Being as an act of Peaceful Revolution
One of the great ironies of modern society is that for all the wondrous “advancements” the West has packaged and sold the rest of the world, our quality of life continues to decline. On the whole, we are increasingly overworked, stressed, exhausted, ill, anxious and depressed.
So many of us strive and strain only to find ourselves unfulfilled by our work place dynamics; out of balance in our relationships with ourselves and family; bewildered by our culture; estranged from the environment and even our own bodies.
As Newton noted in his laws on classical mechanics, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. During the decades that Western material and cultural exports have been streaming abroad, Eastern Philosophies and Practices have been quietly flowing into the West.
While they may seem "foreign" or "strange" to a Western perspective, many curious minds find actionable means to break out of draining and detrimental patterns in these wisdom traditions.
A basic tenet of both the Yogic and Buddhist philosophies is as simple as: being with the breath. This cornerstone of these traditions takes shape in myriad methods of pranayama (breath work), meditation/concentration and asana practices. When the quality of awareness experienced in these methods is sustained while we are engaged in the activities of life, it is often referred to as mindfulness.
The emphasis on being contrasts with the Western orientation toward doing. Being places emphasis on focused presence and observation, which is a radical act in a culture that is preoccupied with fixing, numbing, coming, going, striving, celebrating and moving on to the next best thing.
Being falls outside of the mainstream paradigm because it directs our attention away from the common marketplace that orients us toward comparison and longing toward inner space where we get in touch with what we truly feel and need, with respect to our holistic wellbeing.
Being is rebellious in that it calls us to shift from an external orientation (in which we refer to others for our sense of self) toward an inner understanding of ourselves.
In being with ourselves we learn: who we are; what we deeply need and desire; why we are here; and what gifts are ours to develop and share.
Several key benefits of practicing being are:
Self-regulating our nervous system to experience less stress
Awareness of our minds
Finding more balance in the different areas of life
Empowered understanding of our and others needs and desires
Higher quality and more intimacy in relationships
Greater inner peace
Practices of presence is a term I like to use for a variety of exercises (including myriad form of meditation, mindfulness, journaling, breath work…) that center and ground us in intention and bring our attention to a point of clarity.
Those of us who commit to simple consistent practices of presence experience a place of inner connection. Developing the ability to be fully present to ourselves through simple age old practices enables us to engage with our bodies, minds, emotions and souls holistically.
With practice we experience how whole bodied being brings a depth of presence to ourselves and our world that connects us to our own soul’s perspective. Then, from this place of inner awareness we can meet others on a more soulful level.
The deeper empowerment in being is that it ultimately leads us to profound soulful engagement with ourselves and others, which supports processing the lessons in our life experience, expression of our authentic gifts and a quality of fulfillment we all desire.