The Tension of Doing vs. Being
"Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life" - Eckhart Tolle
This is the essence of the teachings of Yoga Philosophy and of Buddhism. These teachings ask us to cultivate a state of being and give us the tools and techniques to do so.
But what does this really mean?
For me, it means that I seek to reside in a place where I can be a witness to life as it unfolds before me. I trust that I am supported by the Universe and that everything I need for the evolution of my consciousness will arrive in time. It means that I am fully present with my mind and my body at all times. It means that I can witness my thoughts and my emotions as separate from me. It means that I am enlightened.
So therein lies my internal tension. I am firmly planted on this spiritual path yet I do not seek enlightenment. I certainly seek to cultivate presence of NOW and trust that the universe will provide everything I need for my evolution. But I'm a mom, a wife, and a business owner; all identities that require a fair amount of doing.
In my life, I need to plan and problem solve. I have goals and desires. I need to negotiate and communicate. I'm a go-getter. I go and get what I desire. I'm a first-born type-A personality person.
It's who I am.
Or is it?
When I really cultivate Presence, I let life unfold before me. I trust and I observe. I am deeply connected to that space within me that can't be rattled. That space that has space for good and bad and all things in between. I am at peace.
When I'm in doing mode – when I plan, problem solve, strive and go go go, I am anxious. I worry. My mind generates an infinite list of things “I should do”. Does this make me productive? Hell, yeah. Does this bring me peace. No. No, it does not.
I LOVE manifesting my dreams. I love planning and doing. But oftentimes a line is crossed – and my mind goes out of control and my thoughts attach expectation to all this planning and doing. And then....anxiety and worry arrive.
The trick is to plan and do without an attachment to results (!!!!!!!!).
The life exercise is to do what is necessary and then let go of our desires for any particular expectation.
Goodness this is hard.
But for me, this is the tension between doing and being. I use my anxiety as an alarm clock that my mind has run amuck with thoughts about doing. The doing itself is just fine – its those pesky thoughts about doing and the results of doing that get me in to trouble.
And since I prefer peace to anxiety I will continue to lean in the direction of Being. Being is my home base. Doing has me hitting home runs and running the bases. But I am always heading to home base.