Pragito Dove Interviewed by
Louise Crooks in Published! Magazine
The Key to Real World Success
LC: Pragito, you have a wealth of wisdom behind you, and I’m really curious to find out a bit more about your experience being connected to the enlightened mystic Osho. I know that you’ve drawn on a number of different modalities like Sufism and Tibetan Buddhism; I’d just love to hear your journey in bringing expressive meditation to this country. Would you indulge us with a little bit of your story?
PD: Yes, I would love to, Louise. The reason I even went to India in the first place was because I was full of pain and fear because I had a very, very challenging childhood. I promised myself as a small child that I was going to heal myself and find a way to do that. I tried meditation and I tried yoga, but I couldn’t sit still. I had so much stress, tension and emotional turmoil inside of me that they didn’t work.
Then I heard about these expressive meditation techniques of Osho’s, so I decided to go out to India and check it out for myself. I took my baby son with me, too, which was a pretty radical thing to do in those days. However that worked out very well, and he’s turned out amazing. He and I are a great success story.
When I got to the meditation resort in Pune, India, I started doing the expressive meditation techniques like the laughter meditation, which is the most popular one, and then there’s meditations for grief, pain, and tears. There’s a dancing meditation, a humming meditation, and a dynamic meditation. The basic premise
of these expressive meditations is to release all of your tension and stress so that it will be much easier for you to sit in silence.
I found that they worked for me. I was able to get all my emotional turmoil healed and shed tons and tons of the overall stress and tension. Then I started to really experience the inner peace and calm that we all have inside of us. Everyone is born with inner peace, inner calm, inner silence and inner stillness; it’s just that we’ve become disconnected from it. Through these techniques, I got my connection back. Then I was invited to teach and share my experiences.
LC: That’s a big honor, Pragito.
PD: It was a big honor. I couldn’t think why they’d asked me, because I didn’t see how I could ever teach these techniques; I didn’t feel qualified. I thought you had to be enlightened and all kinds of things, but they had more faith in me than I had in myself at the time. Fortunately, I said yes to it, and then came back
This was over 20 years ago, and it was rather a daunting prospect at the time to launch a meditation business. This is where we have the overlap. I know we’re here to talk about supporting business owners in their business, and I’ve certainly done that over the last 20 years. I created a business and, in turn, made it very successful, but it was tough at the beginning. This was before Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, and people like that started writing their books. I felt a bit like a voice in the wilderness, you know?
LC: I can imagine.
PD: Here’s where it’s important—I knew this was my purpose, and it’s also my passion. There’s nothing I like better than talking about meditation and all these wonderful techniques, so I stayed with it. That is a real key when you start a business, as I’m sure you know, Louise. You must love what you do, and then—
especially at the beginning—you have to stay with it and not give up.
LC: Yes, you really do. I think a lot of people give up just at the moment when they’re about to see some powerful results. What you’re saying makes so much sense, Pragito.
PD: Yes, thanks. Fortunately, I received a lot of encouragement and support, and I think that’s very important too. I know the fundamental thing was just absolutely loving what I did. When I would think about quitting, I’d think, “What else am I going to do with my life? Work in a grocery store or something? That’s not going to be very fulfilling for me.” I was really inspired to keep going.
I also found that when I did say, “yes,” to it, for example in 2001 when I got the book deal with Penguin Group in New York for my first book. What a validation that I was doing the right thing.
LC: Yes, and for it to be published in five different languages is certainly testimony to that as well, Pragito. What you’re sharing is important and people want to know about it.
PD: Yes, thank you. It was really amazing to be published in all of those languages. Actually, my latest book, Laughter, Tears, Silence, has just come out in French.
LC: Fabulous! Congratulations!
PD: It’s very exciting. I love the foreign languages, because I do have quite an international audience, which is wonderful, because you never know where people are that are interested in what you do. That’s the beauty of the Internet and all the technology we have these days.
LC: Absolutely. When you came back to the United States teaching meditation, what did you do next? Particularly because some of these meditation techniques had a fairly radical approach; how was that, and what did you do to start getting the word out there about that?
As you know, I’m also a hypnotherapist. I do individual hypnotherapy sessions, and a lot of my clients
started saying to me, “You should come to San Francisco to our company and do a presentation.” One of the things I did was to give all of these presentations for free at the beginning just to get my foot in the door and get known— this was really before the Internet, of course. It sounds weird to say that, doesn’t it?
LC: It actually wasn’t that long ago! Seems like eons, but it actually isn’t.
PD: I did a lot of presentations for Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs. I spoke to anybody who would have me. Now of course, we’re doing radio shows, teleseminars and telesummits. I added all that in, because I think it’s very important to do that—to give presentations, and also to create an email list of people interested and have a blog or a newsletter, or something like that where you can send people useful information about your subject.
LC: Yes, absolutely.
PD: Those are critically important things. In fact, oddly enough, I was talking with a woman this morning, and she has been on my email list for about 10 years.
LC: That’s a long time!
PD: Yes, a very long time. I was kind of shocked; it’s amazing. She said, “I love reading The Laughing Buddhas Network newsletter, and I love reading about your little grandson you have now, and all your weekly meditations and so on.” It was amazing. When you find people who like what you do and you will when it’s your passion, when it’s your purpose; people are very faithful, and they do stay with you.
LC: That’s amazing, isn’t it? Pragito, perhaps you could explain a little bit more about you having this radical approach to meditation, that being expressive meditation. Can you explain that a little bit for us?
PD: Yes. I’ll take the laughter meditation as the example, because that’s the most fun. It’s also the most popular meditation.
