Title: Effortless Living: Wu-Wei and the Spontaneous State of Natural Harmony
Author(s): Jason Gregory
What is this big mystery of life? The capitalist icon Steve Jobs came to India in search of Nirvana (covered in post Book Giveaway #60: The Man Who Thought Different (3/17/2020) – he fell ill, faced many troubles, and, yet went back inspired. As we shared in the post, he said “You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever”.
Let me add emphasis….For God’s (or Devil’s) sake, TRUST SOMETHING! But, this can be confusing! Most trustworthy people are supposed to be BELIEVERS in some faith – and, they seem to be most anxious and jittery – not trusting their God and getting nervous frequently. On the other extreme, there are psychopaths among them – killing with gay abandon. Is THIS trust in God?
What about abour others? As we shared about Buddha in the post “Book Giveaway #51: The Essence of Buddhism (3/5/2020)”: “He did not talk about any entity called “God” – thus, he introduced an element of rationality in the spiritual process.”
Unfortunately, even Buddhism has seen a lot of violence and there are some other reservations too (hopefully, to be covered in later post). What are we left with? We have philosophies like Sufism, and Advaita that talk about a boundless mind-state – it is almost as if you are TRUSTING EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING! How to arrive at that state? Quoting from the post on Ekhart Tolle’s book (Book Giveaway #43: The Power of Now (2/22/2020)):
“From most accounts, enlightenment arrives unannounced and suddenly. It is said, after a point, all spiritual preparation is pointless – because it happens effortlessly – hence, all effort actually takes you away.”
Thus, what we have, so far, is TOTAL TRUST and EFFORTLESSNESS.
This is where a philosopher called Laozi (or Lao Tzu) – a mysterious semi-historical figure around 6 BC – did us a great service. He is credited with a text called Tao-Te-Ching – which is like a manual on effortlessness. This philosophy could be summarized as – Do nothing and accomplish everything. Flow freely like water around whatever shows up in your life, and everything will get done in the NATURAL course. “Wu Wei” is a term to denote “effortless action” or even “no action”.
No Action? It seems living a life of almost NO ACTION is a tall order. The author Jason Gregory, contemporay Taoist practitioner, offers help. He says:
The pure, natural awareness of our consciousness is polluted by the illusion that we can control each and every situation in life. Spontaneity is loathed by many people, it conflicts with their incessant control.
“The Taoist philosophy affirms that anyone can attain a liberated state of harmony with the world, BUT ONLY IF WE ACT IN THE SAME WAY AS NATURE.”
The way of the Tao is NATURAL – the promise, as the title of the book says, is “Spontaneous State of Natural Harmony”.