Have you ever tried a smiling meditation? This simple and gentle Inner Smile Meditation is one of my favorite ways to relax and bring peace and healing to the entire body. Read on to learn how to do a smiling mind meditation as well as how to use your smiling meditation to direct energy to your organs and improve overall health.
Smiling meditation was developed by the ancient Taoists, who were the founding fathers of Chinese medicine. The Taists understood the healing nature of a smile, and developed a smiling meditation practice in which you hold a smile on your face and direct that energy inwards to your internal organs. Modern science echoes the Taoist’s theories by finding that a smile lowers the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. Smiling has also been shown to produce hormones which stabilize blood pressure, relax muscles, improve respiration and increase your sense of well being, while also giving you an energy boost.
I like to practice this smiling mind meditation outside in the summer with the sun on my face but really it’s a wonderful easy healing meditation to do any time you find yourself with a few spare minutes.
Instructions on How To Do an Inner Smile Meditation:
The instructions for an inner smile meditation are simple.
- Sit comfortably either in a chair or on a mat, with your spine as straight as possible. Keep your neck and throat relaxed. Rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth near your teeth
- Take one or two deep breaths that fill your abdomen. On each exhale, let go of any thoughts about the past or the future.
- Smile gently into your inner smile meditation as if you have a delicious secret or a private joke. This isn’t a broad grin but more of an enigmatic Mona Lisa type smile.
- Bring your energy to the space between your eyebrows (what we call yin tang in Chinese medicine) and allow the smile to rest there. As you continue to smile, the energy will expand and feel as if it is moving back towards the center of your head.
- Now take this energy and direct it in turn to each of your internal organs giving special attention to any area of your body that needs healing. Spend about 5 minutes slowly breathing the smiling energy into each organ. You may find that some organs are particularly stubborn. Read below on what to do in this case.
- Finally, direct your smiling energy to a point about 2 inches below your navel (we call this dan tien in Chinese medicine).
- To end your smiling meditation – release your smile (or keep it if it feels good), and release your tongue from the roof of your mouth.
As you practice the smiling meditation, you may sense that some organs seem to refuse to receive the smiling energy and feel surprisingly tense and tight. In Chinese medicine, according to the five-element system, each organ has an emotion that corresponds to it, so sometimes it’s worth exploring that emotion if you find one of your organs to be particularly unreceptive.
- Both the liver and gallbladder are associated with anger. If your liver feels tense when you smile into it, you may want to think about whether you need to forgive someone or let go of resentment. Smiling into the liver and gallbladder can help dissolve anger and resentment.
- The stomach and spleen are associated with worry. Smiling into your stomach can bring you back to your center and dissolve anxiety. If you find this hard, you may want to work on staying present and try getting too far ahead of yourself and worrying about the future.
- The kidneys and bladder are associated with fear. Smiling into your kidneys can help you release fear and stress. If you find this hard, you may want to think about what is stopping you from feeling safe and secure.
- The lungs and large intestines are associated with grief. Smiling into your lungs can help to relieve sadness or depression.
- The heart and small intestines are associated with joy or the lack of it. Smiling into your heart as part of your inner smile meditation can fill you with compassion. If you find this challenging, you may want to think about any hatred that you are hanging on to and try releasing it.
I recommend you give this deceptively simple smiling mind meditation a try. There is both ancient and modern wisdom that says it works.
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