THE TAOIST INNER SMILE MEDITATION
These notes are meant to serve as a refresher for people who have
learned the meditation from a teacher.
The Inner Smile is considered by some teachers to be the foundational meditation of Taoism.
It is a profound way of centering by means of contemplating the separate systems of your body and the different emotions, and bringing them together into a whole.
The Inner Smile meditation brings healing attention to all parts of the inside of your body.
In this meditation, you gather a special positive energy and caringly direct it throughout your body, in three sequences:
- the inner organs,
- the digestive system, and
- the nervous system.
Sit comfortably erect on the edge of a chair (genitals hang free if you are a male) feet on the floor, legs hip width apart.
Place your hands in your lap, right palm on top of left.
Breathe normally; place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
Think of a beautiful smile. Try these two sources of smiling energy:
- See someone you love or
- imagine a beautiful sight, such as a sun-filled mountain valley.
Imagine the most beautiful smile you have ever received and draw its energy into your mid-eyebrow.
Draw the smiling energy down into yourself through the following three sequences. Take your time. As much as you can, feel each part of you named in each step. If you cannot feel it, just imagine it being filled with smiling energy.
THE INNER SMILE SEQUENCE
1. FRONT LINE:
The Inner Organs
Flow the smiling energy into your eyes, cheeks, uplift the corners of the mouth, tongue (to roof of mouth) jaw, neck, throat, thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen/pancreas, genitals.
THE NATURE OF THE INNER ORGANS
As you meditate on each inner organ, focus on the positive emotions associated with it. Each organ has positive emotions associated with it., and each organ has emotions that result from blockage or excess in that organ.
As you meditate on each organ, feel for any of the associated “negative” emotions and allow those to be absorbed and transformed into the corresponding positive emotions.
By meditating on the positive emotions of an organ, the Taoists believed that they could transform the “negative” emotions into the positive ones, and bring themselves more into balance.
|Organ||Positive Emotion||Negative Emotion|
|Heart||love, respect, joy, honor, compassion||impatience, hastiness|
|Lungs||courage, righteousness||sadness, grief|
2. MIDDLE LINE:
The Digestive System
Swallow saliva down hard, bringing the smiling energy with it–from
- mouth to
- small intestine
3. BACK LINE:
The Nervous System
Flow the smiling energy from your forehead back into the pituitary and pineal glands, right and left brains, cerebellum, pons, medulla oblongata — then down the inside of each vertebra:
- 12 thoracic
- 5 lumbar
Feel how the top and bottom of the spine move gently as you inhale and exhale, functioning as a calm, deep pump that circulates energy up and down your spine.
4. CENTER BY COLLECTING THE ENERGY AT THE NAVEL
After completing the three sequences of the Inner Smile meditation, center yourself by collecting the energy at your navel:
Spiral the energy in an expanding spiral 36 times (counterclockwise for women, clockwise for men), then reverse the direction of rotation in a shrinking spiral — 24 times (clockwise for women, counterclockwise for men).
It is not as important to count the exact number of spirals as it is to focus your intention on feeling, guiding, following, and honoring the energy of your life.
Adaptation by Christl Grow from the teachings of Mantak Chia.