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Finding Balance Between Doing And Being

Written by: Flora Bami, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


“We are human beings, not human doings”, Deepak Chopra.

Our busy lives keep us active, busy, and in a doing mode all the time. Our performative society has high expectations of us to over-perform, run after our endless to-do lists, and always be in action mode. Modern technology encourages us to do rather than to be. Even when queuing up at the supermarket, we answer emails. And while waiting for the bus, we check Facebook or mindlessly scroll through Instagram. But is this sustainable?

When did you last pause?

And what did you notice when you paused?

What if we learn to consciously stop, pause, breathe, and simply take a few moments to savor a relaxed state of being without distractions and noise. Simply be. It may sound difficult to grasp, but this simple practice is an easy mind shift and a powerful way to recharge our energy, body, heart, mind, and spirit.

A pattern I see in my coaching practice is that we keep ourselves busy in the doing mode trying to find meaning in our life, ignoring though our need to simply be, resulting in exhaustion and burnout.

In this article, I am exploring the Doing and Being modes and how to find the balance between both for a better and healthier life.

Doing mode

Doing mode is a mode of mind that completes tasks towards a predetermined goal.

Most of us spend a large number of our daily lives working towards “doing stuff” and “getting things done.” We may even become extraordinarily efficient and skilled in our ability to multitask and accomplish many tasks necessary for reaching our larger goals. There are certainly times when functioning in Doing mode is beneficial, perhaps even necessary. But it can become problematic when the Doing mode attempts things that it cannot achieve, such as desired feelings, identities, and self-worth, or when it comes from a space of fear, perfectionism, social comparison, and seeking external validation. Unsatisfied, the mind in Doing mode, generates tasks to compensate for what hasn't been achieved or solved yet.

Many of us are in a perpetual state of Doing… it’s exhausting. There’s much to do, many roles to juggle, and an unspoken pressure that lingers. This is a culture of doing that we have already learned in our childhood as the success formula. It’s a culture of comparing, competing to attain goals set by others, and hurrying to finish tasks.

If we look closely, we will see the Doing mode in action in very many areas of our lives; it's our default mode. Whenever there is a sense of “have to,” “must,” “should,” “ought,” or “need to,” we can suspect the presence of the Doing mode. We think that we are not good enough now, so we need to work for something that we believe will make us feel fulfilled in the future.

Constantly in activity, we can lose touch with our inner compass, the body awareness which can help skillfully guide our decisions. In Doing mode, there is awareness of how things “are” and how they “should” be, we make goal-oriented efforts to “fix” things, we try hard towards reaching goals, most of our actions tend to happen automatically and we have lack of conscious awareness in the present moment.

Does this “way of being” resonate with you? Would you identify yourself as a Doer?

Doing mode involves thinking about the present, the future, and the past, relating to each through a veil of concepts. Being mode, on the other hand, is characterized by a direct, immediate, intimate experience of the present.

Being mode

Being mode is a mode of mind that allows oneself to experience the present moment.

This is based on simply Being in the moment of non-doing. In Being mode, the mind has “nothing to do, nowhere to go” and can focus fully on moment-by-moment experience, allowing us to be fully present and aware of whatever is here, right now. We give up the chase to get somewhere else and drop into the experience of now.

The Being mode is similar to a shift in perspective that helps you to step outside of your mind’s natural tendency to overthink, over-analyze, and over-judge. In the Being mode, you find that you can change your internal landscape, no matter what’s happening around you. You are thus no longer dependent on external circumstances for your happiness, and you’re back in control of your life.

The Being mode thus involves a shift in our relation to thoughts and feelings. It is devoted to focusing on “accepting” and “allowing” what is, without any immediate pressure to change it, and no goal or standard to be reached. Doesn't that feel peaceful, harmonious, and free?

In Being mode, the mind has “nothing to do, nowhere to go” and can focus fully on moment-by-moment experience, allowing us to be fully present and aware of whatever is here, right now.

In Being mode, there is a connection with the present moment, acknowledgment of how things are in the moment, willingness to allow things to be just as they are… no efforts to change experience, openness, and acceptance of pleasant, neutral, and negative emotional states and calmness, stillness, and a sense of being centered.

