“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh Thich Nhat Hanh said smiling is spiritual practice, especially when it seems there is little to smile about.
He was challenged by someone who said, “How can I force myself to smile when I am filled with sorrow? It isn’t natural.” Thich Nhat Hanh responded, “We must smile to our sorrow to remind ourselves that we are much more than our sorrow. A human being is like a television set with millions of channels. If we turn Love on, we are Love. If we turn sorrow on then we are sorrow. If we turn a smile on, we really are the smile. This doesn’t ignore the painful realities present in life that cause our sorrow. The smile changes the way we are present to those realities. We can not let just one channel dominate us. We have the seed of everything in us, and we have to seize the situation in our hand, to recover our own sovereignty.”
In the 16th century, a century of religious bigotry, intolerance and violence, much like this one, St. Teresa of Avila wrote, “How did those priests ever get so serious and preach all that guilt and gloom? I don’t think God tickled them yet.
Beloved – hurry!”
Imagine being tickled by grace awakened to the sheer miracle, wonders and gift of life itself. This doesn’t deny pain and sorrow. It may change the way we are present to those realities. Life is both brutal and beautiful. There is so much suffering, but there is also so much beauty to be found wherever we are. Our best bet to bring healing and peace is to turn on the channel of peace within. A smile is your remote control.
Try this breath prayer:
Breathe in – I quiet my runaway thoughts and calm my body.
Breathe out – This breath is gift.
Breathe in – I dwell in this moment.
Breathe out – This moment is gift.
Breathe in – My heart smiles.
Breathe out – I smile.
Breathe in – I dwell in Love.
Breathe out – I choose to love today.