Today’s spiritual practice is smiling. Yes, smiling.
It is easy to smile and laugh when you are doing things you enjoy and are with friends and family you feel comfortable with. But when you are with people who don’t like you, people whose beliefs are completely opposite of yours, perhaps people who hold power over you whose power you are challenging, then it is not so easy, and smiling must become a conscious spiritual practice. We must learn not to be reactive to the fear and anger or bigotry or greed or lust for power in the other person. The best way to defeat a foe is to make him/her our friend. This Nelson Mandela did when he negotiated the end of apartheid after being released from jail. This Mahatma Gandhi did when he freed India from foreign colonialists. This we can do too.
But, you say, that would be insincere, it would be lying. Really? What is your goal? Remember, your nonviolent commitment is to hold to hold no malice in your heart. MLK said, and I paraphrase, “You can kill me, but you cannot make me hate you.” So, these peace practices help to remove the fear and anger that might knock us off our purpose.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”― Thích Nhất Hạnh
Besides that, smiling, all by itself, opens your heart. Really. Try it. Just sit quietly, focus on your breathing or on a beautiful picture etc, and simply breathe and smile. Smile and breathe.