“We are human beings, not human doings” - these are wise words from Deepak Chopra
We live in a world of opposites. Light/dark, in/out, right/left, up/down. There are also many opposites that impact the way we live our life, in particular, striking a balance between being and doing.
Achieving a balance between remaining in a state of being versus living our life filled with ‘doing’ is necessary in order for us to experience a sense of wholeness and wellbeing.
So let’s define what we mean by being and doing.
‘Being’ can be described as a state in which you are still, reflective, accepting of ‘what is’. Where you are content and internally focused. When one is in a state of being, they are very aware of the present moment. There is not a strong desire for something outside of yourself, there is merely a peaceful acceptance with what is. When we are able to just relax and ‘go with the flow’, trusting that our lives will continue to unfold naturally, we are living from a state of ‘being’.
‘Doing’ on the other hand is a more intense state where action reigns supreme. Where we feel compelled to do, to strive, to achieve and to be constantly looking outside of ourselves. By its very nature, it is future oriented.
We can in fact see these two states are reflected in the different roles we fulfil in our lives where some are of a softer more feminine nature (associated with being) whilst others are more masculine in nature (associated with doing).
When we are goal-setting, achieving goals, ticking things off our ‘to do’ list, planning, being assertive and so on, these are all masculine qualities associated with ‘doing’ and getting and achieving something.
When we are coming from the more feminine aspect of ourselves, we are much more receptive and grounded in our intuition, a state of trust that all will be well without a need for us to strive. We are nurturing and supporting others and finding a way to be at peace.
It is from this feminine state of being that we allow ourselves to be still and we tune into the intuition of our body, and we give ourselves permission to rest.
However, in today’s world, it is very easy for ‘doingness’ to overshadow our willingness to allow the presence of ‘beingness’ in our lives. Consumerism in particular has propelled us into a state where ‘doing’ is seen as being superior to ‘being’ and in fact, if we live from a state of being, we’re often judged for being selfish, lazy, slack or a no-hoper.
So many people have succumbed to the allure of ‘doing’, working long hours and filling their lives with action-based activities that don’t always contribute to a meaningful and fulfilled life. This leaves no space for resting, reflecting, for dreaming or meditating, for curling up with a good book, taking a long bath or slowing your life down in any way that’s required to truly nourish your soul.
So what drives this frenetic pace at which we live our lives and allow them to be overshadowed by ‘doing’? Are we under the illusion that we need to control everything in our life to ensure it turns out the way we think it should? Are we afraid that if we slow down, we might miss something? Or are we afraid that if we rest and just ‘be’, we may in fact be confronted by something that we’ve been running from?
Whatever drives this for us personally is only further incited by the media where all images and messages are focused on staying busy and doing as much as you can. Yet the irony of this way of living is that it creates a perpetual cycle where the more you do and the more you have, the more you want and the more you need to do.
So where does it all stop? Particularly when the act of ‘doing’ is a reassuring state that keeps us satisfied as we work through our action list and tick off all our goals?
Learning to move into a state of ‘being’ can be a challenge for many people, evoking a sense of fear that life might pass us by as we step away from external events. However, ‘being’ doesn’t necessarily mean you sit around and do nothing. It means that you slow down, allowing yourself and your body to recalibrate with the natural rhythms of life. To be still for a time so you can give consideration to what you will do and how you will do it, leaving the adrenalin fuelled, wheel spinning action behind you for a time. It means allowing yourself to relinquish some of your ‘wants’ and instead, only give your energy to what your actual needs are. It ensures that you tune into your body and give it the rest and the centring that it needs so that it can truly serve you during times of heavy action.
For it’s important to mention that ‘doing’ and ‘being’ are both important elements and a balance between them is ideal.Allowing too much ‘being’ in your life can breed inertia, were you lack motivation and discipline to move you forward in life.
When a perfect balance between being and doing is achieve, what springs out of this is ‘inspired action’, where we bring a sense of awareness, wisdom and discernment to our action and allow ourselves to be in the present moment as we engage with activity in our lives. Knowing when to act and knowing when to be and take a rest for a while, letting life unfold of its own accord.