These are two different things, but we tend to confuse them. We should consider their differences carefully (there are advantages to both ways) – but we seem to be determined not to think about them at all.
The basics are simple – being is organic, a part of life. Doing is mechanical, a matter of developing a routine, and then following it. This routine is usually unconscious and socially dependent – but it is mechanical – and very difficult to stop.
Being allows us to be emotional and socially interactive. Doing allows us to get things done. This fine balance was permanently disrupted when we got more emotional satisfaction from doing than from being.
The practice of meditation is very useful in helping us tell the difference. Once we get the mind quieted down (no small task) we can feel what is going on in our bodies and our minds (really the same thing).
Why don’t more people meditate? Because they don’t want their being to interfere with their doing – which is what they want to do to the exclusion of everything else. They want to be human doings.
Almost everyone will agree, in theory, that we should be more human – more compassionate and considerate. But in practice they behave entirely differently. And are completely unable to notice this.
This is our problem – not that we don’t have fine ideals – but that we have become so unaware, we cannot tell if we are following them or not.
This is, it seems to me – is a deliberate policy. We are the exact opposite of what we think we are. And this, we think, is very clever of us.
When, in fact, it is very stupid of us – because we have destroyed ourselves.