In my very first blog (Why Blogging? Why now?), I mentioned wanting to write a mini-series on the A-Z of Just Being. What better time to start than the New Year, when many are making resolutions? About one third of Britons make New Year resolutions, generally health-based, but the NHS reckons that only one in ten will be successful.
My reservation with resolutions is that usually they are about doing things…, diet or eating healthier losing weight, exercising, saving. These were the top 5 in one survey for 2021. Wanting to be physically healthy is definitely a goal worth pursuing but it overlooks a critical component of our being: our mind and spirit. Though this year during the pandemic there has been a surge in the use of meditation apps which suggests that many are also going inwards.
In fact the Covid crisis which has imprisoned us for well nigh a year now, must have made a lot of people take stock. Ways of doing things have changed. Productivity, which is a result of doing, has decreased in many sectors but surely people have become more creative in their search for answers. And many people have risen to the challenge in also being different…more compassionate, generous, tolerant. Though we cannot ignore the negative side of ‘being’ also prevalent with the increase in domestic violence due to the current situation.
The point is we are human beings. The ‘human’ part encompasses our physical body and revolves around doing, getting and having. In the race for better and best, one forgets ‘just being’. It is important to understand that stress is not natural. Our inherent nature is of peace. Even the frenzy around gyming and exercising is sometimes more about ‘having’ a beautiful body, and not so much about being healthy. And beautiful in whose eyes? Very often an externally imposed ideal glamourized by the media and advertising. We are so busy doing. Are we actually living life to the full?
To live fully, mind, body and soul have to be nurtured together and in my view, if the soul or spirit or consciousness (whichever term you are comfortable with) is prioritised, the rest is taken care of more easily because that is where real transformation happens. The world is a reflection of our own consciousness. Spiritual and mental health goals will impact health, relationships, finances/career. So if you want to be happy, you have to access that happiness in yourself, rather than look for it outside. That is another reason why ‘just being’ is so important. All everyone wants at the end of the day is to feel good, to feel happy, to feel at peace. The problem is that we look for all these feelings outside of ourselves, in achievements, in possession, in relationships with others and these are not only temporary but also once we reach our goal we jump on to the next. The point of life is not to get anywhere. It is to enjoy the journey and to create who and what we are and experience that doing is being. It’s the person you become in pursuit of your goals that really matters.
“The way to use life is to do nothing through acting. The way to use life is to do everything through being.” Lao Tzu (6th C BC)
We identify with our roles and we put on so many masks that we have forgotten who we really are. Another reason to ‘just be’. It is not about learning but about remembering your innate nature of love, peace, joy, wisdom, truth. As the Course in Miracles puts it: “You need to hear the truth about yourself as frequently as possible because your mind is so preoccupied with false images.”
It is also not about thinking that something is wrong with you, that you need to fix yourself. Self-actualization does not involve perfection, or holding yourself to impossible standards or things always going smoothly. It is a process; not an end game. You grow and evolve as you go through life and try to be “the best version of yourself.”
So two questions come to mind: 1/ Who are you inherently? and 2/ Who do you want to be?
Your vision becomes clear when you look inside your heart.. The power’s on the inside. The heart of the “being” is meant to be silent. If you take the time to sit quietly with yourself (and that is where meditation, prayers and other mindfulness practices come into play), you will re-discover the gems of love, peace, joy, truth which are your birth-right. At our core, we are like new-born babies with all these innate qualities but we have forgotten that with our doing mentality and our attachment to our roles. Be more. Do less. Listen to your inner wisdom to live a life of truth. Infuse your doing with the scent of your true self. Losing awareness of this consciousness, makes your behaviour reactive. Whereas if you operate from that higher consciousness, your energies are elevated and that is reflected in your response to life. Soul-consciousness reinforces the dignity of the human being. Moreover, “In quietness are all things answered.” Allow yourself to gain many in-sights between the spaces of your thoughts.
Thus the first relationship is always with yourself. Only when you value yourself and are free from insecurities, not ‘wanting’ anything from the other because you are whole on your own, can any other relationship be strong. It does not happen overnight. It takes work and commitment. But “no amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance.” Robert Holden PhD
The first journey, therefore, is inwards to recognise the truth about yourself.
What can be added is the second question: Who do you want to be? In recent years, universities and employers are asking candidates this question about themselves. They also put greater emphasis on EQ (Emotional Quotient) rather than IQ, intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use and manage your own emotions in positive ways so that you can respond better in relationships and challenges. Personality profiling is also being done for employees to help them see their strengths as well as areas for improvement.
My point then is “just being” is relevant to both youngsters and more mature people as well. Young people, busy in making a living, climbing up the ladder, maybe raising a family can be heard to say they have no time for sitting around and going within. They will take up spirituality when they retire…maybe! Yet more and more people are experiencing burnout and when they hit rock bottom there is nowhere else to go. So instead of taking on stressors and working on autopilot, stop, because:
“The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates (5th C BC)
Join me on my journey as I explore some positive attributes from A-Z that I admire and want to emulate. I too am a work in progress; my art is by no means complete. For as long as I AM, I know I am peace and love but still have to stay with that inner power on a daily basis. It takes practice and more practice. I falter and fall and pick myself up again. And I also want to think about what I AM means to me and how I can aspire to be a better version of myself. Maybe more Courageous? Maybe Playful? It may not be the same for everyone. But we can have a think about it together and have some fun at the same time.