Category Archives: being

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: