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Morning Smile

Every night my body turns and turns and turns, hunting for a comfortable position. Exhaustion finally takes over, and I drift off to sleep… for about twenty minutes. Then the turning begins again. At dawn, the sunlight wakes me from my half-asleep, somewhat restful state. And I smile.Each Morning Smile

It’s not every morning that I want to smile, but I smile anyway. I have learned I cannot control my body, but I can control my mind. This knowledge has freed me from suffering. Especially on the tough days when I really want to wallow, if I plaster a smile on my face when the light hits my eyes, everything shifts.

My body will hurt; it’s been this way for nearly 20 years, so I don’t expect it to stop, although I would welcome the absence of pain. Even when the pain is intense, the smile opens the mind to so much more than the physical experience of tired and sore bodies. While physical pain is part of my world, so is the absence of suffering.

The smile may leave my face after I climb out of bed, but it remains inside me. I feel the bliss of eternity wash through me throughout the day, and the world looks beautiful.

In my book, Peace with Pain, there’s a chapter called Smile Before Sleeping. It’s a great technique to learn mindfulness. But now I want to encourage you to Smile Upon Waking and notice how your world changes.

Smiling gets easier the more you do it. Your face remembers how wonderful it feels, to stretch your lips and raise your cheeks. With continued practice, smiling becomes a powerful habit. Then the smile appears even when you are distracted.

Of course, it helps to meditate every day as well. Even a few minutes of silence can melt years of conditioning that was built on misery. While you are meditating, you may notice the smile appearing spontaneously. These are my favorite types of smiles, when the mind stops and the facial muscle cannot help but express the Joy beyond thought.

At whatever stage you’re at, starting your day with a morning smile can transform your whole world. Don’t take my word for it, try it, right now.


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Published inBuddha Lessons / MindfulnessPeace with Pain


  1. Aummmmm Aummmmm
    This app makes you smile first thing on awakening to turn off the alarm – it can tell when you’re smiling! And using it trains you to summon a smile first thing every day!

  2. Michael Michael

    I too love the spontaneous smiles that arupts deep from within a place of peace when meditating. It is a beautiful gift, so in that vein of light, I have been practicing a morning smile and cultivating joy on my drive into work each morning. It has been a great way to start the work day!

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