Doing vs. Being

But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.   Matthew 6:33-34

Doing vs. Being(1)I’m a busy guy. I have always been driven to work harder, accomplish more, to pack more projects into my day. Like many Americans, I have always worshiped at the altar of productivity. My calendar is always full, often booked 2 years in advance. And, my “to do” list regularly spills over to a second page. I’m so busy doing things that I don’t have time to do things!  Is this you, too?

Doing is easier that being. Doing is quantifiable. We can measure our productivity in a big promotion, a cleaner house, a better report card or a bigger paycheck. Doing is what we are taught to do from the time we are old enough to understand. Study hard, work hard, and be competitive in our play.

But where is the balance in our lives? After all, we are Human Beings, not Human Doings! Many people who in the first half of their lives spend their health looking for wealth, in the last half spend their wealth looking for health.

Being is different from doing. Being is a feeling, impossible to quantify. It’s hard to measure it. The only evidence of it is a sense of peace and well-being.

Psychologists will tell us that we need balance in our lives. We need doing time but we also need being time. Finding time to slow down for just being is difficult. At the end of the day, if we have accomplished a lot, but are exhausted, tense, and irritable, then we are out of balance.

“We are warned not to waste time, but we are brought up to waste our lives.” –Eric Hoffer

In Thessalonians, Saint Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing.” But, where do we find the time. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that we cannot pray “at all times” if we don’t pray at specific times, consciously willing it. (Catechism: 2697)

That’s the key! We must make specific times to pray. We need to add them to out calendar, just like any other appointment and we need to stick to them. As Mother Teresa said, “If you are too busy to pray, you are too busy!”

Morning Prayer, evening prayer, grace before meals, mass on Sunday are a great place to start. Prayer is the life of a new heart. And, all forms of Christian prayer; vocal, meditative, or contemplative, all have one thing in common; composure of the heart. (Catechism: 2699)

For me, whenever I am so busy that my prayer life begins to slip, I can feel my well-being slipping as well. And, that’s when Mother Teresa’s words remind me to slow down, reconnect with my Lord and Savior, and compose my heart to being not doing.

Are you doing or being? As Professor Gordon Dahl puts it, “Americans tend to worship their work, to work at their play, and to play at their worship.”

I’m going to make a concerted effort to balancing my doing time with my being time.

Join me, let’s find that balance together.

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