The process of internal transformation in the Universal Tao practice starts with the Inner Smile down to the lower brain located in the lower abdominal area. It is the key practice for keeping Chi pressure in the Lower Tan Tien and the whole body, and it is the most effective practice for keeping all energy path routes in the body open.
Although the Inner Smile at first sight would appear to be an easy practice, it actually represents a great challenge. It holds in all its apparent simplicity a highly concentrated way to change our whole attitude towards life and towards ourselves. Yet, at the same time, it is the key to shifting and transforming our inner disposition and attitude so that we open ourselves to the ability of flowing with the stream of life. Also, it helps us not to "push against the river" and use force on ourselves and others. It trains us to accept ourselves and thereby others so that transformation can come from within and not from above or outside, as we raise our awareness and mindfulness.
The practice of the Inner Smile is not a shrewd trick or an easy device to forget our pain and to repress and do away with it. We need to recognize that pain will always be there, as existential pain, which is there as we live and exist. We will invariably accumulate pain in the ups and downs of life. It is the very practice of the Inner Smile which trains us to look deeply into ourselves and transform the pain into a source of self-transformation and empowerment. We become truly invulnerable, not by ignoring the pain, but by becoming more vulnerable and getting in touch with ourselves. By so doing we can be more sensitive to others and to the world. It is good to shed tears as we detoxify ourselves. In a patriarchal culture like ours, men are not supposed to show their tears, because it shows their weakness. If we learn the Inner Smile, we open ourselves to our deeper self and we learn to process our pain. In this way we restore the energy flow so that we can laugh again and then smile, as we learn to embrace ourselves, others and the world.
Yet, when we cry we lose energy. However the Inner Smile is a training to sense, feel, see and hear deeply, and learn to accept and embrace what is there so that life is opened up again.
By smiling into the heart of our own being and into our whole body, we affirm the basic intrinsic goodness of existence and our gratitude for being alive. By smiling inwardly we create the ground for self-esteem which in turn is the root of our own sense of dignity, and is essential for self-empowerment.
This may be called the first process of alchemical transformation on which all the others depend; it is the beginning of a new way of being, free from self-destruction.
It is not based on self-confrontation and fighting ourselves, but on learning to accept ourselves as we are, with a unique blend and combination of good and negative energies. We need both of them in order to grow. Without the negative energies there would be no impulse for the transformation process and we could not even raise our energy supply. The energy potential hidden in the negative energies would remain repressed and untapped.
Smiling and lowering the upper mind down to the lower mind, the LowerTan Tien, is of particular importance as a way to tune in to our life source and raise our life force. By so doing, we make it possible for the diaphragm to relax and freely move up and down. This also makes the lungs and heart happy.
Laughing and smiling are perhaps the best ways to connect with the Lower Tan Tien, generate Chi pressure and inner power, restore the free flow of energy and increases immunity.
It is good to experiment with and experience different forms of smiling and find out for yourself the results of moving from outward laughing towards inner laughing. It is a process like hitting a drum on its ouside and causing vibrations inside; we go from outer laughing towards inner smiling. The more subtle will be the vibrations in the Lower Tan Tien and the more powerful the Chi pressure generated.
The more inward the smile is, the less the lungs are used and the more energy is economized and natural (embryonic) breathing is approached.
Smiling and laughing Chi Kung are such a natural form of relaxation that we hardly think of them as a Chi Kung practice. Yet they are one of the most effective ways to restore the Water/Fire balance in the body. By making the sound "Ha", heat is released and excess fire energy is expelled,and the body is cooled and thereby rebalanced.
The Inner Smile is not only essential to get in touch with ourselves. It is also the key which makes it possible for us to get in touch with, receive and absorb all energies from the Universe, the Earth and the Cosmic particle energy around us, and to open ourselves to the Universe.
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