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Inner Smile

by Vidya Sury April 11, 2016 26 comments
Inner smile Vidya Sury

After one of his teachings, The Dalai Lama was asked “what can we give you?” He beamed at the audience. “That’s easy, “ he said, “Just give me your smiles. It makes me feel good when I see people smile at me. And if you smile at each other that would also be very good. So please give me your smiles.”

I love that!

According to the Inner Smile concept, when we smile, the world smiles back at us.  That’s great, but the idea is to begin with ourselves. When we are happy, we make others happy!

How to practice Inner Smile?

When we direct our smile inward, our body feels loved. Smiling triggers the relaxation response within our body, relieving us of stress and tension. Pretty much like cuddling a little child who feels much better after you kiss her pain away!

Here’s a step by step guide to practice Inner smile meditation

  • Sit comfortably
  • Make sure your back is straight
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and your head balanced, with chin tucked slightly inward. Just like that photographer tells you to when you go click a pic.
  • Allow your tongue to touch the roof of your mouth
  • Now start the Inner smile by completely relaxing your face, eyes closed
  • Relax your jaw muscles, your cheeks, your chin, your lips, your eyes, your ears
  • Sense the calm settling over you
  • Gently turn the corners of your mouth upward
  • Smile
  • Consciously focus on the feeling inside you as you begin to smile
  • Let your outer smile connect with your inner smile – you will feel it as it happens
  • Eyes still closed, feel your eyes smiling
  • From here, shift your awareness to your cheeks, chin, ears and let them smile
  • When you have gotten your entire face involved in the Inner smile, move on to your neck.
  • Do the same as you did with your face
  • Keep progressing lower until every part of your body and inner organs are smiling.
  • Enjoy the energy flow
  • Sit still for half an hour

Practicing the Inner Smile activates our love, compassion and empathy. When we feel anger, anxiety or depression, we can overcome it quickly when we connect with our inner selves. Our body gets its energy, health and vitality back. We can heal ourselves from ailments by practicing the inner smile. Most of all, it brings inner peace and naturally, happiness.

Some suggestions based on my own experience:

Practice the inner smile when you wake up to set the tone to your day. When you love your own body, you will show love towards others and also be more productive through your day. When this becomes a habit, it will come naturally to you.

Use Inner Smile to disperse negative emotions and stress. You will notice them transforming into positive energy that builds up.

It works even when you don’t feel well or experience pain.  Just smile to those parts, connect with them, listen to them until you feel the lightness.

“To meditate well, we have to smile…..a lot. I always say that a smile can be a practice, a kind of yoga practice” – Thich Nhat Hanh

And here is a wonderful quote I absolutely love:

  “If you’re not using your smile, you’re like a man with a million dollars in the bank and no check book.”

And that includes everything associated with being able to withdraw your cash!

Where are you on the smile-o-meter?

The ancient Chinese Taoists believed that maintaining a constant inner smile guaranteed health, happiness and longevity. When you love yourself, you become your own best friend. You live in harmony with yourself. You automatically live mindfully.

Here’s a little exercise called the “Smile File” I encouraged my son to do. See if it works for you

  • Make a smile file
  • Createa smile file in your memory.
  • Think about moments that make you laugh
  • Think about events that bring you joy
  • Try reliving these events and moments
  • How do you feel?
  • Record these in the smile file.
  • You are welcome to imagine just about anything that makes you feel happy. Funny photos, cartoons, jokes, babies laughing, anything works.
  • Begin your day with a smile. When you open your eyes, look at the ceiling and imagine the word smile there. Take a quick look into your smile file. Welcome more smiles. Can’t smile? Go ahead and frown. After a while it will become tiring to maintain it and you’ll swing to the other extreme. And smile.

Holding an inner smile keeps us conscious about maintaining a sense of humor and prevents us from being too hard on ourselves. And by the way, I am not saying keep smiling and ignore how you really feel. I am just suggesting that you view everything with friendliness.


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Dahlia April 12, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Smiling for sure 🙂
Dahlia recently posted…J = Jaimala

Vidya Sury April 12, 2016 at 5:21 pm

Thank you Dahlia!
Vidya Sury recently posted…How do you treat a friend?

