“Being is not only beyond but also deep within every form as its innermost invisible and indestructible essence.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
The Power of Being
Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now, defines being as “being one with life.” In other words being is allowing yourself to be fully present, wherever you are and whatever you are doing. For instance, being can be simply noticing the slow descent of a falling leaf, quietly reflecting on what is happening in your life, or being fully engaged in whatever activity you are doing–whether it be attending a business meeting or painting a fence.
Deeply rooted in our culture is a fear that if we stop or even slow down, someone else will catch us, and pass us up in the rat race of life. Consequently, we force ourselves to work around the clock or, so aptly put, work “24/7/365.”
As John Bradshaw, author of Healing the Shame that Binds Us, suggests we have become “human doings” instead of “human beings.” Doing more and going faster is a cultural norm that leaves no room for simply being. As a result the National Institute of Mental Health reports that 40 million adults, in the US alone, suffer from anxiety every year.
Since being is happening presently, and anxiety is fearful thinking about the past or future; being and anxiety cannot co-exist. This frantic activity of day to day life takes us away from the present moment and into a world of anxiety. The counterbalance to the rat race level of activity comes from understanding the frame of mind where you are ‘one with life’ or being. The best illustration comes from a personal experience with my six year old grandson. We were at a family event, where the treat was a triple layer chocolate cake. The decadent cake is a family favorite because of its rich flavor.
While the adults were talking in a light hearted mood, one by one became quiet noticing the way my grandson was eating his cake. He was moaning with delight with each bite; he was fully experiencing the cake. In pure innocence, his eyes were closed as each bite brought almost an erotic satisfaction, with the rich chocolate taste. He was in a complete state of being. He was fully experiencing the cake. As the adults, good naturedly, began to laugh at his delightful sense, he became acutely aware of our laughter.
He immediately left being, retreating into his thoughts, “They think I am stupid. They are making fun of me,” confirming with his facial expression; complete satisfaction and joy to embarrassment. When we tried to reassure him that it was okay, explaining it was cute how much he liked the cake, nevertheless he had left being and shifted to his ego driven, fear based thoughts. He slid off his chair without another bite. No amount of cajoling by the adults could bring him back to a state of being.
Anxiety Cannot Thrive in The Present Moment
Frantic doing is driven by fears of not doing or being enough. Learning the timeless art of being will result in finding a quiet place within, to give the never-ending mind chatter a rest. The importance of doing the tasks that make up daily living have been discussed. The balance of being, and doing creates the empowered life, that is the antidote to anxiety. Anxiety cannot exist in the present moment because that is where the action/being duo hangs out. The being part of the duo is about relationships, love, gratitude, human kindness, noticing the falling leaf or fully experiencing chocolate cake.
Personally, I grew up in the days before cell phones, faxes, and computers. I cannot imagine how I would live my life without them now. My children feel at a loss if they do not have their cell phone with them at all times. We scarcely get through a conversation with my children without the interruption of a phone call, text, or “HeyTell” message. The cell phone seems to carry a certain urgency over the casual chit chat of our mother/son conversations, resulting in a few sentences between phone calls.
Another personal experience, I attended a business meeting conducted by the director at the agency where I was employed. She was directing the meeting with a phone to each ear, conducting business in three places at once. I remember feeling frustrated that the business at hand was not important enough to her to actually show up to the meeting. She was physically there but she was not present. In our society the art of being is becoming lost, as a result of not being where you are or fully experiencing what you are presently doing.
This is apparent because on vacation many families anxiously video every aspect of their vacation, only to return home and watch what they missed. Also, many relationships are maintained through social networking sites such as, Facebook with little or no actual face to face interaction. German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, said “communication that is not face to face is not communication.” Regaining the strength that comes from being can be as easy as having a family dinner at the kitchen table with all electronic devices off, including the television. The early western movies depicted cowboys checking their weapons at the door, now it is time to check electronic devices at the door.
Being in the present moment, you give attention to the process of what you are involved in rather than the outcome. Eckhart Tolle teaches that when we honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve and life begins to flow with joy and ease. Within the present moment, even the simplest action, becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love. “So do not be concerned with the fruit of your action–just give attention to the action itself. The fruit will come of its own accord.” This is a powerful spiritual practice. In the Bhagavad Gita, one of the oldest and most beautiful spiritual teachings in existence, non-attachment to the fruit of your action is called Karma Yoga. It is described as the path of “consecrated action.” (Tolle. 2009. Power of Now. P.57)
“Do not be concerned with the fruit of your action–just give attention to the action itself. The fruit will come of its own accord.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
Inherent joy is a result from being. The true joy my grandson felt, while eating his chocolate cake; the same can be true for the actions you take in the present moment. Being in the present moment will result in stillness and peace from within. When I was learning about The Power of Being, I thought it only meant being physically still like in meditation. Now I know that it is being fully engaged, emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually with whatever is presently happening. When walking, notice the colors of the sky or the bird in flight. When making dinner, smell the garlic or see the color of the apple; when eating, taste the food. When playing catch with your child, notice the smile on his face, rather than listening to the mind chatter. When you are engaged in what is presently happening you are being.
“Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past.”
~ George Orwell
Being is the antidote to anxiety
Being is the antidote to anxiety. When I learned the skill to live within the present moment, I immediately felt the power of being. I was amazed at the abundance of joy in life. I feel joy in cooking dinner, joy in driving to work (even in traffic), and joy in doing my paperwork. A colleague was complaining about how behind she was on her paperwork. She asked how I learned to stay current on this dreaded part of the job. I simply said, “It was the power of being.” Being fully present in the task helps move me through the task, even if it is not my favorite task. I stopped procrastinating and worrying about my paperwork and just did it. Thinking about doing causes anxiety and stress; being fully present in the doing brings satisfaction.
Again, you cannot be in a state of being and in a state of anxiety at the same time. Anxiety exists only in the worry of the past and the future. Being in the present moment when hard things are happening; you face them, move to problem solving, and take some action towards making changes. For instance, you can accept the situation as out of your control, and stop incessant worry. Do your problem-solving and take action towards solving the problem. Worry is wasted energy that produces nothing but anxiety on the other hand; concern and problem-solving produce action.
Pop culture stresses the importance of being in the present moment. You can hear it touted from sources ranging from CNN news to the DreamWorks movie Kung Fu Panda. However, little advice is offered on what it really means to live in the present moment let alone how to achieve it.
Living in the present moment, free from mind chatter, will result in peace and contentment, which is The Power of Being.A glimpse of well-being is offered by the present moment when listening to a child’s
laughter, stopping to view a beautiful sunset, or noticing the splendor of a rose. In this manner, learning to live day to day life even with sorrows and struggles releases anxiety, depression, and worry, resulting in The Power of Being.
When a crisis occurs Mother Nature will force you into the present moment. For example, in a car accident there are usually about ten seconds between the moment in realizing the accident is going to happen, and the impact that is when everything seems to slow down, the moment when the mind chatter is completely silent forcing focus on what is presently happening. Do not wait until a crisis.
Empowered Life Solutions teaches ten pathways to the present moment. These pathways lead to The Power of Being.
The 10 pathways to the present moment
4. The five senses
7. Mindfulness – (Conscious Awareness)
Each pathway is covered in more detail in other articles in the Empowered Life Solutions package and in the “Living in the Present” instructional video offered in the Empowered Life Solutions Premium Content.