Have you ever noticed the different ways we greet each other? In Japan bowing is a traditional sign of greeting that shows recognition and respect. In many African countries hand clapping signals a greeting. Saying hello, shaking hands, even fist bumping and hugging are different ways we greet people in English cultures. Sometimes it feels rather perfunctory and at other times it feels – well actually genuine – and it stops our brain momentarily from thinking about the next thing on our to do list. We truly see the other human being who despite all odds, trials and challenges are here in front of us at this moment in time.
A similar thing can be said for sales associates and check out clerks. You can just tell that someone above them on the corporate ladder has instructed them to greet each customer usually with a question such as. ‘Did you find everything you were looking for?’ Or ‘How are you doing today?’ As the words come tumbling out of their mouths there is little to no eye contact as they are busy surveying what needs to be checked out on the friendly conveyor belt that is going at warp speed as their manager views the action from a perch high above. Until …wait for it … you stop and look them in the eye, respond and then go to the next step and actually ask them how their day is going. Usually they will stop mid task, a bit surprised that you took even a moment to ask about their day. Such a small thing to do and yet you can just feel the person warm up inside. It is, as if, they are saying to themselves, ‘Well, my day is actually getting better with thoughtful customers like you!’
When we take a moment to look people in the eye and let them know that we see them – truly see them – it means something. We are choosing to use a few precious seconds of our life to stop and appreciate the spiritual presence of another. There is a single word that means all of this which is used in the form of a greeting around the world. The word is ‘Namaste’ (pronounced na-ma-stay). Roughly translated it means the heart and spirit in me sees the heart and spirit in you. Regardless of our background and experiences when a fellow traveler takes the time to recognize us it’s a good thing. Often this one word greeting is done with the hands together and pulled close to the heart.
I know it may sound like a stretch to suggest such a greeting to some – especially the part with the hands held to the heart but regardless of the type of greeting we are comfortable with the important part is taking the time to mean it right? To take even 30 seconds out of our busy day and offer kindness, recognition and respect to another.
Over the next few days check it out. I’ll bet you can stop someone in their tracks who is being paid to service you in the most efficient manner by looking at them and asking how their day is going. Just think you are sending out those good vibrations into the world and it didn’t cost you a cent even though it created value for others.
Maybe the big things in life are made just a bit easier when we remember to take care of the smaller things along the way.
Have a great few days!