August 28, 2011

Let’s not ask: “How are you?”…if we don’t mean it.

“How are you,” s/he asked, walking by me. I didn’t bother to respond. What she meant was, “Hi, I know you, but I’m in a rush or I don’t care about you that much and I’m going to keep walking.”


“How are you?”

Don’t do it.

Don’t say “how are you” when we mean “Hi, I’m walking past you.”

Or, do it.

Ask “how are you,” and stand, facing directly, not half facing (as I do so often) and half (mentally) already going. Ask “how are you” and listen deeply.

Today I was riding my bicycle, momentarily deeply lost in thought, sadness, confusion…it was a sunny beautiful day and the ride itself woke me out of my fog…but not before two cyclists passed me, waved, I waved back, and thought to myself “I look happy, healthy…they have no idea either of them what is going on in my mind right now or my life over the last 9 months”…and then, waking up out of my pointless reverie, I thought: I’ve been gifted with a good mom, the practice of meditation, good food, a safe happy town…and yet I’m suffering. Imagine how much others suffer.

So next time, if I say “how are you,” know that I want to know. And do it yourself: let’s remember: we have no idea how much our fellow sister or brother is going through.

Be kind for everyone you meet is facing a great battle ~ Plato



Relephant: The Importance of Tonglen. ~ Ty Phillips

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