What the haal?

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. ~ http://www.onbeing.org/blog/the-disease-of-being-busy/7023

Its easy to ask.  It’s hard to answer.  Like most people, I often ask “How are you?” as a common courtesy to friends, acquaintances, strangers even.  But sometimes, on occasion when I am feeling calm and slow and thoughtful, I really want to know. I ask, and wait.  The typical response is quick and deflective. Its easy to be curious.  Its hard to answer with clarity.  

To reframe the question in regard to this very moment, this millisecond, this breath opens up the question in a way I find helpful.  It acknowledges the natural flux of the human experience.  We are moody.  We are ever-changing.  We make attempts to alter our moods as we deem necessary.   Trying to mold our experience into understandable bite-sized terms or what we think it should be.

I woke this morning feeling antsy yet lazy. Not a good combination for well being.  I sense and immediately hate my own internal conflict.  Why is its even there is unclear.  There is a  push and pull of opposite desires that fills my heart. On many fronts.  I pause.  I can actually feel the pressure in my chest.  Something in me wants to cry while my mind races to remind me that life is good.  And it is.  It’s really good.  So why?  Why does sadness knock when we are trying to slip out the door?  Or maybe the question is, why do I try to slip out the door when sadness is knocking?   

The transient state of ones heart. It bowls us over.  It keeps us from that solid feeling that looks so good in the busy world. We want to feel we got this.  We want people to see us and know we got this.  We want to be strong. And yet…  strength may be misunderstood.  Maybe there are as many types of strength as there are Eskimo words for snow. There is strength in holding on and there is strength in letting go.  There is strength in pushing through and there is strength in  allowing unwelcome emotions to wash over you.

“There is no crying in baseball” echoes inside us.  It’s easy to say.  It’s hard to live by when tears are burning your eyes.  Is it strength that pushes those tears back inside?  Or is it fear?  Is it strength to let them roll while you continue the game – even if you lose?  Or is that weakness?  And I have to wonder, whats so bad about weakness?  Some of my most deeply bonding moments in life happened when I felt weak, and someone simply let me.  Hating myself every minute of it while confusingly and simultaneously feeling grateful, so very grateful that I could just be weak. 

The transient state of ones heart deserves some acknowledgement, some respect.  For its importance, its necessity, its normalcy in our ever-changing, moment-by-moment, life-is-long-but-too-short, Im-so-busy, but-I-got-this, life.  

So, how the haal are you?

~With strength, JRB

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