3rd week: being and doing

Modes of mind

Last week, we examined how the mind does many things automatically or by itself. It thinks, worries, reminisces and anticipates without our conscious decision to do so. When our mind is on autopilot like this, it is in a mode of doing. Conversely, when we are consciously present, our mind is in a mode of being. The next video provides more information about the modes of the mind and how they are related to depression.

Modes of mind and depression

Contemplate: do you have experiences of being able to just be in your everyday life?  

Contemplate: do you have experiences of constantly thinking about something? Do you have experiences of your mind solving problems, reminiscing about unpleasant experiences or worrying about the future as if by itself?  

We need both the mode of doing and the mode of being. The mode of doing helps us achieve goals and act efficiently. The fact that the human mind is capable of learning from the past and imagining things has facilitated the existence of science, stories and many other creations of humanity. 

By contrast, the mode of being makes it possible for us to recover from the mode of doing, calm down and enjoy life. In the mode of being, our mind gets a moment of rest from constant thinking. This enables us to connect with other people, nature, art and ourselves. 

Exercises for the week

This week, practise switching from the mode of doing to the mode of being. Try to notice when you are thinking about something in your mind and see if you could sense and experience that thing directly. For example, if you notice that you are thinking about the food that you are eating, try to shift your focus onto how the food smells, tastes and feels in your mouth.  

Try also to stop every day at least once to observe what the experience of your feet is like at that moment. You can use the ‘Two ways to know’ recording as an aid or do the exercise without it. 

Like last week, be sure to also continue practising mindfulness in everyday life. Try to keep doing the everyday task that you chose last week consciously this week as well. Additionally, choose another mundane task and start practising doing it consciously.