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Effortless Action

"Stop trying to control

Let go of fixed plans and concepts

And your life will unfold

By itself."

Tao Te Ching

The most important, yet the least understood teaching in Taoism is that of Wu Wei, which simply means non-doing or effortless action. Many people who are drawn to Taoism are attracted to this mysterious practice of 'going with the current of Life', and having all your needs met, with as little effort as possible. The biggest obstacle to this effortless unfolding is our mistaken belief that we can control every aspect of our lives, instead of trusting the Divine Intelligence of the Universe to unfold everything in just the right way, and at the right time. Another aspect of Wu Wei is that of 'non-forcing', as in taking a step back from the challenges of our lives and allowing the right action to arise in its own time. If we are honest, we usually take just the opposite approach; we often try to force things to work out the way we think they should work out, and in the process we often make the situation even more frustrating and difficult than it is.

Instead of trusting the flow of Life (the Tao) to unfold everything in the most perfect way, and at the perfect time, we act out of fear and worry, and in the process tie ourselves into knots of stress, depression and unhappiness. We might also notice that this constant 'forcing' rarely, if ever, gives us the Life that we long for. In Taoist philosophy, we are told that, if we want things to work out easily and effortlessly, we first need to enter a state of Stillness (through meditation), let go of the illusion of control, and move with the current of our lives. In this 'going with the grain', we move into harmony with the power and wisdom of the Tao, which is always unfolding everything for our highest good. Putting aside the ego mind (the voice in your head), we move with the least amount of resistance, and find the problems and challenges of Life working out easily and effortlessly.

Wu Wei is often taken to mean non action; as in being an invitation to be lazy and feel powerless, while claiming we have no ability to affect change in our lives. It is actually just the opposite. With patience and trust in the way things are, we wait for the spontaneous inspiration to act , and then do so with the least amount of energy and fuss possible. This practice gives us the ability to relax and allow the Tao to steer the vehicle of our lives in the direction we need to go in, and actually enjoy the scenery along the Way. Simply put, Wu Wei is the deep trusting that EVERYTHING is exactly the way it's suppose to be right now, and living from this state of trust, instead of opposing and resisting what appears in our experience. In this practice we begin to appreciate the way things are, watching as everything unfolds with effortless ease, always working out for our highest good. In this letting go of control and trusting that everything is exactly the way it's suppose to be, we actually open to the intuitive promptings of the heart, which will direct us to act (or not act) in the most harmonious and easy way possible.

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