The Union Path Podcast - A practical spiritual podcast about truth, awareness, and walking the path of unity.
The Union Path Podcast
"The Gift of Being"
It's an interesting idea. It's an interesting thing to take a minute and think about and ponder to really dwell within, to really be a part of being, to think about being. That's an interesting ability. That's an interesting capability. It seems anyway, only us humans can really do. is ponder our own being, ponder our own existence, ponder our own life.
But it's really more than that, right? It's really far more pervasive and active than that. The human's ability, the human's habit of constantly thinking about our own existence and our own being really does dominate most of our lives, or at the very least dominates our lives most of the time. If we really stop and think, if we really stop and become aware of what we think about, of the emotions and the feelings that we have active within us.
I think many of us will find that those emotions and those feelings are being triggered by our own thinking, by our own existence. And it's not so much what's happening to us, what has happened to us, what might happen to us. It's more about what we think about these things. It's more about what we conceptualize, what we imagine, what we visualize, what we assume.
As human beings, so much of our life is taken up by, is colored by, is inhabited by thinking. As humans, it's simply what we do. It's our superpower as a species. But like any power, like any gift, like any talent, like any ability, overextended, overused, it can become its opposite. That gift can become a burden, that liberating force can then trap us.
At least in my experience, I've spent most of my life overthinking, which has caused me to spend most of my life consequently overdoing. Not only doing too much, but endeavoring to do things to keep other things from happening. Not only doing too much in the service of trying to make something happen, but really At least an equal part of doing too much trying to keep things from happening and then all along the way in the Background is this thinking thinking thinking Constantly, I think that's one of the common experiences that when anyone starts any kind of mindfulness or meditation practice That they bear witness to just how noisy Just how much thinking there is going, just how active their brain is all the time.
I know it was my experience when I really got into my first meditation practice and had done a little while. I was astounded by not only how noisy my mind was, but the fact that it just had opinions and thoughts about everything. Here was this internal peanut gallery, this internal army of critics.
Constantly looking at, judging, categorizing, and commenting on practically everything that was happening around me. And not only that, had ideas and comments about things that had happened, but things that could happen. Does this... Incessant, jawing, this unending commentary track on existence, on life, that at the very least was extremely distracting, but more than that, as I really came to just try to observe it, try to be aware of it, I realized this commentary was really coloring my experience.
This internal talking, this internal judgment, these internal prejudices and biases and expectations We're really coloring my whole experience. We're really setting up expectations that either obscured what was actually happening or just set me up for some sort of disappointment or disillusionment that I'd lost my handle.
I'd lost my grip. I'd lost my tethering to what is, and instead I'd get lost in this nonstop commentary of what should be. What could be, what would be, if only, and these days anyway, when I find myself in this sort of state, I have to remind myself that one of the best things I can possibly do is just simplify, is just redound to being.
Stop judging after and commenting on existence and just exist. Get underneath all of that thinking, all of those judgments, all of that umbrage, all of those quarrels. All of that conflict in just be, because in a funny way, this really is a gift and the best part about this gift of just getting to a place of just being is that it's always available.
It's not incumbent on anything else. As long as we exist, as long as we're alive, we can always focus on just being. We can always focus on just our existence. And when we do this, not only is there just a sense of peace and relief, but there's a little tiny spark of joy in there too. That's a little bit of enjoyment in there.
There's a little bit of appreciation in there and there's a little bit of gratitude in there. There's this set of feelings that feel so much better than our own criticisms, than our own judgments, than our own comparisons, than our own Vindictiveness, then our own punishments, then our own guilt, then our own shame.
If we can get under all of this thinking, all of these judgments, all of these comparisons and just focus on being, it really is a gift. And it really is a gift that's always available. It really is a beautiful thing we can always do. It's just focus on existence, focus on being. One very simple way to do this is just To focus on the idea of I am.
Not anything after that. Not fill in the blank. Not I am this, I am that. Just I am. Just I exist. Just existence is happening right now. Creation is happening right now. Creation is flowing through me right now. Because I think one of the things we realize when we realize that We exist is that inherently we realize we are part of existence.
We are part of creation. In fact, we are creation We are the hands and feet of the universe Creation doesn't happen without action in order for creation to happen. Something has to happen Some action has to take place and we are the actors. We are the ones who creation is flowing through And that, in and of itself, is also an incredible gift.
To realize that we are part of this amazing patchwork, this amazing existence, that we have a kinship in creation. We are peers in existence. That everything that is happening to us Is flowing through us and that we have a say we are the actors. We are the doers We are the ones who make we are the ones who create this is an incredible power to become aware of This is incredibly powerful to be reminded of That we are the ones who do and of course so is everyone and everything else But that doesn't make any other any greater of a doer than we are.
