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Pebble Beach


Inner Smile Meditation

"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


Inner smile meditation is to make the most important person in the universe happy.


Let's face it. We live for ourselves. Even our search for enlightenment is to liberate ourselves from suffering, not our spouse or sibling or parent or the much loved neighbor.

And there is nothing wrong with that. We can't bring happiness to anyone, if we are not first happy ourselves. A prisoner can't free another prisoner. 

While we are all well-aware of the social and physiological advantages of smiling to the world at large, even larger benefits accrue if we can do the same to ourselves. Sounds corny, but it's incredibly effective.


By smiling inwardly to our organs and glands, the whole body feels loved and appreciated. The body's stress and tension invariably dissolve as the smiling gets the parasympathetic nervous system to induce the relaxation response in our body.    


How to do inner smile meditation 

  • Sit in your normal meditation posture 

  • Ensure your back is erect by straightening it as if stacking one vertebrae on top of the other

  • Relax your shoulders and keep the head evenly balanced and tuck your chin slightly inwards

  • Let your tongue touch the palate

  • Relax your face

  • Close your eyes

  • Start by relaxing your face; loosen your jaw muscles, cheeks, chin, lips, eyes and even ears 

  • Feel them becoming calm and relaxed 

  • Turn the corners of your mouth upward in a slow gentle smile

  • Focus on the feeling inside as you start smiling - this will move attention away from any thoughts that come to trouble you

  • Connect the outer smile with the 'existential' smile - you will know when it happens

  • Now with your eyes still closed, 'see' the eyes smiling too

  • Next move your awareness to the cheeks, chin and ears and allow them to smile

  • Once you have the Inner smile established in your face and head, move down to your neck and let it smile too

  • Keep moving lower until you have every body part and internal organ smiling 

  • Bask in the warm, peaceful energy radiating within your body

  • Sit in meditation for 20-30 minutes    

The inner smile meditation activates the heart chakra - seat of your love, compassion and empathy. In moments of anger, depression or anxiety, it can help you find a quick refuge within by connecting you to your inner self.  

More generally, by alleviating stress and pain, it allows the body to recover its health and vitality. Mindfulness of the internal organs and glands through such 'smiling awareness' acts an antidote to the numerous known and unknown ailments that afflict us.  

If for nothing else, do inner smile meditation to stay happy. As Osho said, "Once you have known what inner smile is, you can remain happy for twenty-four hours a day." 

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