Being to doing
How do you make it easy? How do you find your flow? After you healed your need to survive – then what?
In the previous post, we learned about how therapy clears out your limiting past. It isn’t necessary to clear out the past and heal to work with being; it just makes it easier. I often work all three elements simultaneously; but then I’m greedy.
Let’s talk about being. You don’t need to be a Buddhist monk to get power from being present. You just need to be mindful or aware of what is happening. Our tendency here in the United States is to focus on doing, often several things at one time. Being is first focusing on your experience. As you are doing, you are aware of your experience. For example, when you are doing the dishes, you focus on what it feels like to do the dishes rather than worrying about what you need to do tomorrow. In becoming “one with your dishes,” you allow any body or emotional experience to occur. You may also feel the physical and emotional tension of your worry.
Yes, this being thing sounds simple – it doesn’t get simpler as a concept. So why would people spend a lifetime mastering it? Because the better they get, the more they get done, the more relaxed they are and the more joy they feel. I know it sounds contradictory to experience possible discomfort to feel more joy, but it works.
It’s a strange phenomenon, surrendering to discomfort eventually reduces it. It is as if you were grasping your right forearm with your left hand and squeezing hard. After a while, you begin to be numb to the pain. The tension is still there, possible damage is still occurring, yet there is no pain. If you were to bring your focus back to you right arm, you would feel the pain. Then with that awareness, you would say to yourself, “Why the hell am I hurting myself?”
Being present to what is occurring not only frees you from pain; it can free other resources to be more available. Most people don’t know how much effort they put into sustaining their “normal” existence. When those resources are free, they are more available for pleasure and for performance.
When I had a clinic in Scottsdale back in the ’90s, we ran Mindfulness Stress Reduction Programs for hospital systems, corporations and the public. I remember one of the many Type A executives we had in our program. She was a senior VP in the city. Her life sucked. She was stressed, in pain and getting less effective even though she was working more. Half way through the 8-week course, she came in to the class to report she removed her second phone, started taking lunches and worked only 40 hours the previous week. She was amazed that not only was her pain gone, she was more productive with less work.
She learned to just be present. She got there by focusing on her body through simple exercises we taught such as a body scan where she experienced her body and focusing on the breath. When you focus on what is happening in the present all your resources are present. The distractions of the past and future are not there. You are just there in your body in the present moment. This state is the same state a top athlete achieves when he is experiencing a “runner’s high.” When I worked with these athletes and they came back reporting more of these highs, I told them it was due to them being more relaxed and balanced.
Being present also is a set up for creativity. My artistic clients had the same experience as my athletes – relaxation lead to being more present, which lead to increased production – for artists this showed up as more creativity. Relaxing into being allows more to show up. Your essence starts to show up.