Do…Be…Do…Be…Do

I recently did an informal survey of some friends and clients and asked:

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to living your spiritual beliefs in your everyday life?

Several of them had a similar answer:

“It’s difficult to stay attuned to my spiritual self while going about my daily tasks.”

They felt caught by their habitual personas and roles, and they got distracted by the demands of their jobs, caring for family, managing a household, and so on.

Is that true for you, too?  Do you find that all the doing of daily life seems to get in the way of simply being?

I used to think the answer was to find a balance.  Do…Be…Do…Be…Do.  Finding balance is a good place to start, but it’s not the whole enchilada.  When we take more time for being…when we meditate, breathe deeply, or sit quietly in nature…it can help us slow down, and calm the monkey-mind.  We can experience moments of peace and feel our connection to Spirit.  Those times of retreat allow us to re-enter the doing with more clarity and centeredness.woman meditating

At some point, we again find ourselves lost in doing.  Again we forget  our very Being, having fallen back into the collective trance of separation consciousness.  What I mean by the “collective trance” is that we’ve all been conditioned to believe that we are separate…separate from each other…separate from God…that we are isolated units of doing-ness, doing our best to survive here on the planet.  When we’re asleep in separation consciousness, we feel cut off from our Being.

Let’s take another look at the idea of balancing Do…Be…Do…Be…Do.  There’s a tricky little lie hiding in this seemingly beautiful notion of balance.  The false idea is that being and doing are separate but equal..that they’re on the same playing field…but they’re not. Action and rest are two sides of a polarity, and we can swing back and forth between them.  But when we talk about being and doing, we’re really talking about Being (with a capital “B”).  Our Being is our True Nature…our essence.  That’s what’s primary.yin yang.being

Our Being doesn’t swing back and forth or turn on and off.  Our Being is always present.  Being is what we are.  So, here’s the key to the Do-Be-Do dilemma:  Recognize that all doing arises within Being.  Take a moment and read that again.

Doing arises within Being.

Our Beingness is constant.  It doesn’t come and go.  It’s actually the doingness that comes and goes.  Periods of activity alternate with times of rest.  The doingness arises as a temporary state within the eternal, changeless presence of  Being.  Being embraces all and allows all.  It surrounds and permeates all doings.  It’s not called “the ground of being” for nothing!  It is the ground. It may seem to be in the background…or completely hidden…but it’s actually what’s most real about you!  Being is not something we do, when we sit and meditate.  Being is our true identity.  This is what spiritual awakening is all about: Remembering our true identity…waking up to our Being.

Have you heard the old saying…

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.  After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

That is a clever way of saying that there will always be things to do.  Even after we awaken and see our True Nature, the dirty clothes still need washing, the kids need to go to gymnastics, the floors need sweeping, and the job still has deadlines to meet.  The question is “Who’s doing the doing?”  woman sweeping.van goghAre you really the small, separate self, just getting things done?  Is it the little character of your personality-self, sweeping the floor like Cinderella?

Or is the floor being swept in the presence of your Being?

As for the old song, Do Be Do Be Do, let it sing!  It’s natural for our attention to oscillate.  Our Being doesn’t switch on and off, but our awareness of Being is sometimes bright and sometimes dim, depending on what we’re giving attention to.  Not to worry.  Whenever you remember, remember. Whenever you forget, that’s ok, because your Being can’t be lost.  When you go to sleep at night and dream wild dreams, aren’t you still you when you wake up in the morning?  It’s the same thing when we dream that we’re separate.  Our True Nature is not lost or diminished in any way.

So, what can you do about Being?  Certain activities do tend to support the remembrance of our True Nature.  Yup, this brings us full circle…right back to meditating, breathing, being in nature, or engaging any practices that help us let go.   When we relax the “Doer”, the “Fixer”, and the “Controller”, it’s easier to sense our Being.  When we quiet the ego’s chatter, the still small voice becomes more noticeable.

Remember: Action and rest both arise within your Being.  One is not better than the other.  They are complimentary aspects of life. Trust that even in the midst of concentrated doing, even during times of deep forgetfulness, Being is present.  It is the PRESENCE. Whether it’s in the background or the foreground of your attention, your Being is always there, embracing all, allowing all.  You might sense it in the little gap between exhale and inhale, you may glimpse it between one thought and the next, or maybe you’ll notice your spaciousness reflected in the wide open sky above you. You might smile to yourself, and silently acknowledge the vastness of your Being, in which all things arise and fade away.

Please leave a comment and let me know if this was helpful to you.

Did it answer some of your questions?

Did it raise more questions?

What are some ways that you notice your Being, in the midst of daily life?

I appreciate your feedback!

                           Sajit

4 Comments

  • Gayle says:

    Thank you for capturing the essence of this paradox, Sajit. I have, at times, noticed myself hurrying to finish the “doing” so I can “be”. It is as if the “doing” part is a separate person…and not as spiritual or meaningful. At other times, I do stop and notice that I can bring joy and meaning to the chores. Cook with love for my family, adding that incalculable nutrient, and giving it meaning to me too. Slowing down, and seeing the beauty in the mundane. The graphic of the yin-yang of Action and Rest surrounded by Being says it all.

  • Barbara Scott says:

    Thank you, Sajit. This helps me to think of “doing” as something I do within “being.” It’s that simple (but not so easy) awareness that gives the doingness such a fine quality. Every time I remember to, I stop to be aware of what I am doing, and then I find myself being. And interestingly, every time I stop to feel gratitude, I also become aware of this consciousness of being—with the added gratefulness that I am both being and doing at the same time and that there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.

    I guess the real goal of a spiritual practice, if you can call a practice a goal, is to make that awareness of being permeate everything we do (or don’t do). Make those moments of awareness more plentiful. Eventually, maybe, be aware for hours at a time. Stop doing for a moment and ask ourselves, what am I grateful for? The food to cook, the flame to cook it on the stove, the taste of the food, the warm water in which to wash the dishes. There is always something to be thankful for, and being thankful gives us the pause we need to be aware of our very being within all of this abundance.

  • Laurie says:

    Thank you for this article. I am aware I am always a being, even though I do get caught up in doing. When I am doing something or saying something that goes against my True Nature, my conscience pops up and guilts mes me back back to my being! Namaste.

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