Sunday, 21 December 2008
In buddhist practice the half-smile is used to maintain mindfulness and if you look at the many statues and images of the Buddha you will notice that he holds a half-smile in most meditative occassions.
Modern psychology also confirms the positive effects of smiling. Research on facial expressions and emotions found that if you make the facial expression of a particular emotion – you actually will feel that emotion. A half-smile was also shown to help stimulate positive emotions .. so you can purposefully attract peacefulness just be holding a half-smile .. even when you don’t truly feel like smiling!
So when you next meditate try bringing the half-smile to your face as you turn inward. Just allowing your lips to slightly upturn .. keeping a relaxed face .. adopting a serene facial expression. How amazing that this simple action of lifting the muscles around the mouth can in fact affect your whole body and mind.
Remember your body communicates with your mind.
The morning half-smile
Try placing a small sign at the end of your bed or on your bedside table so that the word "smile" appears first thing when you open your eyes in the morning. This sign will serve as a reminder and you can then use the moments before getting up to focus on the breath .. inhale .. exhale for three breaths gently while maintaining a half-smile.
The half-smile when irritated
When you find yourself starting to react to something or someone try the half smile immediately. Inhale and exhale quietly for three breaths .. maintaining that beautiful half-smile both externally and internally.