Taoist Inner Smile Meditation
We recommend Taoist Master Mantak Chia's version of the Inner Smile for people new to visualization or dynamic meditation.
Preparation For The Inner Smile
- Wait at least an hour after eating to begin the practice.
- Choose a quiet spot. Later on (as you become more experienced) you will be able to practice almost anywhere with any noise.
- Dress warmly enough not to be chilled.
- Sit comfortably near the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Keep your back straight, but not stiff. Stay relaxed, and clasp your hands together in your lap, left palm on bottom, right palm on top.
- Close your eyes and become aware of the soles of your feet. Feel their connection to the ground and the energy of the earth.
- Create a source of smiling energy up to three feet in front of you. This can be an image of your own smiling face, or of someone or something you love and respect, or any memory of a time in which you felt deeply at peace, perhaps feeling sunshine, being by the ocean, or walking in a forest.
- Become aware of the midpoint between your eyebrows through which you will draw this abundant smiling energy in front of and around you. Let your forehead relax, and allow the Third Eye to open. As the smiling energy accumulates at the mid-eyebrow, it will eventually overflow into your body.
Smiling Down The Organs - The Front Line
Allow the smiling energy to flow down from the mid-eyebrow through your face, relaxing the cheeks, nose, mouth, and all the facial muscles. Let it flow down through your neck. You can roll your head slowly and gently from side to side as you do this.
- The Thymus Gland. Let the smiling energy flow down to your thymus gland, which is located behind the upper part of your sternum, and picture it glowing with vibrant health. Feel the thymus gland become warm as it begins to vibrate and expand like a flower blossoming.
- The Heart. Feel the stream of relaxation flow down into your heart. People who are nervous or who anger quickly often experience pain and tense feelings in and about the heart. Extending the smile relieves stored tension and enables a new kind of functioning to take place. Spend as much here as you need to feel the heart relax and expand with loving energy. This expansion will feel like a flower blossoming. Fill your heart with love. Let your heart be your "sweetheart."
- The Lungs. Radiate the love in your heart to your lungs. Feel your lungs soften and breathe with new ease. feel the air inside lighten up as it enters and leaves the lungs. Feel their moist spongy quality as you relax and fill your lungs with energy.
- The Liver. Now smile into your liver on the right side, just below the rib cage. If your liver is hard, if it is difficult to feel, soften it with your smile. Smile it back to life, rejuvenate it with your love.
- The Pancreas. Let the smiling energy now flow across the abdomen to the pancreas, which is located within the left lower rib cage. Thank it for its work, and see that it is healthy and functioning smoothly.
- The Spleen. Continuing around to the left, smile into the spleen. Don't worry if you don't know exactly where it is. If you smile in that direction you will gradually get in touch with it. If you need to, return to the source of smiling energy in front of you, and let it flow through the mid-eyebrow and down to the area of the spleen. As smiling, loving energy builds up in the spleen, let it flow into the kidneys.
- The Kidneys. Direct the smile to your two kidneys, in your lower back just below the rib cage on either side of the spine. The adrenal glands sit on top of them. Smile at your adrenals, and they may send you a burst of adrenalin. The kidney is the lower transformer of the veins and arteries. Smile to the kidneys and fill them with love. Like the heart, this will increase the flow of chi circulating through the body.
- Next, send the smiling energy into the urinary bladder, urethra, genitals, and perineum.
Smiling Down The Digestive System - The Middle Line
Smile once more in your eyes. Smile down into your mouth and swish your tongue around to collect saliva. When your mouth is filled with saliva, put the tip of your tongue to your palate, tighten your neck muscles, and swallow hard and quickly, making a gulping sound as you do. With your inner smile follow the saliva down your esophagus, through your internal tract and to your navel. Smile away the nervous energy in your stomach, and you will eat better food and find it easier to digest. Relax the smiling energy into your small intestine, large intestine, and rectum.
Smiling Down The Spine - The Back Line
- Bring your attention back to the source of smiling energy; collect the power of the smile in the third eye (mid-eyebrows).
- Draw the smiling energy about three to four inches (7.5 to 10 cm) to the pituitary gland, and feel it blossom. Smile into the thalamus gland, and into the pineal gland at the crown.
- Project the smiling energy back and forth through the left brain, then through the right brain, and back again. This will balance the left and right brain.
- Move the inner smiling energy down to the mid-brain and down the inside of your spinal column. Make sure your posture is straight with shoulders slightly rounded forward. Descend one vertebra at a time, smiling onto each until you have reached the coccyx. You should experience a feeling of great ease, warmth, and comfort in each vertebra. With the lumbar, coccyx, and pubic areas are relaxed power is released an flows more easily up the back. Back pain can be prevented or relieved by smiling into the spine.
Smiling Down The Entire Length Of Your Body
- Start at the eyes again. Direct the Inner Smile's eyesight. Quickly smile down the Front Line. Follow the smiling down the Middle Line and then the Back Line. When you are more experienced, smile down all three lines simultaneously.
- Now, feel the energy descend down the entire length of your body, like a waterfall - a waterfall of smiles, joy and love. Feel your whole body being loved and appreciated. Be Happy!
Collecting The Smiling Energy At The Navel
- It's very important to end by storing the smiling energy in the navel. Most ill effects of meditation are caused by excess energy in the head or heart. The navel area can safely handle the increased energy.
- To collect the smile's energy, concentrate in your navel area, about one and a half inches inside your body. Then, mentally move that energy in an outward spiral 36 times; don't go above the diaphragm or beneath the pubic bone. Women start the spiral counterclockwise, men start clockwise. Next, reverse the direction and bring it back into the navel, circling it 24 times. Use your finger as a guide the first few times. The energy is now safely stored in your navel, available to you whenever you need it and for whatever part of your body needs it. You have now completed the Inner Smile.
Credit to the Source
The above content is the basic "Inner Smile" practice, taken from several of Mantak Chia's books: Awaken Healing Energy Through the Tao, pp.21-28; Taoist Ways to Transform Stress into Vitality, pp.40-58; and Awaken Healing Light of the Tao, pp.88-103. For more detail, and also to see how this meditation relates to other, more advanced, techniques, consult these books.
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