It was early on in my first meditation class. We had been taught about breathing from our haras [the lower abdomen] and the importance of straight backs and shoulders. I had discovered the knee pain that comes with sitting longer than, say, a half hour. It was overwhelming. Then a tiny little Thich Nhat Hanh teaching, casually expressed, changed my whole experience. It was this:
“Breathing in, I calm body and mind.
Breathing out, I smile.”
Suddenly it was okay to not try to be some samurai warrior meditating through grit teeth. Instead my job was to relax into the posture and to enjoy myself. Behind all of the jetsom and flotsam of everyday life that was circling around in my head like a scrabble game gone rogue was a smile. I still think of this teaching every day.
Geri Larkin, How Can I Love you Better?