Smile to Your Heart Meditations

Smile to Your Heart Meditations
by Irmansyah (“Irman”) Effendi, M.Sc.
Review by Belinda Dunn

For decades, Oprah Winfrey has introduced countless viewers to a spiritual point of view. On a recent broadcast, she succinctly stated her definition of spirituality as an “open heart,” and “being able to love and accept the people of the world.” However, when we look upon the current state of affairs, we see a world at odds with itself, at war with others, and we wonder how to take this ideal and bring it into daily life. From ancient words of the wise, to hearts displayed on a variety of consumer goods, the search is not new. Each of us, in the depths of our being, instinctively know our heart holds the key to love, acceptance, and peace.

In his groundbreaking book, “Smile to Your Heart Meditations,” author Irmansyah Effendi takes the reader through simple, clear, step-by-step instructions to experience the natural feelings in your heart. With encouragement and clarity, he states, “How wonderful and exciting it is to know that peace, calmness, happiness, and other beautiful feelings are within us at this very moment. To be able to feel and enjoy these blessings, all we need to do is open and begin strengthening our heart.”

As a yoga instructor, I receive many questions from students on meditation. Repeatedly, I hear this comment in a variety of ways, “I would like to meditate, but it is difficult to sit still and quiet my mind.” Sincerity and willingness is there, but most people encounter this type of challenge. Apparently, as much as yoga has grown in popularity through recent decades, the serene joy on Buddha’s face seems to elude most students. Throughout the years, I have practiced and offered a variety of techniques, but they could only go so far. In fact, excessive mental activity was a major deterrent to my own practice. The reality is, from early childhood, we are taught to exalt the mind and develop the intellect, thus strengthening the brain.

Seven years ago, I was introduced to the simple techniques presented in “Smile to Your Heart Meditations.” Very quickly my thoughts settled down, and I began feeling a calming, peaceful happiness. What marks this outstanding difference? Instead of focusing on the brain, thus stimulating mental activity, emphasis is placed on the heart. When the heart is strengthened, open, and active, good feelings radiate from the heart. Excessive thinking automatically subsides as the brain is encompassed by feelings of love.

In this step-by-step owner’s manual for the heart, each chapter builds upon the last, explaining the difference between heart, brain, emotion, and feeling. In the chapter entitled “The Real Feeling,” Irman makes a clear distinction between emotion and feeling. Some examples of emotion are arrogance, hatred, resentment, jealousy, and irritation. He goes on to clarify, “I use the term “feeling”, by contrast, only to refer to the real feelings from our heart—which are the good and wonderful sensations that surface in our heart, and radiate out to the rest of our being.” Feelings are defined as love, calmness, beauty, joy and “any other feel-good and uplifting sentiment.”

This brings me to a very important aspect of our psychological make-up as human beings. We commonly refer to the heart when we hear or say, “my heart is heavy,” or “my heart is broken.” In contrast, there are times when we feel “lighthearted,” or remind ourselves to “lighten-up.” Clearly, the state of our heart condition is fundamental and essential to our well-being.

Increasingly, we live in a psychologically aware society. Your local bookstore has whole sections on personal growth, psychology, relationships, and health. Like many people, I have done my psychological homework by reading books and experimenting with various techniques to release emotional baggage and resolve the past.

Thankfully, lasting solutions for my emotional health have come by practicing the meditations offered in this book. As simple as it is, smiling to my heart has immeasurably improved all of my relationships. Each day I feel more present and able to enjoy daily life.

What makes the heart so special? Irman shares this essential truth, “For ages it has been said that we should follow our heart, that our heart knows the truth. Why? This is because our true self, the spark of Source within our heart, has its own consciousness. This consciousness is much higher than our brain consciousness, and it knows the real truth—what is best for us and others.”

Irman has been teaching about the heart for more than a decade, helping hundreds of thousands of people through workshops, healing clinics, non-profits, and business training programs throughout the world. While he has written more than twelve books on the subject, “Smile to Your Heart Meditations” is his first major English-language release. Until now, the material presented in this book has only been available in day-long workshops. When asked why he is publishing a book for the public now, he responds by saying, “It’s because everything is happening at such a fast rate during this spiritual awakening age.”

On Tuesday, June 21st (Summer Solstice!), the public has a rare opportunity to meet Irman at a book-signing event held at Malaprops bookstore, 55 Haywood Street, downtown Asheville, starting at 7 p.m. All the way from his home in Australia, Irman is here to share his heart, answer questions, and introduce you to the wonderful possibilities of living a heart-centered life. In closing, Irman says, “Opening, strengthening, and using your heart are beyond your wildest imagination and your deepest wish in living a peaceful and joyful life. It is as real as can be.” Let this be your personal invitation, and feel free to invite friends and family. See you there!

The author has donated all proceeds from book sales to Heart Sanctuary, a local non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the heart as key to happiness and joy.

You are invited to join us for community gatherings each Tuesday evening at 7 p.m., 5 Covington Street, Asheville. For more information, check us out on the web: heartsanctuary.org; smiletoyourheartmeditations.com; openheartworkshops.com; or by phone 888-341-HEART.

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