I have been reading the book, Eat,Pray,Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (which I highly recommend--see my list). It is about her one year sabbatical to Italy, India and Indonesia. In Italy, she spends much of her time eating (which makes sense having been there and sampled their sumptuous cuisine) and experiencing pleasure (don't expect sex, that's not part of it).
In India she lives in an ashram and does yoga and meditates for hours in her quest to experience God. In Indonesia (Bali, specifically) she spends time with a medicine man who teaches her a different form of meditation--smile meditation. "It's good for your liver," he tells Gilbert.
The medicine man tells her that the purpose of meditation is only "happiness and peace". I hadn't been feeling too much of either this morning. I tuned in to the senate subcommittee meeting on the Bush administration's suppression of information on global warming/climate change by NASA scientists. I had listened to two scientists testify how they were told to keep their mouths shut or change data when talking to the media about this topic.
I needed to meditate to release some anger. Gilbert's medicine man told her to sit in meditation with a smile on her face. So I sat with my legs crossed and my eyes closed and began to breathe deeply as I normally do going into meditation. I found it difficult to do an open-mouth, full teeth-showing smile. It just felt strange. So I grinned. My cheeks came up and I'm sure I looked like the proverbial Cheshire cat sitting there.
It felt unnatural at first, but then I found myself relaxing into a peaceful meditation and my mood began to lift. I felt calm--happy even. At one point, I decided to let me cheeks relax and stop grinning. Immediately I felt an inner shift. It didn't feel right. So up my cheeks went again into a grin, and I was back to feeling totally at peace. It was amazing. I also experienced another strange thing during my meditation--the sweet scent of flowers or incense drifted into my nostrils--and I had neither in the room with me, nor was I wearing perfume.
Even now, it's been 30 minutes since I finished with my meditation (which lasted 45 minutes) and I still feel wonderfully calm.
So, my friend, why not try the "Smile Meditation" and see if you experience the peace and relaxation that I did. I'd like to hear about your experience, if you choose to share it. Remember...it's good for your liver. ;-)