No matter what level of experience you have with meditation, a smiling meditation can uplift your mood, give you a sense of well being and overall wellness to carry you throughout the day, and bring you into the present moment with a stronger connection to your true Self. And all you have to do is smile.
After a semester-long course on meditation, I found this smiling meditation by Vietnamese social activist Thich Nhat Hanh to be one of my favorite ways to meditate – the method is simple, but the aftermath is divine, it’s pure joy. You can find more about this meditation here.
“To meditate well, we have to smile, a lot… I always say that a smile can be a practice, a kind of yoga practice. Yoga of the mouth: you just smile even if you don’t feel joy and you’ll see after you smile that you’ll feel differently. Sometimes the mind takes the initiative and sometimes you have to allow the body to take the initiative.Sometimes the spirit leads, and sometimes the body can lead.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
First, center yourself. Breathe in, and with every exhale feel yourself become more calm. Once you have reached a state of calm and relaxation, turn all of your energy into your head, make your head a focus point of your energy.
- With your eyes closed, let attention move to the inside of your eyes. Feel how wonderful your eyes are – they are the window to the world you see every day. Check in with them and feel them as they Are. Do the same with your nose, focusing your attention there next. Feel what it is like for you nostrils to breathe.
- Next, send the focus lower to your mouth. Feel the inside of your mouth, letting your tongue relax behind your teeth. Feel your lips resting in their natural state. Move your attention downward to your chin, feeling your chin and jaw slacken and become calm, relaxed, and aware of its presence.
- After your face has been acknowledged throughout your practice so far, lend awareness to your face as a whole. With all of the parts relaxed, let your entire face reach a neutral and natural position.
- Finally, focus attention again on your lips. Slowly raise the corners of your lips upward, letting yourself attain a relaxed and gentle smile. Widen your smile until you feel it connect with your Inner smile – you will feel yourself click into a certain harmony of being. Notice your energy begin to shift, you should feel a warm sense of peaceful energy beginning to well up and then radiate from your body.
- Now, maintaining the smile, return attention to your eyes. Bask in the feeling of warmth, relaxation, and uplifted energy. Allow your eyes, while still closed, to smile too. Connecting the smile of your eyes with the smile of your lips will help you tune into your true Inner smile, that inner sense of harmony that you feel with your mind, body, and spirit.
- Hold this smile until you feel awareness start to come through to the rest of your body. When you choose to end your practice, end it slowly for the lingering effects of the meditation to uplift your energetic presence and sense of well being.
To extend this practice further, you can take the energy from the Inner smile established toward the end of the practice and move it through the rest of your body, one organ or body part at a time, to send love, light and positive healing energy throughout your system. This practice can be done for one minute to even an hour, depending on how far you choose to send the energy from your Inner smile.
This meditation is particularly great during those stressful college days, when you have exams or you feel caught up in your schedule and every moment is whizzing by you and slipping through your fingers. This meditation will help you to reconnect with your Self and stay positive and in the present moment.
What do you think?
Have you tried meditating? Have you practiced this meditation? Leave us your comments and insights!