It really seems that life is in the doing, in what we need to do, should do, can do, did do, will do.
We think of what is important in our lives in terms of activity, of movement, of coming and going, of acquiring, of letting go, of doing.
And this is because we are not introduced, we don’t recognize or are aware of Being.
What this Being is is not easy to describe because in reality we cannot talk about it; we can point into that direction, this is all that can be done, but ‘the finger is never the moon’*.
This Being, this presence, is prior to the doing, to the activity, to the movement; it is the ‘space’** in which the activity, the doing or the movement takes place, and it is in this ‘space’ where we find meaning, truth, peace, fulfillment.
It really seems that by doing something, by getting something, by acquiring something, I am going to find the meaning I am looking for. Meaning seems to be dependent on the movement, on the doing, on the ‘getting and keeping’, but it is not. If it were, we would be much more at peace, much more fulfilled and content because now, more than ever, we have so many opportunities and possibilities to do the things we want to do. Yes, of course there will always be something that seems unreachable, something that, if I could get it, all would be fine. But it is not like that.
For sure there is someone out there who has precisely that thing you want and if you could look deep inside his/her life, you would see that he/she is still not satisfied. On the surface you may see more comfort, more pleasure, more experiences, more of many things, but you will not see contentment or deep satisfaction; you will not see peace, true peace.
The more we do, the more we need to do.
The more we act, the more we need to act.
The more we get, the more we need to get.
There is no problem in doing, acting or getting, not at all.
The only problem is that there is no resolution in doing, acting, getting. And this is what we all want, the resolution, the moment when we can say: I am at peace, I am fulfilled. But this does not come, or when it does, it doesn’t last. Very soon, too soon, the need for more arises again in our hearts, and the never ending movement towards more starts again.
Here, some people (and I can certainly hear my mother) may say: but that is good! We need to keep moving and acting and doing! Otherwise life is boring!
And I could agree, except in one fundamental detail:
For sure there is a movement in life, a never ending movement towards creation, evolution, progress, expansion. But in this great and fundamental movement there is no resolution, there is no end, there is no peace, fulfillment, satisfaction; there is no ultimate meaning.
The peace, the fulfillment, the satisfaction and meaning can only be found in a different place, in Being.
The best way to start the recognition of Being is to notice the sense of I Am.
‘I am’ here, ‘I am’ there, ‘I am’ young, ‘I am’ old, ‘I am’ rich, ‘I am’ losing all my money, ‘I am’ single, ‘I am’ married, ‘I am’ divorced, ‘I am’ healthy, ‘I am’ sick, ‘I am’ going to eat, ‘I am’ eating, ‘I am’ finishing my meal, etc, etc.
The actions, the doings, the getting and the letting go are always coming and going, but the I Am – Being – always remains.
This Being is prior to the doing, the acting and the getting, it accompanies them, and when they end, as they necessarily will, Being remains.
Being is what is common to all things and what remains when all things go.
All things change, all things come and go, but Being always is.
Just for a few seconds, stop reading this sentence, and sense the I Am. Not the ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’, but only the naked, pure, unmixed sense of I Am. Close your eyes (or not), take a deep breath (or not) and feel, sense, connect to the sense of I Am …
The problem with talking about Being is that it is not something that can be grasped, it is not something that we can say: — Ah, there it is.
No! It is never there!! It is only here, it is only now, it is only myself… here, now.
Everything else, absolutely everything is, in one way or another, available to the senses; it is graspable. It may be grasped now if it is available or, if it is not, then it has the potential to be grasped later, understood, seen…like a very distant star when more powerful telescopes will be invented or very small particles when more powerful microscopes appear; anything and everything can or has the potential to be ‘seized’, except for Being.
Being is the only thing that cannot be grasped, cannot be seen, cannot be touched; it can only be… There is no word for it because we are that and so, it can only be recognized as I am that. It can only be recognized as the silent-aware-presence that we always are.
Being is the discovery that there is something deep and fundamental, here and now, even if apparently absolutely nothing is happening.
But Being is not so simple to discover because, for example, when no activity is occurring, a sense of emptiness arises in ourselves and right away we feel the urge to do something like go to the phone, speak, eat or move. And when something does happen, we see the happening, we enjoy or suffer the experience, but we miss the ‘space’ in which that experience appears.
But Being is always there, Being always is, independent of activity, or the lack of it.
Recognizing Being is the essence of the classes I teach, and it is really the essence of all that I do…: to recognize and reconnect to this ‘space of Being’, over and over.
It is easy to see and recognize what appears in the ‘space of Being’: the body-mind-world or, more specifically, the movement, the activity, the situation, the perception, the sensation, the object, the thought, the worry, the anxiety, the fear, the pleasure, the comfort, the moment of pain or well-being; but it is not so easy to recognize Being itself, the ‘space’ in which all these things appear.
The movement, the activity, the thoughts come and go, they are always changing, they are always appearing and disappearing, but the ‘space of Being’ is always here, always available, always now. We just need to recognize it, again and again and again, until it becomes clear that what I am recognizing is myself.
And that I Am always here.
I Am always now.
I Am not touched by what comes and goes and so, I Am always at peace, fulfilled, content.
I Am, always.
* Never mistake the finger for the moon.
The Buddha once said to imagine someone is trying to show you the moon by pointing at it. The pointing finger is what guides you to the moon. Without the finger, you might not notice the moon, but the pointing finger isn’t what matters most. It only matters because it helps you see the moon for yourself. But we should never mistake the pointing for the moon.
** It is not really a space either, but we use the word space as a pointer. Being is even prior to space, but the mind cannot think without the property of space, and so, to help the mind make sense, we make use of the word space, even if it is not ultimately correct.