On Living by Being

by Christopher Lovejoy on July 21, 2013

This post is about living by, with, for, and through Being.

That’s Being with a capital B in contrast to being this or that, like being alive, awake, aware, or alert, although one might be tempted to say that Being is being alive, awake, aware, and alert.

So how do I go about living by Being in contrast to living by being, knowing, thinking, feeling, loving, learning, seeing, hearing, exploring, creating, seeking, striving, acting, doing, or having?

You’ve likely heard it said, especially if you hang around spiritual or metaphysical types: “be … just be … just be as you are, wherever you are; everything else will follow and flow from there.”

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

These words, “just be”, is both your clue and your cue to Be with a capital B.

Or how about this: “just be; this is enough – in fact, this is more than enough.”

Is it though?

Let’s see what verse 47 has to say about what it means to Be.

Tao Te Ching, Verse 47

I feel called to start here, with a simple definition …

To compensate: to make up for an actual or perceived lack or loss.

Which brings up a fundamentally important question: let it be or make it so?

Let the lack be? Let the loss be? Or make it so that I no longer lose or lack?

The stimulus struggle seems to be a natural part of being human and most of us have our own favorite controlling desire. For you, it might be food, money, or sex; information, knowledge, or wisdom; safety, security, or stability; success, conquest, or triumph; a home, a car, or a pet; gold, silver, or platinum; beauty, harmony, or intimacy …  there’s seemingly no end to this list.

A controlling desire, by its very nature, draws (sucks?) on the energies of life, love, and light from the core of Being, and with these energies, finds a way to justify urgency in seeking and striving incessantly to have or get this, that, or the other thing. In other words, it is both obsessive and compulsive.

This is not to say that a controlling desire has no practical value.

Controlling desires serve us by helping us to keep the pain of an actual or perceived lack or loss at bay so that we can persist in living and coping adequately in this world.

Being as you are where you are is fine as far as it goes, but unless or until you come to terms with your favorite controlling desire by integrating the emotional charge that drives your pain into desire, you’ll be forever at its mercy, compromising your experience of peace and bliss through Being.

No contentment or Contentment for you, in other words …

Without going
out the door,
know the world.
Without looking
out the window,
you just might see
the ways of heaven.

The further one goes,
the less one knows.

Therefore,
sages do not
venture forth,
and yet know,
do not look,
and yet name,
do not strive,
and yet find
fulfillment.

Edited slightly to enhance flow and to reflect more inclusive language

Ref: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

These words of wisdom sound more than a little magical, mystical, and mysterious, but wherein lies the truth, the beauty, the harmony?

My Impressions of the Verse

Striving to compensate for the pain of actual or perceived lack or loss is one thing; striving naturally to explore, express, and expand yourself from the core of Being is quite another. Likewise, a peaceful inner posture of presence finds its natural complement in alert, assured, blissfully responsive action.

Without going
out the door,
know the world.
Without looking
out the window,
you just might see
the ways of heaven.

These invitations to Be through knowing and seeing seem to preclude having and doing, but they actually guide you to include having and doing into your Being by guiding you to go within to be, to know, to see.

The further one goes,
the less one knows.

There’s two ways to interpret this enigmatic statement.

First, it could be an acknowledgement of greatness, of boundlessness.

Second, it could also be a caution: all of your having and doing, seeking and striving, going this way or that, will come to nought if you never enter timelessness to be, to know, to see.

But then, perhaps this statement is both an acknowledgement and a caution.

Therefore,
sages do not
venture forth,
and yet know,
do not look,
and yet name,
do not strive,
and yet find
fulfillment.

The fullness of Being is accessible to anyone who understands and appreciates these words of wisdom. Naturally, my interest is piqued by these words: “… do not strive and yet find fulfillment”.

Implications for Personal Fulfillment

A sense of wanting implies a sense of lacking, but the visceral experience of wanting, wanting, and more wanting also feels good. Besides, when we want something, we want it.

We would, however, do well to ask this question: does the pleasure of incessant wanting mean that we want it naturally and passionately or that we want it obsessively and compulsively?

This is a good question, a fair question, because it sheds light on the nature of striving.

People are generally not so much addicted to reacting as they are to the controlling objects of their compensatory striving. If obsessive, compulsive, compensatory striving is relatively unconscious (and reactive), then natural, passionate striving is relatively conscious (and responsive).

One corollary of this distinction is that if we become (and remain) conscious of any compensatory striving, wanting gives way to allowing; controlling desires give way to fulfilling desires.

We are all conditioned from birth, more or less, to conform to prevailing norms, which may or may not align with the Being that we are. Conforming to anything that does not feel good, that does not align with who we are deep down, can be quite enervating, even exhausting. We might even become good at hiding this enervation or exhaustion from others – or, perish the thought, from ourselves.

From the depleted soils of this enervation or exhaustion rise controlling desires in a bid to compensate, in a bid to come alive and stay alive, even if this means remaining addicted to the objects of our desire.

Unless or until we take our individual journeys into present moment awareness to reclaim and express our own authentic voices, compensatory striving and controlling desires remain facts of life.

You might say that becoming conscious of controlling desires in a bid to manage them (or even release them) is the first phase in this journey, while becoming intimate with Being, so that seeking and striving, having and doing, flow from the essence of Being, is the next phase.

Phase 1 practices include The Sedona Method, The Emotional Freedom Technique, and The Presence Process. Phase 2 practices include a mind-boggling range of meditations designed to foster ever deeper encounters with and experiences of present moment awareness. At the end of the journey …

sages do not venture forth,
and yet know, do not look,
and yet name, do not strive,
and yet find … fulfillment.

As far as I can know and see, the completion of this journey is reserved for sages.

For the rest of us, consciously knowing and seeing that destinations are guideposts along the way, we continue to engage and/or enjoy the journey into and/or through the wonders and splendors of Being.

Truly being, knowing, and seeing, we might ask ourselves …

How does it feel to be safe and secure? How does it feel to be happy and prosperous? How does it feel to be alert, assured, and blissfully responsive to change?

More to the point, how does it feel to be satisfied and fulfilled now?

Next up: Let Be and Let Go? (Living by Decreasing)

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This post is one of many in an ongoing series that began here.

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