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The Power of Combining Doing with Being

by Beth on February 21st, 2017

Many people are experiencing fear and uncertainty as a result of the presidential election. The overwhelming response has been to take action. Thousands of people around the country participated in women’s marches on January 21st. The number of people calling Congress to voice their opinions regarding issues such as the travel ban and cabinet nominees has been unprecedented. As many as 1.5 million calls were estimated to have been made each day to the Senate during the first week of February. Donations to causes including the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have skyrocketed. Websites like ActionRising.com and Harness.space have sprung up to help people find opportunities to take action. The non-profit, She Should Run, reports that more than 4,500 women have pledged to run for public office.

This rising tide of activism isn’t surprising. Taking action is powerful. Doing good feels good. It replaces the frustration of inaction with a sense of purpose.

Being can be equally powerful. Mindfulness meditation provides a number of benefits that can help us better handle these challenging times. When we are mindful, we observe our emotions without becoming overwhelmed by them. Awareness helps us to notice when we are dwelling on negativity, which gives us a chance to shift our attention to the positive. Mindfulness doesn’t make bad things go away, but it helps us to be more resilient, to experience things with less reactivity.

Exposure to so much negativity means that our well-being depends on our ability to self-generate positive emotions. Loving kindness meditation, which involves mentally sending good wishes to all people, increases positive emotions. It builds compassion and understanding. Compassion reduces fear and hatred.

Being is by no means a replacement for doing. They are complementary. Mindfulness can better prepare you to act. Being calm and compassionate allows you to choose wiser actions. Mindfulness also helps you build resilience, which can reduce the likelihood that you give up.

There is power in both doing and being. Combining mindfulness with activism will give you the strength you need to fight for what is right.

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