"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
"What is the nature of this joy? How can we touch true joy in every moment of our lives? How can we live in a way that brings a smile, the eyes of love, and happiness to everyone we encounter? Use your talent to find ways to bring happiness to yourself and others -- the happiness that arises from meditation and not from the pursuit of fruitless pleasure-seeking. Meditative joy has the capacity to nourish our mindfulness, understanding, and love. Try to live in a way that encourages deep happiness in yourself and others. 'I vow to bring joy to one person in the morning and to help relieve the suffering of one person in the afternoon.' Ask yourself, 'Who can I make smile this morning?' This is the art of creating happiness."
-Thich Nhat Hanh
Teachings on Love
Thank you Tami, for sharing these beautiful words from Thich Nhat Hanh at the end of our practice this morning. I've started a new practice of smiling at myself in the mirror before I practice yoga and meditate every morning. This simple gesture of greeting myself with kindness sets a positive tone for my day and my interactions with others to follow, so hearing his words felt sweet and affirming.
If you've never tried meditating while gazing into a mirror, I highly recommend it. I've found it to be the most powerful form of meditation. Even if I've already enjoyed my physical yoga practice, I'll notice tension around my third eye center when I begin gazing into the mirror and often notice judgmental and self-critical thoughts. By the end of my meditation, all of the negativiy and tension has softened and faded away. My face is relaxed and peaceful and my heart is open and filled with divine light. I've found it's the best way to take care of myself. It makes it so easy to recognize my own needs that I often set aside to focus on work or to care for others. I notice when I'm tired and need more rest, I notice when my mind is slipping into unhealthy patterns of thought and I can access, name and release emotions I've been tucking away with great ease.
If it sounds intimidating to meet your own gaze, try starting with just 5 minutes of eye gazing in the mirror while meeting each thought with compassion. I am confident that with practice, you'll find that with less and less time in front of the mirror, you will be able to find softness, peace and recognize the beauty of the divine within. Mirror meditation creates a beautiful opportunity to mother yourself.
with love and care,