“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” ― Bernard M. Baruch
Our lives are ordered by the things that we do. The activities that we undertake and the results or outcomes that are achieved.
We have developed our learning and development programs for children to reflect this. Kindergarten is a place of play and happiness, being in those moments of play and companionship. This changes as children start the education journey. Tasks, activities, and results start to appear from year one and by the time children enter secondary school education; they are completely focused on the doing tasks of goal achievement, SATs, exams, graduation, etc.
As adults, we are driven by the need to achieve; to get that result; or goal in front of us. Work-related; relationship related; lifestyle or even socially. Everything around us seems to be focused on “Doing” rather than on “Being”.
So what is the difference?
Doing – the act of making something happen through your own action. doings: things that someone does: things that happen
Being – the state or fact of existing or living; existence or life. fundamental or essential nature
There is nothing wrong with “Doing”, after all, we spend most of our lives in “Doing mode”.
However, take a few moments to read the following list and see what it does mean in the context of why it is important to be more aware of “Being mode”?
- Do you find it difficult to stay focused on what is happening in the present moment? Does your mind wander off? Do you get distracted?
- Do you tend to walk quickly to get to where you are going without paying attention to what you are experiencing along the way?
- Do you get to the destination without realising or remembering how you got there? Often, it is when you drive a car and you get to your destination and do not remember the journey.
- Does it seem as if you are “running on automatic”, without much awareness of what you are doing?
- Does it seem as if the day has flown past and you can not remember what you have done?
- Do you rush through activities without being really attentive to them?
- Do you get so focused on the goal you want to achieve that you lose touch with what you are doing right not to get there?
- Do you find yourself preoccupied with the future or the past?
So what is the “Being” mode?
The full richness of the mode of “being” is not easily conveyed in words—its is best appreciated directly, experientially and personally. In many ways, it is the opposite of the driven–doing mode and if often unique to each individual. The “Being” mode is not devoted to achieving particular goals. In this mode, there is no need to constantly to monitor and evaluate (“How am I doing in meeting my goals?”).
Instead, the focus of the “Being” mode is “Accepting” and “Allowing” what is, without any immediate pressure to change it.
Simply put, it is trying to live by the adage “living in the flow” or “live moment to moment”, whilst at the same time taking the time to recognise and observe that you are. Imagine as it were you are in an activity – say reading an e:mail. Instead of just reading the e:mail and responding to it; take a moment, just a moment; to reflect on the e:mail, the context of the message and the person who sent it. Chances are you will respond differently to the message than if you just read and responded. This is the “Accepting” element.
“Allowing” arises naturally when there is no goal to be reached, and no need to evaluate where you are in trying to achieve the goal. This also means that attention is no longer focused narrowly on only those aspects of the present that are directly related to goal achievement; in “Being” mode, the experience of the moment can be processed in its full depth, width, and richness.
What can help you develop a “Being” mode of thought?
Yoga can help. So too can meditation. For me, I use Mindfulness; being consciously aware and trying to be present. The various practices within Mindfulness are easily adaptable for everyone. Whether it is mindful walking; a body scan; befriending or the simple 3 minute breath exercise; there is a practice there that can help.
Go on give one a try and let me know how you get on. For reference to the various practices you can try, go to the following website for some free examples:
I leave you with the following quote.
“Do not let the memories of your past limit the potential of your future. There are no limits to what you can achieve on your journey through life, except in your mind.”