Smiling to the Nervous System
We talk about the Inner Smile meditation from time to time. It is a practice of going through the vital organs of the body, feeling the associated positive emotions, and seeing the colors related to each organ. The theory is that organs thrive with these qualities; like the way humans can feel ‘at home’ in certain climates.
Part of the Inner Smile is that the meditation goes beyond the organs to increase awareness in the digestive track, the nervous system, muscles, tendons, and the bones. Today, I want to describe the process of ‘smiling’ (increasing awareness and aliveness) to the nervous system. This is a useful practice, because, as my favorite professor in college said “but doctor, my nervous system is what is keeping me up at night!!”
We begin by closing our eyes, generating saliva in our mouth, and pressing our tongue to the center of the roof of our mouth. Next, we bring our attention to our eyes and feel our third eye expand. Then, feel the glands in our brain: the pituitary gland at the third eye, the pineal beneath the crown, and the hypothalamus at the base of the brain. We see these glands blossom like flowers opening to the morning sun.
From the base of the brain, smile and feel awareness in the first cervical vertebra. I use the visualization of descending a spiral staircase by seeing each vertebra light up with my awareness. There are seven cervical vertebra, twelve thoracic, five lumbar, and then the sacrum and coccyx. Feel the cartilage between each vertebra expand, becoming spongy and happy. It is difficult to feel each vertebra as we start (or if we’re out of practice). It can help to have someone touch each vertebra or rub your back against a tennis ball on the floor or a wall.
Our whole body will feel relaxed and calm after this practice.
The Alchemist’s Tao Te Ching:
Transforming Your Lead Into Gold