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Being

By J. B. Cowling...


A state in which you are completely engaged with the moment.



‘Being’. We’ve all heard this phrase thrown around, as with most buzz words these days, it’s as though they should elicit some enlightened response. The truth is, that often because of this expected understanding, we don’t fully allow ourselves to comprehend these concepts. So, to understand this, we will strip the abstract ideas back to some tangible information.


As John Lennon said, “life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”. To live, you need to be conscious of what is happening in front of you, the moment and your place within it.

The idea of ‘being’ is entrenched in the current moment, the ‘now’ as opposed to what has happened in the past or thoughts of what is yet to come. Focusing on the ‘now’ is generally referred to as being ‘present’, simply noticing the things occurring in the moment.

Essentially, ‘being’ is a state in which you are completely engaged with the moment, or in practical terms, a state in which you are grounded and aware.


- Grounding: The process of bringing your attention back to the present moment. This is the act of stepping out of the past and future and into the now. Much of this is a process of noticing, of observing what is here now, through sensory input such as what we see, hear, and smell.


- Awareness: The process of becoming receptive to your experience of what is happening at any given moment. This is simply the act of noticing how you are interacting with and interpreting the current situation. It is the role you play, your place within the moment and can be identified by what you are thinking, feeling and doing.


The combination of these two elements allows us to be completely engaged with the moment, receptive to what is happening, conscious, grounded, aware. In understanding all of this, ‘being’ can sound like a ‘do this get that’ scenario, but it’s not. At first the process may seem quite mechanical, but that is just a part of it becoming a more habitual and natural state.


This state is about letting go of expectations, obsessive attachments and necessities, in order to embrace what is here now. In each moment, you are exactly where you are supposed to be and when you become at peace with this, you loosen the grip of the past, the fear of the future and embrace life itself. Although this sounds perfect, it is often hard to apply in our own lives and that is why it is important to understand this concept at a practical level.


People often look back in life and wonder where all the time went. This is a common occurrence and happens when we have avoided living in the moment. Luckily, there are hints that give us insight into whether we are resisting the ‘now’, such as:


- The ‘when/then’ scenario (e.g. when I get that new car then I will be able to be happy)

- Consistent busyness

- Excessive need for control

- Escapism

- Dissatisfaction

- Envy

- Perfectionism

- Expectations

- Being only outcome driven

- Regret


As with most things, a change starts with genuine awareness. The above triggers are great reminders to inform us when we are resisting the ‘now’, they are insights that we are struggling to accept things as they are. They reflect a resistance, a discomfort with what ‘is’ and when we act from this place, we tend to disconnect and dissociate, causing issues to boil under the surface. Functioning with these experiences consistently, becomes draining and not conducive to a state of fulfilment. To live in the now we need to embrace whatever is happening, good or bad.


There is only now and if you are not here, where are you? Whilst you continue to push for more, you will never embrace what is happening. As John Lennon said, “life is what happens when you are busy making other plans”. To live, you need to be conscious of what is happening in front of you, the moment and your place within it. You don’t need to find, do or be anything, you are already complete. Just be - now!


There is a tool that is quite effective in developing this skill and bringing us back to a state of being when needed. This is simply ‘pausing’. Overtime we become more conscious in the moment rather than becoming aware through reflection - that is ‘being’.

© Shift & Co. 2020