"To learn to laugh is not merely a secular pleasure; it opens onto the sacred realm. Spiritual traditions from around the world teach us not to take ourselves too seriously. In fact, sober reverence for dogma and holy figures can stop us from experiencing our own awakening. In the words of Zen master Feng, 'The Buddha is a bull-headed jail-keeper, and the Patriarchs are horse-faced old maids!' Sometimes it is better to laugh than to pray; and laughter itself can become a kind of prayer. Native American traditions have rituals to celebrate the 'sacred clowns,' bawdy, outrageous trickster figures. For example, in the Cherokee 'Booger Event,' the clowns enter a circle farting, then gyrate like madmen and spray spectators with water from large pseudopenises concealed beneath their clothes. The wild forces of nature and the human spirit are celebrated. The Islamic tradition reveres the fool Nasrudin, whose escapades express crazy wisdom. We see this playfulness in the Christian tradition as well. St. Francis referred to himself and members of his joyful order as jesters of the Lord. They followed in the footsteps of St. Paul, a self-proclaimed 'fool for Christ.' What, in Paul's eyes, could be more 'foolish' than God come to earth in a lowly form to hang out with prostitutes and rip-off artists, only to meet an ignoble end? Ridiculous! Yet 'the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom" (1 Cor 1:25).