• Hardcore Yogi

The Difference Between Doing and Being: A profound insight for spiritual attainment

Many of us have experienced doing: going to work, paying bills, hitting the gym, ect.

And perhaps many of us have glimpsed “pure being” as well.

We find these moments of being in a simply exquisite moment; perhaps when listening to a song, getting absorbed in a meditation or a baby’s face, or walking out in nature. In these exquisite moments, we even forget ourselves as the one experiencing them. These are moments where we relax our need to do and think and acquire the next thing. We are content with what is. This is the experience of being. It is distinct from doing.

Doing is when we engage the mind and body to perform a specific task, to acquire a certain desire. Desire is based in the future. Desire also has a beginning, middle and end; whether it be a meal, a sexual experience, or a state of mind. we seek to go through the beginning middle and end of the desire, until the desire has been satisfied. This is perfectly good, a natural part of the progression of life.

But sometimes we yearn to step away from this constant process of desire and doing, desire and doing. Sometimes the body and mind needs a break. This is where we look to being. In being, we find peace. We find fulfilment. There is a sense of effortlessness. There is also insight, and grace.

Pure “being” or “existence” is a full cup. Yet funnily enough, it is only realised when we empty ourselves of the usual functions of self. When the self, the “my, me, and what I need” is extinguished, or at least dimmed, we merge with the fabric of existence. We access pure being. This is what it means to access being in addition to doing.

I am still of the opinion that doing serves an important role in our life. There is a hierarchy of human needs, and doing is how we attain those needs. But it is also good to know about the joy of being, simply as you are, at one with the exquisiteness of nature. Because you are that, nothing more, and nothing less.


Some credit to Gangaji, a very insightful spiritual teacher whose lectures contributed to this post.

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