The Hidden Cost of Smiling

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Re: The Hidden Cost of Smiling

Post by PeterB » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:51 am

legolas wrote:
Ben wrote:
legolas wrote: That really is Noble Silence. I have often looked at the ground and avoided peoples faces and not said a word, I can be a right stroppy bugger. :evil:
Well I guess there is noble silence (of body speech and mind) and the Noble Silence that is a metaphor for the jhanas which do not permit a bastard to remain stroppy.
What I was getting at, was an observation that the conditions of silent retreats provides a brilliant respite from the constant caustic bs of meaningless social interaction. As I said, it was really just an observation, not a solution.
Noble silence is not restraining oneself from calling someone a bastard, that would come under Right Speech i.e. not using derogatory language by remaining silent would come under Right Speech.
Noble silence of body, speech & mind is jhana.
Some people ARE bastards. Voicing that in itself is not a breach of right speech.

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Re: The Hidden Cost of Smiling

Post by Vepacitta » Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:53 pm

"Spock, can't you smile? You're half human ..."

"Mother, humans smile at so little provocation ..."

Star Trek - Tower of Babel

Well, I think there is an issue of 'too much smiling' - especially here in America. I never was a smiley sort - then I did it 'on purpose' - flashed those brighty-whities - and people do react differently to one. But it's calculated - it's a tactic. (And yes, I have a genuine smile as well - but that's for friends or when I'm actually feeling okey dokey).

There is in America this 'over positivist' culture - things could truly suck on a gigantic scale - but you're expected to pour pink paint over it all and 'think positive!" (You have to say that in a saccharine sweet overly high mid-western female accent to really grok what I mean). Not that one should wallow, but one had to deal with what is going on with oneself honestly. However, if you even broach things honestly with people - you can be labeled 'negative' or 'a person with an attitude'. If you stick up for yourself - reasonably - soft voice - no swearing - you may still be labeled 'difficult'. People are very self-obsessed in our (US) society and don't want to be even reminded of anyone else's crap - because - I believe - it reminds them of their own existential angst.

A pox on pink paint pouring, I say! :soap:

But that's just me.

Annapurna - love love loved your post.

As to stroppiness - I always thought Kassapa was extremely stroppy - especially with Ananda. Being an arahant didn't do much for his 'personality'. I've always thought that one could be an arahant - and yet - still be unpleasant to certain people - underlying tendencies are still there. We discussed this in class last month. I also recall Ajahn Sumedho saying, 'Even arahants can be annoying''. Good ol' Ajahn Sumedho - so down to earth.

And sometimes - I think you do need to tell people if they're being a right bastard - or else they'll walk all over you - it would be nice if forbearance worked - but it usually doesn't. Metta doesn't mean being a schnook (wuss, weakling, ninny).

From a discussion I had with my teacher, he would say that refraining from calling someone a bastard would be restraint - you'd need to use that restraint in order to practise right speech. (Christ I sure do).

Jeez, that was rambly .... :roll:

But yeh - nothing wrong with smiling per se - but forced smiliness in order to ignore what's going on around you or within you - that just leads to more samsara-ing - more delusive thinking - in my opinion, of course (I think I'll go and attach to some view today ...)

And Peter - you are so right - some people are never happier than when they are miserable! I told my brother that once and he hung up the phone in a fury!



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Re: The Hidden Cost of Smiling

Post by Fede » Fri Aug 20, 2010 2:00 pm

Annapurna wrote:(. . .)
This brings us to the biological and evolutionary PURPOSE of smiling:

It is an appeasing gesture.

Dogs and cats will wag tails, purr and give their cheeks into your hand,
I must (as a Dog behaviourist) take issue with this comment. Dogs and cats do not wag their tails to show whether they are happy, and it is most certainly NOT an appeasing gesture.
In both cases, it is a warning.

A cat will flick its tail to show irritation and rising anger. Soon after the tail-wag, the claws will appear.
Dogs wag their tails at different heights and levels, to indicate their mood at that moment. A dog wagging its tail is NOT necessarily a happy dog!

Occasionally, a cat purring will also be in pain. what they're doing is alerting you to their need and present-moment mood. Happiness or appeasement has nothing to do with it. Sorry, but its true.

Am starting a new thread, with Moderator permission.... :smile:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D" onclick=";return false;

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