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ZEN MIND, LAUGHING MIND with Steve Bhaerman

Start Date:
Sat, 20 April 2013
Finish date:
Not Specified
Last Revised:
Thursday, 06 December 2012
7 Favoure
175 USD
Marin Country, San Francisco Bay Area
25 of 25


We are delighted to offer Steve Bhaerman's terrific workshop in serious comedy to the LifeSchool community. The workshop will consist a five hour comedic training in developing your stand-up routine, and then we'll produce an evening event with friends and family to give you a chance to take your schtick around the block for a test drive - in front of a loving, appreciative and supportive audience.

The first Patriarch of Zen Buddhism was Bodhidharma. He came from India to southern China in 527 BC and visited Emperor Wu-ti, the founder of the Liang dynasty at Nanking and one of Buddhism's greatest all-time patrons in China. Emperor Wu asked Bodhidharma about the highest meaning of noble Truth, and Bodhidharma replied, "Vast emptiness, there is no noble Truth." "Who, then, is standing before me?" "I don't know," said Bodhidharma. Emperor Wu then asked the Indian sage how much karmic merit he, the emperor, had accumulated by building monasteries, ordaining monks, sponsoring translations and copies of scriptures and making Buddhist art-images. Bodhidharma was replied happily: "No merit whatsoever!" And then he left the region.

Doesn't this sound like something from Seinfeld? To sense the highest truths, you need to develop your sense of comedy. Here's your chance! Like Swami Beyondananda says, "Seriousness is one of the major causes of truth decay on the planet."

Here's another reason to master humor -- laughter is one of the best medicines for healing our bodies, minds and spirits. It brings us great joy and inner peace, which then makes us more available to serve others and the world's most pressing needs.

This full day intensive and evening event with internationally-known author and workshop leader Steve Bhaerman offers you breakthrough tools to unleash your inner comedian, transform any negativity or pain in your life, and help free your spirit to connect more deeply with the world and those around you. What's more, you don't have to be a professional comedian to use the magical tools of the comic to bring love, laughter, wisdom and perspective into your life! And this fun, funny and incisive course helps you apply the tools of the comedian to your own personal human comedy and the many dramas our planet faces.

For decades, Steve Bhaerman - who has gained a worldwide audience as the "cosmic comic" Swami Beyondananda - has been entertaining (or "innertaining") thousands with wit and wisdom. He also blogs about politics and current events from a spiritual perspective, prompting Marianne Williamson to call him the "Mark Twain of our generation."

The event will be held in an appropriate venue, complete with musical accompaniment (most likely, a jazz bassist named Chauncey).

You will find that delivering comedy can be even more transformative than watching it, and being on stage can be as scary as a firewalk. Steve will teach the workshop, and Swami Beyondananda and Moses Ma, the founder of TSN and slow jammer of Zen koans, will host your evening event. Expect special guests to participate and perform that evening as well.

Plus, you'll receive a workshop workbook and two bonus e-books - Wake Up Laughing: An Insider's Guide to the Cosmic Comedy and The Zen Cohens of Harry Cohen Baba - that will help you apply and embody what you learn in the course into your daily life.

So how should we close out this workshop description? With a joke, of course!

The famous Ch'an master Fa-yen interrupted an argument among some monks concerning the relationship of mind to reality by posing to them a question: "Over there is a large boulder. Do you say that it is inside or outside your mind?" One of the monks replied, "From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so that I would have to say that the stone is inside my mind." Quipped Fa-yen, "Boy, your head must be very heavy! Boom! BaBOOM!"


Swami Beyondananda is the cosmic comic alter ego of writer, humorist, performer and uncommontator Steve Bhaerman. The Swami, whose favorite yoga pose is tongue-in-cheek, is the spokesperson for a new non-religion, FUNdamentalism (accent on "fun"). Says the Swami, "We are strictly non-dominational."

Steve was pursuing a career as a teacher and writer, when a funny thing happened. The name "Swami Beyondananda" flew into his head on day in 1979. As Steve tells it, "I got struck by enlightening during a brainstorm." The following year, when he and a cohort were casting about for a comic mascot for their ground-breaking holistic publication, Pathways in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Swami's name popped back up. The first issue of Pathways in January, 1980 featured an ad spoofing the old Famous Artists ads. This ad was for Famous Guru's Schools, and the headline proclaimed, "We're looking for people who want to draw ... on higher consciousness." The piece included some mock testimonials, including: "Dear Swami ... loved your leadership training ... please send followers."

Before long, Swami was the most popular feature in Pathways, as he held forth on topics such as "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sects" ("... unbridled sects can lead to unwanted misconceptions ..."), Teach Your Dog to Heal ("... being around friendly canines generates healthy hormones called puptides ..."), Tantrum Yoga ("... the latest rage on the path to ire consciousness"), and Be There Now, Swami's ultimate take on bi-location ("... the first time I stepped outside my body, I was beside myself with excitement ...").

After Pathways ceased publication, the Swami's articles began to appear in national publications such as the old East West Journal, and local publications in Philadelphia, Austin, Salt Lake City, among others. When Steve decided to pursue comedy as a full-time career in 1985, the Swami was the obvious vehicle. (You can read the surprising story of the first words that ever came out of Swami's mouth in the e-book, Wake Up Laughing: An Insider's Guide to the Cosmic Comedy.)

Anyway, shortly after his first public performance as Swami in 1985, Steve met his wife-to-be Trudy, and a year-and-a-half later, they took off in a van and trailer and launched the Swami and Trudy show. And the rest ... is mystery.

In the course of nearly twenty-five years of purveying cosmic comedy and healing laughter, Swami has had a successful, long-running monthly column, Ask The Swami, has written four books (Driving Your Own Karma ... When You See A Sacred Cow, Milk It for All It's Worth ... Duck Soup for the Soul ... Swami for Precedent: A Seven-Step Plan to Heal the Body Politic and Cure Electile Dysfunction), and produced a half a dozen comedy cassettes (sorry, not available on 8-track) and CDs.


Cost:  $150 per person, 10% discount for Life School Enrolled Students

Please register to book this course online.


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