In many, many spiritual practises, there is a dichotomy between doing and being. You will hear phrases like "Stop doing so much and just be you!" or "Being busy all the time is a problem!"
A simple google search on "doing vs. being" will show you many perspectives on the matter. Some focus on sitting down, getting quiet inside, and just being. To let all the busy day to day things go and be empty, find a place of zen, of just being mindful. Other traditions focus instead on daily practises, being active in the word, letting your actions speak for you, and getting to your spiritual goal that way. And of course, there are also some who encourage a balance between the both. Do practises, and spend time being quietly inside.
Which one is the better perspective? Should we do, or be? Should we find a balance? The thing most people don't realise is that all those traditions that focus so much on just being... are still doing. Being is a trap. It is a secretive doing. Neither being, nor doing, will get you to self-realisation. However, it is possible to get there. To this moment where you realise, "Oh, I get it." Where you and the world around you finally become real. The moment of awakening so many people seek. You'll find it when you quit struggling and doing and trying and wanting, and reach the awareness inside yourself.
Recorded 2013-11-08 by Angel. You can find the audio at the bottom of this page.
"Have you ever listened to someone in the meta-field talk about "doing" versus "being"? This is a really big thing in some areas. There are whole paths devoted to this. "Doing and just being." "Being is not about doing." And these are a huge difference. If you're doing things, you're not just being. And if you're being, you just stop and be that. I've heard people say, "You're a human being, not a human doing." And I have studied various paths where the entire focus is on being. This is a really huge deal to some people. Maybe not to you guys, but it is to some.
And I want to tell you something heretical but true, and that is: being is a doing.
Again, being itself is a doing. "Be happy". Change your state, do something to become happy. "Be quiet!" Well, it's a doing, stop talking! "Be yourself!" Well, stop being someone else and figure out who you are and express that. All of these beings are doings. And so to all of these people who argue this, should you run into them, and you will, it's absolutely irrelevant. Because the whole process of trying to be (you can, you know, in these paths never really be, you just try to be), that trying is a doing thing. So all these people are doing and doing and doing. They tell you to figure out who you are and be a master and find self awareness. "You have to stop doing and just be." But being is a doing!
You actually have to stop doing and sit and realise, it suddenly becomes clear to you: this moment under the Bodhi tree this moment of realisation, of awareness, is not something you can get to, either by doing or by being, since being is a doing. And it is ultimately what all of you seek. That Samadhi, that Nirvana, that moment of awareness where life begins to make sense and you suddenly put all the pieces together. This what you consider perhaps mastery. I want you to understand that that state is possible. But that state is not found in doing anything. In doing your devotions everyday or not doing your devotions, following a path or not following a path, giving up meat or eating meat. It's not found in the doing and its not found in the being.
Being is a trap. Being is a secretive doing. Alright, just sit there and BE. Well in fact what you're doing, is doing. And as long as you're doing, you can't find the state.
You will eventually, if you reach this place, you will find a moment where you're sitting or standing or painting a fence or doing dishes or shaving your legs. You will have this moment where you realise that yes, there is a person doing, but there's something more of you that looks down on that person doing and just for a moment you'll click into the awareness of that something more, that larger part of yourself, and it will become real. That is, you will realise. "Ah! Suddenly I get it, I see how it all fits together, it all makes sense." It becomes real.
And probably the minute that happens you start thinking. "Oh this is cool, wow, I like this, it is neat!" and you pop back out of it, this awareness or realisation. But I want you to know that it's possible. And you don't get there by wanting it. Because when you're wanting, you're doing. You're reaching, you're trying. If I do this, if I sit this many hours a day, if I seek in this many ways, if I sit at the feet of so many masters, if I listen to so many gurus. You won't get there. Because in doing those things you're always reaching outside yourself. The doing is inherently taking what's inside yourself and using it in the world around you. Doing is inherently reaching outside yourself. And then being, which is just a secretive doing, it's doing in a mask, is reaching outside yourself.
But eventually there will come a place, a time, a moment, where you're sitting inside yourself and you suddenly realise, Ah. I get it.
And this won't make sense to you, but when you hit that place, I imagine you will sit up and say "Oh... I've been here all along. I never left." And that doesn't make any sense to you, and that's ok. Because you all see the state you want to be as something outside, but it's not. Its something inside. This moment of realisation, it's not being, it's not doing, it's just so completely yourself that suddenly things line up, they click, and you go "Oh, I get it."
And if you're fortunate, you'll maintain that experience, and if not, you'll lose it and you'll struggle for years to do to get back to it. Without ever realising that it wasn't a doing in the first place. It wasn't what you did. At that instant you were just aligned and you realised who you are. Why you're here and what it's all about. And when you quit struggling, you'll find that moment again.
So don't be like the Buddha and sit under a Bodhi tree and contemplate your navel because that's a doing! Wash your dishes or shave your legs or paint your fence or, you know, do whatever job you do, but while you're doing it, stay in your belly. Stay centered. And let that self-awareness grow until it gets to that place where it blossoms into something where you go "Ah, I'm here. I've been here all along. This is really awesome."
And then, at that moment you will have transcended the being and the doing, you will have reached that piece that so many humans have sought through ages and ages. That moment of realising the self, of making the real you present, real, in that moent of awareness."