Wu Wei – The Paradox
The term Wu Wei (pronounced as “ooh-way”) literally means “not trying” or “doing nothing”, but it is nothing to do with a boring inactivity. It refers to the dynamic, effortless and non-self-conscious mental state of someone who is optimally active and effective. People who are “in Wu Wei”, often describe it as “virtue”, “power” or “charismatic power”. It is a radiation that others can detect and it functions as an external signal that one is in Wu Wei.
How can we become Wu Wei?
Wue Wei a real paradox. It is difficult to do your best not to do your best. To use your mind intentionally to silence itself, is a paradox in itself. That means that there is no easy answer to your question. All early Chinese thinkers thought that they knew a way to become Wu Wei, but none of them had a solution that always works, in any situation. Wu Wei deals with being fully present, to be absorbed fully in what you are doing, or with whom you are doing it. With this idea we realize faster when we force something, or when we are pushing something through too far.
Why is Wu Wei so important in today’s word?
Our society is very much focused on doing your best and on effort. We are taught that in order to achieve your goals, you have to do your best more. If you encounter a problem, you should work harder. I see this attitude in my studies. When they are struggling with a writing assignment, their solution is to work the whole night and sit behind a computer screen for hours. This would be fine if it worked. Nevertheless, often when you are doing your best for a long time to achieve something, you have to let it go.
It is important that your unconscious can run its course. One of the tasks of your unconscious is to connect things and to help you see the patterns. We often ignore the subconscious, and when we do, we make bad decisions. Often, you only need to stop, have a good night’s rest, and thereby give more space to your unconscious. If you create space for your unconscious to talk to you, then it will share its findings with you. I have often experienced this.
Examples of the Wu Wei concept:
If you disturb nothing, everything stays fine.
“Wei Wu Wei” or acting without acting, without forcing it. Smooth, effortless going with the flow. Wu Wei, without action, without effort. Without resistance.
Wu Wei, non ado (English), is a core value of Taoism.
However, Taoism is not a philosophy of laziness.
It is about living from an open awareness.
Being in flow. To take part in what is, in the nature.
Wu Wei, you can not try, because that is already a goal.
Trying to relax is already an effort.
Seeds ripen before they grow.
Grass grows, a bird flies.
Everything happens in a natural order.
Everything will automatically get its natural space.
Follow your free will, the path of the Tao.
Live and work without fight, without resistance.
Be at ease and still be conscientious.
Act freely, just because, being connected with the Tao.
Wu Wei, spontaneously being present, without striving towards it.
With aimed desire, without ambition as this also excludes possibilities.