Many people like to greet another person with this common greeting sentence “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”
Most people don’t really interested to know how we are, but it’s just a common natural greeting sentence when we see somebody. It is not a question at all.
There are some people who really care and they really mean it, when they ask “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”
Some people don’t just ask people “How are you?”, but also to the other beings, like insects and animals, or plants, or even things.
Are we ready to listen, when we ask somebody “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”
Some people don’t mind when sharing other people’s stories and feelings that are uplifting and cheerful, but they mind when other people start to complain and mourn about negative things.
As there will always be somebody who needs to talk to someone, and needs someone to be there to listen to them about how they feel and what is troubling them, especially when they feel disturbed and unhappy.
Sometimes we only feel comfortable to talk about what is going on in our life and how we really feel, to someone who we know close enough that we feel comfortable to share with.
But sometimes, we rather talk to somebody who don’t really know about us, about what is going on in our life and how we really feel. We just want to let out some frustration, to get some relieves from stress, without being judged, nor getting more unnecessary troubles coming from gossips among family and friends who know us.
Sometimes complete strangers who are selfless and wise can be good listeners. They are the third party who don’t really involve in what is going on in our personal life, who will not give one-sided judgment and opinion. It’s not an obligation for them to be listening to our frustration, unhappy feelings and problems. They don’t really get any incentive or advantage from listening to our problems, but spending their time and energy to listen to our frustration, unhappy feelings and problems. They also have to withstand the negative vibrations from us for being unhappy and frustrated. They also will wish for us all the kind wishes without expecting anything in return.
Anybody whom we know or don’t know, who is selfless and wise, can be a good listener. Their presence for being there, and their free will to share our ‘unhappiness’ by being a listener, will help us to reduce and minimize our ‘problems’, or to be free from what we think is ‘problem’.
Somebody whom we know or don’t know, who is impure, might not be a good listener. Their presence and their sharing our ‘unhappiness’ by listening to our ‘problems’, might not help us to reduce or minimize our ‘problems’, but might make our ‘problems’ become greater.
How many of us truly care for other people and ask them “How are you?” or “Are you okay?” when we see them?
Are we just saying it as a greeting sentence, but we are not really interested in knowing what is happening to them, or how they actually feel?
Are we having selfish intention and expectation by showing ‘care’ to other people, by expecting something in return? Such like expecting someone to be there for us in return, when we need to talk to somebody, or when we feel lonely and bored.
Are we doing it for any personal benefits or business incentive in return, when we show interest to know about other people’s stories of their life and how they feel?
Are we just being busybody and like to gossip about other people’s problems in life, when we expect someone to talk about themselves by asking them “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”
Or are we being compassionate and sincerely want to show care for anybody whom we meet in the present moment now, really care to know if they are fine and at peace? Being ready to spend some of our time and energy to be there for these people if they need to talk to us, who happen to ask them “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”
Out of compassion, without any selfish intention, without any expectation, without judgment, without getting attached, nor disturbed, nor influenced, nor annoyed by listening to other people’s unhappy feelings and problems, just be there for somebody who needs a good listener to release what is troubling them at that very moment. Sometimes they will know what they need to do after the relief from talking to somebody. They don’t need a judge or an adviser.
About twenty years ago, there was a woman who suffered long term depression. Whenever somebody greeted her with “How are you?”, she would burst into tears and started to talk about her problems and unhappiness in life. But, gradually nobody wanted to greet her with “How are you?” anymore. They just said “Hi!” or “Good morning or good afternoon” to her. Some people even tried to avoid her when they saw her coming. Such is the world.
Be ready, even if we are not really interested in knowing about what is going on in other people’s life or how they feel, when we greet them with this sentence “How are you?” or “Are you okay?”, as somebody might breakdown in tears and couldn’t stop talking about their problems, frustration and complaints. Be compassionate, as that is why we are the one to be there for that person, at that moment. Be unattached, just be a listener.
Sometimes people want to share their success, joy and happiness with us when we greet them with “How are you?” Then be happy for them. Be a good listener. Do not feel intimidated nor be jealous about other people’s success, joy and happiness.
This is part of our yoga practice.