A smile is a facial expression formed by flexing the muscles near both ends of the mouth and by flexing muscles throughout the mouth. Some smiles include contraction of the muscles at the corner of the eyes. Among humans, it is an expression denoting pleasure, sociability, happiness, or amusement, but can also be an involuntary expression of anxiety, in which case it is known as a grimace. Smiling is something that is understood by everyone despite culture, race, or religion; it is internationally known. Cross-cultural studies have shown that smiling is a means of communication throughout the world. But there are large differences between different cultures. A smile can also be spontaneous or artificial.
I was recently told of an African tribe that does the most beautiful thing.
When someone does something hurtful or wrong, they take the person to the center of town, and the entire tribe comes and surrounds him. For two days they’ll tell the man every good thing he has ever done.
It could also be a formal admission to adulthood in a community. In an extended sense it can signify transformation in which the initiate is reborn into a new role.
Example: Hindu Diksha, Christian Baptism, Jewish Bar or Bat Mitzvah, fraternities (interesting they do not mention sororities), secret society or religious order, graduation from school, recruit training.
A few weeks ago as I sat talking to a man I teach yoga to in his home I saw that he had this saying next to him on the side table:
“Patience is the ability to end our expectations.”
All my life I have been collecting quotes to live by but had never heard this one. It was part of this man’s work to heal himself, not knowing when and if that would happen.
On an airplane from San Francisco to New York, I saw an interview with the director of the recent silent film The Artist. The interview shed light on his reasons for making the film. Besides being homage to a generation of directors from early Hollywood, the director also wanted to make the film as a commentary on change, in part because we are living in a time of so much rapid change. The film is brilliant and received much deserved acclaim. Without sound the director drew us in to a world of wonder and every gamut of human emotion. The interviewer asked the director if it had been a challenge to do the film. “Of course it was” the director replied. “If I had wanted to do something that was just like anyone else why do it”, he said?
In the Mayan calendar, it is the end. The Piscean Astrological Age is ending and the Aquarian begins. For years Yogi Bhajan, the Master of Kundalini Yoga, spoke about this transition. He gave us a specific sadhana, spiritual practice, for this called the Aquarian sadhana, which has been done for the past twenty years until 2012. Well, here we are. Now what are we supposed to be experiencing? This age is said to be a shift in consciousness. Each age is. This one is about shifting away from group consciousness, such as organized religions, that tell us how to live and what to do, into an age where we realize these things for ourselves and realize our connection to all instead of our separateness. The other person is you. Can humanity ever get this? At a time of Occupy Wall Street and other places like Occupy Augusta in Maine we seem more separate than ever. Could the unrest and uncertainty worldwide be a part of this transition?