Indeed life is as Frank Sinatra sings it “do,be,do,be, do.” The art is to notice our do,be,do,be, do.
In my mindfulness course there’s much exploration about what we call the Doing mode and Being mode and the difference between the two. Being is NOT not doing, it is practicing being fully present while doing: noticing that your mind has wandered while you are in a conversation for example.
Doing is being on auto pilot, our body is doing one thing while our mind is elsewhere and we are not even aware of it. Being in the shower, while our mind is drifting to an argument that we are still pissed off about. Driving our car or bicycle.
Doing mode or auto pilot mode is not bad. I’ve gotten some great ideas in the shower while forgetting to wash my left arm. It’s great that some activities require less energy and focus so we can reserve it for other activities that do. However, because we are in auto pilot mode nearly 50% of our waking hours, we miss out on a lot of important moments and opportunities. On automatic pilot, we are also more likely to have our “buttons pressed.” Events around us, whether enjoyable or challenging, trigger thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations (of which we may be only dimly aware) which in turn trigger old habits of reacting that might ignite a mind set, thoughts and moods that are unhelpful.
The next time you are having a conversation with someone and you notice that your mind is elsewhere or already formulating an answer to a question they have not even asked or judging what the person is saying, choose to let go of it and come back to listening. Practice this time and time again and without giving yourself a hard time. This is the “do, be,do, be, do” practice. try it out and see what it has to offer.
Enjoy your “do,be,do,be, do” day!