Being and Doing – Yin and Yang
There are a variety of ways to assist the body maintain wellness that we are all familiar with. Healthy eating with plenty of whole foods, (fruit and vegies, nuts and grains, plenty of water) Sufficient exercise and sleep. When I talk to clients about finding balance in their lives there is a natural inclination to examine the former items I have mentioned. Additionally they may have considered the amount of time devoted to paid employment, commitments at home, sport, socialising, hobbies, family commitments. Is there a healthy balance in the percentages of time spent in these various common pursuits? This is also a valuable check, but there is another aspect to wellness that we don’t often consider in the western world. The balance of DOING versus BEING. We all know how to DO. In fact we have an epidemic of DOING. BEING is a concept embraced more in Eastern cultures who place value on time spent in yoga, meditation or simply BEING. (ie lying outside on the grass and observing the clouds or the stars; sitting in nature and being still; just observing the natural surrounds; receiving a massage, meditation)
Western psychology doesn’t readily embrace the notion of BEING. It can be regarded as unproductive, lazy, pointless and irrelevant. Perhaps if we understood it a little more or were willing to experience it for a while, we could assess the benefits. Why on earth would we wish to experience BEING? Where is the value in that? Eastern cultures know. In Being, there is a re-charging of our body that is on a different level to our physicality. Have you noticed that after a positive exchange, like a hug with a lover, or a deep connection with a friend or beloved child there is a feeling of warmth and expansiveness? BEING is like that. It brings us into the moment and allows us the opportunity of just experiencing ourselves through our feeling self, rather than intellect or our physicality. Stressors are significantly reduced or temporarily alleviated during time devoted to BEING. Engaging in BEING allows our busy DOERS to be far more productive, positive and efficient, when it’s their turn to activate again. It’s like our core inner batteries are being recharged.
Indian culture has known about the value of this balance for centuries. When I first started to read about Avurvedic medicine the truths in it reverberated through me, with a YES! Their focus is on maintaining wellness, rather than reacting to ill health if it arrives. They have wellness practices that focus on eating, exercise, meditation, yoga, taking individual herbal supplements and massage. They proactively encourage good health rather than taking it for granted. Massage for example is part of their daily wellness routine. All family members know how to massage and offer this to one another. It promotes bonding and a terrific sense of well being. Some clients come for a massage and they will describe it as an ‘indulgence.’ I will offer that it is a ‘Wellness practice,’ like a coin in the piggy bank of your energy for the day.
I once read that Mahatma Gandhi said, (I don’t have the direct quote but the essence of it) I have such a lot to do today, I will have to do twice as much meditation. He understood the value of balance. In spending time in the BEING his DOING would be far more productive.
So how can you start to play with BEING? Devote some time to BEING each day. Sit in the sunshine for half an hour with no other agenda other than to experience the warmth and the calm and the non doing. Watch out for your sabotaging parts though, your thinking mind may be resistant to it and label it as worthless, lazy, etc. Learn to meditate or do yoga. Even 10 minutes a day of a daily practice can be helpful. Tune in to how you feel at the end of this time? Initially, because we are starved of BEING there may be an inclination to either resist falling into it or conversely finding such relief that its a challenge to get back to DOING. This is quite normal, but will all pass if you practice your BEING on a daily basis. The benefits can be tremendous.