You may wonder how we can even access the being mode. It’s simply doing less, stopping, relaxing, and taking a day off (or a week or a few months), spending more time with no plan and no to-do lists, spending time in nature with no distractions, and just practicing following your energy as you feel it. I often invite my clients to add to their busy daily schedule some “simply being” time which could be meditation, a body scan, breathing exercise, connecting with nature, relaxation, looking at the sky, savoring a cup of tea; whatever works better for them. Give yourself time to chill, relax, rest, read a book, play guitar, and enjoy the weather. We need to re-energize. It’s essential to learn to stop and recharge ourselves, including our body, mind, heart, and spirit, in order to be able to go back to a Doing mode and over-perform again. It is okay to take time to chill and relax. It’s been proven that our brain functions better when it’s happy, rested, and joyful. When your mind is in a place of joy and love, you will create beautiful things for the benefit of others, since you have enough energy for everyone, not just for your survival. When we feel relaxed and calm, we can get into a state of flow.

Balance is key

In life more is not always better, life is a constant balance. Our body needs balance. If your body temperature would rise by only one degree, it would be out of balance, and you would feel sick. So, balance will be your solution, not overdoing it. In order to experience wholeness and balance, we need to develop and integrate both sides of every polarity. Recognize that Being and Doing modes are both useful in different ways and at different times. The danger lies in over-identification with either mode or applying the wrong mode of mind for a particular situation.

The invitation is to find the balance between Doing and Being that works better for us, so as we perform at our best but also allow ourselves to replenish, pause, rest, surrender, and go through life with ease, peace, and wisdom. It’s vital at times to slow down, regroup, to reconnect with our energy and our smile. This is called taking responsibility for our state of mind and state of body, not to mention our spiritual attunement. Then we can go forward not in a depleted state but equipped with new energy, freshness, creativity, and a new reservoir of resilience.

"Honor yourself enough to slow down when your body and soul need rest. It's a necessity, not a luxury", –Mary Davis.

Begin to recognize what moments and events in life benefit from interacting with life from your Doing mode versus your Being mode. Cultivate a mindful awareness of the moments in life when it is in your best interest to take action versus when it is in your best interest to simply let things be as they are.

In the Doing mode, thoughts are seen as reality and are closely linked to action. By contrast, in Being mode, thoughts and feelings are seen as simply events in the mind that arise, become objects of awareness, and then pass away. It also triggers a sense of freedom and curiosity.

Stopping, being still, and practicing mindfulness can bring about a whole new dimension of Being. Mindfulness helps one to learn to be whatever is going on, and see the world as it is, not as one expects it to be, or what one fears it might become. To allow whatever thoughts and feelings are present, using the breath as an anchor to return, whenever the mind wanders off, with gentleness and patience, noticing what is happening without making judgments, seeing the experience as neither good nor bad.

A simple daily practice to embed our Being mode into our busy life is to maintain a “to Be list” in addition to our “to Do” list. Who and how would you like to be during your day?

As per Shakti Gawain (Living in the light), one of the most important sets of polarities that we need to develop, and balance is the polarity between Being and Doing energies. Most of us are more identified as Doers or Be-ers. If you are primarily a Doer (action-oriented, get things done), your intuition will almost lead you in the direction of doing less or even doing nothing, while if you are mostly a Be-er (oriented towards inner attunement, they take it easy), you will be pushed by your inner self into more action, expression and more risk-taking in the world.

“We have a tendency to think in terms of doing and not in terms of being".

We think that when we are not doing anything, we are wasting our time. But that’s not true. Our time is first of all for us to be. To be what? To be alive, to be peaceful, to be joyful, to be loving. And this is what the world needs the most. We all need to train ourselves in our way of being and that is the ground for all action.

Our quality of being determines our quality of doing”, Thich Nhat Hanh, The art of living.

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Flora Bami, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Flora Bami is an optimist, an experienced and passionate integral coach, with expertise in life, mindset, relationships, and wellbeing coaching. Her main focus is on making your relationship with yourself healthier and reframing your inner voice based on self-love, acceptance, and compassion.

Her mission in life is to support people in their life journey to reach their potential and feel better and happier through individual coaching and setting up wellbeing programs in big organizations.

Better people, better world!

Happier people, happier world!

After going through a deep transformation herself and turning trauma into a gift, she dedicated her life to supporting people reconnecting with their true selves.



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