The laughter meditation has two stages. Traditionally, we think of meditation as just sitting in silence, and it might have a rather grim and austere sort of thing around it for a lot of people. It certainly did for me.
“Physiologically, laughter is a natural tranquilizer. It stimulates the brain to produce hormones that trigger the release of endorphins, which are like a natural Valium.”
LC: I think it’s quite intimidating when someone’s trying to get started with meditation if they think that’s what it’s going to be like.
PD: I think you’re absolutely right. They try it and it’s difficult, and they just give up. What I like about the laughter meditation is that during the first stage, we laugh. We just laugh. That’s all we do. That’s fun to start with.
In the second stage, we sit in silence. The point is, in the example of the expressive techniques, in the first stage, we are releasing a tremendous amount of stress. One of the reasons people can’t sit in silence is that they’re full of stress and tension. There’s physical stress, and the mind is going a million miles an hour—maybe there’s emotional turmoil as well. Who wants to sit with all of that? That’s not fun.
In my first book, I wrote one chapter about laughter. In my new book, I’ve written a third of the book about the benefits of laughter. It has so many dimensions, it’s just amazing. Physiologically, laughter is a natural painkiller, like a natural Valium. This is all free and natural, so that’s all good.
PD: Laughter is free. We all know how to laugh. It has tremendous physiological benefits, and if for no other reason, do it for that—because it really helps us to relax. Meditation is based on relaxation, and in relaxation, we start with the body. The first step is to relax the body, and why not have fun doing it? Everybody knows you feel better after a good laugh. They might not realize the research that now proves that laughter has these amazing psychological benefits.
Laughter also helps to release all the stress out of the mind, which gets so overloaded these days with all this information and technology, and it really helps the mind to de-stress, relax and calm down. Then, of course, we can release emotional tension with laughter. It has a spiritual dimension to it as well. You can’t laugh and think at the same time.
LC: That’s a good thing.
PD: You can’t laugh and be worried at the same time. You can’t laugh and be in fear at the same time.
PD: Laughter helps heal fear and banish worry and anxiety from us, and it helps us feel positive, uplifted, inspired and good, and that activates the Law of Attraction.
LC: It creates a good vibration.
PD: Yes, exactly. With the Law of Attraction, we want to have positive thoughts in our mind, but the important thing about the Law of Attraction is our feeling state. Laughter puts us in that positive vibration feeling state, which helps us attract good things. I could go on about the benefits of the laughter. There are so
many good things.
Then the meditation part where we sit in silence, the energy of the laughter acts as a bridge to take us deep down to our center of peace, calm, and wisdom. Then, we can look at the situations in our lives and the people in our lives from a place of clarity, wisdom, calm, and perhaps some humor. It really helps us in a very powerful way, and I’ve only just shared the tip of the iceberg of all the benefits.
LC: I can imagine, especially if a third of your new book is dedicated to exploring all of the benefits.
PD: Another one being creativity, especially in these days where people get worried about money. Laughter meditation—there’s over 150 techniques in my new book—and I pick out the laughter meditation as the best one for helping unleash your creativity, because creativity makes money. We can come up with some creative ideas or some creative ways to find some money or increase our business, creative ways to market our business, new creative programs for our business—it’s endless how it can help us.
LC: It’s interesting, Pragito, that you say that, because it’s very difficult for me to get into a creative state to write great e-mail copy and things like that if I’m feeling stressed out, and to relieve that and to get into that different way of being is really important. It’s very valuable.
PD: I think it’s essential these days. If you want to live a happy and productive life, I think you really have to think about having some kind of meditation in your life. It is so high in popularity because we get to have fun with it as well.
LC: If we can step into this space, it really lightens it, and we can look at life from a lighter standpoint. It just makes everything seem so much better, doesn’t it?
PD: Absolutely, it does. It changes our whole outlook. With this amazing outlook you have after some laughter, then all kinds of possibilities open up. Creative ideas pop up. You’ve opened yourself up energetically to that high positive vibration to attract.
LC: Yes, absolutely. How does laughter and play lead to deep meditation and silence?
PD: That’s a great question, Louise. Play is a part of laughter. There’s laughter, there’s having fun, there’s playfulness, smiling—all of these things are part of the whole energy of laughter. What they do is they act as a bridge, because they open us up energetically; when we’re happy, being playful, having fun, and laughing, then we become very open.
This opens up the heart as well. That leads us in this second stage to go deeper inside ourselves. It takes us quickly and deeply down inside, whereas as we talked at the beginning to just sit in silence can be really hard, but this way, doing the laughter first, the energy of the laughter takes us deep inside quickly.
LC: Do you think it’s because it empties us out?
PD: It is. It’s really so much stress, and when all that stress is gone, then the pathway to our inner silence is opened to us, which is why we can drop down there so much more quickly and easily. Then we get some instant results, which encourages us to do more.
As you were talking about before, if you’re not getting any results you just get bored and fidgety and don’t want to do it. When you’re having fun and getting quick results, which you do, then it’s very encouraging to keep doing it, and then the benefits and the results just keep multiplying.
LC: Share with us how these techniques can help us find inner peace.
PD: The inner peace comes from finding that ability of what we were just talking about; everything is able to drop down, because our inner peace is already inside us. Everyone is born filled with inner peace. It’s just that it’s gotten buried underneath all the clutter of tension, stresses, to-do lists, and so on. The good
news is that it’s there. We just have to dig through to find it, which, as we were describing, the laughter part can help us do.
How does that enrich our lives? It enriches our lives on every level. Let’s talk about relationships. Whether it’s personal, family, friends, business relationships, it doesn’t matter; the more calm and relaxed you are, the better your relationships will be. Inner peace is very powerful in enhancing all relationships.
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