My mouse-click was supposed to elicit a vid of what the oldest WWII veteran, a 109 year old man, had to say about living life. It was a video about what clowns had to say instead. Well, it ended up being something to write about. In the heart of every clown, whether on a stage or not, is a yearning to help people laugh or at least touch them emotionally in some way. Clowning is powerful because its foundation is human suffering, uncertainty and a desire for emotional connection. Being able to laugh about the things that hurt. Laugh at what doesn't feel so great…that moment of embarrassment, being humiliated, having your buttons pushed, feeling despair, none is left out. Clowns glean their ideas from watching what happens in life and reveal patterns we witness or participate in regularly. They reveal the human condition and portray the truths involved in a transformational way, from potentially personal pain of something, to its naked understanding, to laughter. Lifelong clown, Slava Polunin, calls clowning the academy of happiness. "The upside down world where you must look at things as if for the first time. And process them, always through joy," he says with a broad smile and shining blue eyes. He says the second most important thing is to be happy. "I know how to be happy and that's what I teach other people." And so, at the heart of clowning is a marriage between love's end, joy, and truthfulness. I could not help but wonder, watching that video, how different is it being a clown from becoming more spiritually aware? In the end, do they not have overlapping roles? The Lakota people on the American Great Plains held in high esteem the Heyoka. In translation, Heyoka would be the Jester or the Sacred Clown. Heyokas are shamans in their own right, for they reveal truthfulness by doing things backwards, not unlike the clown who must look at the world upside down as if for the first time. Heyoka is riding the horse backwards, or wearing a shirt inside out, or complaining about being too hot when it is freezing out. It is the bringing back of a balance in those moments. Saint Augustine observed, "If thou shouldst say, 'I have reached perfection,' all is lost. For it is the function of perfection to make one know one's imperfection." Perhaps balance lies together with movement within a paradox and heyoka is the part of perfection by which our fluidity is called upon to find moving center in an ever expanding sphere. Truthfulness is a face with two sides. It goes beyond all limits put upon it. My perception of Truth in this moment is that it has many layers which exist to block or pave the way to a deeper layer of truth. That it is an elemental process of consciousness. When a truth becomes a belief, it can pave the way to a deeper truth or become a governor impeding progress. Another metaphoric way of seeing this is that a spiritual pathfinder's road has two sides to step into: self-pity and self-importance. While these two camps house things to learn in and of themselves, they must eventually be cast to the left or the right. Neither can be maintained in the middle of a spiritual road, that path of the Heart toward selflessness, greater awareness, freedom, and joy. An opposite, an upside-down or an inside out act can bring the balance, can bring back walking on the path again, or further down the path. For those who are disheartened, a comedic approach can result in laughing, which eases that heavy burden from their shoulders and allows the vision of truth to come forth with a much needed lightness of being. For those who are complacent, on either side of the road, or perhaps too sure of themselves, the other face of truth pokes holes in that comfort layer, evokes feeling, elicits the dissonance needed to awaken awareness more urgently. Whatever is seen in Heyoka could be seen as what is also needed to evolve spiritually. Heyoka is the great mirror. Heyoka can be the messenger one can feel the desire to shoot (as the saying goes...). Why is that? The order of things is disrupted and an object for the resultant feelings is desired. Some are born into Heyoka, most are not. To achieve that upside-downedness is an art, nevertheless, though, isn't it? To go beyond human cultural structures meant to build a hierarchy of power and place, which perhaps separate us from each other rather than join us in an egalitarian community of oneness. Perhaps even keep us from directly experiencing God more fully. The Greeks called it anoia, a misunderstanding, a malady of the soul. The cure is metanoia, those large and small heartbreaks, which crack open the heart wide enough to let the Universe fall in. And soul break is its consequence as well, for when the heart cracks open, whether from laughter or from tears, a level of detachment can be attained in that moment to see things clearly and compassionately. Imagine being able to innately offer the counterbalance from within the multiple Apollonian and Dionysian dualities! -- order and madness, rigidity and frenzy, sacred and profane, logic and creativity, apathy and intensity, boredom and passion, laughter and seriousness. To be and acknowledge Heyoka would be knowing what to truly give in those clown-inspired moments of interchange with others and with oneself. And as we all do things in that mix of forwards and backwards in our own learning process in life, couldn't any of us be called into a role for Heyoka then, to offer an instantaneous missing piece or balance in a moment...or receive it? That for everything said and done, a Heyoka moment may also be present in the layers of meaning, moving us beyond duality, division and judgment. This give-and-take of Heyoka can create its own pattern of ever-growing awareness. It can remind us to embrace the comedy of Life and see its dynamic role in bringing a deeper balance to the simple complexity of the world, whether our personal world or the greater universe of Consciousness.