The talk I attended in Birmingham by Thic Nat Hahn was inspiring and similar. I'll never forget him holding up an orange and asking us to consider how it was made. Looking into it deeper, he was pointing to the interdependance of all phenomena.
"This morning during some questions and answer period, I said something like this, "Life is full of suffering, but it is also full of wonderful things, like the blue sky, the sunshine. . . the eyes of a baby, and that to suffer is not enough." We should be in touch with the wonder of life.
I think this acknowledges suffering, but he is very encouraging. The truth is that you have to have an enthusiasm for practice and "love the cushion".
His paragraph about smiling is very positive.I think he's teaching about self awareness and the results of even the simplest actions. We all know how positive it is to smile and be smiled at, especially in a world where we are experiencing some level of suffering.
"Wait until I finish school, and get my PhD degree, then I will be really alive." And when you got it, and it's not easy to get, then you say to yourself, "I have to wait until I get a job to be really alive." And then after the job, a house. After the house, a car. And we are not capable of being alive in the present moment. And we tend to postpone being alive to the future, to a distant future, we don't know when.
This is a gentle exhortation to practice. Again he's very encouraging, but the message is a lifelong one, to practice now. A good message.