Letting the Being Inform the Doing


How doing less may actually help us do things easier and better.

I’ve been reading a lot about mindfulness this year. I was lead to reading about mindfulness after deciding to begin a meditation practice late last year. Todd Goldfarb’s guest post on Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits Blog became my guide to getting started with meditation -

Meditation for Beginners: 20 Practical Tips for Quieting the Mind

Once I worked up to being able to practice a 15 minute sitting meditation, about 6 months after I began to practice meditation, I started looking for a guide to continue the practice, beyond those in Todd’s post. I remembered that the post listed a few books and went back to take a look at the list. It turns out that he only recommended one book in that post and this is it -

“Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life”, by Jon Kabat-Zinn

So, with a bit of scepticism, both in my own decision to start exploring meditation further, as well as in the overall concept of Mindfulness, I checked the reviews on Goodreads, bought the Kindle version, and dove into the book. From this first book, I then moved on to -

“Mindfulness for Beginners”, by Jon Kabat-Zinn

And then to -

“Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness”, by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Somewhere along the way I also watched this guided meditation session, that was recommended to me, led by Jon Kabat-Zinn on the Google campus -

I’ve actually hesitated to write about Mindfulness on Just Rolling with It, as I recognize that I am really a beginner’s beginner, just taking the first few steps on what could be a lifelong path. Today, following along with the spirit of Just Rolling with It and not overthinking things, I thought I’d write about one concept of Mindfulness that really helped me to believe that it just might work for me.

This concept is essentially letting the “being” inform the “doing”. As I understand it and without trying to explain things that I’m not able to explain well, this essentially means that if we take time out to meditate, which is a state of “being”, the time we spend meditating then helps to guide the time we spend “doing” things, which is most of the time. And as a result of spending time in the state of “being”, we are able to make more informed, concious, and hopefully better decisions when we’re “doing”. Better decisions then lead to better “doing”.

Letting the “being” inform the “doing” really clicked for me when I read it. It was this concept that convinced me that I was going down the right path with mindfulness and meditation. Prior to understanding how letting the “being” inform the “doing”, I, like many people I’m guessing, couldn’t quite get my head around how doing less could actually lead to getting more done and getting more done in a better way.

I had always felt that if the gas pedal wasn’t jammed all the way to the floor, I could, and probably should, be going faster. What I hadn’t thought about was that if I’m driving at full speed, not only does it take a lot of energy and effort to make sure I keep control of the vehicle moving at such high speeds, which makes it difficult to even remember to think about whether or not the direction I set out in continues to be the right direction, it’s also very likely that, along the way, I miss some key signposts and blow past exits that might have led to a better route and even destination.

Gaining a better understanding of how “being” can inform “doing” has allowed me to give myself permission to ease off the gas pedal and even stop along the way. I’m becoming more at ease now with slowing things down from time-to-time, looking left and looking right to see if what I’m feeling might be indicating that a slightly or altogether different direction might be the right path. I’m not trying to fit everything into such a straight path between point A and point B and sprint as fast as I can between them as a result. Stopping to recharge has its own benefits, which I’m starting to experience as well.

As I write this post, I also realize that letting the “being” inform the “doing” is the key concept underlying and enabling what I think about when I think about doing things easier and better. Allowing myself to take the time to exist in a state of “being” itself makes things easier for me, by slowing things down and stopping to recharge. This state of “being” then makes the “doing” easier, by helping me understand what the right things to “do” really are and by “doing” the right things, the outcomes usually end up being “better”.

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Originally published at cjremus.ghost.io on October 20, 2014.