“Peace begins with a smile…”

There’s a story that Zen practitioners love to tell called The Flower Sermon. It goes like this:

When Shakyamuni Buddha was at Mount Grdhrakuta, he held out a flower to his listeners. Everyone was silent. Only Mahakashyapa broke into a broad smile. The Buddha said, “I have the True Dharma Eye, the Marvelous Mind of Nirvana, the True Form of the Formless, and the Subtle Dharma Gate, independent of words and transmitted beyond doctrine. This I have entrusted to Mahakashyapa.”

Many centuries later, Mother Teresa – likely not even aware of The Flower Sermon – captured some of its meaning simply by saying, “Peace begins with a smile.”

Life isn’t all that complicated. Really. It is made so when we walk through it scowling, grumbling, being impatient, angry, insensitive, rude. Especially when we’re having a Really. Bad. Day.

But have you noticed how someone’s entire demeanor can change if you smile at him? A simple smile can defuse a tense situation, uplift a weary heart, and state – without words – I am on your side…I care about you.

There’s a lot of wisdom in a smile. Without saying a word. And plenty of peace to go ’round because of them.

I think we can change our communities with a smile.

Want to give it a try?

What do we have to lose? (I’ll bet it’s not likely not half as much as we have to gain.)

Let’s see what happens.