Susan Scott April 12, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Tis is so beautiful Vidya thank you! I was smiling as I read it. The ‘technique’ sounds powerful, to awaken in the morning and practice .. and to view everything with friendliness. I am bookmarking this to read again, hopefully today even if late tonight as a reminder to me …
Susan Scott recently posted…I: Invitation to Change

Vidya Sury April 13, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Thank you so much Susan! Here’s a secret – my son actually helped me cultivate the habit of waking up happy. Not that I woke up any other way, but as a child he would just open his eyes, grin, look around, then go looking for everyone in the house to wish them a good morning with a hug and kiss. Funny how that calmed all of us instantly! Hugs and thanks for your kind comment.
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Sue Dunlevie April 12, 2016 at 7:18 pm

Love this post, Vidya! Great idea that I’m using today 🙂

Vidya Sury April 13, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Thank you Sue! You definitely brighten the world with your lovely smile!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Digital Detox

Kala Ravi April 12, 2016 at 7:19 pm

Another thing I leaned from you Vidya! Your posts are always teaching me something new, something positive. The inner smile is definitely positive reinforcement! More love and smiles to you 🙂
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Vidya Sury April 13, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Your words make my heart sing! Thank you Kala. I think you’re awesome! Keep smiling!
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Debbie D April 12, 2016 at 8:18 pm

Loving the “smile file” idea. 😀 Thanks for the tips, Vidya.
Debbie D recently posted…J is for JACK RUSSELL TERRIER | #AtoZChallenge

Vidya Sury April 13, 2016 at 12:52 pm

I thought that was a brilliant phrase, Debbie! Glad you like it! Sweet rhyme, too!
Vidya Sury recently posted…BreathWalking

Darla M Sands April 12, 2016 at 10:42 pm

Sunday school children called my mother Mrs. Smiley when I was a child. I’m happy to have developed the habit of at least trying not to scowl. There is a danger of attracting unwelcome solicitations though, such as from kiosk salespeople at the mall. 🙂 What can you do? Excellent advice. And at the very least, I’ve always liked the idea that people wonder what you’re up to when you smile. Be well!
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Vidya Sury April 13, 2016 at 12:51 pm

I remember you mentioning about your mother being called Mrs.Smiley earlier, Darla! What a wonderful way to remember someone! Haha, you are right about people finding it weird, but the truth is, they are the minority. Most people simply smile back and it feels pretty good. And then there’s the mystery, as you said. Hugs!
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Live and Learn April 12, 2016 at 11:25 pm

I have never thought about smile meditation. I’m gonna have to give that a try.
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Vidya Sury April 13, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Thank you! Funny how things we take for granted make such a difference when we notice them!
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Yolanda Renee April 13, 2016 at 6:24 am

What a beautiful idea, I shall practice this more consciously. In the past I was always told I had a beautiful smile. I believed it because I could feel it. That feeling has disappeared. I will now find it, and make it real again! Thank you!
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Vidya Sury April 13, 2016 at 12:49 pm

I can definitely vouch for your smile, Yolanda! It is interesting that you said “it has disappeared” – I’ve noticed that sometimes when we are too preoccupied with thoughts, we just forget to be aware and smile. I learned this looking at some photos of me at an event and felt quite sad. 🙂 So I consciously try to make it a habit, especially since my folks always tease me about my perpetually smiling expression. Sigh. 🙂 Hugs!
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Andrea Freedman April 13, 2016 at 7:40 am

I will definitely give this a try. Thanks for another inspiring post.

Vidya Sury April 13, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Thank you so much Andrea!
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themoonstone April 13, 2016 at 12:41 pm

Thanks for such a lovely post Vidya ! I am planning to try an experiment to relax myself and think positive everyday… Will tell you if I succeed in it or not 🙂
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Vidya Sury April 13, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Thank you Asha! I am eagerly waiting to know! This has made a big difference for me!
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Nicola April 13, 2016 at 5:50 pm

This is such a lovely and giving post. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
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C. Lee McKenzie April 13, 2016 at 10:24 pm

Smiling and seeing smiles around me gives me energy. If I’m down, I’m often exhausted. Downess is terribly heavy.

Arti April 16, 2016 at 1:12 pm

Beautiful post as always. Made me smile. I had the privilege of holding Dalai Lama’s hand and basking in his smile. He has the most beautiful smile. Just thinking about it makes me happy:)
A Muslim friend once told me, that in the Holy Quran, smiling is considered to be a good way to be closer to Allah.
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Vidya Sury April 16, 2016 at 11:01 pm

When did you meet him, Arti? We met him in April last year and had the most delightful visit! And yes, his hands! He radiates love and kindness. I’ve heard about smiling taking us closer to God, probably because we are closer to serenity when we smile! Thank you so much for your lovely comment!
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G Angela April 17, 2016 at 1:12 pm

am smiling as I am commenting, 🙂 🙂 I love to keep smiling and thanks for sharing so much information on inner smile.. .. like the exercises too

Birgit April 18, 2016 at 7:27 am

I have a natural habit of not smiling when I am thinking or doing something to the point where I have had strangers say “smile, it’s not that bad” I wasn’t feeling bad at all but just deep in thought. Now I always try to practise smiling because I realize the energy I was giving out was not healthy. It’s tough but I do try.
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