The existential "alphabet" of Being begins not with the letter A, but with the verb "to Be," which in its turn takes root from the so-called "B-root," the Proto-Indo-European language base of the verb "to be." The "B-root" (bheu or bhu) - from which all this language of Being grows - means just that: "to grow" (1).
With this in mind, the Shakespearean "to be or not to be?" all of a sudden loses its suicidal finality and acquires a less lethal tone of "to grow or not to grow?"
How static the infinitive "to be" and how dynamic the infinitive "to grow!"
Indeed, contrast and compare the connotations: "I am" (static) vs. "I grow" (dynamic); or "I am being" (static) vs. "I am growing" (dynamic).
There's something of a coordinate-bound quality to the word "being" (being this way, being here); whereas the word "growing" feels like an existential vector, rather than an existential coordinate.
Where am I "growing" with this? Well... there seems to be an infinity of psychological growth packed in the infinitive of "to be," a potential of growth ad infinitum stemming from the fertile "b-root."
But, then again, maybe it's just late night word games of a book worm...
A "human being"? Or a "human growing"? The former - content. The latter - aspiring. The former - arrived. The latter - still journeying. The former - complete. The latter - chronically incomplete...
Who knows what's best: being here-and-now (East?) or growing there-and-then (West?)?
A new twist on the good ol' Shakespearean dilemma of existence: not "to be or not to be?" but "to be or to grow?" - i.e. "to remain the same or to change?"
But, perhaps, it's a false dichotomy: if we choose to be, we cannot not grow. Grow up. Grow wise. Grow old. Change is inevitable, we hear.
If change is, then growth too... But somehow this business of being - intuitively - feels more like a coordinate than a vector, like a place than a straight-forward progression.
After all, doesn't the word "growth" have a kind of climb to it, an aspiration, an ever-reaching of the climax? It does, doesn't it: to grow... up and up and up.
And yet we know that life's not all upwards. For some - it's one step forward, two steps back; for others, ten steps back; yet for others - it's walking in place or, worse yet, in circles. This existential heart-beat of ours is more of an up-and-down oscillogram than a flat-line with a gradient of interest...
And maybe that's why we linguistically shifted from the climbing ascension of growth to a more defensible plateau of being...
What's the "East-meets-West" of this "East-meets-West" post? This time - no "East-meets-West," just the "West-meets-East."
I recall Jack Kornfield's book title "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry" and his warning that the enlightenment is not a destination but a pit-stop: "spiritual (p.s. - insert psychological) life involves a maturing of understanding, a continual unfolding, wherever we are" (2).
However far East, you, the reader, have ventured in your psychological journey, you are likely to hit West once again, if you keep growing.
Paraphrasing the great American East-West broker of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn who said "wherever you go, there you are" - "wherever you are, there you are growing."
When feeling up-rooted from the ups and downs of self-growth - sit down, take root, in just being.
Good growth begins with deep roots.
(1) Online Etymology Dictionary www.etymonline.com
(2) After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, by Jack Kornfield (Bantam)
Pavel Somov, Ph.D.