In many traditions, most notably in Asian culture, bowing is the first think you do when you greet an elder or enter martial arts training grounds. It is also the last thing you do as you leave. This shows respect, and is a reminder to yourself as well as to the person who approaches that you come in peace. This form of respect is an equivalent to a handshake in our Western culture. During fighting tournaments, or sparring this gesture implies that no one is there to hurt anyone as well as sets an trust, safety and good atmosphere. The bow also hides a meaning within it, and that is the awareness of the Divine in another individual. I would quote that literally.
Every individual as well as any other organism that we encounter in our universe is a part of a Divine energy. This may sound a bit out there, but in martial arts the reason that we bow is so that we acknowledge seeing or sensing that divine energy in the other person. This comes about from the believe that you are both connected to the infinite and therefore are connected to each other. To study these concepts is a way to unlock this amazing potential and to discover what can be done with it.
When encountering individuals during your daily routines and rituals become aware of this energy. Instead of looking at them as just a person think of the “life force” or “divine energy” within them. As we both came from earth, there is a bond between us that most are just simply not aware of. Life doesn’t reward you for seeing it, but it does allow those seeing to become enlightened and free of burden in our very burdening society. This doesn’t mean that you should try and become friends with everyone that you meet, but it wouldn’t hurt for you to smile instead of frown at strangers even when you are in a bad mood.
When looking at any living organisms, think the same… as they all possess a part of the greater energy that are also blessed with. At the end of the day, think back and see how good you will feel and after doing this for many days it might become clearer what your role on this earth really is. Remember that when approached by life, learn how to bow; because by bowing to someone and extending your respect, you actively pick what kind of energy will come back to you.