In your life’s journey…there are several crucial transitions you will undergo – you start out doing things one way and then perhaps try the opposite way so that you can eventually migrate towards a position of balance. We try on different hats and juggle many plates in an endless dance of self-discovery. The majority of these transitions involve the constant battle between that part of yourself (personality, appearance and body, “Me and my story”) rooted in the material world and the part of yourself (soul, energy) rooted in the spirit world.
One of the most powerful transitions you can make within the material vs. spirit struggle is the one from doing to being. As a result of this shift, you move from good, worldly success to great, soulful significance. Oddly, these transitions seem to gradually happen all at once—like taking ten years to become an overnight success.
Doing involves carrying out seemingly productive, yet endless, activities that your mind thinks you want to do in order to give you what you think will bring happiness and success. Unfortunately this turns out to be an illusion that, in truth, consists of empty, ephemeral, synthetic happiness. Eventually, this empty, negative feeling leads to frustration, dissatisfaction and a deep yearning for something more substantial, purposeful and real. What we may not know at the time is that the object of this yearning is in an entirely different “world” we are about to encounter with increasing frequency and impact during the remainder of our life’s journey.
When this yearning for significance and purpose becomes painful and annoying enough to warrant doing something about it, you begin to search for ways to stop doing so much and cross the bridge into being. The more aware you become in getting to this place, the more you are practicing virtuous behaviors such as love, courage, wisdom and service. These magical behaviors lead to what Martin Seligman calls “authentic happiness” and what Aristotle much earlier termed “the good life.”
Then of course you have to straddle the metaphorical bridge so you can share your newfound gifts and wisdom in the material world – which requires both being and doing. You have then become the Native American deer totem, being able to communicate from the spirit world to the material one. You have become a creator of reality than someone who endures it.
However, you shouldn’t get too comfortable having achieved this major transformation, as it will continue to reoccur over and over again in different ways as we subtly migrate from one side of the bridge to the other during the remaining course of our lives. In other words you are never done growing, but there are resting plateaus along the way where similar voyagers need to share their secrets, truths and gifts for mutual validation and refreshment.
In today’s world, time is viewed as either one of our most precious resources or a dire enemy that must be fought tooth and nail, depending upon which side of the doing-being bridge you happen to reside. Doing eats up the clock and there is never enough of it to get everything done. Being dissolves the clock and expands time in a truly “eternal” sense. This is because doing is future-oriented – constantly thinking and worrying about completing the current task so that you can hurriedly move on to doing the next thing and so on, ad-nauseum. Being, on the other hand, is rooted in the here and now (which is all we ever really have) and allowing your self to be fully present and totally focused in the now. This is not to say that in being we don’t have goals and we don’t take tangible steps to achieve those goals. Quite the contrary, when we are in a state of being, we are acting consciously and choosing what to do with heightened awareness. Thus, we are infused with boundless energy and those things that we do are of a much higher quality and yield much greater rewards. Think of it as being in the flow, when time slips away and hours can go by in what seems like minutes.
Doing is driven by needing, thinking, judging and personality-driven motives; being is fueled via passion, openness, heart and soul. The longest, hardest journey in the universe, the saying goes, is from one’s head to one’s soul. Like all difficult things that are truly worth doing, it is also most satisfying and rewarding. It is an opportunity to literally explode into your infinite potential. The more being you do, the more you realize the vast scope of this marvelous opportunity. It is a sacred gift that we all have been given – make the choice to today to be one of the enlightened few to enjoy it!
Since we all straddle the bridge between material and spirit, sometimes the mind needs a little rational ammunition to kick start the ultimate journey from head to soul, i.e., going from doing to being. Here are a few known benefits from doing more being:
- Being provides more time than doing. Time is merely an illusion and is completely relative, as good ol’ Al Einstein theorized. Being totally focused and present in the now provides the perspective and clarity to be more effective and successful in your life and career. A great byproduct of this is that it reduces your to-do list to only genuine priorities.
- Being is easier than doing. To begin being, all you have to do is allow yourself to be whatever way you are. You don’t have to do anything, just relax and let go of something nonsensical that isn’t worth holding onto. In this sense, you are not really learning anything new, but just remembering what is old and retold…and what your already know deep in your soul. Being is remembering, recognizing, and reuniting with your true self.
- Being makes you more likable than doing. There is wisdom in the saying that people don’t really care what you know until they know you care. Sharing truths and gifts from the heart builds relationships whereas intellectual gibberish stalls them. Bonus points: you’ll like yourself more too.
- Being requires less memory than doing. Half the battle of doing is remembering everything you need to do. When you are being, you are in the flow, and you are already doing everything you need to do.
- Being is more fun. Doing is actually boring because you are missing out on the things that bring real joy and meaning to your heart. The nice, ironic, surprise is that the more miserable you are from doing, the more content you can feel in being.
- Finally, being is a powerful change agent. It plucks you from the rat race of doing by slowing everything down and reconnecting you with your soul’s energy, joy and truth (which are the spirit world’s terms for power, passion and purpose). From this being comes alignment and from alignment comes lasting
In simply being, we empower ourselves to let go of all those things that aren’t working for us. We boil life down to the essentials and from there we can make bold, yet simple decisions that bring us joy and purpose. You’ll never get bored of being because you are infinitely deep and infinitely beautiful. Being is the “what” of life, everything we do in the world and “how” we decide to be is our unique expression and gift to the world. As Deepak Chopra says, “Consciousness is the universe becoming aware of itself!”