Can a Smile Change Everything?

Harvest, Harvest Festival, PumpkinThe holidays are coming, with all of their joys and stresses. Days are growing shorter, the weather is increasingly unpredictable, and holiday memories from childhood, young adulthood, and other times in our lives that lie dormant through the rest of the year begin to emerge.

As the example below illustrates, maturing in Mindlfulness oriented Meditation practices like Christian Tantric Meditation helps us to become more “self aware” regarding our own inner experiences and the world around us.  We also become practiced in using tools like “intentional smiling” that are available for letting go of some of our negative experiences, thoughts, and behaviors, and increasing our positive experiences.

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The morning commute was dark and rainy, and the traffic was bumper to bumper. Joe’s grumpy mood seemed to be reinforced by his surroundings as he inched along in his car, trying to get rain-933490_640to work.   Maybe it was the darkening days of late autumn, maybe it was the prospect of dealing with the upcoming holidays. Whatever the reason, this mood was as familiar to him as a miserable old friend.

In past years, Joe knew his grumpiness would tend to alienate his family, and he would increase his own alcohol and food consumption. This year was different however, because Joe had been developing self awareness of his own moods and emotions. This learned self awareness was just one of the positive outcomes he experienced from practicing Christian Tantric Meditation over the past several weeks.

Joe remembered some advice that was repeated throughout the Christian Tantric Meditation “Self Emptying” instructions he had received; “smile, accept, and let it go.” At the moment, the thought of smiling seemed to sour his mood even more, for no apparent reason.

emoticon-937609_640Perhaps in spite of himself, he forced a large distorted smile to his face. Alone, in his car, creeping along in the dark and the rain, surrounded by other unfortunate souls trapped in the same traffic he was a part of, he smiled so hard his eyes squinted and watered. He pictured himself with his teeth bared like some crazy hyena. And in spite of himself, he chuckled. He exhaled. He inhaled. He exhaled again. His forced smile relaxed into a natural grin.

He thought of a saying he had heard from a grumpy old actor from the 1920’s, W.C. Fields, “Smile first thing in the morning and get it over with.” This made him smile even more.

Feeling better, he recognized that in the midst of the cleansing rain, the filtered morning light was eroding the darkness and the traffic had started moving again. He was grateful.

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If you are interested in learning more about developing self awareness skills and tools like “intentional smiling” that are included in Christian Tantric Meditation, consider attending a Workshop.

Our introductory workshops introduce the skills of mindfulness, mind stabilization, and opening consciousness.  Please visit http://sunrisemeditation.org/workshops/ to register online or call 678-358-8775 for more information.

Our next class is scheduled for Saturday November 14th in Sautee Georgia near Helen Georgia.  Two weeks before Thanksgiving, this might be an ideal time to visit, to take a meditation class, and to enjoy the late autumn beauty of the North Georgia Mountains. Just over an hour from Atlanta, the act of getting away and taking in fresh air itself makes the trip worthwhile.

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