Why 'Doing' isn't the Opposite of 'Being': Here's what is.

awakening conversation Oct 23, 2023
A person in nature holding their arms to the sun to demonstrate beingness

By Dr Shuna Marr

Have you ever wondered about the difference between 'being' and 'doing'?

One of my coaching clients asked me that question recently, and it really struck a chord with me. I used to grapple with this too. My academic mind was always focused on 'doing' – doing the gardening, doing yoga, doing this and doing that.

I've always been a doer, someone who gets things done.

But we've all heard the advice: 'You're a human being, not a human doing. Allow yourself to just be.'

And I'd often respond with, 'I don't know how to do that.'

I'd get frustrated with that idea because, to my mind, even 'being' involves 'doing.' Whether it's yoga, gardening, dancing, or painting, there's an element of 'doing' in it, isn't there?. 

However, as I began explaining the difference to my client, a revelation dawned on me. I could finally answer this question in a way that satisfied me.

So, I thought I'd like to share it with you too, in case you were also confuse about how to 'be'. 

'Being' is about doing something that feeds your soul, something that replenishes you and allows your mind to drift into a state of receiving. It's more about your focus than the activity itself.

For instance, you can take a walk in the park with your mind racing about work or personal issues, or you can walk in the park, absorbing the beauty of the leaves, the sky, and engaging all your senses.

You can sit in the garden and fret about weeds and future plantings, or you can sit in the garden, watching the clouds and birds, fully immersed in the present moment.

Even doing the dishes can be a 'being' experience if you approach it mindfully, paying attention to the details and the sensations. 

So, I've realised I was right all along. 'Being' doesn't exclude 'doing.' It's about allowing your mind to shift sideways, releasing the need for constant problem-solving or dwelling in the past or future. 

It's about focusing on the now, being present, and letting your mind rest.

Being is like switching off the control centre of your mind and opening yourself up to receive. It's not about always giving to others; it's about giving to yourself and allowing yourself to receive those moments of inspiration and insight. 

This state of 'being' is more accessible when you engage in activities that occupy your body but free your mind – whether it's being in nature, taking a bath, dancing, or indulging in creative crafts, but it's not about the activity but about how you approach it. 

So you see, the opposite of 'being' isn't 'doing'; it's more like 'mind-churning.' 

Even if you're sitting in a lotus position, your mind can be in turmoil. 'Being' means letting go of that mental turbulence, relinquishing control, and opening up to receive. It's about refilling your own cup, recharging your energy, and feeding your soul. 

It’s giving yourself quiet time to allow yourself to feel your emotions.

To give space to what your body needs to express and process.

To allow yourself to connect to source and recharge your spiritual batteries, rather than draining them all the time.

'Being' is a gift to yourself. 

What that 'rest and recharge' looks like may vary from person to person, but the key is to choose activities that open you up to divine guidance, nourish your soul, and allow your mind to take a break. 

This is when you truly embrace 'being'


Dr Shuna Marr

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