We all know the Nike expression, Just Do It! As men, there is something very powerful about the notion of just seizing the moment and accomplishing a task. We are successful and to be successful means setting goals and reaching them. It means living in the Doing state. Set a task. Do it. Move on. This is both a great strength, but it also has a shadow side.
We can become so concerned about the to do that we forget to be. Being is existing, it is breathing in that moment. It’s much more than the proverbial “stop to smell the roses” malarkey. It is deeper than that. If we are Being, we are conscious of our existence, of why we are here and what we are doing.
At the last monthly M3 meeting we discussed this topic and read a few sections from Deida’s book “The Way of the Superior Man”. Deida writes:
This ‘do mode’ is one of men’s greatest strengths and weaknesses. It’s great to be able to plow through obstructions and get the job done. And it’s good to keep yourself disciplined and on purpose. But if you forget your larger purpose while pursuing the small and endless tasks of daily life, then you have reduced yourself to a machine of picayune.
Tasks are important, but no amount of duties adds up to love, freedom, or full consciousness. You cannot do enough, nor can you do the right things, so that you will finally feel complete….Have you devoted yourself to finding out the deepest truth of your own existence? If, in this very moment, your tasks are not supporting your life in this way, you must drop them or change them so that they do. Otherwise you are wasting your life.
One thing I like about Deida is that he doesn’t mince words. He doesn’t beat around the bush. As we talked about this reading at our meditation, several people expressed the insight that for them it was a new idea to even imagine that there is a “deepest truth of your own existence”. This is what Being means. It means that the tasks and the goals and the accomplishments are all there to service our deeper calling, whatever form that may take.
On my desk right now I have a grocery list that my partner wrote for me before she left the house this morning. This is a do list. If I come home this evening and didn’t stop by the store, she will not be very happy and we won’t have the groceries for dinner or milk for breakfast. There’s a direct consequence of failing to do—no food, upset partner, etc. If I am failing to be, failing to be present to my true nature, failing to be aware of my intention, there is very little direct consequence that I can see and touch every day.
Our daily challenge is to maintain the necessity of our to do reality, while still living our lives where it matters the most, in the to be reality. I believe that this can be strengthened and supported through a regular meditation practice, either alone or in a group. The very act of meditation is focused on the being. There is nothing to do in meditation, we only have to sit and to be.