I heard a wonderful gentleman named Doug remark, as part of a Living in Spirit group on Sunday morning that “We are not human beings, but human doings.” I would agree. We are not human beings. We don’t know how to be. By this, I am not referring to the word human, rather, he was noting the little word “being”. We don’t stop to think about the meanings of that little word, parked onto the end of such a common phrase. “We are not human beings, but human doings”. How right he was!
I am terrible at being. A significant percentage of the world’s religious text profess to the glories of being, and yet whilst typing these deep theological musings, I profess to being wholly inadequate. I struggle to stop and think, to let go of the past and accept the chances and dangers of the future. I am sometimes unable to see the world through the eyes of a child - each glance filled with such wonder that even the slightest joys are noticed and welcomed. I am preoccupied with the laundry, the washing up, the work I have to do. That little To-Do list that is forever and inevitably expanding to encompass my whole world, my whole being. In all these doings, I lose my being.
Yet listening to the others in the group professing their need to live more in the moment, I felt rather uncomfortable. I personally, do not wish to live only in the moment. I love remembering the special moments of my past, reliving the moments, good and less so, that have shaped the person I have become, and a person I am proud to be. I cannot live without my past, nor can any of us do so. Equally, I cannot live without my dreams. My To-Do list of impossible proportions - all the places I will see, the loves I will have, the work I will do. I love imagining where I might be in five or ten years from now. Such a simple act as dreaming away my time, for me, is deeply worthwhile and keeps me following my heart. Even in the moment, I often struggle “being”. It has become easier to sit and meditate, but sometimes the clutter and noise of my daily live follows me into my solitude and sanctuary. The other day, I was plagued by reincarnations of Spice Girls hits from my younger years.
Even here, I have further problems. I am slightly ashamed to say, I love wasting my time, watching the odd piece of terrible television or listening to disastrous music hits, or reading a book designed for an eight year old. These things are part of my joys, part of my pleasures, and part of my being.
I have a new term to suggest. Instead of being in the moment, I would ask you all to consider “being in the moments”. That one little letter can encompass both our pasts and our futures, and allow us to forge a way onwards together.
I am a human doing. Yet to me, this brings to mind the whole glorious structure (or lack of it) of the UU’s. We have always been a group of social and political activists, of people who do not fear saying what needs to be said and seeking open and communal understanding of all things. We have environmental societies, coffee mornings, children’s groups, music and dance clubs and the general mayhem that springs so joyfully from our wonderful congregation. Thus, I encourage you all to wear this phrase with pride.
I am a human doing living with joy and compassion in all the moments of my life.
I remember the strengths and pains of my past, I delight in the dreams and courage that leads me into my future, I cherish the seconds I have in each second that I live them - and from the gift of all of these things, I act as a human doing, to change the world for the better, in any way I am able to try. I feel like shouting from the rooftops: I am a human doing!
So go into the world, and go from this moment with deepest happiness. Let us profess to brave and beautiful action, and become the doings of our world.