Doing vs. Being

QA142 QUESTION: There is a human problem of doing versus being. My own problem is that I tend much more towards doing to the detriment of being. Some other people have the reverse problem. Can you give some comment?

ANSWER: Yes. When one over-emphasizes doing – in other words, when there exists an imbalance in the psyche so that the doing is overemphasized to the detriment of the being, then it is because one runs away from the being. When one overemphasizes the being, one runs away from the doing.

The common denominator between both pseudosolutions is running away from something one does not want to face or one is afraid to be inadequate in.

The person who runs away from doing may fear, for example, that what he does may be ineffectual or inefficient or insufficient, and may not measure up to what he thinks is expected of him and what the world demands – or he may not favorably compare to others. Therefore, he withdraws from that aspect of living and runs away from this by not doing.

The one who runs away from being, the question is usually not feeling inadequate in one’s actions but in one’s feelings, in one’s capacity to feel, in one’s willingness to feel spontaneously and see the feeling for what it really is. This would be fundamentally at the bottom of these two ways.

QUESTION: Could you speak a bit about reconciling these two ways?

ANSWER: Yes. The reconciliation can only lie in, for the one who runs away from being, not to give up constructive action but to go about in a very, full inner determination, “I want to see what is it I really feel.”

Now when the overemphasis is on doing, often included in the doing is thinking. In other words, the thinking, the intellectual processes, may also be overcharged at the expense of the feeling side. The feelings are then impoverished, flattened, numbed, as a protection.

And in order to reestablish the balance, the Pathwork must concentrate on, again and again and again, questioning oneself as to one’s feelings, to one’s emotions, being ready to feel the emotions for whatever they are, and giving the emotions repeated permission to flow out, to come to the point where one inwardly feels the soul movement of opening up, of letting go.

You will then come to determine, almost like a foreign body inwardly, where the feelings are held in check. Once you notice it – like fists holding tight – that one takes so much for granted, it has become so much second nature that it does not even stand out – then there is already a tremendously important step in the right direction.

Because then you can feel this hard and tightened inner fist, as it were. And when you discover that, you can very calmly, with your outer will, say, “Let go. Let go. Relax. Relax the soul’s tight knot you have in here.” Then emotions will simmer to the surface – strong ones, weak ones, and very different ones, contradictory ones.

The more they are being encouraged and permitted to float to the surface, in the realization that they do not need to be acted out, to that extent balance will be reestablished and the flight from feelings will cease. The impoverished feelings will begin to function in a healthy, harmonious way. This will be the one side.

The other side, the one who runs away from doing because he fears the inadequacy and fears he does not measure up, his way would have to be the realization: Where do you reject yourself? This is has to do with a self-evaluation. The more one rejects oneself, the more one becomes dependent on being affirmed, approved of, and respected by other people.

The more this is the case, the stronger a sense of competition and measuring oneself with others is the result. So you have to, in order to resolve this problem and no longer be lost in the error of comparing, find to what extent you dislike yourself and why exactly do you do so.

What about the self-dislike is partially justified because it actually concerns blurs, and to what extent is it highly exaggerated and you completely overlook the actually existing values because you evaluate yourself also in a spirit of either/or? “If I have these negative trends,” you feel automatically every value does not count or does not exist.

When you learn to see yourself and see side-by-side the fault with the qualities, you already are in a greater reality and you are approaching an acceptance of self that will not make you so dependent on what others think of you. It is in this dependency that the anxiety and the tension and the pain tear you apart, because the goal is unreachable in this way. It can never be satisfied, it is total illusion, and it creates more and greater problems.

So, to what extent do you judge yourself totally and so severely that you need affirmation from others and so much so that you cannot risk being judged inferior in comparison with the actions of others – so that you therefore demand being accepted at your very worst? These are the two sides.

QUESTION: How do you account for the tendencies towards having and knowing?

ANSWER: Yes. Well, the having and knowing are both means to substitute for self-evaluation. They are really very similar, for the one who over-emphasizes having things hopes to gain power by having things – the power he needs in order to feel secure because he has not discovered the inner powers. He’s not in contact with that real, live center of himself – with the real powers – which make him capable of living life to the best of all possibilities.

Having things is only one aspect out of many others in order to make a life full. If it is over-emphasized as opposed to other aspects of living, then it is a pseudosolution in which the person seeks an outer power because he is not in possession of an inner power. And he is not in possession of that inner power because he runs away from himself. He disconnects from his inner self.

The same happens with the overemphasis on knowing, on collecting intellectual, theoretical knowledge. This too is a pseudosolution that gives a person a security and substitutes for the self-knowledge he is lacking. On account of this lacking self-knowledge, he has no contact with himself. He then seeks by following a misinterpreted inspiration or guidance coming from the innermost self which says, “Get to know yourself.”

That “get to know yourself” is misinterpreted to mean know, get knowledge. And outer knowledge is substituted for this. This is then the same kind of weapon, as having things can become a weapon. Having and knowing are only two of many other such weapons that people use as a substitution for establishing contact with the innermost self.

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