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Trickster Therapy: The healing properties of inverted humor

“Those who cling to life die, and those who defy death live.” ~Kenshin

Trickster is a psychosocial symbol for the chaotic and unpredictable side of human thought and behavior—what Jung called an archetype. In depth psychology it is contrasted with the Apollonian part of the mind that values order and control. A balance between these two aspects of the psyche is optimal.

But the power of inverted humor transforms the way the game is played. Trickster is allowed to trick the self into going Meta. It propels us into a bird’s eye view of the psyche, where all the archetypes are laid out below us ready to be plucked—masks just waiting to be donned.

Trickster therapy is existential reverse engineering. It’s psychosocial reconditioning. It’s hacking the self so thoroughly that we are finally able to embrace the fact that we are masks all the way down perceiving delusions all the way up.

Then it’s using all those masks and delusions as steppingstones into a heightened state of reality. It’s climbing out of the abyss of Ego and into the light of Soul. It’s using humility to ascend into humor—high humor, exalted humor. Humor so filled to bursting with courage and honor that it becomes wisdom.

Trickster therapy teaches us how to make better mistakes, how to increase momentum by not getting attached to anything, how to play the Infinite rather than the Finite Game, and how to transform the apocalypse into providence. Let’s break it down…

The Art of Making Better Mistakes:

“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His mistakes are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” ~James Joyce

Rule number one in trickster therapy: question everything. Avoid assumptions. Dismantle prepackaged concepts. Be over-the-top metaphorical. Perceive the many layers of complexity the universe has to offer. Especially the many layers of complexity that is yourself.

At worst, you are an imperfect, hypocritical, fallible creature who’s prone to mistakes. At best, you are aware of it. Don and discard masks to get better at navigating the many layers of the self.

Become more self-aware through character arc awareness. You are a character in a story. Like all characters, you have an arc. Your mistakes are a big part of your character arc. Use them as props. Transform them into threshold guardians on the path toward heroism. Learn from them, subsume them, then make them a vital part of your muscle memory.

The worst thing you can do is stop making mistakes. That’s the biggest mistake of all. For that is a mistake of laziness. Which means you’ve stopped growing. The best thing you can do is make mistakes of ambition.

Intent matters. You can’t avoid making mistakes, but you can avoid laziness. Be proactive. Have a sense of play about it. Choose ambition over sloth and the mistakes you make will almost always be healthier.

Momentum and Non-attachment:

“Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.” ~Jiddu Krishnamurti

Trickster therapy is also a way to create momentum while not getting attached. It’s a way of celebrating the path while also letting it go. It’s all about catch and release. Catch the bliss, then surrender it.

What creates this forward momentum? Curiosity. Foremost, trickster therapy teaches curiosity over certainty. Certainty is anathema to momentum because it cuts out curiosity. Without curiosity there can be no forward motion, no impetus, no growth. So, if certainty is poison to momentum, then curiosity is the cure.

Inverse humor plants the seed of curiosity into the hardened ground of certainty so that courage and strength can manifest. In this sense curiosity is the bones of the body of wisdom.

Be curious. Feel it, love it, relish being in awe and overwhelmed with gratitude. Then let it go. Practice non-attachment. Surrender it to Cosmos. When you’re attached to nothing, you’re connected to everything.

Detachment is important because otherwise certainty will creep in and ruin your momentum. Curtail certainty by embracing curiosity. Fall in love with awe, and wonder, and whatever else should come from it (good or bad), then let it all go with respect, lightheartedness, and loving kindness.

Nonattachment and a good sense of humor is as close to true enlightenment as you’re ever going to get anyway. And that’s okay.

Playing the Infinite over the Finite Game:

“The Great Sorting Hat at the End of Time won’t give a damn which side we thought we were on—Rebel or Stormtrooper, Red Pill or Blue—but only on our intentions. Were we coming from a place of fear or love? Were we standing for all of us or only some of us? Were we playing for Team Finite, or Team Infinite?” ~Jamie Wheal

Trickster therapy teaches you how to play the Infinite Game.