The Story of the Laughing Buddha
The Laughing Buddha was a cheerful Buddhist monk,Hotei or Pu-Tai,who traveledspreading happiness and blessings to the ordinary. In his small bag he carried sweets and gifts for children. He has become a symbol of protection for children,the poor and the weak,as well as,happiness and abundance.
Modern Version of Pu-Tai
Elizabeth Gilbert introduces a modern day Laughing Buddha in her book Eat,Pray,Love Ketut Liyer,the Balinese medicine man.
One of my favorite scenes is when Ketut describes his version of yoga to Liz.
“Why they always look so serious in Yoga? You make serious face like this,you scare away good energy. To meditate ,only you must smile. Smile with face,smile with mind and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver.”
I have to admit there are times when I forget this simple lesson. The world seems too hard,business isn’t coming in the way I planned or tensions are high at home. Smile. A very simple business and life lesson.
News Flash:Science Proves Smiling Is Good
In the article 10 Hidden Benefits of Smiling,the author sites several medical,psychological and sociological studies for smiling. Did you know that in studying pictures of 1952 baseball players,the men who smiled lived a average of 10 years longer? (That’s number 10 on the list).
According to Positive Psychology News,there are actual physiological changes that happen when we use our facial muscles. Frown and adrenalin is released. Smile and serotonin (feel good hormone) is released. Even better,when you smile at someone else,they are much more likely to smile back. Think about it,you’ve just given them a gift of feeling better just by smiling at them. That’s one of the reasons we love looking at babies. They smile. We smile. They mimic back and there is a general feel-good cycle going on.
Smiling is a natural stress release. You don’t need anything but a few muscles. It doesn’t take a lot of training or practice. You can start right now.
How Often Do You Smile?
If smiling is so great,how often do you smile? I’ll guess it’s not as often as you could. I’ll also guess you tend to smile when you’re around others and not when you’re alone. How can you make smiling a regular practice?
- Keep reminders around. Remember you can’t help but smile when you see others smile. Having pictures of smiling family and friends in your office and home will help you automatically smile.
- Take smiling breaks. Just like you take a coffee break,take a break to smile. Working on a project,smile when you’re half way through. Car pooling,smile on the way to pick up your first passenger. I recommend at least one smile break an hour.
- Inspire a smile. Sometimes you need encouragement to smile. Listen to a song you know makes you smile. Watch a movie that makes you smile. Read a favorite book.
- It’s okay to smile when your alone. Most important,give yourself permission to smile when you’re alone. I know it sounds silly,but telling yourself its okay to smile will ward off the “I bet I look stupid sitting here smiling”message your ego is trying to send you.
Become a Laughing Buddha
Today become your own Laughing Buddha. Put on a smile and share it with everyone you meet. Just like the Laughing Buddha,you’ll be spreading happiness and blessings wherever you go.