Being and Thinking: the Quality of Life Blogs Begin

January 5, 2011

Posted by Cort Johnson

Looking for Happiness in an Unwell World

#1 Being and Thinking

What is ‘be- ing’? It’s very simple – almost too simple; it’s just what it appears to be – it’s just be-ing – it’s the place present just before thought… a place of stillness and peace that spiritual practitioners (and philosophers) assert is who we really are – a place of grace. When we are just be-ing in the moment things come naturally….things they flow more…..If you’re an athlete and you inhabit be-ing you’re a star…if you’re unhealthy and you inhabit being – you are at peace.

Research suggests, however, that there is probably not a lot of ‘being’ in chronic fatigue syndrome. Some studies have found that the brains of people with ME/CFS have difficulty shutting off innocuous stimuli such as background noise. Other studies suggest that problems with the planning mechanisms may make it work harder to plan movement. Others suggest other neural networks aren’t working as efficiently as they should be…Findings of increased sympathetic nervous system activity (fight or flight) suggest that just ‘be-ing’ is hardly a priority. With problems such as these the grace of simply being becomes harder and harder to come by.

That’s not helped by the upsetting situations that quite naturally throws many of us into frustration, anger, sadness and fear. Since our culture places little emphasis on be-ing over time we forget about the option of just being and become our thinking; our goals, our anger, our frustration, our hopes, our sadnesses all eclipse our be-ing.. (One of the options of be-ing is forgetting about be-ing!). Then we become angry, we become sad or frustrated – and the longer and more angry, sad, frustrated we are – the more that fills up our day. Spiritual seekers say, however, that is not who we are…

We are be-ing – a place of grace and space. This blog is a journey away from thinking – a remarkably energy intensive place to be – and towards be-ing – a place of grace and space – in an unwell world.

One of the things that has helped me is drawing ‘distinctions’ – and here it is possible to draw a distinction be-ing and thinking. This allows me to draw the distinction between when I am ‘be-ing’ and when I am ‘thinking’; in general being wins out – it’s a more peaceful and happier place to be. :).

These blogs will focus on my attempt to access be-ing, so to speak, as I read different books and try different exercises.[/QUOTE]


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

CBS January 6, 2011 at 9:51 am

Nothing like wishing today away – again and again and again. Very easy to do with a disease like ME/CFS.


Dominique January 6, 2011 at 1:23 pm

This is a very interesting and profound post. One I think that most would do well to ponder.


Cort January 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm


I missed be-ing above all in my struggle with CFS; be-ing is after all all about quality of life – which we often assume is a function of our health or our circumstances. We think that if we have the right circumstances – the right health, the right job, the right family, the right toys we will be happy and often those things do match up – but what if you don’t have those things? What if your body is not well? Or you don’t have a job? Or family support? or X or Y? Does that mean happiness or satisfaction or some kinds of wellness – are no longer available? According to people who deal in those areas – absolutely not.

When I am engaged in activities sometimes I look at whether I am being engaged in them – or I am thinking about them as I do them. Am I just be-ing in the moment or I am thinking….Looking at the distinction in everyday life of being vs thinking can be quite helpful….Am I be-ing or am I thinking? It’s all about bringing me back to the here and now……which is almost always a more relaxing and healthful place to be.

For me doing this is like drops of water filling up some large underground reservoir of being or peace …it’s slow…it takes time…..but if you keep at it – if you keep the drips coming it does accumulate and it does fill up:)

These blogs will focus on my attempt to access be-ing, so to speak, as I read different books and try different exercises.


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