. An offering given from the little one has is worth a thousand it’s value”. There is a universal law that requires great courage to explore. This law says, the more we give the more the divine provides for our true needs. The more we forget ourselves in the service of others, the more secure and fulfilled we feel. The more we stay present, the more the future is taken care of.

As students our gifts of time, money and energy to the Laughter Club we attend, upholds it and bears well for it’s future.

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