With all that’s happening in the world today, it’s understandable that we would sometimes wish for it to be another way. My son recently told me how he wishes that the sun would shine everyday and that there would be no more storms – that so well represents what many of us feel about the injustice and tragedy that we see happening around us.
The Answer is Blowing in the Wind
Of course at the end of the day we know though, that it doesn’t help to wish against the ebb and flow of life. I explained to my son that trying to fight against the flow of nature is not only futile but it adds difficulty to our experiences – it makes life harder.
That’s certainly not to say that our actions in life are insignificant – quite the contrary, our response to the tide determines where it will take us in life.
I find that I’m gaining a deeper understanding of this philosophy the more I practice the Tao concept of Wu Wei in life – which I recently turned to as relief from the stress I inflicted upon myself when I was trying to fight the tide.
The Action of Non-Action
The literal translation of Wu Wei is ‘without action’ or ‘without effort’ which doesn’t in fact mean doing nothing. It means being open to the flux of life, to the yin and yang energies. It is to take the natural course of action, with faith as opposed to resistance. Consequently the things you do in life are without pressure and defensiveness and are instead carried out with grace and purpose. I learned these things from a lecture by Donna Quesada, who so eloquently explains this state of being and how Lao Tzu, the author of the Tao Te Ching, cultivated the wisdom that comes from looking at natures patterns and movements. Here’s that lecture, I hope you find it as helpful as I did:
Just like I know that this rain will pass and the sun will come, and when it’s hot I know that will pass and we’ll have the rain. Winter will pass then we’ll have summer. Low tide will give way to high tide. The good times will end but it means that the bad times will end too. You solve problems easier when you stop fighting, when you let go you’re able to move easier. – Donna Quesada
From a practical view point
Donna asked her students ‘What in life do you think might benefit from the application of Wu Wei? What political situation, what personal situation?’
We would love to hear your suggestions and experiences! Join in the discussion here or visit us on Facebook.
Louisa and the Cygnus Team