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We are human beings, not human doings

Last week I had the chance to meet with friends and attend a concert with them. It was by an artist that I had never heard of, and whose music was unknown to me. It was Robert Reed, and his music genre is called ‘Prog Rock’. A friend had recommended the concert to me, and I decided to keep an open mind and just go and see what it might be.

My experience on the night was amazing. For two hours, I forgot about my life and just existed in the venue, sitting on my seat, and I was immersed in a ‘choir of instruments’. I was absorbed by the music, observing the musicians and feeling their love for music and feeling how they made their individual instruments ‘sing’ to become part of the whole ‘choir’. There was no real singing involved in the music, just some chanting, so there were no words or meanings of lyrics that could have hijacked my thinking mind, so I really had an experience of what it is, to just ‘be’ and absorb, to be a part of what’s happening in the room, when instruments come to life and sound, rhythm and beat connect with me, my being, my body and my soul.

I had not allowed myself such an experience for a long time, as even though I go to concerts a lot, it’s usually music that I know, lyrics that I sing along to or melodies that I hum in my head. This was a different experience, because I couldn’t do any of these things, I could just be and immerse my being in the energy of that event.

I left the concert feeling elated, the melodies and rhythms still pulsating through my body, and I felt enriched by this experience.

Then, In the past two days I have had conversations with clients, which reminded me of this experience and made me understand a bit more about what actually happened there. The clue my clients gave me was that they both were driven by their ‘need to do something’, they couldn’t just ‘sit there and do nothing’, yet their bodies were forcing them to do exactly that. Their bodies were exhausted and lacked energy to ‘keep going’, and so they couldn’t ‘do’ what they were used to.

Both conversations reminded me that as human beings, we are born and meant to ‘be’, and not just always to ‘do’. Otherwise, we would have called our species ‘human doings’. We accept it for all other species, that they don’t have to do anything, in order to fulfil their purpose. We accept that they are on this planet, so they have a purpose, even if it’s just to be food for another species. For us humans, we have a different viewpoint. In order to ‘fulfil our purpose’, we have to ‘do’ something, we have to feel useful, even if it’s just to iron the laundry or fill the dishwasher, in order to feel that we are useful and in order to feel good about ourselves. We don’t even allow ourselves to rest if we are ill, when our body clearly indicates to us that it needs to rest. We validate ourselves through our doing, and very often people identify their purpose through their doing. We also know what happens so often, when the ‘doing’ ends, and pensioners feel that they have lost their purpose in life. So surely, it is healthier to find our purpose in ‘being’ rather than in our ‘doing’.

It is my impression that as a society, we have lost the understanding of what it means to be a human being. That, even just by being born and by being alive on this planet, we are enough, and we add a unique expression of ‘human being’ to the planet that nobody else can add in exactly the same way that each individual can. Every human being is unique, with unique skills, talents, abilities or disabilities, and we should remember that each and every one of us is worthy and allowed to just ‘be’, because just by being, we all add to the diversity of our kind.

Yes, it is also true that we can ‘do’ things, and by doing we contribute and create, and it is part of our life to ‘do’. I just think that we shouldn’t let the ‘doing’ overtake our life and remember that the ‘being’ is just as important. We can’t ‘do’ happy; we can only ‘be’ happy. All the ‘doing’ in the world won’t let us ‘be’ joyful, happy and fulfilled. And very often, the activity, the ‘doing’ may actually distract us from how we ‘be’, how we feel and what kind of energy we carry within us and bring into the world. I was reminded of this when I sat in the concert venue and lost myself in the music that I heard, when I became part of the energy that came through the musicians and the instruments, and I just needed to ‘be’ and let it happen.

I think it would be a healthy change in my life, to allow myself these moments more often, when I give myself permission not to do anything and instead to just be, so I can see, hear and feel what’s going on around me, and perceive what the world has to offer. There is a world around me, but also a world within me, and taking time to listen within, to feel how ‘I am being’ is a way to honour my whole being, my body, my soul, my spirit and my energy. It is a way to show respect, attention, love and gratitude to the wonder that is me, a ‘human being’.

Or, in the words of Lennon/McCartney: ‘Let It Be’

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