How are you being?

by | Jan 12, 2015 | Blog | 0 comments

bees on white flowers“Good.” “Great!” “Busy!!!”

Common answers to the question “How are you doing?”

What if someone asked you “How are you being?”

Would you still answer the same way?

Bees are busy. So are the characters in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales from the 1400’s, which is where this descriptor for humans originated.

But in 2015 in the first world, individuals should start to consider being busy an affliction, not a badge of honor.

As Dina Kaplan writes in The Cult of Busy, “Being busy has become a refrain for the things we don’t do, an acceptable and even glamorous excuse.”

In this stimulating article, she quotes the Buddhist monk Sogyal Rinpoche who calls being busy an “active laziness.” We’re “filling our lives with unessential tasks so we feel full of responsibilities or, as he (the monk) calls them ‘irresponsibilities.’”

In other words, being busy is not just a time management problem, it’s a “me management” challenge.

Are you really short on time, or are you giving too much time and attention to non-essential tasks rather than thoughts and actions that move your goals and priorities forward and power your passion.

To face this challenge head on, consider asking yourself at least once a day, “How am I being?”

The Silicon Valley meditation teacher Kim Nicol and co-founder of The Awareness Academy X posed this question to us at the Academy’s first session last November.

Kim emphasized that the practice of being a human is hard. And it is a practice. We need to work on it daily to get better. This includes how we care for ourselves as well as treat others.

When we intentionally ask ourselves the question “How am I being?,” it seems like we want to answer to be anything but busy or cruel—unless you’re the woman who rejected Elvis Presley and caused him to sing Don’t Be Cruel.

Kim suggested we create a “To Be List” to go with our “To Do List” to help ourselves become more aware, focused and all around healthier so we can perform at our peak.

Since the other founder of The Awareness Academy, David Ngo, is a behavior designer, we had support and structure to turn this idea into action. (For more about this experience, check out Alter your words to jumpstart your actions.)

For example, my “To Be List” includes:

  • Be present.
  • Be calm.
  • Be curious.
  • Be kind.
  • Be observant.
  • Be tolerant.
  • Be relaxed.

When you start being more mindful about how you want to be and act, you start adopting this state of mind and set of behaviors. It’s what the psychologists call “priming.”

Living and working with intention also helps us break the cycle of craving to be busy for the sake of being busy.

When we change our mindset and realize that being busy is bad, we’re able to stop filling our time with random activities.

Instead, we invest our time with thoughts and actions that matter.

Are you ready to be anything but busy and cruel?


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