We often talk about "wanting to be spiritual," but being spiritual and taking care of our everyday affairs are exactly the same thing. There is no difference. With clarity we become ordinary -- simply taking care of whatever comes before us. In this process, we develop trust that whatever shows up in our lives, we will meet it.
When we don't take care of things in the moment, they get backed up and we feel overwhelmed. But life never brings us anything at the wrong time! That's why everything in nature works so miraculously. Notice how the tides move, the earth rotates, and the trees grow. Notice how everything is perfectly timed -- how our bodies work, how a child develops. God never makes a mistake.
So, when something enters our awareness, that's the moment to take care of it. Don't pay that bill tomorrow, take out the trash later, or make the bed when you get back. When you see it, do it! Don't prioritize anything -- life has already done that for you.
Take care of what's in front of you, and the universe will take care of you.
Are You a Human Being or a Human Doing?
Imagine that life is simply about taking care of ourselves. Feeding ourselves, bathing ourselves, tending to whatever comes before us, and in that way, just being.
For most of us, the being side of life is underused, and the doing side is weighted down. When we are being, we are humane and very much in touch with everything in life. When we are doing, we forget the essence of our humanity and narrowly focus our minds on "making things happen." We forget that everything in life is already happening!
Our lives today are complex because we have lost sight of what is essential. We've developed technologies to handle the complexities we have created, but still have no time for living!
Living successfully isn't about making a lot of money. It is about embracing life, and responding to it honestly in each moment. This alone is the true source of our prosperity, because in this practice, we evolve from human doings to human beings.
When I do less, more things happen. When I do nothing everything happens.
Non-Doing: Action without Action
In the East, there is a state between doing and being called wu-we-wu, or action without action. I call it "non-doing." When I speak of non-doing, most people don't know what I'm talking about. They think I mean "laying back" and "hanging out" -- a lethargic lifestyle.
But non-doing is not the opposite of doing! It is neither passive nor active, but a state of optimal presence and sensitivity. It is a fluid response to life, rather than a branding iron applied to life to get it to move "our way." Competitive athletes refer to non-doing as "the zone." In this state, an appropriate response to any situation originates from our core and is not edited by the intellect. It defines response-ability, rather than react-ability. Non-doing happens when we trust that life always has the first move -- that in reality, we are living in a state of "not knowing" -- and therefore, our actions are not isolated initiations based on our own desires, but responses to life's invitations.
Non-doing means that we are ready to respond to whatever life brings us, yet feel no need to initiate anything. It is the exquisite experience of being guided effortlessly and surprised by the miracle called life.
Animals live in the Kingdom of God. We occasionally visit on weekends.
Being Normal Isn't Natural or Healthy
Many of us pride ourselves on being "normal," but what we call normal may not be very natural -- let alone healthy! If you're "normal," you will probably experience cancer, arthritis, vision loss, or heart disease sometime during your life, and your natural process of saging will be reduced to aging.
If you want to view life in its natural state, go into nature and observe animals. Wild animals live effortlessly in the Kingdom of God. They are always present -- never doing anything early or late, excessively or deficiently. Their behavior is a model of the word "responsibility," meaning they respond to life with presence and awareness at all times.
When they're hungry, they eat. When they're not hungry, they don't worry about where their next meal will come from. You never see a bear looking for a job, doing aerobics, or taking a cigarette break! We are the only species with concepts of unemployment, exercise, and addiction.
In order to reclaim our natural connection with life, we must begin living with greater presence, respect, and gratefulness. We have been living under the illusion that evolution has ended with us at its helm. Perhaps the dinosaurs thought that, too!
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Empty Mind Publications. ©2001.
This article is excerpted from:
Wisdom from an Empty Mind
by Jacob Liberman with Erik Liberman.
This book is a series of one-page essays and accompanying quotes transcribed from live presentations Jacob Liberman has given around the world. It is easy-reading, and touches the heart of what truly matters.
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About the Authors
Dr. Jacob Liberman, author of the internationally acclaimed books, Light: Medicine of the Future and Take Off Your Glasses and See, shares his teachings of grounded spirituality in lectures and workshops around the world. Visit Jacob Liberman's website at http://jacobliberman.com
Erik Liberman, award-winning actor and writer, edited this book with his father.