It occurred to me while running that there must be an equivalent training program for the mind. "A sound mind in a sound body" implies that physical and psychological fitness must proceed from the same principles, in fact from the same source.
The basis of the sound body is, of course, stress - stress applied in measured and constantly increasing quantities with suitable interval of time between to allow the body to adapt. What makes this process work, however, is play. What makes us fit must be sport, or we won't participate. What makes us healthy must come from a self-renewing inner compulsion, or we won't persist in it. What makes us athletes must become an essential part of our day, or our bodies will rebel against it. If play is the answer to our physical life, should not play be the answer to our psychological life as well? Will not the play that made us athletes also make us saints?
I put it to you that it does. There is no question in my mind that the best way to handle psychological stress is play. The surest way to develop a sound mind is through humor. How better, then, to deal with stress than with humor?
Humor allows us to tolerate the intolerable, to accept the unacceptable, to bear the unbearable, even to understand the incomprehensible.
Humor gives us the capacity to live with ambiguity, the courage to take chances, the strength to go forward without solutions.
What humor does is reduce life to the game that it is. It allows us to take a long look at the real world and all that is evil about us, yet to know that it is somehow part of the plan. Only a sense of humor can help each of us face those great unanswerable questions: Why was I born? Why am I here? Why must I die? What must I do to make my life a triumph?
Humor is play to the mind as much as to me, running is play to the body.