Being Comes First

Man Thinking

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any of us long to contribute, to make a difference with our lives. Inspired by visionaries and activists, we may ask, “What can I do?” Or, “What should I do?”

This reminds me of the question that echoes through childhood: “What do you want to do when you grow up?” We learn early that doing is important. “Being” remains largely unexplored, just along for the ride. Who we are gets quickly bundled inside what we do, our inner life increasingly neglected in the overwhelm of outer busyness.

In my recent book, we wrote:

quotes-pullquotes-opening“What makes individual contribution effective is the state of being, the energy field, individual merged with universal. Of course, this represents a reality fundamentally different from doing something to make a contribution, even with the best of intentions. This illuminates why being must come first.”

Of course, being and doing, or doing and being, are not sequential. We don’t figure out who to be and then do, no more than we get busy doing and determine who to be. Inner and outer are simultaneous. Who we are fills what we do. What we do broadcasts who we are.

Still, for those of us genuinely wishing to contribute something worthwhile in the world beyond our own comfort and personal success, it is also accurate to say that being comes first, in the sense of priorities. In other words, we don’t compromise who we are for what we do.

Meditating Woman

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xample: meditation. Meditation becomes the priority when we are drawn deeper into being. As this happens, we no longer “make time for meditation,” slotting it somewhere convenient within our daily routine. Meditation becomes our home base, not just that time we assign to eyes closed stillness, but the ongoing meditative state. Moment by moment, we live being first, resting and acting from a meditative state.

When meditation is used as a stress reduction technique, tangible health benefits result. But when meditation is embraced as described above, as our 24/7 state of being, something truly remarkable happens… a turning point emerges in our evolving life experience.

The modern sage Adyashanti wrote poetically:

quotes-pullquotes-opening“At a certain point in one’s spiritual life, it is as if everything is spontaneously put down. This is hard to understand until it actually starts to happen to you. Spirituality itself is put down. Freedom is put down. It’s necessary for us to be free of our need for freedom, to be enlightened from our need for enlightenment.”

It’s a “being” paradox: enlightenment arises when we release our desire for enlightenment. Freedom means being free of the need to be free. This may seem awkward to describe in words but those who have touched the experience easily understand. Whatever we have longed for has been embraced. This is it… whatever “this” is.

Being comes first. Then we are “being our doing.” Our doing is included in our being; it’s filled with the frequency of our authentic self. Does this contribute in the way we wish? Yes and more, in ways we will never know. Whatever we do now carries the weight and light of that spirit we are coming to experience ourselves to be. We transmit through our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our words, our actions… we fill the world with ourselves, until we realize that the world is ourselves!

This marks the end of separation. There is no more “me” over here and a desired state of oneness or effective action over there. The two become one, being and doing all together in present moment reality.

Chronos Time

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his also marks the end of time as we’ve invented it. Chronos, that linear march from past through present to future, meets its match in kairos, described by the Greeks as “a time lapse, a moment of indeterminate time in which everything happens.” Here is the cross, perhaps our most persistent sacred image, with chromos represented by the horizontal line and kairos the vertical.

And where are we in this metaphor? At the center, where the lines intersect. That’s the point, described in geometry has having position but no magnitude. It’s just a point, an eternal position midst time and timelessness, the moment of being that is simultaneously now in linear progression and now in eternity.

Being comes first… and last. What we are is what we have been and always will be. What we do arises, moment by moment as a carrier activity for the same energetic frequency that births and steers the stars… of which we are wonderfully made.

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