18 Apr Meditation of the month – february 2018
The inner smile
This is a method that comes from Taoist tantra and if you try and practice it for a week, you will realize that it is very effective.
Smiling is a wonderful tool to access states of serene happiness and contentment. It also allows you to disidentify yourself from the tendency of the left hemisphere to take things so seriously. Many times we confuse effectiveness and totality with seriousness and we go through life with an attitude of rigidity and worry that is in turn sending constant signals to the brain that something is wrong.
There are scientific studies proving that smiling awakens the limbic system in the brain which is the centre of pleasure and enjoyment. It also supports the sense of trust and brings happiness to everyone around you.
Of course, this method is not about going around with a false smile in an unconscious way to protect yourself or hide deep feelings, but about breaking the habit of taking yourself too seriously in general.
I invite you to try it as a meditation:
The smile proposed by Taoist tantra, rather than an external smile, is an internal smile that emerges from the back of your brain, in the place where the neck – cervical vertebrae- meets the skull, where the primitive brain is located.
Think of something that wakes up your best smile and allow it to emerge gradually and consciously on your face. Now allow that smile to move also to the back of your skull and feel it taking shape internally there, and expanding throughout your brain and body.
Notice your feelings, your breathing, if your mind resists smiling and tells you it’s silly. Bear in mind that the inner smile expands you…, dissolves the tendency to take yourself too seriously and feel very important. That is just the kind of attitude that feeds the conditioned mind.
And I repeat: this method is for you to realize that so many things are not really as serious as we think, not about avoiding feeling deeply what must be felt and validated.
When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, try smiling and feeling how the smile moves to the back of your brain, let it spread throughout your body and beyond your body all day long. Feel the breath expanding, feel it softening everything as you become fluffier.
When you go to buy bread, or to have a coffee or you meet your loved ones or work colleagues, when you take the car or the underground in moments of slight annoyance, or when you simply stop for a moment before opening the computer etc…..Repeat this each time you remember it throughout the day.
As you gradually start to enjoy it more each time, you can be more daring and smile only internally without the smile being drawn all over your face at any time….when you talk to someone, you make love, you take your child to school, at any given moment of your daily life…and observe the feelings emerging inside towards yourself and your surroundings…
And even more daring: feel the inner smile when you catch yourself frowning, with troubling thoughts about something in the future, when you catch yourself judging etc….. stop for a moment and smile internally! Perceive how the one who smiles embraces the one who is worrying… with tenderness.
Gradually your brain and nervous system learn to bring this space to more and more moments of your daily life by developing the limbic system and enjoying simple moments of pleasure. The pleasure of being, as simple as that!