Having recently had need to thumb through my well thumbed copy of Bejamin Hoff’s brilliant book, ‘The Tao of Pooh’ I have tried hard today to put the principles of Wu Wei into action. For those of you who are not so sure allow me to quote…
"Literally, Wu Wei means "without doing, causing, or making." But practically speaking, it means without meddlesome, combative, or egotistical effort … Wu Wei means no going against the nature of things; no clever tampering; no Monkeying Around.
The efficiency of Wu Wei is like that of water flowing over and around the rocks in its path - not the mechanical, straight-line approach that usually ends up short-circuiting natural laws, but one that evolves from an inner sensitivity to the natural rhythm of things.
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 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.
But down through the centuries, man has developed a mind that separates him from the world of reality, the world of natural laws. This mind tries too hard, wears itself out, and ends up weak and sloppy. Such a mind, even if of high intelligence, is inefficient. It goes here and there, backwards and forwards, and fails to concentrate on what it's doing at the moment. It drives down the street in a fast-moving car and thinks it's at the store, going over a grocery list. Then it wonders why accidents occur. 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."
And I believe that things have got done today. I’ve not got too wound up about stuff at work, I’ve recognized that things needed doing at home and I’ve found time to get quite a few of them done tonight. I even managed to make time to paint N’s face.
It’s a nice feeling when you do it the Wu Wei.