by Mary O’Malley
Underneath all of the busyness in our lives, what we truly long for is to just be. Even though it is one of the most profound things a human being can do, most of us don’t know how to be. Our minds are usually planning what is going to happen, rehashing what did happen, and struggling with everything else in between. We love to acquire and do, fix and achieve, attain and figure out. There is nothing wrong with all of these, except that when they become our primary mode of existence, they cut us off from the astounding healing of simply being.
We have been so far away from our lives, lost in the activity of our minds, that most of us don’t know how to do this. In all of our doing, acquiring, and becoming, we don’t know how to be present for ourselves. We don’t know how to be present for life. Living in the memories of the past and the fantasies of the future, we make problems out of most everything and rush through our lives trying to get to the solution.
When we relearn how to simply be, we begin to discover moments in which our minds, our bodies and our hearts are all in the same place at the same time. These moments hold the power to heal us at our core. The more we cultivate them, the more connected we become. The more connected we become, the more we live from the wellspring within us that holds all of the clarity, peace, wisdom, and joy that we long for. We then learn how to use our doing, fixing, achieving mind when we need it, allowing it to recede into the background again as we discover the truth and the beauty of life as it is, right here and right now.
In our disconnection from ourselves and from our lives, many things become a substitute for the joy of being. But nothing from the outside can quench our deepest longing. What we truly long for is to be awake for life and to experience the joy of being at home within ourselves and within our world. We are hungry for the experience of being.
It is important to understand that cultivating being is not about being powerless. It is not about being out-of-control. Even though at first glance being seems like passively letting life do with us as it will, it is the exact opposite. It is a passionate engagement with life as it is right now while we are truly noticing what is going on. We then live from response rather than reaction.
Cultivating being is a very active place where we are passionately alert, listening and learning from every experience we are given. Something happens when we stay this open and listen. We begin to realize that life is speaking to us all the time. It is giving us the clues that will take us out of our reactive mind and back into the joy of being truly connected to life. Remember those connect-the-dot puzzles from childhood where, when we followed the numbers with our pencil, the picture then became clear? That is very similar to the experience of being present for our own lives. As we learn how to listen, really listen, to whatever we are being given, we begin to see the bigger picture. And then our challenges, rather than being proof that we have done something wrong, become doorways into a deep and trust-filled relationship with ourselves and with our lives.