Bits from The Book of Not Knowing, by author Peter Ralston:

Whatever we “are”exists in the present – it is what we are “being,” and that is a current condition. This means that what is not presently existing cannot be ourselves. Therefore our memories of the past and our desires and fears for the future are not who we are as a being. Certainly a memory, desire, or fear could be described as existing presently, but the subject of the memory, desire, or fear cannot.These functions are activities that may occur now, but are not directed toward the experience of what exists now, nor are they even about now. We need to be able to make this distinction between what exists, and the activity of imagining what might exist or did exist. We seem to get a bit stuck viewing the what-isn’t rather than the what-is. it’s sort of like shining a flashlight at night in the forest: we can see the distant trees but can’t see the flashlight right here in our hand that illuminates them.

We have confused self with the complex conceptual activity (“being” like a verb) that we call mind. We must remember that this is an activity of representation and imagination. it is not the source of the activity itself. Whatever produces this activity can more rightly be called Being (like a noun). The activity is what we are “doing”; it’s not what we “are.”

Our “doing”is so constant that this activity is easily confused with “being.”A great deal of our sense of self has been built up over time. We identify “self-traits” by recognizing repeated patterns of behavior. Through sheer repetition these can take on a very solid and forceful presence, since we have so much historical “evidence”that suggests they reflect inherent aspects of ourselves.

The truth is, our personal traits are all based on the conceptual activity that we call memory. There are three problems with that. One: The activity is not an experience of our current existence. Two: Our memories are likely to be biased, and to distort even more over time. And three: these character traits are predisposed to relate to some “story”we’ve made up, or that we’ve heard repeated time and again by us, family members, or others, and will be consistent in meaning and significance with the kind of stories told by our culture. Such stories paint a picture of a character (you) interacting with circumstances.

The point here is that our conventional sense of self is not real, but is confused with a complex activity that resides within the domain of concept and belief. Our “real selves,”or the actual beings that we are, are buried beneath this conceptual-self, and so the real-self resides, hidden, as it were, within an unknown aspect of our experience of “being.”

We must continue to layer into these many dynamics. Addressing them is one thing, but our real job is to experience them in place. In other words, we need to pound at this complex of conceptual-identity from many angles and learn to recognize the many subtle traps that have gotten us into and keep us in this condition. This takes time, observation, and contemplation.


Here is a little exercise from me. Contemplate the following:

What is an apple?

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor apple                         Afbeeldingsresultaat voor apple

Before mankind even discovered the appearance of an apple, we never “labeled” the thing called an apple. We use our senses to recognize familiar patterns. An apple is round shaped (as you can see), most of the apples we see are red (The eyes are at work again!), you may remember what it taste likes, how it smells etc. etc. Nowadays we are familiar with an apple product. Is that the same apple we thought we knew? No, but we “remember” parts and bits that represents the appearance of an apple, so we also call the product an apple.

Time to get the actual experience

Your eyes are like the flashlight in a dark forest. What is the perceiver (“Being”) and what is perceived (the illumination)?

Can you “sense” this being right now? As you read, can you see the laptop or mobile phone that your eyes illuminates?

What is real? It’s simple. Close your eyes for a bit and open again. Can you still tell the laptop, mobile phone or apple were constantly real? Did your mind “remembered” these images? Memories are concepts. Made up products appearing in the mind. Could you still sense this infinite, never changing perceiving Being the moment you closed and open your eyes again?


Did you sense the distinction between what is real and what seems real?  Between Being and doing? What you “did” was reading, contemplating, and probably sensing a subtle change. What you did 5 min ago isn’t here now. Are you even doing any damn thing or is it a passing of the breeze; moments in the past or future thoughts. Is it possible you never did anything at all and everything runs effortlessly.

Are you simply imagining a life or actually living it! Be present, hug every moment like it’s your last. The Being is your true self. Not even these words can reach it, for it’s unknown to anyone. Sense it for yourself.





