The Dalai Lama says: "It is said that a real meditator never feels the lack of external materials."
For the past week, I have been kicking off my days with a smile--quite literally. I am sure I didn't invent the concept of smiling meditation, but I have certainly tailored it to fit my needs. So I wanted to share with all my readers the practice of smiling meditation as I have been doing it, and I hope that it brightens your days in the way it has mine!
Each morning, my husband leaves for work about 8:45AM and that is precisely when I turn off the television and sit in the center of the living room. I began with five minutes and I increase one minute as I feel I am ready... that is, when it feels "easy" at the time I am at. (I am currently meditating 7 minutes per day, and I am hoping to increase to 8 minutes per day next week.)
I set my phone timer and then I close my eyes and I imagine my smile starting in my chest and radiating throughout my whole body until I literally have a smile on my face, and then I imagine it spreading to the entire world. I try to hold my smile consistently throughout the time I am meditating, although sometimes I have to recenter.... I am not yet the master meditator, if you catch my drift :)
When I lose my focus, I like to refocus by thinking in my head about what I am thankful for, whether it be family, the love in my life, an abundance of work or money. The whole practice of smiling meditation may, on the surface, sound a bit silly. But for me, it all ties into my practice of positive visualization. It is said that what you think about, you bring about. If you can train your thoughts more and more to be as positive as possible, think of the life that you could have.
The key for me is all about being happy. There is nothing (money, work, etc.) that I want more in the world than to be HAPPY. Many people become confused about the nature of life. They think that we need things to be happy, but the truth is that all we truly need to be happy in life is ourselves and our thoughts. Our thoughts shape the way we feel. So if you have been feeling low, or are having a hard time, perhaps you should try some smiling meditation to help pick you up emotionally.