It does sound like being and doing are two completely different things. However, they actually go hand-in-hand. It is possible to live a life of being more aware while also taking action.
Being vs. Doing
It’s really important that we start off with an understanding of what being is as compared to doing. That way, we can understand why we’re doing more and spending less of our energy and time in being mode.
Being is just allowing yourself to be fully present in this very moment. It means that you are not on autopilot and you are fully conscious of what is happening in front of you. You are present and available to those you are speaking with instead of thinking about other things while they’re talking to you.
‘Being’ mode means not having to turn on the TV or the radio or any other distractions to fill the white space around us. You pay attention to your breath mindfully at this moment. It’s choosing to watch the clouds in the sky as they gently flow past.
However, ‘being’ mode doesn’t mean that you stop having thoughts. It just means you become more aware of your thoughts.
When you were practicing mindfulness you are already aligning with being mode, as long as you are not expecting any outcome from your experience at the moment.
When we are in being mode, we are at rest naturally. Our nervous system is settled and we are at peace with ourselves. Hence, creativity can flow through us with ease.
This can be associated with the alpha-level brainwave state, which helps us to relax and let go and just be. This is an incredibly healing, life-sustaining state to be in. From here our health is better, our relationships are better, and we are much much happier.
Doing mode is a very different state. It is launching into action without being conscious of what you’re doing. It’s filling the empty space around you with external or internal noises, even though it seems like thinking is not necessarily an action-oriented activity.
It is considered doing mode because it takes considerable energy to think, especially when you’re not fully present at the moment.
Most people are focused on doing mode much more than being mode. Our society highly values doing and doesn’t necessarily value being while doing in many cases.
If you work somewhere where a lot is required of you, you have to work a lot of hours. It’s more about how much you can get done and not so much about the quality and the time you’re taking to get things done. This is very common in many workplaces.
Making Being and Doing Work Together
Doing mode activates our sympathetic nervous system. This triggers our fight-or-flight response and is the reason for all of the stress we feel. The same thing goes for the physical symptoms we feel as a result of that stress.
It could be a never-ending cycle because we’re constantly on the go.
Because we all have a lot to do as human beings we can’t deny that there are things and responsibilities we have to take care of. That’s when we can start to bring being and doing together. That way, we don’t have to stop doing this in the world and just sit and meditate all day.
Instead, we create more space within our minds and within our bodies.
Start by Being Honest With Yourself
If you have ever been on a hike and heard the sound of the water in the background, you are in being mode even though you’re moving.
My suggestion is to get really honest with yourself about how often you are in being mode compared to doing mode. If you’re like most people, it’s probably not 50-50.
It’s important to have some clarity about what would you like to feel every day. Is it important for you to feel more peaceful, calm, and connected to those around you? Do you want to be more in tune with the work you’re doing so it feels more meaningful?
If so, you’re going to want to bring more experiences into your day. I recommend that if you spend more time in doing mode, start bringing more being mode experiences into your life first before trying to combine the two.
For example, you’re spending 80% of your time in doing mode. Your goal might be to spend more like 60% of your time in doing mode and 40% of your time in being mode. That way, it feels more realistic to you as you’re starting to spend more time getting to know your nervous system and what’s really important to you.
In order to bring 40% of being mode into your experience, you have to identify the activities that would help make this a reality. It can be taking a walk technology-free and just truly being in nature. Maybe it’s cloud-watching more often or just sitting and watching your breath.
Pairing Being and Doing Activities
Everyone has to define what being mode looks like for them, and it’s different for each person. Once you’ve cut back on doing-based activities in your life and invited more spaciousness in the form of being mode, then you can start pairing some activities.
For example, you might decide that you’re going for a bike ride and you’re going to just feel everything that you feel. Maybe it’s feeling the wind on your skin, sensing the changes in your heartbeat as you speed up and slow down, and being aware of your surroundings without thinking about the past or future.
Maybe you’ll choose to bring more mindfulness to washing the dishes or doing the laundry. Perhaps it’s important for you to become a better listener for your partner because they say that they don’t feel that you truly understand them. It can be because you talk over them or you’re not quite present when they need you to be.
These small and big lifestyle shifts are so important because they reduce significant amounts of stress in your life. Plus, it becomes a new way of living and ascending your spiritual awakening path.