Human Beings, not Human Doings

I have to get out early this morning, so let me simply share a reminder we all need. This comes from Evelyn Underhill, whose writings on mysticism have been very meaningful for me. Underhill writes:

We mostly spend our lives conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have and to Do. Craving, clutching, and fussing, on the material, political, social, emotional, intellectual, even on the religious plane, we are kept in perpetual unrest, forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance, except so far as they are transcended by and included in the fundamental verb, to Be, and that Being, not wanting, having and doing, is the essence of the spiritual life.

As one of my friends observed yesterday when I sent this to him, Underhill describes aptly the dilemma of being human. That we always think we have to do or have in order to justify our existence. Yet all we need to do is Be.

Being “is the essence of the spiritual life.”


2 thoughts on “Human Beings, not Human Doings

  1. This brought a smile as Human Beings not Human Doings brought up the memories of multiple retreats by Sam Shippen (who was a deacon in these parts) focusing on this very theme… It is a bit of a battle at times to Be (always doing something to try to be);

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