Rev. Wayne Walder: Commentary on Doing

by Reverend Wayne Walder

We are all “doers”. We work, we play, we relate, and celebrate. We are often doing during most of our waking hours. Our culture promotes work and doing in many forms, especially buying.

Sometimes we feel guilty or ill at ease, when we are not doing something. When we relax, for example, our internal dialogue often reviews what we have already done. That internal dialogue could just as easily rehearse what we hope to do later in the day. It rehearses so that we can plan the future and correct our past. This constant rehearsing means we never stop doing, even when we are idle.

This begs the question: if we are always doing, when is there time to reflect about doing? If we are constantly doing, it can be almost impossible to find a new way to do things. Being busy makes it difficult to become graceful at work. Always being busy makes it difficult to add fun to our daily life. When we are always doing something, it makes it hard to add pleasure to our doing. We know that if we cannot stop to smell the roses that we often burn out.

Can we reflect on how we work? There are more than 50 scientific studies showing that stress not only makes us nervous, it also decreases our creativity, lowers our intellect, makes it harder to get along with each other, and threatens our health. This is because our brain does not release certain brain chemicals when we are stressed out. One of those chemicals, dopamine, not only makes us feel good, it also makes our brain about 30% more effective. It makes us more creative, more social, more intelligent, and more productive. Finding a way to enjoy doing not only makes us work better, it makes us better people.

Rituals, spiritual practice and genuine self examination are very useful tools because they also help us love our lives. And when we love our lives, we are happier. This reduces stress, calms our state of mind, and improves the functioning of our brain. They are miracle tools; perhaps this is the reason why they have existed in all cultures and at all times.

Then a particular spiral effect takes place. When we work happily, we are more productive. And when we are more productive, we feel our work matters.


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