How are you?
Most of us ask this question or are asked this question with no real interest in what the answer is on a day to day basis. I had a talk about this in my old office with my colleague, David. When we would cross paths he would give me the quick “hey, how are you Sheeva?” and I would answer and often ask him the same question until I realized that half of the time he didn’t answer my question of “how are you?” One day he gave me the usual “hey- how are ya” and I asked him if he was even actually interested in my answer and he honestly said no! He said that “how are you” is more of a greeting than an actual question and after I tried to unsuccessfully convince him that caring about the answer was important I gave up on the conversation and we went back to work.
I think asking someone how they are and genuinely desiring to hear their answer is a great way to actively listen and connect with people, but I think the most important person on this planet to ask “how are you” to is yourself. How often do we actually ask ourselves how we are doing today? How often do we check in and assess what is going on in our body and mind? Devout practitioners of yoga and meditation may do this daily, but the majority of us do not.
I invite you to try asking yourself this simple question every morning for 1 week. This may sound daunting, but it really isn’t! It may take 3 or 4 minutes from your morning and you have a few options for how to approach the practice.
Option 1: Simply ask yourself “how are you?” while looking in the mirror and respond from your heart with as few or as many words as feels necessary.
Option 2: Write down your answer as if someone has just asked how you are.
Option 3: Turn this into a 5 minute (or longer, if you prefer) sitting meditation. Find yourself in a comfortable seat, close your eyes, and begin to quiet the mind by focusing on the in-breath and the out-breath. After 10-15 rounds of focused breathing ask yourself (silently) “how am I today?” and let whatever answers and emotions rise to come up and breathe with them.
The important thing of this practice is to let go of all judgments. Even if your answer to yourself is “I feel really F-ing angry today” or “I’m still really mad at my mom,” it’s okay! We want to work on getting to know ourselves better and build an awareness around our emotions. Dealing with and/or changing those emotions will come later with time.
So let’s get to it- how are you?