The drawing above got my attention because of its seemingly harmonious design. I remember thinking, “Finally, a balance of being and doing in our lives, nice.” And, then I looked again.
Two equal and separate circles, one representing “being” and the other representing “doing”. A clever, artistic metaphor I tell myself while my eyes hone in on the fellow with arms, legs, and a head squeezed into the narrow overlap of the circles. At least the body isn’t one of those pudgy, cookie-cutter avatars representing the the work force. I’m relieved, yet keenly aware the overlap is less than 1/3 of the total allocated “living” space. “Hey, wait a minute,” my instinct bristles, “that human being looks trapped!”
And, we are. Trapped, in so many ways. and yet we’ve come to accept these trappings as par for the course, normal, exactly the way things should be, rather than conditioning, conjecture and misrepresentation because, in fact, we are creatures wired for for health, peak performance, and sustainability.
Take, for example, the trap of identifying ourselves by professional title. “I’m an architect.”Change agent.” “Economist.” Think of how we are acculturated to transfer our power from “self “to “servant” as we dress for work. Notice how we put our bodies inside clothes that redefine our range of motion and mobility. Be aware of that final twitch we give our body as we shift into character, enter “business-mode”. All things personal (and priceless) become unimportant as we subjugate body and soul to membership in the work force.
There, the rules of engagement are not the same those we exercise with ourselves or our loved ones. Truthfulness, for example, is honesty in the home whereas in business, it rubs elbows with political correctness. Hence, we legitimize professional behaviors that, under any other circumstance, would be considered criminal, negligent, abusive, and violations of our human rights.
Looking back at the drawing and I see the split. The social schizophrenia. The struggle between fiction and reality, professional and humane, who we are and what we have turned into, and how this split enables us to delegate professional duties to a domain where conscience is allowed to stray. “It’s nothing personal, just business.”
And so, when our children challenge our inconsistencies, we answer with the retort rather than amend. “Just do what I say, forget what I do!”
It feels too risky to amend. Instinctively, we know the penalty is remembering all that we’ve suppressed about the ways our early innocence and trust were used to coerce us into becoming disciples of a cultural script known for taking on a life of its own and spreading through us like a viral malware as it turned us into social personnel. Default men and women dressed for the job. To live in our suit. Our avatar. The specialist.
What adult would dare an introduction like, “My name is____ and I am a healthy and exceptional human being”? We might want to but we control the urge. Instead, we invest in making our professional performances convincing. Not only because “the show must go on” but because it gives us “proof of life”, no matter how infinitesimally small. As long as we’ve got a pulse, a temperature, something vital we can toe the line; otherwise we slip into the darkness of isolation and alienation because we lose touch with who we are.
Which is all too often the case. “How did I end up here, like this, doing this?” or “What’s happened to me, where am I?” or “I don’t understand this world. Something’s not right.” or “This isn’t me. I don’t belong here.” or “Life wasn’t supposed to be this way.”
TRAPPED between what we’ve been taught and what we know, between fictitious personas and the private agony of displaced self-evidence. Trapped between the verbal hype and nonverbal authenticity. Trapped between the double entendres. Trapped between sense and reason, between social performances and human expression. Trapped between the captivating marketplace of civilization and the magical matrix of our genuine sentience.
Being is an activity of sentience. Being is the existential exercising of our self-evidence; this exercise keeps the ecology and sustainability of our entire organism seamless. Being is the living space, the mindfulness, the compass.
That is why whenever our “doing” interrupts the existential exercise we experience fatigue, disorientation and irritation. Signs of displacement. Lost alignments.
The guiding mantra in our quest to achieve absolute independence from Nature has long been to break things down to a manageable size we could work with. Divide. Conquer. Master. And somewhere in the march toward victory, it became clear that absolute independence could not, would not come unless we handled human nature. Unless we figured out how to take the nature out of human how would we ever be absolutely independent?
Separate mind from body. Elevate mind. Conquer body. Market social reason and logic at the expense of sense and sensibility, the network of human logic, and keep experimenting until you get it right. Back then, and even when I was growing up, we were in the clutches of Do-er dominance. So, now you can see why, instinctively, I was relieved to see the balance between being and doing reflected in the drawing, clear proof that a reckoning has begun.
Thanks to the human potential movement, and now quantum science, we have sufficient proof that
Even the existential crisis supports us in our call for reintegration and return to sustainability. Ours.
Nothing is wrong or bad or shameful in our human nature. Nothing is harmful or humiliating about being human. The human species is not and has never been corrupt. We are not formatted for self-annihilation.
I cannot say the same for the engines of social experiment. We need to extricate ourselves from the habit of believing we are expendable.
Instead of trying to change the nature of your being, I ask one thing of you.
Change your dress code.
Instead of dressing your breathable, responsive body to suit your profession please adorn your self in ways that will keep you breathable, mobile, comfortable, and radiant all day long.
This one thing will reduce your stress levels, revive your self-esteem, heighten your sense of belonging, draw smiles of admiration and appreciation, and open your heart to refreshing your dreams to reflect you.
Please let me know…