How is your heart doing?

A bit of a repost, but expanded in the prism of the pandemic and the type of disconnect it has caused in life.

We have had so many new technological innovations that we thought would make our lives easier, faster, simpler. Yet, we have no more “free” or leisurely time today than we did decades ago. For some of us, the “privileged” ones, the lines between work and home have become blurred. We are on our devices. All. The. Freaking. Time.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?

What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.

I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.

We need a different relationship to work, to technology. We know what we want: a meaningful life, a sense of community, a balanced existence. I want us to have a kind of existence where we can pause, look each other in the eye, touch one another, and inquire together: Here is how my heart is doing? I am taking the time to reflect on my own existence; I am in touch enough with my own heart and soul to know how I fare, and I know how to express the state of my heart.

How is the state of your heart today?

Let us insist on a type of human-to-human connection where when one of us responds by saying, “I am just so busy,” we can follow up by saying, “I know, love. We all are. But I want to know how your heart is doing.”

Omid Safi, The Disease of Being Busy

Heaven and earth

This shell is not of my own making

Borrowing it from heaven and earth

I live out each and every day

Eichi Enomoto, 1903 – 1998, Hermit crab

One’s life is a combination of what one borrows and what one is gifted with. Without borrowing all the strength from heaven and earth, one cannot truly live, even for a minute

Shunda Aoyama, Zen Seeds

Start over

The very presence of your breath and of your body is one of the most astonishing things in the universe, and it offers the continual opportunity to start over. This awareness allows us to start the entire project of our life over, to reinitiate all the threads of our thought, grounding it all in the immediate experience of our body. What an incredible relief it is to understand that the ultimate place of pilgrimage is right in the center of our very own heart

Richard Freeman

Complaint

Anxiety, heartbreak, and tenderness mark the in-between state. It’s the kind of place we usually want to avoid. The challenge is to stay in the middle rather than buy into struggle and complaint. The challenge is to let it soften us rather than make us more rigid and afraid.

Pema Chodron