Being is the yin-side within us, the female expression, our intuition. Doing is the yang-side, the action oriented part of ourselves, the masculine expression. As we know, each person has both energies. [Visualize the yin-yang symbol.] Our challenge is to develop both aspects into our lives.
I love Shakti Gawain’s simple explanation of these two different modes, “Being is the ability to be fully present in the moment with an open, receptive awareness — simply experiencing. Doing is the ability to move through time with focused attention to accomplish a specific task.”
What I find interesting and what I have been contemplating lately, is how our society values doing so much more than being. It seems if we take time to BE, we are seen as lazy, unproductive — when we DO, we are given accolades. And of course, asked to DO more, which begins that vicious cycle.
What I have personally experienced is when I take the time to BE in that present moment of receptive awareness, whether it’s writing in my gratitude journal, laughing with my daughter, sitting on my cushion, practicing Qigong / Tai Chi, or simply listening to the person in front me — my perspective expands, and I literally feel more open. When I find myself DOing more than BEing, I become frustrated, feel like there is not enough time to do it all, I start comparing myself with others, judgment seeps in, and my perspective narrows.
When I take the time to BE, even if it’s only a few minutes throughout the day, connecting consciously to my breath [my life-force, my “chi”], I find that when it’s time for doing, I am much more aware of what needs to be done, what can be set-aside, prioritize easily with less effort, and [now this is big] it gets done in a shorter amount of time.
Consider this, the more time we are in being, the more focused and relaxed we can BE in doing. I also find the opposite to be true, when we are so caught up in doing that we do not take the time to BE, we become more stressed, have scattered energy, and it’s takes longer to get things done. [ugh!] And, we may even become literally sick — our body’s way of asking us to slow down and just BE. I don’t know about you, but I would rather choose my times to BE, then be forced to slow down.
We need a balance of these two energies in order to harmonize this adventurous human life experience. Simply ask yourself, what you are more comfortable with — are you more of a doer — checking off that to-do list, always on the go? Or, are you more comfortable with your yin-side, simply experiencing life and waiting for things to come to you? Begin developing the lesser of the two energies. Consider allowing life to naturally flow, if you are more of a doing person. [Not always having plans, be more spontaneous.] Begin to take risks on actively focusing on some of your ideas if you tend to be more of a being person.
I would love to hear from you any experiences you notice as find yourself being versus doing. And, if you found this article to BE of benefit, please DO share with others.