24 thoughts on ““Doing” versus “Being”

  1. Thank you Soul…. Thank you a question I had was in present moment if I wanted to be with my Soul Mate why does it look past tense when in reality I was in present tense…. Confused I was thinking what was all this and this post of yours maybe after read again and again I will one day understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad it helped! You would be totally present if your Soul Mate is actually with you. When she is not around, memories of her may make you daydream or freeze in the present moment. Many people check their phones immediately cause they are not used to be present. For instance, you’re on a date with her and she is going to the bathroom for a few minutes. Notice how experiences changes but your present stays the same when she leaves the scene. You are constantly responsible for your own life.

      Cheers mate!


      1. Thank you Stephan…… It means even when she is no more with me and has left me in the middle of love journey I need to be in present no more thinking of her, right…. Not let her memories take away my present…. But trust me it hurts

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on LIVING LIFE IS AN ART and commented:
    One of the two Souls whose post came as a blessing to me and what I call my thoughts.. Some answers we will never find because the Source has its rules I guess… But we can know a way to see and find answers to help to get answers to what we seek…. Thank you Stephan for this post it is a blessing in disguise.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Life’s coincidences don’t fail to amaze me. You have picked my post and Stephan’s post as inspirational. As you know, it means a whole lot. The coincidence? My husband’s name is Stephan (same spelling, exactly). Just something random.. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha…… Life amazes each moment is what I am starting to learn again…. A smiling face once mine now Is a crying one…. A mind with no thoughts is mind full of thoughts….. A heart which used to dance each moment feels to end its beating…… All this is also amazing from outside or say to the witness deep inside me, the Soul… Which is laughing at what tricks I am been played with… Lol….
        Well sometimes I wish there appears in my life a coincident where my Soul Mate again comes on my path… Aah my wish, my Dream though…..
        But hey nice to know the name of your husband… My Hello to Sir.
        Yeps random is nature of life I see.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Anna no one without her can change my life now…
        Either one day I change it or someday life will change it by taking me away…

        Whatever maybe I look to others but I am one who if makes promises keep it for life…. I promised no other girl in my life I see, touch means I simply cannot….. It is not Ego it is respect I have for my lost love… Promise I never make till my Soul agrees so when I made her promise it was the Soul..
        It is okay if she is happy without me or happy playing with me but yes at times I feel hurt again and tears do roll down the face…. At age 35 I am in love and never ever touched a lady before her because maybe too much Indian tradition I was into and followed it….. Nah not here to prove that I am great but yes promises made, commitment made this Soul cannot change at any cost…

        Hang in is the only way but suffering it has for now…. Yes I am love, I will be again fully love and I do spread as much as I can and spread more love but my Soul my heart knows it belongs to her only….

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Everytime I read your words they seem so different…… Everytime the words tell things so different as if two people are reading and two people seeing the words and two people trying to understand…. Yet one thing is common the reader, the seer, the one who understand are one yet not yet been felt…. I think that is the person who is the real being


    1. Excellent! Get that sense of constant shift in reality. Whilst observing, quietly, and with conscious breathing. The inner perfect being is pure, unharmed, got all the answers u were looking for. Realize that the questioner is also the perceiver. Questions are like apples. Once you give it meaning you tend to believe it. The answers are not what you want, it’s about realizing YOU are taking charge. You are responsible for your happiness. You are responsible for your own emotions, your fears etc. Let it be… allow it. Allow quietness and contemplate what it means to be alive! What are YOU? Don’t answer it, don’t judge or think it’s this or that, words wont do. Sense it. Breath into it. With a couple of the biggest breaths you got! Everything falls perfect into place. Align your life with that being, not your ego. I want to hear your feedback! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the guidance and let the Soul this body carry feel every word deep and let Soul give a feedback which I surely will write back…. But Stephan one thing let me tell you…. My body, my mind, the heart, the beautiful Soul today were able to have guts to let go the one who was my Soul Mate because every inch and part thought it was creating darkness instead of light.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A confusion, Stephan…… Sometimes I don’t realize if its the mind or Soul saying something to which body react…….. How can I know, who is making body react.


  4. There is so much surface stuff and patterns of behaviours, it takes a lot of practice to go inwards and feel the more real self, the more eternal self. As you say, it takes practice, but I believe that is where the calm and peace is, with self acceptance to be found too.

    Liked by 1 person

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