The preeminent driver in people is the drive for happiness, and the heavenly breath comes to all creatures on the earth to enjoy life. The breath comes to all creatures of the three worlds, creatures of the water, land, and air, and the Holy Way is to care for all so that all can live happy.
When I am happy I smile, and I smile a lot. I am known as Smiley but I cannot smile on demand, only when happy. When young I would hear grandmother say that is does not take any more energy to smile than it does to frown. Whom that was directed toward is long forgotten, but I have never forgotten the words.
Recently I watched an episode of the old television show called Monk. Monk was a former detective often called on to help solve murders. He worked most closely with Captain Leland Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Randy Disher. Disher was a nice enough person, meant well, treated people kindly but was kind of a bumbler. In the show, someone asked Randy why he was so happy. He said that at an accident scene he saw a bumper sticker that said, “Happiness is a Choice,” and that was his aha moment. From that time on he chose to be happy, and in the same way, anyone can make that choice.
When I was young there was a man in the neighborhood who would stand at a somewhat busy intersection and wave to people in cars and say hi to those walking by. I would pick up newspapers to deliver at the same corner and talk to him. He had a mental issue so the conversation was basic, and even though he did not know very much his happiness and kindness made a big impression on me. I wondered if his state of obliviousness and peacefulness was a state of being to strive for.
A few years ago when I would visit my dad in Arizona I would stand on a corner with a stop sign with a woman who would wave to everyone driving by. I wake before dawn to chant mantras and after that I would join her. She woke before dawn to go to this corner and wave to people as a religious observance. She enjoyed it and those driving by seemed happy to see her and would wave to her or greet her. Kindness is a virtue, and to be kind to a stranger ups the chance of them being kind to you and others.
A person is better off approaching a stranger with a smile rather than a frown, approaching with happiness rather than discontent, peaceful rather than angry. Smiling and happiness are virtuous because they are uplifting to others. There is plenty of medical research on the negative health effects of depression and the positive effects of happiness, so in the long run, best to tread the path happy.
Here is a mantra from the Veda to bring a smile.
To cross the boundary of darkness clear perceptions break forth along with good fortune and a permanent smile, to rise up bright and happy with a radiant face to awaken the desire in others.