Wu Wei and the Art of Non-Doing
In the midst of a very stressful week, day or month have you ever had someone say to you, “relax, just go with the flow,” and at that moment just wanting to completely bite that person’s head off? We often associate productivity with the amount of stress we accumulate within a given situation, that if we’re not stressed or working hard and working fast enough then by default we must not be achieving anything.
An ancient Taoist teaching by Lao Tzu says, “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” But how does that translate to the business world, the parenting world, and all 9-to-5 worlds?
Whenever people hear of Wu Wei and the concept of “non-doing” it is almost always associated with laziness and literally not doing anything at all.
Wu Wei which stems from Taoism or Daoism is an Eastern Philosophy from China that focuses on humility and piety; based on teachings by Lao Tzu. Taoism is surrendering to the Tao, or “the way,” and ”living in harmony with it.” But where and what exactly is this “way” and how do we get there?
We find ourselves going back to the importance of awareness and staying in-tune with the energy of the world so that you ride it instead of going against it. We grow up thinking two opposing concepts: “if it’s for you, it’s yours” and “know what you want and go get it.” But did you ever think that these two things could work together? What if what you want was really what was meant for you?
Let’s explore that concept further. Have you ever experienced work that was difficult and stressful, and work that was difficult but rewarding? What if work that was difficult yet rewarding was the path you were supposed to be taking? The energy you got out of doing it being subtle guidance from the universe telling you, “Hey, this is where you’re supposed to be.”
Take a quick assessment of everything you’ve done in the past and which kinds of work were challenging in a good way and which ones were kinds that did not make sense to you. The universe and its energies send you little hints through work that you do, nudging you in the right direction. Telling you where to pour your energy and effort so that all that work goes in line with your vibration and the universe’s vibration laid down for you. We all have one and there are things around you leading you there. You just have to pay attention.
Go and listen. Allow nature, the universe, God, or whatever higher energy forces you believe in, to work through what you’ve done and what you’re trying to do. Because we are called to try and to work, and then leave the results up to them. That’s the non-doing aspect of your work. Not stressing over the work that you actually can’t do anyway. And leaving it up to the universe to take you where you’re supposed to go.