Wu Wei – The art of not forcing

All that there is

Letting it be

Not forcing anything

Difficult for a control freak like me

I was thinking too much

Writing in my head; it had become a wastepaper basket that crinkled with noise every time I turned it

Then I came across this video

And emptiness settled in

It’s peaceful when we let ourselves be, totally free to do only that which comes naturally

It is not, as I feared, an excuse for laziness but rather, we become engaged in that which interests us and flow takes us on a journey, deleting effort from the process

For me, that was cooking up my grains, pulses and beans for a week of lunch bowls – now I just add fresh veges, herbs, fruit and dressings from the fridge and know I am nourished each day.

It’s writing lists and ordering the house

Writing this blog post

Cleaning out a cupboard that had been disorganised and was bothering me

Going for an evening walk in lightly misting rain

Hand feeding the little black steers lucerne hay, feeling their rough tongues wrap around my fingers and laughing delightedly, because I’m right there in the minute

Which is the only place to be to feel life while we’re in it

Wu-wei a lovely word

It is indeed “The art of sailing, instead of rowing” as Alan Watts says – those words will stay with me hopefully for a long time. At least a week, it’s a nice thought for a Monday, so I’m leaving it here. Have a great day and watch the video if you’ve got a minute – it may repay you by gifting an hour or two of effortless peace. I hope so X

18 thoughts on “Wu Wei – The art of not forcing

  1. Kate, thanks for sharing the clip about the meaning of Wu Wei – the art of not forcing. What it difference it makes in my understanding of Lao-tzu’s teaching on what was translated as the “practice of non-doing”! Translated as “not forcing” makes total sense. “Be water,” Chinese martial artist and actor Bruce Lee (1940-1973) once said.

    • I never resonated with the whole “non-doing” thing either Rosaliene, isn’t it funny how changing the word from doing to forcing, which is really just a translational error, makes the world of difference! It shows that words are powerful and we have to get them right, as well as the context into which they fall.

    • It’s like the sound of whispered water – wu wei. A wonderful way to live and get difficult in its very simplicity. I’m so much of a control freak, not sure I can simply sail, nor row either – probably attach an outboard motor 😂 seriously – I’m going to try though

  2. Love the video! And your description of your day. I think so. Many of us know this feeling and yet when we grasp for it, it eludes us. It’s the grasping that does us in. Great post!

  3. Thank you for sharing this amazing video and for telling us about your day in relation to this. I, too, am a control freak and find it very difficult to let go, let be, and just be. Wu Wei sounds wonderful, and while I was watching the film, I felt really captivated by it. I just sat and let the words wash over me—a beautiful way to see (and yet not see) the world and ourselves. Thank you for sharing this, Kate. Xx 💝

    • Dear Kate and Ellie,

      Here we are once again conversing with each other!

      Thank you, Kate, for your very nice post relating to Wu Wei – the art of not forcing, which is an ancient Chinese concept.

      Other English words that can explain 無為 is “inexertion”, “inaction” or “effortless action”.

      Our purpose for the purpose of Wu Wei (無為) is to be purposeful in being purposefully purposeless with purposelessness.

      Yours sincerely and effortlessly,

      • Hello SoundEagle. Lovely to hear from you again – it’s been a while. I love this post that Kate shared. She’s a brilliant writer. I was fascinated by this concept and appreciate your additional information and clarification of Wu Wei. Take care … Ellie

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