- Thoughts for inspired living

November 20, 2007

Wu Wei Way

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:20 am

Wu Wei comes from the Ancient Chinese Taoists. It literally means “do not war.”

Philosopher, Alan Watts noted that within the context of the writings, it probably had a deeper meaning which he characterized as “do not force.” He likened it to putting a key into a resistant lock. He suggested that jiggling would be a better strategy than imposing your will on the lock, resulting in less broken keys.

TV legend, Jackie Gleason unknowingly addressed Wu Wei. Paraphrasing a response to a question about being successful, he said something like the following:

“Be going out when the tide is going out and be coming in when it’s coming in. Anytime I did it differently, I paid the price.”

Forcing the action is not great strategy to live by. It’s like the famous biblical quote metaphorically states,

“Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

How many times in your life have you pushed when you would have been better served by pulling? I was a world class pusher. Ask anyone who worked for me in the radio business. I was mission oriented.

I didn’t get that way by accident. My father was a bricklayer by trade who came up through the ranks and was selected to be a foreman by Grace Kelly’s father. My father was known by his peers as a “pusher.” He had a reputation for getting the job done. I worked for my father as a construction laborer in the summertime. I can attest from personal experience that his reputation was not a myth.

Getting things done is an admirable and highly sought after skill.

The purpose of this blog is to get you curious about where your penchant for pushing may be coming from. If it’s from your conditioning, you may want to take another look at the process.

Actions coming from your will wear you down. There is too much mental noise attached to this approach and far too much effort. This imposition of your will takes painstaking, conscious planning and an exacting amount of control – all giant energy depleters. You always have to keep the balls in the air. And anyone who knows how to juggle will tell you that the ball eventually drops.

This is not a treatise on not planning or not doing necessary work. The real question is where are your actions coming from?

The Taoists suggest actions are best when they come from the “Tao.” The Tao is “the way” – a pathway that’s in harmony with the universe.

The most productive strategy is to align yourself with the intelligence that permeates the entire universe. This means to take time and quiet your mind so that you can bathe it in the rejuvenating essence of mental solitude. The results are that your actions become infused with aligned energy where force is unnecessary.

You get to the same destination but on a much smoother road. There is less wear and tear and the best news is you get to come out of your head more often and sample more of life’s journey.

All the best,


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