What if, after all this time you found out that there are two ways of experiencing life, and that although they’re both equally important, one tends to dominate? One is more obvious and tends to be in the foreground, the other is less apparent and in the background. These are the “doing” and “being” modes of experience. Although these two modes, like movement and stillness, seem different and possibly incompatible, it is possible to experience doing from a state of being. Many artists, musicians, writers, and athletes achieve greatness by doing what they do from a state of being.
In our busy lifestyles, we’re very much aware of doing stuff. From projects, tasks, and activities at work and in our personal lives, to cleaning the house, or walking around the supermarket; it seems that our lives are almost constantly full of activity. We’re also busy with thoughts in our heads, which is also a form of doing, anticipating, planning, worrying, ruminating, commenting, rehearsing, comparing, or problem-solving. If we bundle all the busyness in our external world together with what we do in our heads, it’s no wonder we have little time to relax, pause, and reflect. In contrast, research on hunter-gatherers, both our ancient ancestors and the hunter-gatherers alive today, found that their lifestyle is about spending around three days a week on tasks, like sourcing food and cleaning. The rest of the time is spent relaxing and socialising.