Wu wei – Act from the inner Center
Wu wei is a Taoist principle and can be translated as action by non-action. To live in harmony with the flow of life and to live in the Here and Now, to be one with what is.
It was first mentioned in the now 3000 year old Book of Changes, the treasure chest of eternal wisdom, the I Ching, where we are can read: “Those who master themselves in times of rest have decisiveness when it comes to action. He who has inward stability, is the one whose actions do not lead to failure. Rest is the foundation of the movement. Movement creates the potential of rest. Rest is achieved by emptying your head.”
The timeless dimension of the Tao inside ourselves exists only in the present, within the fine line between past and future. For us it means following the given course of things, adopting an attitude of naturalness, spontaneity and ease, for the essential things happen in the natural flow and we do well not to stand in their way. We all know phases of too much effort, over-zealousness, and unnecessary actionism, leading to a loss of strength and ending in exhaustion. Because we put our energy into infertile acts for the sake of acting.
The Taoists, on the other hand, recommend cultivation of inner silence, giving up polarity, and develop a sense of unity. The Shaolin tradition, the origin of Chan Buddhism, has made this its main practice: sitting in contemplation.
The Tantra massage also helps us to calm the mind and to perceive what really is. When we practice Wu wei, we immediately feel an effect. We stop pondering, shifting superficial problems and looking for quick solutions. This state is an attitude of letting it happen in order to feel toward the right actions emergence at the right time, whithout superfluous strain or will power. It happens on its own natural course. As gardeners help their plants thrive by watering and weeding. With careful patience, and knowing full well that they wont grow faster when you try pulling them.
Wu wei does not mean that we should be passive and lethargic. But it is about acting spontaneously and without intervention of our dualistic rationality. To visualize our situation and to limit ourselves to precise circumstances, to acknowledge the given means, thus enabling the natural flow of things. We already carry this capacity for such ease whithin us, but have forgotten to admit it and to use it. It often happens to us that we do not perceive the moment because we are constantly in the past and the future. Anticipation, anger, hope or fear send our thoughts wandering. Basically, thoughts always arise in relation to already familiar and remembered things, thus belonging to the past, no matter what these thoughts may be dealing with. Ideas for the future and information we have accepted are also rooted in the experiences we have made in the past. Accordingly, thinking always takes us away from the present and into the past, when we interpret an immediate experience instead of experiencing it directly.
Therefore, the strict ratio should not be rejected in principle; she belongs to us, is important where she is needed. But the constant babbling of our mind shields us from experiencing the real present. It would be completely pointless to try to eliminate thinking in general. Which again would require a certain rational approach. Those who attempt to fight fire with fire are deceiving themselves and are unnecessarily wasting energy. To truly and effectively dwell in the Spirit of the present is to be open and attentive to it. But without attempts of analyzing, without classification of observations and feelings, whiteout trying to adapt the present according to past experiences and future expectations. To let the events go their course, without resisting them, just to look at them, to let them be – this is action in non-action, this is Wu wei.