Some Wu Wei wisdom (non-doing as path to freedom)

The concept of non-doing has been a big part of my practice lately. It’s a way to always have exactly as much energy as we need. It is what happens when we find ourselves living in synch with nature. Paying attention in mindfulness helps one get a sense of this being a profound living reality of which we need only become aware. Below are some quotes to peruse on the subject.

First from Wikipedia a quick definition for those of you who’ve perhaps never heard of the idea:

Wu wei (…) is an important concept in Taoism that literally means non-action or non-doing. In the Tao te Ching, Lao Tzu explains that beings (or phenomena) that are wholly in harmony with the Tao behave in a completely natural, uncontrived way. The goal of spiritual practice for the human being is, according to Lao Tzu, the attainment of this purely natural way of behaving, as when the planets revolve around the sun. The planets effortlessly do this revolving without any sort of control, force, or attempt to revolve themselves, instead engaging in effortless and spontaneous movement. more from Wiki here

And the quotes for contemplation are below.

A person who speaks as if he knows everything soon drives away his listeners. The Universe communicates itself to us in many ways, and sometimes, it is through the words of others. If we act the know-it-all, others may refrain from talking to us, and we may fail to get the message they could have given us.
― Wu Wei, I Ching Wisdom: More Guidance from the Book of Answers, Volume Two


The path that one person follows is not the correct path for any other person. Each of us must walk his own path to enlightenment— that is the way.
― Wu Wei, I Ching Wisdom: More Guidance from the Book of Answers, Volume Two


When we learn to work with our own Inner Nature, and with the natural laws operating around us, we reach the level of Wu Wei. Then we work with the natural order of things and operate on the principle of minimal effort. Since the natural world follows that principle, it does not make mistakes. Mistakes are made–or imagined–by man, the creature with the overloaded Brain who separates himself from the supporting network of natural laws by interfering and trying too hard.

When you work with Wu Wei, you put the round peg in the round hole and the square peg in the square hole. No stress, no struggle. Egotistical Desire tries to force the round peg into the square hole and the square peg into the round hole. Cleverness tries to devise craftier ways of making pegs fit where they don’t belong. Knowledge tries to figure out why round pegs fit into round holes, but not square holes. Wu Wei doesn’t try. It doesn’t think about it. It just does it. And when it does, it doesn’t appear to do much of anything. But Things Get Done.

When you work with Wu Wei, you have no real accidents. Things may get a little Odd at times, but they work out. You don’t have to try very hard to make them work out; you just let them. […] If you’re in tune with The Way Things Work, then they work the way they need to, no matter what you may think about it at the time. Later on you can look back and say, “Oh, now I understand. That had to happen so that those could happen, and those had to happen in order for this to happen…” Then you realize that even if you’d tried to make it all turn out perfectly, you couldn’t have done better, and if you’d really tried, you would have made a mess of the whole thing.

Using Wu Wei, you go by circumstances and listen to your own intuition. “This isn’t the best time to do this. I’d better go that way.” Like that. When you do that sort of thing, people may say you have a Sixth Sense or something. All it really is, though, is being Sensitive to Circumstances. That’s just natural. It’s only strange when you don’t listen.”
― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh


Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself? ~Lao Tzu


Non-action does not mean doing nothing and keeping silent. Let everything be allowed to do what it naturally does, so that its nature will be satisfied. ~Chuang Tzu

UPDATE: This is one I just added about 12 hours after I posted this post:

When life is not interfered with in any way, it becomes highly fluid and efficient. The more you try to force life to flow where you would like it to go, as opposed to where it wants to go, the less efficient you become and the more energy you use. (…)

To echo the words of the great sage Lao Tzu: “The very softest thing of all can ride like a galloping horse through the hardest of things. Like water, like water penetrating rock. And so the invisible enters in. That is why I know it is wise to act by doing nothing. And how few, how very few understand this!” — Richard Rudd (2013-05-09). Gene Keys: Unlocking the Higher Purpose Hidden in Your DNA

and finally

Practice not-doing. And everything will fall into place. ~ Tao Te Ching

Posts on Beyond Meds that explore the nature of meditation:

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to. THANK YOU or make a donation with PayPal

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters