Life is Meant to Be Enjoyed
Life is meant to be enjoyed. Let me repeat that, life is meant to be enjoyed. This principle seems to have been somewhat forgotten, especially during such a heavy year as this one. I don't mean life is meant to be pacified with stress distracting and numbing unsustainable behavior, or life is meant to be an unending pursuit of things and achievements with the idea that enjoyment will occur once they've been acquired. Your life, in this very moment, with all its flaws and inefficiencies and discomfort and loss and messiness is meant to be enjoyed. This can happen if we let go of all our rigid expectations and remind ourselves that we don't have to be so serious about everything.
Isn't it wrong to feel joy and happiness when there is so suffering in the world?
It is admirable to want all of creation to feel joyful, however stomping out your joy for fear it is somehow hurtful to others is looking at things a bit backwards. The world needs more light-hearted, belly-laughing-until-your-eyes-tear-up joy. Happy people don't hurt others. Happy people help people. Happy people uplift others with their joy. If you are experiencing joy, help others experience it too, they don't want you to be miserable for their sake. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said we "have a serious responsibility not to be serious." Not only is it not inappropriate to be joyful in the face of suffering, we have a social responsibility to seek joy as a way of helping others.
Be the innocent witness, let the death grip of control go
I like those advice lists from elders to the rest of us that get spread around on social media from time to time. One of the repeating central themes is–all that stuff they thought mattered, didn't, and they wish they'd taken all those "really important things" less seriously. When we meditate, we learn to find our fulfillment within as opposed to looking for it on the other side of outcomes and achievements, this is the key to letting go of rigid attachment to outcomes which is the cause of becoming a humorless control freak. When you move through life as the innocent witness, unexpected outcomes become interesting (or even amusing) as opposed to stressful evidence of a lack of control.
We can choose to be less serious at any time
I've always struggled with the notion that people espouse, that we can choose happiness. To me, choosing happiness meant sticking to my meditation practice so I was spontaneously happy. The idea of choosing to be happy in the moment never felt right for me. However, choosing to be less serious in the moment seems more attainable. Remembering that daily life doesn't have to be measured in productivity, but can be measured by how you experienced the story of the day, and even monotonous tasks like doing the dishes with a spouse or child can become an opportunity for levity.
Our Big Self is enjoying through us
We are all individual expressions of the One. It can only experience through its expressions, through us. Joy is what it feels like when consciousness is flowing, things are in balance and your awareness is out of the small self and it that wellspring of energy in the deeper layers of consciousness.
The meditation/spiritual world tends to take itself way too seriously
There's a misconception that to be spiritual or enlightened, you have to strive for a certain outward perfection and take your practice very seriously. Yogic and spiritual social media feeds reflect this. However, if you meet a truly enlightened person, or someone close to it, they all share a particular undercurrent of joy, and are quick to laugh fully and with their whole being. This is because the underlying field is bliss and their consciousness is seated there. It's called the Brahman personality and it is the personality from the underlying field bubbling up through the person. Think the Dalai Lama or Santa Claus (of course he's fictional but he is a caricature of this saintly type). Not being overly serious is a sign of being further along in your evolution. Think about how adults are continually amused by the things their teenagers take very seriously. They know that most of these relative fluctuations of life, like not getting invited to a dance, are not the end of the world, they are just on the surface and don't really matter.
We almost all take our meditation practice too seriously
It's easy to fall into the trap of taking your personal practice too seriously. Symptoms of this are beating yourself up after missing a meditation, looking down on others who don't meditate, feeling obligated to meditate. Have fun with it and go easy on yourself, after all, meditation is all about cultivating your relationship with yourself. It can be a fun, humorous, light-hearted relationship.
Our nature is joy. Just look at children.