By Nayaswami Narayan
September 10, 2019

Have you heard of the “Game with Minutes”? Frank Lauchbach was a Christian missionary who wrote about practicing the presence of God in his popular book Letters of a Modern Mystic. In order to make thinking of God fun and practical, he devised a simple “Game with Minutes” where you attempt to think of God at least once each minute for an hour a day. 

A friend of mine met Frank Laubach at a public event where he was asked to lead a prayer. She said it was like hearing a radio station of unceasing inner focus on God and suddenly the volume was turned up so all could hear it. Then it was as if the volume got turned down and his outward prayer finished. However, she knew inwardly he was still conversing with Christ.

You can play the “Game with Minutes” anytime you remember. The hard part is remembering to play! Like any game, the more fun it is, the more likely you are to want to play. When you really want something, it’s hard not to think about it. 

How can we experiment and make playing the “Game with Minutes” fun, dynamic, and exhilarating? 

Another way to practice the presence of God is to “shoot people with the buckshot of your smiles” as Paramhansa Yogananda said. When you’re with people, turn the “Game with Minutes” into the “Game of Smiles”. How many genuine smiles can you give and receive? 

I tried this experiment the other day while at the airport. Normally at the airport people are stressed and fatigued from travel. As I moved through the airport, I smiled to a number of people and counted three genuine smiles in return. What joy to connect with a stranger through a smile! Not everyone saw me or connected, but the few people that did made my day.

First play the “Game with Minutes” and feel inwardly His smile in your heart through your practice of meditation and inner communion. Then as you go about your day bring your unseen comrade in Christ or whatever way you think of God to your mind. Then share the love and joy of God in your heart with others through your genuine smile. Play the “Game of Smiles” and you will find Him smiling back at you everywhere. 

Did you know you are a smile millionaire?! The rich spring of your soul smiles will remind you of the mine of mirth from which all joy emanates. 

The joy of a soul smile to you!

Nayaswami Narayan

P.S. To help you play the “Game of Smiles” enjoy Paramhansa Yogananda’s deeply inspiring poem below.

Fountain of Smiles

By Paramhansa Yogananda

Behold not those sarcastic smiles
Which are conceived in the dark womb of hate.
Welcome not those bandit smiles
Which rob people of sincerity.
Wear not the serpent smiles
Which hide their venom
Behind stings of laughter.
Banish the volcanic smiles
Of subterranean wrath.
Bedim not that mirror of thy soul — thy face—
With shades of pitying smiles.
Let no witless, noisy, muscle‐contorting laughter,
Like a boisterous ruffian, echo the emptiness of thy soul.

Let fountains of joy
Gush out from the soil of thy mind,
Spread fine sprays of sensitive smiles in all directions,
And send out their vitality to all laugh‐thirsty hearts.
Let the lake of thy smiles break its embankment
And flow outward to infinity.
Let smiles fly out gaily from thy heart to the lonely stars,
Brightening their twinkles with divine laughter.
Let the flood of thy laughter
Inundate the drought of dry, over‐rational minds,
Sweeping away the barriers of cold formality.

Spread thy smiles with the dawn
To banish all gloom from others’ minds.
Send shafts of thy golden smiles, like sunlight,
Through every dark cloud of despondency,
To brighten others’ days of depression and gloom.
Command thy smiles to resurrect life
In the semi‐conscious, walking, dead.
Smile for those living dead also,
Whose grim peace betokens at least victory over pain.
Let thy smiles pulverize to atoms
The rocks of all sorrow.
Let thy smiles meander alike
Through desert minds and oasis hearts.
Let thy deluge of smiles fearlessly sweep
Through all minds, through all dark, lonely alleys,
Drowning or washing away
Every barrier of human pain.

When God laughs through the soul,
And the soul smiles through the heart,
And the heart smiles through the eyes,
Then the prince of smiles is crowned
’Neath the canopy of thy celestial brow.
Protect thy prince of smiles in a castle of sincerity.
Let no rebel hypocrisy lurk in dark woods, waiting to destroy it.
Spread the gospel of smiles,
To purify all homes with health‐giving laughter,
Loose wild fires of thy smiles
To blaze through thickets of melancholia.
Open the long‐bottled musk of smiles,
And scatter its perfume to all men.
Intoxicate all with the wine of thy smiles.
Take rich smiles from every joyous soul.
Excavate smiles from the mine of all true mirth.
North, south, east, and west: wherever thou goest,
O smile‐millionaire,
Scatter thy golden smiles—
Freely, freely, everywhere.