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How Is Your Heart Doing?

--by Omid Safi (Jun 20, 2016)


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 yourhaal?

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 am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. 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.

Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.

Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being, a human being who also craves a human touch.
I teach at a university where many students pride themselves on the “study hard, party hard” lifestyle. This might be a reflection of many of our lifestyles and our busy-ness — that even our means of relaxation is itself a reflection of that same world of overstimulation. Our relaxation often takes the form of action-filled (yet mindless) films, or violent and fast-paced sports.

I don’t have any magical solutions. All I know is that we are losing the ability to live a truly human life.

We need a different relationship to work, to technology. We know what we want: a meaningful life, a sense of community, a balanced existence. It’s not just about “leaning in” or faster iPhones. We want to be truly human.

W. B. Yeats once wrote, "It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a solider to fight on a battlefield."

How exactly are we supposed to examine the dark corners of our soul when we are so busy? How are we supposed to live the examined life?

I want us to have a kind of existence where we can pause, look each other in the eye […] and inquire together: Here is how my heart is doing. […]

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 is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center. He is the past Chair for the Study of Islam, and the current Chair for Islamic Mysticism Group at the American Academy of Religion. Reading above is excerpted from the OnBeing blog.

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11 Previous Reflections:

 
On Nov 15, 2017 annamiler wrote:

 

 
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On Feb 22, 2017 Kirsten Pike wrote:

 nice post.,



On Jan 1, 2017 John Martin wrote:

 



On Oct 28, 2016 tim wrote:

 hi tehre



On Jun 22, 2016 farah wrote:

 it is not enough to ask how   your heart is  doing.we 'd better do sth to make  one's heart happy.



On Jun 21, 2016 david doane wrote:

I love the question "How is your heart at this very moment, at this breath?"  That is so personal, so present.  That's so different than, "How's it going? or "Hey" or whatever other   When I share the state of my heart, I am open -- it sometimes feels risky, it often elicits a personal response from the other.  That kind of interaction is intimate and is what is most worthwhile in living.  The practice of examining the dark corners of my soul and being with another who is doing the same helps me to want it and do it all the more.  The author says he doesn't have a magical solution for our busy,doing, heart avoiding culture.  The solution is in sharing "How is your heart at this moment, at this breath?"  



On Jun 21, 2016 Mish wrote:

 This so touched my heart and brought tender tears ❤️



On Jun 21, 2016 Sunil,Bangalore wrote:

DIL SE. DILWALE. DILARAM (Dil+AaRam ) When we connect soul to soul ,it is relaxation,Its Ram, All souls being full of love,peace,power & purity without any artificiality. I find genuine hugging(human touch) is always from heart.
Mind fullness makes you aware of your strength as well as weaknesses. Cheers, 



On Jun 17, 2016 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 Every day! Every single day! I live in my heart, maybe too much some say. Every day I seek out to love others, offer compassion, offer listening and share heart. It is challenging when we live in a world that outwardly values doing so much more than being. Just last weekend I was fortunate to participate in a burning man type festival in the forest and it was all about sharing heart. We were present with each other, we hugged often, we looked deep into each others eyes and we listened and we spoke from our hearts. It was magical! I do my best to do and live this way every day. Being mindful helps to seek out the dark corners and to share them. At this very moment I am piecing together a project called Wings of Hope to break stigma surrounding mental health challenges, I've reached out asking people to share a photo of themselves and a descriptor beyond their diagnosis, it has been an incredibly heartfelt  experience even in the first few days. I am so grateful my heart is o  See full.

 Every day! Every single day! I live in my heart, maybe too much some say. Every day I seek out to love others, offer compassion, offer listening and share heart. It is challenging when we live in a world that outwardly values doing so much more than being. Just last weekend I was fortunate to participate in a burning man type festival in the forest and it was all about sharing heart. We were present with each other, we hugged often, we looked deep into each others eyes and we listened and we spoke from our hearts. It was magical! I do my best to do and live this way every day. Being mindful helps to seek out the dark corners and to share them. At this very moment I am piecing together a project called Wings of Hope to break stigma surrounding mental health challenges, I've reached out asking people to share a photo of themselves and a descriptor beyond their diagnosis, it has been an incredibly heartfelt  experience even in the first few days. I am so grateful my heart is open enough to do this work. Hugs from my heart to yours, Kristin

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On Jun 16, 2016 Mariette wrote:

 In learning how to authentically ask the question to another, there is also the step of learning to ask ourselves that same question.  Can I pause several times a day, connect to my own heart and compassionately ask the question:  How are you doing dear heart in this moment?  There exists the challenge of pausing our busyness to take the time to ask the question.  The greater challenge may be to create the space to truly hear the answer.  Just like we expect a simple "fine" when asked "how are you?", it's easy to fall into allowing ourselves to provide a shallow answer when inquiring about the wellbeing of our hearts.  And if creating the space to allow an authentic answer to surface was not challenging enough, then comes the challenge of having the courage to acknowledge and respond to its answer.