SHARE

Friday, November 20, 2009

Smile - O - Meter

I have a confession to make:
When I was studying Buddhism I was a very bad student.
Not that I did not like to study or to practice.
All that was fine - I was just a very impatient student.
I wanted enlightenment and I wanted it NOW.
Why all the waiting and delay?

And then, I was never sure if I was doing it right or wrong.
I never knew if I was making any progress or not.
I mean, some days I thought that I had a great break through.
But the next day I would feel more confused and baffled than ever.

I wonder how you are doing on your practice.
I hope you are meditating every day religiously.
Not that it is any of my business but practice is what makes or breaks your study.
Meditation is the glue that brings together the theory and practice of Buddhism.
Because you see Buddhism is more than a religion or a philosophy.
Buddhism is a path to enlightenment and enlightenment is a way of life.

Have you ever seen the Dalai Lama?
He has this smile on his face. Like the canary that has swallowed the cat.
It is not a smug or funny smile. It is a serene, angelic smile.
It is the smile that comes from a light soul and an enlightened mind.
It is, if you would like, the badge of enlightenment. The measure of one’s illumination.

So if you wonder how far you have gone on your path.
If you want to “measure” your enlightenment or the lack off, for that matter.
Here how you do it:

Smile!
I know that you maybe have no reason to do it right now but that is exactly the point.
Smile! :) :) :)
Just put a grin on your face and keep it up.
This is a signal to your body, to every organ and cell, that you have left your pretense down and you can be free to be yourself.

Happiness and for that matter depression and anxiety are not abstract things.
Happiness is a very organic, very basic constituent of life.
Just keep on smiling and soon you will feel that organic happiness ready to burst out.
Do not try to hold it back. The harder you try the more explosive it will get.
Now let it be without forcing it.

You will find yourself smiling without a reason.
Your smile will be somewhere between a frown and Dalai Lama’s smile.
Write it down as a number from 1 to 10.
That will be future reference for your progress.
If this sounds very unscientific it is because it is very unscientific.
Life is not a science and neither is Buddhism.

PS: Do this as often as possible.
It is not only a good measurement it is also a good exercise.
And if somebody just happens to see you smiling without a reason, be prepared.
People do not like other people smiling without reason – unless you are Dalai Lama.
They will be suspicious and probably ask for an explanation.

Here are some very good excuses for being happy:
- Having you as a friend / colleague/ boss/ partner, brings joy and happiness to me.
- Because being happy takes less energy than being miserable.
- Because happy people get laid more often. (don’t say that to your wife!)
- I got Botox today and my face got stuck this way.
- Why not. Do I have to be depressed to live / work / create in this place?
- I have found Jesus Christ.
- My aunt died and left me a million dollars
- I found out I am not pregnant /or/ I found out I am pregnant (don’t say that if you are a man!)
- The Prozac /Lexapro / Zoloft/ Viagra, just kicked in.
- Because I ran out of reasons to be unhappy.

Of course you can get creative and come up with more excuses to be happy.
And if you get any good ones be sure to share them with us :)

13 comments:

Poetic Shutterbug said...

I got Botox today and my face got stuck this way. HILARIOUS!!! However you make a great point with this post.

Flight said...

because your funny .... but looks aren't everything :)

Ted Bagley said...

I always liked that song from the seventies, "Smiling Faces".

Flight said...

Others Are Merely Mirrors Of You.

You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.

Ted Bagley said...

I smile when I see how much "it" comes up in sentences. :)

mickael said...

hi Buddha,

how have you changed since you was a student?

tenzin gyatso, the current dalai lama, is not free. if people seek help in him, or any other human, they are to fail.

why excuses? answer honestly or keep silent if honesty brings harm.

and smile :)

good luck.
mickael

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

I don't know if you have ever seen Terry Gilliam's film the Fisher King - but the version of the arthurian legend that appears in it is very apposite to your post. The upshot is that the young boy saw the holy grail in the fire and became greedy - got burned reaching into the fire and spent the rest of his life looking for it.

Eventually it was the kindness of a fool bringing him water that actually gave him the grail, because all the fool had known was that someone was thirsty. so i guess the message i'm trying to give is often the thing we are looking for is right there all the time if only we look with the right eyes

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

I don't know if you have ever seen Terry Gilliam's film the Fisher King - but the version of the arthurian legend that appears in it is very apposite to your post. The upshot is that the young boy saw the holy grail in the fire and became greedy - got burned reaching into the fire and spent the rest of his life looking for it.

Eventually it was the kindness of a fool bringing him water that actually gave him the grail, because all the fool had known was that someone was thirsty. so i guess the message i'm trying to give is often the thing we are looking for is right there all the time if only we look with the right eyes

Ted Bagley said...

Was that last Pixie comment given for the left eye, as well?

Buddha of Hollywood said...

@ Poetic Shutterbug - Yes, I am trying to make a point here.
Happy to see somebody got it :)

@ Flight - Funny is nice :)

@ Ted - The 70's? Boy you are old :)

@ Flight - I know you are right but I'm still trying to overcome that.

@ Mickael - I am still a student my friend ;)

@ Pixie - You mean; the smile I was looking for was always on my face?
I did not see the movie but I get your point :)
Thank you for a great comment!

@ Ted - You are down for a lump of coal this Christmas.
So you better play nice.

T said...

thanks BOH! I've found that smiling is contagious and can also work like osmosis throughout "self". I really liked "because I ran out of reasons to be unhappy".
I've once heard, "If you want to BE happy....you have to act, think, and feel happy!" THANKS AGAIN!!

timethief said...

I don't need and excuse to be happy. I alive and that's cause enough for a celebratory smile to wreathe my face every morning when I wake up and discover I'm still here living, loving and learning.

laughingyogini said...

I love the "active" definition of enlightenment. Yes Yes Yes smiling smiles for you (& all sentient beings) :-)