Updated: Feb 23
As humans, there are two states of mind that we can inhabit: the ‘doing’ mode and/or the ‘being’ mode. But which are you and which is better?
Doing: This is the goal orientated, ruminative way of thinking, that compares your actual situation to how you think it should be, an assumption gleaned either from past experiences or future predictions. We formulate targets to achieve a desired goal and consequently suffer if the target is not met. This is not an inherently bad state of mind to be in when trying to get things done, like working, doing the weekly shopping or going to the dentist, but being in this mode means that when things don’t go the way you planned them to go, shit hits the fan.
You can still be in the ‘doing’ mode even when you’re not trying to complete a task or run an errand, which sees your mind constantly attempting to cover up or run towards feelings and emotions that it thinks are better suited to how you should feel; the ‘doing’ mode thinks it has your best interests at heart but its only real goal is to put the problem aside and move onto the next.
How many times have you driven from point A to B, arrived at your destination and then realized you can’t actually really remember much of the journey at all? Or been to a drinks party, chatted to the chap from next door’s brother for half an hour and then realized you didn’t listen to a word he said. Or gone to the shop to pick something up and then completely forgotten what it was you went in for? This scenario happens to a lot of people and can be described as running on autopilot. It’s when you spend your whole life in ‘doing’ mode and everything happens automatically. You have goals to achieve but miss the beauty of life around you; birds singing, children playing, the sun shining or the wind rustling in the trees. The things that give life colour and music.
Autopilot can also be transferred across to your thoughts and emotions, leading you to automatically generate presumptions that you are a useless, ugly, lazy waste of space, causing your state of mind to dwindle into the depths of your lowest points, provoking anger, resentment and shame.
Luckily, the aforementioned states of mind can all be remedied, accordingly:
Being: This mode is almost the complete opposite of the ‘doing’ mode. Whereas goals and targets are the objective of ‘doing’, accepting and allowing are the basis of ‘being’. There is no emphasis on completing certain goals and there is no need to constantly monitor your progress to ascertain whether or not you are on the right path.
The aim of ‘being’ is to connect with the present moment, the here and now. To be fully aware of everything around you; be they sounds, sights, tastes, colours or feelings. Unlike being stuck on autopilot, you are fully aware of all your thoughts and emotions and never get caught up in ruminative reflections of what happened last night, or what might happen tomorrow.
Unlike ‘doing’, you accept things the way they are. There is no goal or target to be met and you don’t need to evaluate your feelings to coincide with or match any preconceived ideals. Likewise, if things aren’t going to plan, instead of fighting it, accept it wholeheartedly and willingly allow the unintended circumstance to play out, vigilantly observing your thoughts and feelings throughout the process.
'Being’ grants you a whole new dimension of vigour and opportunity. No longer are you stuck in a void that plays out the same instinctive reactions every time something doesn’t go your way. Every outcome is a brand new situation for you to develop from and, by allowing and accepting the circumstances that come your way, you will learn to respond to the affluent intricacy that each new moment brings in the most welcoming way possible.
In addition to the impressive benefits mindfulness has on mental health, it’s transformative effects can help to ‘dissolve negative mental patterns, increase happiness and encourage profound wellbeing’.
My meditative approach is a combination of several meditative techniques but primarily mindfulness, with some special techniques (some learned, some devized) mixed in. The idea was that I could create something for myself, that allowed me to make use of the parts of established techniques that suited me and my lifestyle but didn’t require me to use those that didn’t. I will be sharing these methods with you throughout my blogs but for the next instalment I want to tell you a couple of specific ways in which these approaches have helped me overcome some of my own very negative issues. So stay tuned!
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