Why does Thay say that smiling is the most basic kind of peace work? A smile not only helps to relax ourselves, releasing our own tension and anxiety so that we can touch more peace. The smile on our face will bring more pleasant feelings to others.
Thay sees smiling as integral to mindfulness practice:
After a long meditation, I wrote this poem. In it, there are three people: the twelve-year-old girl, the pirate, and me. Can we look at each other and recognize ourselves in each other? The title of the poem is "Please Call Me by My True Names," because I have so many names. When I hear one of the of these names, I have to say, "Yes."
When we see a blooming flower, its natural beauty and fragrance never fail to lift our spirit no matter which corner of the globe we are in. Flowers bring us much joy and are a universal expression of love and appreciation for others, both in celebration and memorials. Yet a flower withers shortly after it blooms- a profound reminder of the impermanence of all life. Being with a flower mindfully is a deep meditation.
Cooking can be one of the most peaceful, mindful and loving of acts. But often we are stressed when preparing food. We’re racing the clock. We’re hungry – perhaps too hungry, uncomfortably so. or past the point of hunger when preparing food. This can turn a beautiful act into a chore. And the unpleasant feelings we cultivate in the kitchen may manifest in our creations.