Feb 11, 2015
Are you a human being or a human doing?
School teaches you how to do things. You study for exams, finish your homework, maybe apply to college eventually. Same with your career. Whether you are lifting things, creating reports or managing other employees, you are hired to do stuff. Effective doing is essential to daily life. Someone’s got to pay the bills, mow the lawn, scrub the toilet. This is “necessary work.”
But doing isn’t who you are–it’s simply what you do.
School and career don’t teach you how to simply be.
We tend to stuff even our quietest moments with a subtle, yet deeply exhausting, kind of work called thinking. The vast majority of thinking is automatic, ineffective and decidedly unnecessary. Suppose you’re drinking a cup of coffee. Well that can be enough. Just drink the coffee, be in that simple moment. But we like to do things, even in our “down time.” So you think about the future. You obsess about which path your life should take in some future time frame. Or your dwell on the past. You try to “solve” old mistakes or wounds by churning them in the mental treadmill. Habitual, repetitive thinking about the future or the past is an energy drain. It takes you out of the moment and tangles you up in some story about your life.
Simply being doesn’t require thinking, planning or troubleshooting. It doesn’t involve a plot line.
Doing is something you have to learn, but being is your birthright.
Just watch your never-ending parade of thoughts from time to time, let them go by without chasing them down, squeezing them into an action plan. The peacefulness and mental space you cultivate in this way will make you a much more effective “doer” when you are called to concrete action.