Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Smile Meditation :)

"In ancient China, the Taoists taught that a constant inner smile, a smile to oneself, insured health, happiness and longevity. Why? Smiling to yourself is like basking in love: you become your own best friend. Living with an inner smile is to live in harmony with yourself."

-Mantak Chia

After a 7 month break, I finally got back to my meditation last night. Intrigued by the smile meditation that was introduced in Eat Pray Love, I decided to put this simple soul-gratifying task into practice and see if it works. To my surprise, it did. What does this meditation entail you may ask? Nothing. Just sit, close your eyes and smile. For once, sitting still and focused for 10 minutes was a breeze. Infact, I did not even want to come out of my meditation mode. As I opened my eyes slowly, I could feel my soul smiling back at me and thanking me. Thanking me for giving it food (meditation) to nourish. Immediately after, I started googling for more information on this smile meditation and this is what I found:

The Inner Smile Meditation Technique

A genuine smile transmits loving energy that has the power to warm and heal. By learning to smile inwardly, you can make your whole body feel loved and appreciated. This is a very powerful way to counteract stress and tension. In this meditation you will feel the energy flow down the entire length of your whole body like a waterfall.

This informal technigue is simple and easy to remember. Initially, begin by relaxing yourself. When calm and centered, bring your awareness to the very center, inside your head.Visualize, looking out from the center of your head and see the inside of the 'mask' of your face. Starting with the inside of your forehead, simply notice the broad, screen-like surface where , now blank, clairvoyant visions might play out.

Next, direct your attention downward, witnessing the inside of your eyeballs, eye sockets and the muscles and skin around the eyes. The eyelids are closed. There is nothing to see 'out there'. Simply witness these marvelous 'windows to the other world' with the shades drawn. See the inside of the eyes and feel. Feel your eyes as they are in their neutral, relaxed state. Next, direct your attention downward, witnessing the inside of your nostrils. Take a moment to observe the ebb & flow of life as it passes through this forward-reaching vent. Simply witness the inhale and exhale as it is.

Next, direct your attention downward, witnessing the inside of the mouth and lips. Notice the mouth is relaxed, teeth slightly separated, the tongue lightly pressing the roof of the palate against the back of the upper teeth. See the inside of the lips and feel. Feel your lips as they are in their neutral, relaxed state.Finally, direct your attention downward, witnessing your jaw and chin. See and feel the muscles, skin and bone from the tip of your chin to the hinge of the jaw, as they are in their neutral, relaxed state. Pulling back your focus, witness the whole of the inside of the mask of your face, as it is in its neutral, relaxed state. Again return your attention to your lips, to the corners of your mouth. Notice the feeling of the corners of your mouth as they are in their neutral, relaxed state.

Now, ever so slightly, raise the corners of the mouth until you feel the 'inner smile'. Perhaps imperceptable by an outside observer, you are lifting the corners of your mouth, ever so mindfully, until you feel a distinct shift in energy, a warm sense of well-being. Allow the corners of your mouth to remain in this uplifting position and turn your attention to the inside of your eyes. First, notice them as they are in their neutral, relaxed state. Then, ever so slightly, raise the corners of the eyes until you feel the 'inner smile' feeling here also. The corners of the eyes and mouth should now feel like one unit radiating a distinct, warm sense of well-being. This feeling is The Inner Smile.

As an informal practice, whenever it occurs to you, periodically come back and witness the neutral inner mask of your face throughout the day. Bring your attention back to feeling the inner corners of your mouth and eyes as they are in any given moment. Then choose to reset The Inner Smile.

As a formal practice, the energy of The Inner Smile can be consciously directed downward into the heart, the belly, the liver, the stomach and other digestive organs; to the bones, blood, nervous system ... to the whole of the body ... in directed flows through particular parts of the body or as a global radiating whole.

'Half smiling' mindfulness exercises

Half-smile when you first wake up in the morning. Hang a sign , or even the word "smile" on the ceiling or wall so that you see it right away when you open your eyes. This sign will serve as your reminder. Use these seconds before you get out of bed to take hold of your breath. Inhale and exhale three breaths gently while maintaining the half smile. Follow your breaths.

Half-smile during your free moments. Anywhere you find yourself sitting or standing, half-smile. Look at a child, a leaf, a painting on the wall, anything which is relatively still, and smile. Inhale and exhale quietly three times. Maintain the half smile and consider the spot of your attention as your own true nature.

Half-smile while listening to music. Listen to a piece of music for two or three minutes. Pay attention to the words, music, rhythm, and sentiments. Smile while watching your inhalations and exhalations.

Half-smile when irritated . When you realize you're irritated, half-smile at once. Inhale and exhale quietly, maintaining the half smile for three breaths.

p.s: I'm fine with the entire technique except the last. That is going to be a challenge. Maybe I could try it with my dad :) :) :)


  1. I should try this technique! Although, one of my students told me what my "tell" is when I'm irritated with them... Apparently, I take a deep breath and blink once veeerrrry slowly. (I close my eyes on the inhale, then slowly re-open on the exhale.) I totally laughed when he impersonated me! It was so true!

    By the way, thanks for your compliment! :)

  2. Students are our best impersonators arent they! My students love imitating me when I get angry. Wonder what that kick is all about.Henceforth, I will just half-smile. Lets see how well they impersonate me then ;)

  3. After reading eat. pray. love, I too was facinated by the smile meditation and have tried it several times. It keeps me calm and peaceful for days....
    all the best!

  4. This is a spectacular concept! I have been struggling with getting "meditation motivated" as of late, and this is truly an inspiration...I will do it.

    You sound so positive and upbeat. Know that much good is happening in life as a result of your loving energy.



  5. You mentioned this meditation the other day. I was intrigued. I tried it, it's a good one. :)

  6. Elle- I have been struggling to get my meditation mojo back for the last 7 months.It will always be "I'll do it tomorrow". But last Wednesday, I dint want to look forward to the tomorrow. I wanted to live in the moment and I did it.Im glad I did.Its a great tool that keeps me sane despite all the dramas unfolding at the present moment.Let me know how you go ;)

    Zazen- Glad you tried it and Im elated to know that it worked for you as well. Go You ;)

  7. I smile to myself all the time. When the day seems to just flow, I don't hold back the smile. I smile at scowling people. But I could do more. I could smile when getting my punks ready in the morning. Smile when Matteo comes home so late from work. Smile at that insane burst of energy my punks have before bed. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Guess the challenge is to smile during adversities and testing times as well. Thank You :).

  9. Hi, I just stopped by to tell you Thank You for the nice comment you left. It was very nice of you. I'm assuming that you are refering to my granddaughter in the collage. You're right, I am lucky in fact we all are..It's a long story but I'll try to shorten it. My oldest daughter had this precious little soul and wasn't able to be a mother at the time. So she decided to let her be raised by another couple to be her Mom and Dad Let's just say it was the best decision she ever made. It's what's best for the baby and that's all that counts, right! Thank you again, Kae

  10. This sounds lovely. I too have thinking about meditation after reading Eat Pray Love. I have never done it before though! Thanks for posting this :)


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