Are you a human being? Of course you are in scientific terms but let's think a little wider.
What else might you be if you are not being a human being?
Well you could be a human doing or a human been.
A human doing is busy. They are always thinking about 'stuff''. They may be worrying about things. Committed human doings are likely to be perfectionists and/or procrastinators. They are likely to say yes even when they aren't sure they have the time or energy to add another thing to the list. They avoid silence, there is always something happening.
Some of this may come from people pleasing, some of it could be a way of avoiding facing ourselves, some of it might just be habit.
A human been spends time living in the past. They worry over old regrets. They may relive past events in their minds and hold on to old hurts. They are afraid to step out of their comfort zone because they may have failed in the past.
Some of this may come from being hurt, some of it could be to avoid taking risks, some of it might be because they want to resolve something from their past.
A human being is focused on what is happening here and now. They notice the taste of their food, what they see and feel. They appreciate that what is happening right now will pass. This does not mean that they are living in a perpetual bliss with every moment wonderful but that they are aware of themselves in the moments as they move through life.
This for me is where mindfulness resides and there is a whole lot of good news about practicing mindfulness for mental, social, emotional and physical health.
Many spiritual masters and mindfulness experts talk about human being/doing dynamics. I have a feeling for most of us we are a little of the three types mentioned above at different times. It is useful to raise our awareness though and know what type of human we are in different circumstances so we can balance ourselves better, improve our sense of empowerment and even improve our relationships with others.
At the moment I am in a human doing zone... there is a lot happening and at times it has been threatening to overwhelm me. In the midst of this chaos (and trust me it has felt a little chaotic) I have created moments of clarity and simplicity which have helped me cope. This morning for example I put my little boy who has been unwell this week in the pushchair and took the dogs for a walk. It was a gorgeous spring morning here and we stopped to talk to a couple of older ladies who patted the dogs, looked closely at a train (the way that some of the machinery is visible is quite neat so we were able to look at springs and pistons etc), noticed the stunning blossom on a weeping cherry tree and enjoyed going down hills fast and over the bumpy gravel. This hour out of a busy and tiring time was the best medicine ever and that is because I left the house as a human being not a human been or human doing... it could just have easily been doing another thing to cross off my to do list or a time where I allowed my mind to wander to worrying over problems from the past or what else I needed to get done. The frame of mind I chose did not change what I did but it made a significant difference in how I felt and what I gained from the time spent.
It has taken me a long time to understand that it is OK to switch off from our mind chatter, the world will not stop if we do. I am so grateful for this awareness, it is empowering. We cannot always choose the circumstances we are presented with but we can sometimes choose the type of human that we are in those circumstances.
To help get started just every so often check in with yourself and ask what sort of human am I right now? And then check that the choice you have made is working for you.