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Being vs. Doing

Posted by Karen M. Wyatt on April 10, 2014 at 3:35 PM


"Be yourself. Life is precious as it is ... There is no need to run, strive, search or struggle. Just be."


- Thich Nhat Hahn


Recently a reader asked me a very pertinent question related to the quote above from Thich Nhat Hahn: "In this day and age, how can we focus on BEING when there is so much that needs to be done? We can't just sit and meditate all day - how will we fix our planet?"


This thoughtful man was pointing out the gap that often seems to exist between spiritual wisdom and practical reality. "Being" in the present moment sounds nice, but it doesn't really fit in our fast-paced world. How do we apply this advice to real life?


Here is my answer: When we talk about "BEING" in the present moment, we are describing the act of gathering your attention and energy in the here and now, focusing on what is around you and what is happening in your life RIGHT NOW.


So if you are drinking a cup of coffee, you are noticing the flavor and temperature of the coffee and the feel of the cup in your hand; if you are reading this article, you are focusing fully on these words; if you are listening to a friend, you are giving all your attention to him or her and not looking at your phone or allowing your thoughts to wander.


When you master the art of BEING fully present in the moment, then everything you DO will be purposeful and meaningful. Of course you cannot live in this world without DOING and Thich Nhat Hahn is not suggesting that you try.


The important message to remember is that by BEING fully present in each and every moment, you will be able to DO your very best work and accomplish your full potential. Learn how to BE first, and then your best DOING will follow.

Categories: Spiritual Practice

Copyright ©2010 Karen Wyatt, MD

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