Becoming, Being, & Nonbeing

We are fishing in the stream of becoming and have forgotten our being. – Joel Biroco

Portion of 'Sea' by Joel Biroco

Portion of ‘Sea’ by Joel Biroco

Becoming is the conventional state of the mind. The one that everybody walks around in. The Default Mode Network (DMN) in neuroscience. Our realities are based on concepts, our minds run constantly, we are in a reactive state to the world around us and we’re in no position to change our realities. Though perhaps we’d dearly like to. One thing leads to another and we never arrive anywhere. We are trapped in conceptual samsara and don’t even know it.

Being is what is known as the witness in mindfulness practices. You are witnessing your experience. The conventional you, the I-thought, the observer, the ego are other names for being. This is what you cultivate doing concentration practices with attention focused on a single object. These practices lead to states of peace and calm and to a more focused mind. Which is why these practices are so popular. It is from the witness position that making personal changes, performing magick, and other acts of concentrated effort flourish.

Nonbeing is what occurs when we see objectless awareness. Pure awareness shines forth and nothing is grasped or attached to by the conceptual mind. We’re free. Concepts can continue on top of this but we’ve added awareness to our view of self. Radical clarity of mind ensues. Thoughts can stop for so long that you forget you are a thinking creature. This is what is meant by nonbeing. Nonbeing can be cultivated by insight practices that involve the deconstruction of experience and with practices that utilize open, nondiscriminatory, choiceless awareness.


Paintings by Joel Biroco

*Becoming and being are two concepts I learned from Joel Biroco. Nonbeing was created to round out the suite. Nonbeing refers to the objectless nature of awareness.

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