Ajay A Kalra

From Doing To Being Ajay Kalra July 23, 2022
From Doing To Being

I recently met someone doing a marketing course. She happened to attend my class and found value in the teachings. Over a meal she shared some interesting ideas of how I could advertise to reach more people. Some of the ideas were engaging.

“Let’s see what happens.” I said

“You have to make it happen.” she said.

Reflecting back on the conversation later, it made me realize how much I have shifted from doing to being.

The primary conditioning of the mind is:

“I want something.”

“I have to make it happen.”

Society calls this ambition, goal setting, achievement and development. It’s the ‘normal’ mode of how most humans function. It is how I functioned most of my life. And yet this approach of “wanting something and making it happen” seems so alien to me now.

It is not that I have become lethargic, irresponsible or fatalistic. My natural mode of existence is no longer doing, but Being. In Being whatever happens, happens spontaneously, intuitively, in the moment. It is not premeditated, planned or strategized.

Action is no longer agenda driven, with an idea of achieving a particular goal in mind. Action is a response to the circumstances in the present moment. If an idea comes to do something, it may be followed to see if it fructifies. But the mind is not preoccupied with ‘ideating’ to achieve a set goal.

There is greater awareness of thoughts, feelings and sensations each moment. Actions stem from what intuitively feels right to do in that moment. The mind is no longer occupied in assessing the rightness and wrongness of an action. If some correction is needed that happens intuitively too.

I have realized I have become a minority in a world that is preoccupied with doing. Most people will not understand my approach. It is not even my approach. It is just the way it is. I did not choose this approach to live. Gradually over time, it happened. It would not be possible to go back to living a ‘life of doing’ even if I wanted to. The process seems irreversible.

I take solace from the fact, even though I am a minority, non-doership is spoken by sages I hold in high regard. Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj. So I am in good company. In fact non-doership is the cornerstone of the philosophy of Advaita, Non-Duality.

The philosophy says we imagine ourself to be a separate person. Out of this imagination stems lack, desire and control. We believe in order to fulfill ourself we need to do something. We imagine we are the ‘doer’ of actions. We take credit for achievement and blame for failure. We feel responsible.

The truth is no separate person exists. What we see is this body and mind made up of past conditioning. Actions happen. No person does them. We are the witness of what happens. We remain uninvolved, untouched and unshaken.

No, it doesn’t make us passive and indifferent. On the contrary, when we are not caught up with our desires and their fulfillment we are far more sensitive to what is happening. From being responsible we become responsive.

The basic difference between doing and being is that a ‘doer’ seeks fulfilment through action. While Being does not seek fulfillment. Because it does not seek, it finds fulfilment in itself. Actions are a natural expression of the inner and outer reality in the moment.

A ‘doer’ may find this difficult to understand, because he has never experienced it. If he comes across such an approach he may resist it vehemently, judge and criticize it. Cause the ‘doer’ does not wish to give up control. He feels vulnerable not having a goal, agenda and plan of action.

Life is inherently meaningless. We ascribe meaning and purpose to it. When I live moment to moment, rather than agenda to agenda l feel a sense of Oneness with life. It does not feel as though I am living a life. It feels ‘I am Life’. Whatever happens, happens to me. Whatever happens, happens through me. Whatever happens, happens in me.

Each moment something is happening. The Universe is unfolding. As the ‘doer’ I separate myself from the Universe and say “I am doing”. As Being, I am the Universe. One. Integral. Whole.

“Paradoxical though it may sound. There is walking being done, but there is no traveller. There are deeds being done, but there is no doer. Events happen, deeds are done, but there is no individual doer thereof.” said Buddha

“Would you want more students in your class?” I was asked.

“Yes, I would love to have a hall full of students.” I said.

What I didn’t add was “If no one comes, that is fine too. It may make me feel vulnerable, but it does not change who I am. If some person is meant to come and benefit, it will happen. If some person is not meant to, then that is how it is meant to be.”

This may sound fatalistic, but I see it as pragmatic. Attaching my attention to desires, outcomes and results, I create anxiety, uncertainty and disappointment. Keeping my attention in the present moment, I am free, spontaneous and responsive.

I may not end up being the most popular spiritual teacher with a large following. My goal is not to be that.

My goal is to Just Be.


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