Interesting observation from the retreat.
I’m all about smiles. You hear it everyone, science has proven it, if you smile you’ll begin to and will feel better, more content.
As Vipassana, they are all about being happy. Goenkaji closed every discourse with blessings to be happy. Every sit was completed by wishing happiness for all beings. Signs would say be happy.
The sign underneath the dessert for example:
Please take 2 cookies each
No smile. Just the words be happy.
Smiling wasn’t encouraged, it always be happy. In fact, I recall looking at Virginia (our assistant teacher’s) face at one point and recalling a passage from Siddharta, where Siddharta is describing seeing Gotama for the first time. What struck him was the pure joy on his and the gentle passive “smile” that was on his face. I could see the same look on Virginia’s face. The compassion and unforced “smile”.
As I looked around and reflected a bit I began to understand. In the “mundane” world, smile and be happy are considered synonmous. At Vipassana, we were continually in the environment where we could learn how to be happy. And when I say be happy I mean BE happy. The state of actual being. The important word is not happy, but BEING happy.