On Being and Becoming

The impulse behind this blog has its roots in my growing conviction that we pay too much attention to what we’re becoming and not enough to simply being. I believe that if we expect to find our way past horizons that seem to be drawing ever nearer, we’d best start looking at ourselves and one another differently. Business goes on as usual despite dire warnings of environmental or economic (or both!) collapse. People live like there’s no tomorrow, which of course there really isn’t, but we also live like there’s no today, ignoring the wonder of what we are and have always been.

Wet With Rain is a phrase from Van Morrison’s, In The Garden. In it, he repeats the refrain,

no guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the Father and the
Son and the Holy Ghost
In the garden, wet with rain

Morrison recognizes that realizing Truth doesn’t depend on special doctrines, methods, or hero figures. He’s making what amounts to a spiritual declaration of independence. As a teacher now going on 30 years in the classroom, I’m with him all the way on this. Self-determination and the power of spontaneous creativity are more powerful than any orthodoxy to promote learning.

Each year my colleagues and I are asked to submit a copy of our educational philosophies to our principal as a part of our formal evaluation process. This isn’t a litmus test of any kind; the principals use them as a frame for their classroom observations. Last September my principal said that our philosophy statements could be anywhere from six words to a page in length. Mine had always been overly wordy, I thought, and I was curious to see if I could boil it down to the minimum of six words. I came up with something that works pretty well for me: Never could I have planned this.

So it is with this blog. To me, the phrase, “wet with rain” suggests an openness to experience that invites us to surrender our preconceptions about whatever we think should be happening and engage moment-by-moment with things as they are. The tumblr, On Being, shared a quote from Richard Rohr’s Everything Belongs: “We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”

Lao Tzu expressed this same idea most elegantly almost 2500 years ago, “The way to do is to be.”

The tension between being and becoming has been a problem for ages, it seems. It’s a human problem, one that I plan to explore here on this blog.

Van Morrison:

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9 responses to “On Being and Becoming

  1. Nice. Suzuki-Roshi, in speaking of the value of listening to Dharma teachings even if one didn’t understand every word, said, “when you walk in the rain, you get wet.”

  2. Perfect tagline! Thank you.

  3. Time travel keeps winding into my mind the last few days. The future must be here, if such a thing can happen, no? What would we tell ourselves, if we could visit an earlier self? To be aware, to wake up, to take this moment as the bliss of this day.

    Doug enjoy the garden.
    I’m happy to be here.

  4. Glad to know you found your way to the blog Sarah. Time travel is a good analogy. Learning to slow down, and take things as they come is a good place to start because the destination is not far off.

  5. Thanks for this:

    “Self-determination and the power of spontaneous creativity are more powerful than any orthodoxy to promote learning.”

    From one old timer to another, glad you’re still blogging.

  6. Old timers – yeah, that would be us, wouldn’t it? Good to hear from you, Will.

  7. Ok so lets have another post shall we

  8. I came here from your previous blog. It’s a pity that you do not write here either. Or is it hacked too?

  9. Morrison was known for writing under the influence of drugs. Does it really take an illegal drug to enjoy our present, our nature, and our time, here at the very moment of being?

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