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Being and Doing

September 19, 2010

Being and Doing:

I had a conversation with a friend the other today about what makes us feel whole — when we feel as one intellectually, physically, and spiritually as well as with the world around us. The further the conversation went, the more apparent it became that a fusion between being and doing was central to the answer.

Some schools of thought claim that finding peace in our being is the key to feeling whole as a person. This would explain the popularity of Transcendental Meditation in the 1960s and 70s, as well as the metaphysical seeking that became prominent in the 1990s. Through mediation, yoga, channeling, prayer, or other means, the goal was to find stillness, to become comfortable simply “being.” This was considered a path to wholeness.

There is a much to be said for making peace with oneself, for it is a powerful experience to be able to still all our inner voices so we can truly focus.

Other schools of thought emphasize that our sense of wholeness comes from accomplishment. In order to feel successful, satisfied and fulfilled, we need to do something, to be industrious, and to achieve. Some realize this sense of doing through business ventures, others through political activity, and others still by performing community work or volunteering. The bottom line is that the doing creates the sense of well-being.

This, too, is commendable and important to our sense of personal satisfaction. We must feel confident that we can succeed in accomplishing goals and getting results.

You may know people who fall into one category or the other – who focus on being or who stress the doing – yet still do not feel whole. This is not surprising, for just like the waves in the sea, humans must also ebb and flow. The waters of the sea make movements that build and movements that subside. Likewise, we must learn to let go and find peace within and we must also build and take action. Life must be a constant blending of the yin and the yang – the inward and the outward – in order for us to feel whole.

But even creating times in our lives for “being” and for “doing” may not be sufficient. There is a third element that I believe fosters wholeness. When our “doing” is connected with what we value when “being” — when we are in touch with our inner selves — we feel more complete. When we align all three, they reinforce and build on each other, strengthening and guiding us to a deeper sense of fulfillment.

Questions to ponder: When you focus on your inner self, what do you value? What action can you take that aligns with this value?

Robin Damsky

Robin Damsky is the rabbi of West Suburban Temple Har Zion in Oak Park, Illinois, and co-author of Find-Fulfill-Flourish: Discover Your Purpose with LifePath GPS – a book, tool kit, and workshop series focused on guiding people toward more meaningful and fulfilling lives.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 19, 2010 4:58 am

    Being directed to this blog was clearly the Lord’s hand. Every now and then I find myself looking to the world for fulfillment. I know it is God’s will to give us the desires of our heart because He is the one who put them there. I need to refocus on who those desires will ultimately glorify. If the Lord cannot use my gifts and talents for His own edification, I will be frustrated in my efforts. Thank you for bringing me full circle with the main thing!

    • September 19, 2010 7:22 am

      Geri, it is so nice to hear from you. Your comments have made my day. I am very glad that our blog had been helpful for you. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.
      Good bless,

  2. shanonnelson permalink
    September 19, 2010 4:54 pm

    This is wonderful Steve, I too seek to glorify the Father in all that I do. I’m reminded of Peter & John in Acts 3 when they prayed for the lame man (that had been lame since birth) to be healed. The man sought to give them thanks, rightfully so…but Peter gave God all the Glory! We DISCOVER FULFILLMENT, when we will fulfill the will of God for our lives. For some, this may be motherhood, others success in the marketplace, and even other the gift of exhorting others.
    To answer your question: When you focus on your inner self, what do you value? What action can you take that aligns with this value? I value relationships…and the ACTION that I take each and everyday the good Lord gives me is the ACTION of reaching out to as many people as I can to encourage, love, exhort, and bless them!
    God Bless you brother Steve,
    Agape’ Shanon

    • September 19, 2010 5:54 pm

      Hello Shanon,
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. It was such a pleasure to read it.
      God Bless.

    • September 21, 2010 10:44 am

      Dear Shanon,
      If I had to pick the most important arena in our lives in which we have the opportunity to bring in spirit, it would be in the area of relationships. We get to practice all of the values our faith espouses and asks us to practice, regardless of denomination. With others, we then can work to bring the vision of a whole world to fulfillment. Bravo for acting to bring love, encouragement and blessing to those around you. What a gift!

      • shanonnelson permalink
        September 21, 2010 6:24 pm

        Thank you Robin…It took me awhile to understand this very important principle…but thank God, I got “IT” RELATIONSHIPS! Amen…Thank you so much for your kind words. God Bless, Shanon

      • September 21, 2010 7:01 pm

        You’re welcome, Shanon. Just keep giving it away. It will come back to you tenfold.

  3. shanonnelson permalink
    September 21, 2010 7:22 pm

    Amen, I have already received tenfold of God’s love, joy, peace and mercy…My desire is that others too can enjoy the peace and protection that God bestows upon me and my family. That comes through fulfillment of our divine purpose.
    God Bless your ministries.

  4. September 21, 2010 9:11 pm

    Still. Listen. Understand! Peace is within. Still!

    Vivian Dixon Sober

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