How to do the Inner-Smile Meditation
The most famous practitioner of inner-smile meditation is Grand Master Mantak Chia, who operates from the Tao Gardens Resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Chia teaches the Universal Healing Tao, a self-help system for curing illness and stress and for enhancing all aspects of life.
The vital energy known as “chi” is increased using this meditation and also exercises such as Tai Chi. This energy circulates through the acupuncture meridians of the body and can help with health, increasing your vitality and balancing emotions as well as opening you up more spiritually and creatively.
The meditation also uses the belief that different organs store different emotions and shows you how to use the energy to relax and help these organs begin to heal. It uses the heart and the element of fire which is believed can activate anything as Love is a powerful energy so it works on creating a loving energy picturing yourself smiling from the heart and radiating this love all around your body.
Here is an outline of the meditation if you want to print it out and begin to practice it. It can have many beneficial effects and doing it in the morning and at night before bed for improved sleep and mood.
To begin the inner-smile meditation, sit comfortably on the edge of a chair with your palms on your knees. Straighten your spine, lifting it up from the top of your head. Then relax the muscles in your neck and throat.
Close your eyes. Gently move your neck from side to side. Take one or two deep breaths to fill your stomach and chest and slowly breathe out.
Visualize, looking out from the centre of your head and see the inside of the ‘mask’ of your face. Starting with the inside of your forehead, simply notice the broad, screen-like surface in front of your eyes which is now blank. Things may come and go. Let them.
Imagine a pool of warm water and the energy is collecting there. Let your attention go into that pool, deep back towards the centre of your head. Let your attention rest there at the centre of your brain – about equal between the tips of your ears. This is called the Crystal Palace in Taoism because it is where the pineal, pituitary, thalamus and hypothalamus glands are. Feel the energy gathering here. It is a powerful place. Now let this energy flow forward into your eyes
Next, move your attention down and notice the inside of your eyes, the sockets and the muscles and skin around the outside of the eyes. Let your eyes relax and enjoy the relaxation.
Next, move your attention down to the inside of your nose. Watch how the breath goes in and out to give you life and simply inhale and exhale at your own relaxed pace.
Move now to the inside of the mouth and lips. Relax the mouth and the teeth slightly separated and let the tongue lightly press the top of your mouth against the back of the top teeth. See with your mind the inside of the lips and feel them relax.
Move down to your jaw and chin. See in your mind and feel the jawbones, muscles and skin from the edge of your chin to the outer jaw relax.
Now you can see if you move backwards inside your mind and head the whole inside of your face completely relaxed.
Go back to your lips and see the corners of your mouth, relaxed. Now very slightly lift the corners just slightly. Keep relaxing your lips and let the smile come naturally. It may not even be a smile on the outside of your face. Just keep your attention there and the energy until there is a relaxing in the energy like as if you were smiling. This is the ‘inner smile’ and it creates a sense of warmth and wellbeing.
Let the corners of your mouth stay in that positive position and turn your attention back to the inside of your eyes. Notice them in their relaxed state. Then, just like you did with the lips let the corners of the eyes lift until you feel like there is a smile inside there also.
Imagine that you’re gazing into the eyes of the person who you love the most, and they’re gazing back at you. Let yourself fill up with this feeling of love. This is now the time to have love and compassion for yourself also. Both the corners of the eyes and mouth should now feel like they are a part of one unit with a sense of warmth and wellbeing. This is called the ‘inner smile’.
Now we are going to take the smile and move it in turn to each part of your body. You can imagine your body as hollow and the smile as a glowing ball of light filling every dark corner. Imagine when you breathe in the breath moving to that area. You can picture every organ, tissue and bone smiling. If your smile gets stuck or fades when it hits a painful or tense place just breathe gently into that part of your body. So we are now going to move that smile around your body.
So the smile is now moving to your throat. The centre of your throat and let your throat begin to relax and smile. Let’s leave it there for a little while.
Now move down to the heart and let the warmth and glow of the smile light up your heart with joy and compassion. As the heart pumps out the blood feel the blood taking the smile to all parts of your body and shining its light through them all. As it is moving round you can also picture how it is helping your bones and muscles smile and them filling with that warm glow.
Now it moves to your ribs and the bones in your back. Feel it moving in fact through all your bones and feel them relaxing and smiling with the warmth and energy. Let it rest there a while.
Now move it to your lungs and feel the healing breath go inside and warm them with light and love. Let the smile move with your breathing and let it expand and contract causing your lungs to breathe clearly and heal.
Now move it down to your liver which is on the right hand side just under your ribs at the front of your stomach. Let it rest there.
Now to the left to your pancreas and let it rest there.
Now move it to the back behind these organs and up a bit to your kidneys. Let it rest there.
Now move to your stomach. Feel your whole stomach filling with the warmth and glow of that inner smile. Feel your digestive organs relaxing and taking up the glow of the smile. Let it rest there.
Now move it to your sexual organs in your lower stomach and to the tops of your legs and let it heal that whole area of your body. Let it rest there awhile also.
Take the smile to anywhere you are feeling anger, frustration, jealousy, hurt, pain and let it rest there, in each of these places for a minute or so. Depending on how much time you have you can leave it there as long as you like for it to heal those areas and emotions.
Now move it into your nervous system, up your spine and into all the nerves in your body. Feel them filling with love and warmth and compassion for this wonderful human body you have which works so marvellously and which you are now nurturing.
Now direct the smile to the centre of your stomach and let it rest and collect around your navel to bring warmth and harmony to your entire lower body also. Let it rest there awhile.
Keeping the smile with you remember your lips smiling and your eyes and very gently open your eyes.
Think of this blank inner mask you first started with throughout the day and bring your attention back to bringing the corners of the mouth and eyes up into a smile. After a while you will be able to do it easily through the day and reset this feeling of warmth and joy in your life.