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Doing Versus Being


In this western society we live in, particularly in cities, and particularly in New England, we have inherited a very ambitious tradition of “do-ers”, whereby what we do is the primary place where we achieve our purpose in life. This in turn tends to emphasize things of outer value more than things of inner value, and therefore we have this high-paced, stressful, commodified, action-oriented culture. This is the culture of doing and not of being. On the other hand, meditation has been officially blessed by the scientific community as being a powerful tool for transformation and for peace of mind apart from all the stress of the doing world. Meditation's primary concern is about recognizing your purpose in being and not in doing. By reflecting on the deeper place within ourselves, we realize that we already know this place that celebrates being naturally, that there is a refuge from the constant doing and thinking, and that we can let go of it all and not only survive, but become exuberant. This is the practice of being.

Being is more important than doing, since it is the basis upon which doing achieves its value, the depths from which all the shallow expressions are achieved. If we are connected strongly to our being but not our doing, we are fine. But if we are connected strongly to our doing but not our being, well, you have what we all experience in our culture today: a lot of busy people getting lost in their doing and not knowing where their being truly lies. By practicing knowing our being, whether it is through meditation or anything else that helps us to appreciate things of inner value, we come to know how we are without the stress and the bustle of our lives. From that place of knowing our being we can approach our doing with grace, since in our being we are well grounded in that which supports our doing. May you come to know the difference between the purpose in doing and the purpose in being, and to know that doing is grounded in your being, therefore cultivate your being that your doing may be full of grace.

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