Being and Becoming

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The practice of mindfulness releases us from the constant striving of becoming and makes space for being.

Becoming is formation, coming to be – like a statue chiseled from raw stone at the hands of a sculptor. It’s the process of moving something detected by the senses into a defined state. It’s how we make sense of our experience. The use of language enables becoming. When we label things, we define them and imbue them with meaning beyond their bare essence. We adorn them with associations, memories, and conditioning. Actions also enable becoming – like when we strive to achieve a goal or when we make a use for something. A stone can become a statue, and in the act of creating it, a person becomes an artist.

In order to become there must be boundaries and defining limits. This creates opportunities for stretching, growing, weakening and breaking. We strain to make ourselves smaller in some ways, contorting ourselves and shedding pieces to fit accepted parameters. We also become heavier in some ways, more encumbered as we arm ourselves with shoulds, fill perceived gaps with ought-tos, and solidify ourselves with musts. Maybe this is why becoming can be painful.

Energy is needed for becoming, so the need for an appetite arises – a desire to find and consume fuel for transformative thoughts and actions. This fuel can only be metabolized through another’s transformation or “death”. What we consume becomes something else. Maybe this is why becoming seems just as destructive as it is generative. The world invites us to become and so we comply in service of survival or in pursuit of happiness.

But, can anyone ever truly become – is there an end game? If we look closely, we see that we aren’t fixed and independent entities. We are always changing and we’re interconnected – interwoven with all else that arises. Everything flows like a river, tiny ripples emerging, expanding for a time, and then disappearing, indistinguishable. Humans are beings – and being is dynamic. We are ever-changing expression of the universe. Although our individual lifespans are limited, being isn’t limited to our individuality. It happens on its own without any undue interference from us. It’s the becoming that requires effort.

you are not the story
they keep telling about you
over and over again.

you are not even the story
you keep telling yourself.

there are no lines
that can hold you.

there are not enough words
for all the more that you are.

– ava

2 thoughts on “Being and Becoming

  1. What a fascinating post. I read it three times and I’m pondering still. And while my mind contemplates your awesome words, the poem allowed me to sigh. Thanks, Tracy. Yet again you’ve brought clarity and depth to difficult themes.

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