Monday, October 12, 2009

Wu Wei

I came across the following on the internet and I really connected with it. I love it when I can find articles that put into words what I can't. (oh and the above is a crazy lamp that sits on my desk and has nothing to do with the following...)
Doing by Not Doing
by Owen Waters
This week, we'll explore another aspect of Taoist philosophy. It's an even bigger brain teaser called Wu Wei (pronounced "Woo-Way"), which is about "doing by not doing." And, strangely enough, it's the secret to getting things done! This philosophy says that, when nothing is done, nothing is left undone. When I first encountered this stark contradiction I became seriously worried about my brain cells short-circuiting and melting. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that I was starting to smell smoke coming out of my ears. Later, at an older and riper age, I began to see the idea behind the apparent contradiction. The alternative translation of "action without effort" instead of "doing by not doing" helped to clarify the original idea. I came to realize that if, instead of trying to make something happen by the usual efforts of planning, willpower and determination, you go within and see the action accomplished, then something very different happens. The action doesn't mysteriously become accomplished by magic or by non-effort, but you experience a state of flow which enables you to move through the task with ease, grace and incredible efficiency. A leading light in positive psychology today is Hungarian- American professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. (In case you're wondering, his last name is pronounced, "Cheek-sent-me-high-ee.") His focus on happiness and creativity led to the concept of FLOW, which is a state of concentration or complete absorption in an activity. He points out that developing a state of flow leads to higher skill development and the ability to meet higher challenges within a chosen field. The message of the Tao is to develop exactly such a state of flow and to do it by developing deeper states of inner awareness. The easiest way to invoke a state of flow, therefore, is to go within, attune with your inner being and the intended task, then come out into the world of action and carry out your intuitive guidance every step of the way until the task is completed. In a state of flow, the action is guided from within and the doer virtually vanishes into the deed. The key to creating the desired state of flow is that, because your inner being is fully attuned with the universe, you can then act in a manner which is perfectly aligned with all other circumstances related to your work. This is how synchronicity happens and coincidences become commonplace in your life. People, ideas and materials all come together at the exact right time and in the right place because flow is an orchestration of the many, not just the one. You can be the main person conducting the work, but the universe responds to your inner connection and brings to you everything that you need with effortless coincidence. The message of Wu Wei is that there is a time and a place for everything to come together for effortless achievement. By intending a goal and connecting with your inner being, you start the creation of that perfect time and place by attracting all the resources you need to achieve the goal. Then, by acting exactly when the energy feels right, you express the flow of ideas and energy which pour forth from your inner being. Achievement becomes effortless, and the realm of being has become manifest in the world of action. You will have achieved success by alignment with the inner realm of 'not doing.'

14 comments:

  1. YES! Makes perfect sense to me...thanks for posting!

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  2. Love how you've tied it all together -- that is a gift, too!

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  3. Fantastic piece of text! It sounds so true to me. Sometimes I feel that most of my time is spent on stubborn efforts to do things (usually several at the same time) without getting anything done. I should calm down and let my mind work on its own (there's more capacity there if I don't push it all the time) - and usually things just happen if I don't try too much. - Thanks for posting this wonderful text, Teesha!

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  4. It is sometimes called "calculated inaction." Or, as I sometimes say, "when in doubt, don't" until I understand something better. The Tao has been an influence in my life for decades.

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  5. I TOTALLY get it. Thank you Teesha.

    Tara

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  6. Bingo explanation for "how synchronicity happens and coincidences become commonplace in your life." Lovely post

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  7. This puts so much in perspective that's been whirling around my head recently. Last week I read a piece about "Letting it be" and then I happen upon your post that explains the next step toward attaining a state of flow. Talk about synchronicity!

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  8. This is just what I needed now. Thanks for the wonderfully lucid explanation. I was just telling someone that I've been living in crisis mode and I keep getting the distinct inner message to "stop doing things." But I don't know HOW! So it's definitely synchronous that I find myself here reading your post tonight. And now I'm kicking myself because, about 2 years ago, I had in my possession a book called "Wei Wu Wei" or by Wei Wu Wei (I don't remember if it was the title or author) and I gave it away. DRATS!

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  9. Very interesting and something I will investigate more. Thank you for sharing this information.

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  10. Well that's a trippy explanation. I understand it completely!

    Catherine

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  11. Along with this goes the idea that if we try too hard to force something to happen that isn't meant to be, or not right for that time, we can really mess things up and cause stress & other negativity. Instead letting it fall into place and being patient if that is not happening when we want is easier & better.

    Christians use other words and terms but they speak of this same exact thing as "God's will" and "things happening in God's time" and credit God for making it happen.

    Great post. Thanks!

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  12. Absolutely. This is what the Abraham-Hicks stuff is all about. Going "downstream" is all about getting into the flow. Everytime I forget this, life gets sticky and then when I remember, things have a way of working out beautifully! Thanks for posting and I love Tracy's showing!

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  13. What a very wonderful message, this feels like the right way for me to get motivated to take care of some things I just haven't been able to tackle. Thanks.

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  14. I will often say the following affirmation, "I am right where I am suppose to be." I often find that things fall into place when I'm soft like water. Just last night I read a chapter in Martha Beck's book the Joy Diet and she makes references to the same concepts in this piece only her stiff writing doesn't explain it nearly as well. Having read some taoist philosophy, practice tai chi chu'an this all makes so much sense and a great place for me to sink into. Thank you so much for sharing this on your blog. I'll be posting next Friday about my reaction to the chapter and sharing it with an online blog book group. I'll definitely link to this blog post as I know it will be helpful to so many others. I love the synchronistic moment I'm having! I'm right where I am suppose to be at this moment.

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