Mantak Chia is a Tao master who founded the Universal Healing Tao System, and a renowned expert and teacher of Taoism residing in Thailand. This book is his attempt to offer the healing powers of the Tao to ordinary people in a simple logical way designed to appeal to sincere seekers as well as skeptics.
The way of Tao, which is a path towards a spiritual goal but not a religion in itself, is ancient and spreads itself across many cultures, primarily Asian though certainly impacting the West. The footprint of Tao includes tai chi, acupuncture, Rolfing, Feldenkrais, and Kinesiology. Tao can be both an inner spiritual path and an outer physiological practice. Chia's book focuses on using mental energies to affect physical ailments, with the goal of creating balance or harmony within one's personal bodily system. This specific inner balance will naturally radiate outward to affect others in a positive way.
The Inner Smile is not a joke. It's a positive force that can be used to redirect the inner strife, or dis-ease, within one's body. Physical struggles within our organs and our endocrine system are caused by a wide variety of emotional stresses, from confrontation and anger to air pollution, some of which seem beyond our direct control. By "smiling" at each of our body systems in a structured meditative way, Chia asserts, we can recreate balance and prevent disease.
The thymus is a central actor in this balance. Thus one's practice of the Inner Smile will include the thymus and other glandular systems. Smiling, we are told, begins with the eyes, eyes that are open and receptive, eyes that receive light. The eyes are an opening, and their organ of function is the liver. If the liver is not functioning properly, says Chia, "you'll be unable to make decisions and your vision will be impaired." Each body opening has a concomitant body organ, so as you "smile" throughout the body you must make yourself aware of these connections. In other words, the Inner Smile is a system, not a random collection of nice ideas.
Chia's book has many simple illustrations as well as some charming photo-art depicting a "smiler" in the proper posture seemingly floating in the cosmos while his heart and other organs are happily smiling away. This may seem naïve or silly to some, but Chia is certain that an hour or so a day devoted to consciously and systematically smiling at your inner conflicts and ailments will repay you with better sleep, more sensible diet, and more energy to solve the problems that have been plaguing you. The Inner Smile is a slim book that covers a lot of ground and should be recognized as a laudable effort to take concepts which are vast and significant and make them accessible to all.