From Doing to Being

Why do I keep going into the doing mode? Moving from one task to another with hardly a break. Or when I’ve nothing urgent on, looking for something to do—check emails, or the news (again).

Deep down, I must unconsciously believe that I will, in one way or another, feel better for getting things done. Or maybe there’s a fear of missing out on something that could make me feel better. Beneath this is the implicit assumption that I wouldn’t feel good doing nothing.

But is that true? More of a habit rather than a successful strategy? When I do pause, and do nothing for a moment, I usually notice a sense of relief, and relaxation, a release of tension. There is, in fact, a greater sense of ease. Ironically, I am getting the ultimate goal of all that doing—a better state of mind—without actually having to do anything. In addition, I am getting it now, rather than as some future possibility.

Naturally, I’d like to taste more of this. So I like to pause between tasks. Take a breath (or two), relax, and enjoy how that feels. Then notice what thoughts may be running through my mind. And simply choose not to follow them anymore—for now.

I withdraw my interest from the thoughts, and instead become interested in how it feels to step back from thinking for a moment. Often there’s a lightness of being, and a sense of inner quiet and stillness. Usually there are fainter thoughts there still, in the background—maybe thoughts about the experience, what it’s like, how I am doing. Letting my attention relax, I step back from them too. And enjoy how it actually feels to pause. And savor it.

Then recognize that, whatever I am experiencing, I am the one that is experiencing it. I become aware that I am aware. Not an idea about being aware; but the direct experience of that ever-present truth.

Here, nothing needs be done, nothing needs to change. The world still goes on, but now I am a silent witness to its presence, rather than engaged in doing something about it.

As I rest in this simple quality of Being, the more the present reveals itself. I see the world with fresh eyes, the scenery, the sounds around, the feelings in my body. There's an inner openness and freedom.

Needless to say, it is not long before some thought arises leading me back into doing. But the memory of how it feels to pause remains—and becomes a motivation to return. The more I do, the more the familiarity with the delight of just being grows. The more life becomes less of do-do-do, and more an alternation of do-be-do-be-do.

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