There is a Fool in all of us. Perhaps it only comes out once a year on our birthday or once a lifetime. For others the way of the fool is a path, a lifestyle – and lucky for them. Given this is April 1st, All Fools’ Day, I want to honor the archetype of the Holy Fool.
The Holy Fool won’t trick someone for the fun of it. He or she instead lives a simplified life, not simple minded, but joyful and observant. They don’t take themselves too seriously and aren’t interested in calling attention to others shortcomings. Rather they exercise a wisdom different from conventional and mainstream ways of thinking. They overstep what is considered politically correct to remove our defenses leaving us vulnerable yet feeling safe.
How does one become a Holy Fool?
The heart must break open and know no bounds. As children we naturally have the energy of the Fool. We’re curious. We find ways to create. We overcoming boredom by initiating fun. We can be moved to laughter because we are expressive, animated and in the moment.
Children experience life though instinct, intuition, and imagination. As we guide and guard them, they gradually begin to incorporate conscious awareness. We advise children to not to be silly, to contain themselves. As time goes by, without notice, that capacity to enjoy life, to play in the moment, to create and think creatively, each valuable and worthwhile, are lost if not forgotten altogether in adulthood.
However, if one is also a seeker of truth, an adventurer, and maybe even a bit of a rebel we learn to observe, step out of our fears, and risk being different. In our exploration we find a wisdom that can bring us full circle and unleashed. We discover we can pick ourselves up and start over again. This may be seen as a mid-life crisis or some other impulse that invites us to experiment with life, to have fun and be free.
Freeing is a power that is not contained or contrived. It can bend what is stiff. It forces us to confront our limitations and shattered assumptions about the way things “should” be. Like the trickster, the Holy Fool can silence us with his wit.
The Holy Fool has something to teach those of us obsessed with perfection. He or she sees the many ways the world is far from ideal, yet can live within that which is imperfect. Learned experience allows them to be in the moment and to respond spontaneously to challenges and stressful situations in a naturally playful way. They fully expect that the impossible can happen. While their spirit can lead us into a frenzy it can also invite us to look within, to be still and discover the treasures of the heart.
The shadow side of the Holy Fool would be to fall into arrogance, to have their head in the clouds unaware of others ills or pitfalls, or to deny that they have experienced their own share of human fallibility.
The Holy Fool offer us their healing spirit, their sense of play, and the spirit of wholeness or holiness.