In Nashville, summer’s temperatures soared with scorching sticky humid days leaving my spirit sagging without a burst of spring energy to propel me into summer projects. During July, I journaled this question: Am I a human-doing or a human-Being? Like a koan without an answer; I reflected on the question.
As I read a spiritual memoir, the interplay of doing and being continued to weave thoughts within me.
The power of ‘doing’ over ‘being’ can become a deadly aspect within us. Does it have something to do with the fact that doing always requires a reward for doing. Does solitude have so little value in our culture that we are made to feel that something is wrong with us if we are alone?
At this point, I stopped reading and thought about how constant “doing” rewards my ego with a sense of accomplishment. Am I “doing” to prove my worth? Imagine the freedom to let it be and not exhaust myself with so many distractions.
I remembered Jon Kabat-Zinn’s idea of non-doing. He says it means letting things be and allowing them to unfold in their own way. And…it takes a lifetime. It takes great courage and energy to cultivate non-doing both in stillness and in activity. The doing mode is usually so strong in us that the cultivating of non-doing ironically takes considerable effort.
During summer days of doing not much of anything except scribbling in my journal, I set an intention to practice “being” in present moment awareness. I began to “feel my feet” as a way to return to the here-now and be more grounded. I start with focused attention to my feet. As I place awareness on my feet, they begin to tingle. Then a vibrating pulsing travels up my legs filling me with a sense of Aliveness. The stream of Life is one moment followed by the next and unfolds with its own rhythms as I let things Be.
The mind says “I don’t have time for this”. That’s all you do have time for – the present moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn