All my life I have tried to figure out what I am here on the planet to DO. Little did I know that doing was a vehicle to take my away from not toward my purpose. In this life for me, it is all about BEING. Being present in my body and mind for the benefit of myself and others is the best thing I can DO.
Being seems too easy so we pass it by on our way to doing something seemingly more important. Then once we have finished doing we wonder if it was satisfying or not, usually not, and we are off to fill the void by completing something else. Yet the times when I feel most satisfied is when I have been in the moment, when I slow down, when I notice my breath coming in and going out. It is these moments the poet remembers in words, the painter remembers on canvas, and the priest remembers in the sermon.
Why is it so hard to be? As my husband keeps telling me there is a payoff to doing. We get rewarded by accomplishing something. Then there are times when we are not productive and the payoff is feeling bad and we go to refrigerator and eat something or have a coffee, some chocolate, browse the internet or watch TV. Then the payoff becomes bad vs. good, black or white and we feel trapped by both and unsatisfied. And the cycle begins again.
These days I am noticing that I can DO and BE simultaneously and in this state, I feel more fulfilled. How did I get to this place of balance? I used my senses. I slowed down and took a look at what was around me. I looked my son in the eye, I touched my daughters face, I listened without doing, I smelled my husband cooking dinner, I tasted the sweetness of the gardens first snap pea. Through my senses I can be in the world, remember the day by what I experienced instead of what I did. My purpose is to help others find the same satisfaction and if I cannot be it then I cannot teach it.
Whether you know your purpose or not, being is the first step. Now everyone thinks that in order to BE one has to meditate 10 hours a day and live in a monastery up on a mountain somewhere. While that sounds nice (to me) learning to BE can be simple. It just takes practice.
When we use our senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) we get tangible data that cannot be denied nor manipulated. We can use our senses to notice our surroundings. Once we do this, we get out of our thinking mind and into our bodies and present in the room. Here are a few practices to get you started.
Morning: upon waking feel your body lying on the bed, look around the room and notice the lighting, listen to the sound of the alarm or the noises of your house, be aware of the moment of waking. Ask yourself, what am I a commitment to today?
Lunch: before you eat, feel your breath coming in and going out, look around the room you are in, listen the sounds , are there any smells? Ask yourself, what will nourish me most today?
Dinner: eat slowly, taste the food you eat, chew your food, look around the room you are in, look at the people you dine with, feel the temperature of the food, listen to the sounds of the room. Ask yourself, have I lived my commitment today?
Bedtime: when you lay down again scan your body, feel your bed, your pillow, listen to the sounds in your room, notice the quality of color in the room. Give yourself a compliment about something you did well for the day. Be behaviorally specific.
Try one, try all. I cannot guarantee you will find your purpose but I can attest if you invite perspective from your senses, you will feel more satisfied.