We all have equal share in the doing of course objectively We could look at others as doing more or less, but we are all equal parts of creation. We are all equal expressors of creative energy. And a big part of our agency and a big part of our freedom is that we choose which portion of creation we create.
We choose what part of existence. We're a part of. We choose how we experience it. We choose what we do and what we don't do. We choose how we feel about what happens to us. We choose what meaning we make out of our own existence. We choose what we're trying to create. We choose what we're trying to do and be.
And to just stop and ponder this. Stop and just become aware of this. It really is incredible. It really is astounding to realize and fully experience the gift of existence. The gift of merely being. Because especially in times of struggle, especially in times of conflict, we can always return to this place.
We can always return to focusing on just being. And if our minds are a little too active, we need a little bit of help, maybe we can go for a walk. And not only repeat, I am, over and over, but really try to feel it. Really try to feel this existence. Feel the air going in and out of us as we breathe. Feel the ground hitting our feet.
Feel our legs moving. Feel the wind blowing past our face. There's a reason why present moment awareness is so helpful, is so nourishing, is so grounding, is so centering. Because as human beings it's really easy to forget. That this is at the base of everything, that we can construct and build our lives around things that are entirely different, around achievement, around attainment, around accumulation, around how we're perceived, around how we perceive others.
We can lose the thread. We can... Sort of forget or overlook ourselves at our most fundamental, at existence at its most fundamental, of just existing, just being. We can do other simple little exercise to ground us in this as well. We can wash our hands, but do it mindfully. Really feel what it feels like.
Step into every bit of the sensory experience and really experience it. We can always connect to existence. We can always connect to just being. And when we do, almost invariably, it makes us feel better, because with these big brains in our head, it's really easy to think that all of life is thinking.
That all of life is merely sensory experience of circumstance. Clearly there's even more going on. There's something even greater. There's something more fundamental. And that is this idea of being. That idea that we are a being. We are a human being having an experience in existence. We are a human being contributing to and taking part in all of existence.
We are both creating and consuming all of creation because a lot of times when we're upset, a lot of times when we're confused, a lot of times when we're frustrated, a lot of times when we're disappointed, a lot of times when we feel like we're just not living the life that we want or just having kind of a crummy day or crummy week or year or decade.
I think we can trace a lot of that dissatisfaction. And we can. Trace that negative experience, in a large part, back to our own thinking. Back to our own thinking about what has happened to us. Our thinking about what hasn't happened to us. About what we've gotten and what we haven't, about what they've gotten that we didn't get.
And the beauty, and the joy, and the peace, and the solace of just focusing on being, just knowing that I am, and knowing that that is enough, allows us to get under all of that thinking. Get under those feelings and just exist. Just exist as a being, just be. Because the other thing we can do with all of our thinking is get really wrapped up in trying to make things happen.
Constantly use all of our effort, all of our thinking, all of our action to control life, to force this or that to happen. But that's not usually a very enjoyable experience. It may be exciting. It may be energizing. But a lot of that energy, a lot of that excitement can kind of tip over into anger, into disappointment, sometimes into rage, because when we play with energies and we exist in energies that are a little too hot, a little too long, well, then those can come back to burn us.
Same thing. If we engage with energies that are just a little bit too cold for us. I can have a bit of a freezing effect to our life. We want to be able to strike a balance. We want to be able to live in the hot and the cold. And that balance point is being. Because what is made hot and what is made cold is existence, is our being itself.
And when we focus on just the state of being, we're allowed to dwell in an unconditioned state. We're allowed to dwell in a state that is all possibility. Because it hasn't been formed yet. We haven't filled in the blank. After that, I am, but we can also use this to escape some of the blanks that we've filled in that maybe we don't feel so great about.
Because if we can just focus on I am, we can lift and remove our focus from the ways that we torture ourselves about how I am not. I'm not this, I'm not that. We can also escape the boundaries and the lines that we've drawn around ourselves and our lives. By all the things we assume ourselves to be, because every assumption has a course of action, every assumption has some shoulds built into it.
Oh, I can't possibly do that because I am this. Oh, I have to do that because I am this other thing. That is helpful in clarifying as roles and assumptions are, they can be limiting if they don't truly fit us. if they don't truly align with and fit what we actually want. But one of my favorite times to use this I Am practice to just focus on being.
is in times of confusion, that yes, it can be a wonderful thing to do when I'm upset. It can be a wonderful thing to do when I have negative feelings floating around or I'm just having a lousy day. But one of the most effective times to use this I am practice is when I don't know what to do when I'm confused.
