This article from Omid Safi on The Disease of being Busy at On Being is one that I return to again and again.
This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.
Recently when people have asked how are you? Are you busy? I have taken to replying with , ‘actually, no, I am taking it easy, only working three days a week and trying very carefully not to get too busy’. It feels very daring.
This question about are you busy is pretty much a badge of honour – I am busier than you are and therefore worthier. I don’t believe people actually think this, but it is going on at a subconscious level.
I would love to start asking people ‘how is your heart?’ when we meet. As Safi says
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.
Maybe I will start asking my friends first and see their responses!