Whether it’s part of your job or just what comes after “hello,” I think we all do. It’s only polite, right?
Polite, maybe. But do you actually care about the answer?
As I answered the phone yesterday and asked the other end how she was, she answered, “Good, how are you? I’d like to look at…”
Before I could even open my mouth to answer, she had moved on to her main point. Huh. She really didn’t give a crap about how I was.
I’m not sayin’ I blame her – I’m totally guilty of doing the same thing. I ask “how are you?” out of politeness or routine. Half the time, I don’t even realize what I’m asking.
It’s built in to our language, I know. It’s just what you say. So what’s the big deal?
No big deal, really…
But what if, instead, we actually cared?
What if we took a moment out of our busy day to slow down, become present to the person in front of us, and genuinely inquire as to how they’re doing?
I think people would be blown away. Smiles would be had, spirits would be lifted and connections would be made.
Could there be a compassion revolution, just by changing the way we ask, “how are you?”
Maybe. All it takes is one person at a time. One interaction out of your whole day.
How can you suddenly turn such a routine phrase into a meaningful question?
By first moving into presence. Before you open your mouth, become present to the person in front of you. See them. Feel them (though not literally, or you may get slapped – I warned ya ). Then, when you feel that genuine sense of human connection that we all share, ask them how they are. And care about the answer.
Compassion can be cultivated, folks. Trust me.
I was (and often still am) a damn selfish person. It’s built in to our society. But y’know what? We can change that.
By meditating and practicing mindfulness, I’ve been able to cultivate greater compassion in my heart. You can too - a big winner is the loving-kindness meditation. Give it a whirl.
Or if you’re not jivin’ with that, try simply meaning it when you ask, “how are you?”
This won’t be an easy habit to break – I literally did it JUST now. (jeez…)
But awareness is the first step, right? Just thought I’d bring a little mindfulness to this often mindless daily practice.
On that note…How are you, my friends? I genuinely hope you’re well.
Peace, love and a steaming cup of Zen,