When I have some vague idea of what I want and have no idea how to actually get it. That just mindlessly striving at everything I can possibly think of to make this happen. Doesn't really feel like a worthwhile or worthy use of time, but I also just don't want to sit here and wait either. But these times of infusion are really useful to just focus on being, not try to jump into solution too quickly, not trying to relieve the Discomfort of the not knowing, of the unknown.
You just dwell in being. Dwell in all possibilities and no possibilities simultaneously. Just focus on existence. Focus on being here right now in this moment. Not trying to make anything happen. It's at the very least, for me anyway, this coaches me into just letting it go. That I can so easily have the tendency to just think and think and think and think and think and try and try and try and try and just constantly be trying to force a solution, but obviously force isn't always the answer.
Especially when there's no plan of action, when there's nothing obvious to do. Trying to apply force can be incredibly counterproductive and be incredibly circuitous. Just leading me in loops back to where I was over and over and over and over again. Because I'm applying force, I'm applying energy without direction.
I'm mistaking effort with vision. When in my experience... It's a whole lot more effective to apply effort, to apply energy, once I have the vision of what I'm trying to actually do. Once I have that inspiration hit, once I've kind of grabbed on to that idea, once I've experienced that desire, that want for something specific, then often that's a good time to start pouring some energy in, to start trying to move, trying to go.
Because at least now I have a target. At least now I have a container to pour my energy into, versus when I'm trying to jump too fast, when I'm trying to move too fast, when I'm letting my own discomfort with confusion and not knowing the answer to the question I'm pondering to make me move too quickly, to make me jump, to make me try to leap, to make something try to happen that's just not ready yet.
Or perhaps I'm not ready yet, and by going too fast and by going too early just actually keeps me stuck where I am. This causes me to just return to the same starting point over and over and over again. Because I haven't developed the patience, I haven't developed the confidence. To wait. To know that when it's time to act, that will be obvious.
When it's time to do something, I'll know it. And in the meantime, all of that frantic energy that I could apply would just be misapplied. In fact, might actually distract me for the very inspiration, for the very clarity, for the very guidance that I'm actually waiting for. That by jumping too soon, I can jump into something that's not quite right, that's not quite ready.
In miss or at least delay what is I can jump into options before they're fully formed and then only have a partial experience only experience a partial good through those circumstances. If I just waited a minute, if I had just had the confidence and the courage to save my action for when it was truly called for, for when I actually knew what to do rather than trying to just frantically guess what I should be doing, things would have gone a lot better.
Things would have gone a lot more smoothly. In fact, I would have probably gotten what I actually wanted. But because I jumped too early, because I moved too fast, because I got too impatient, because I got too scared, that I ended up inhabiting a life, that I ended up having an experience that I didn't actually want.
Because it was imbued with those same feelings, it had that same vein of insecurity running through it. And then I just feel like I've been so much better served in those times of not knowing what to do, in those times of confusion, that instead of frantically jumping into action, just waiting, allowing the solution to present itself.
In fact, a lot of times allowing the solution to come to me, that if action isn't obvious, It's usually not time to act, that life gets so much more confusing, so much harder when we jump, when we go too early, when we try too hard, when we do too much. And this all brings us back to our thinking, to our overthinking, that's one of the beautiful gifts of just focusing on our own being.
It's that we realize that no matter how bad we think things are, most of the time, if not nearly all of the time, in this moment, right here, right now, we're actually fine. We're actually okay. All of the things we're worried about aren't actually happening. All of the things we're afraid of aren't actually occurring.
That right now, in this very moment, it's okay. We're okay. And we can dwell here for a minute. We can feel the relief of okay. We can let go. We can just stop for a minute. We can stop trying so hard. We can stop doing so much. We can stop thinking so much. We can stop trying to make things happen and just be.
Just focus on being. Just bring our focus to our own being. Just spend time with and in I am and let all other conditioned states go and just be. Just exist and know that that's enough. Put down our hunger. Put down our wishes. Put down our... Dissatisfaction, put down our frustration, put down our unmet needs, put down our quarrels, put down our umbrage, put down our judgments, put down our own sense of righteousness, our own sense of superiority, our own sense of importance, and just be.
Be a peer with existence. Be an equal with all of creation. Topple all of the pedestals down and just exist on the ground with everyone and everything else. Experience a state of supreme equality by just being. Let go trying to solve problems. Let the solutions come. Let go trying to make ourselves into this or that and allow ourselves to become this or that.
Stop trying to force things to happen and allow things to happen. Move with what is. Move with what is. By being a part of what is, by being a conscious part of what is, by being unaware part of what is, by truly being and truly inhabiting, I am.