smile when I’m feeling bad?



I must be able to smile to my sorrow,

because we are more than our sorrow


My Comment: This is one of the hardest places to be. I know that I am more than my sorrow, anger, disappointment, irritation, impatience etc. And yet it feels like going against gravity to shift and “turn a smile on” that is really a smile, not a fake. It means gathering myself just as if I were the Samurai on the battlefield. Letting go of the anger is like centering myself with my sword so that I am wielding my instrument (the body-mind-spirit) from the deepest place in me, from my Truth. 

Here is a short except from Thich Nhat Hanh (Being Peace):


Thich Nhat Hanh:

“Even though life is hard, even though it is sometimes difficult to smile, we have to try. Just as when we wish each other “Good morning,” it must be a real “Good morning.” Recently, one friend asked me, “How can I force myself to smile when I am filled with sorrow? It isn’t natural.” I told her she must be able to smile to her sorrow, because we are more than our sorrow.

“A human being is like a television set with millions of channels. If we turn the Buddha on, we are the Buddha. If we turn sorrow on, we are sorrow. If we turn a smile on, we really are the smile. We can’t let just one channel dominate us. We have the seeds of everything  in us, and we have to take the situation in hand to recover our own sovereignty.

“When we sit down peacefully, breathing and smiling, with awareness, we are our true selves, we have sovereignty over ourselves. When we open ourselves up to a TV program, we let ourselves be invaded by the program. Sometimes it is a good program, but often it is just noisy. Because we want to have something other than ourselves enter us, we sit there and let a noisy television program invade us, assail us, destroy us. Even if our nervous system suffers, we don’t have the courage to stand up and turn it off, because if we do that, we will have to return to our self.

“Meditation is the opposite. It helps us return to our true self. Practicing meditation in this kind of society is very difficult. Everything seems to work in concert to try to take us away from our true self. We have thousands of things, like videotapes and music, which help us be away from ourselves. Practicing meditation is to be aware, to smile, to breathe. These are on the opposite side. We go back to ourselves in order to see what is going on, because to meditate means to be aware of what is going on.

“What is going on is very important.”

(source: Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace, p. 17)





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