Wu wei, just not every day

in Freewriters2 months ago

Wu wei is a concept that comes from taoism and relates to non-action, though Allan Watts said a better translation could be not forcing things, because non-action can be understood as laziness, and what the term really means is to flow with the tides of life.

Watts uses the metaphor of sailing versus rowing. Wu wei is sailing, you're still going towards your destination but without pushing things towards it. Rowing is what we do most of the time, hence we struggle with Life. Unless, we really enjoy rowing.


I've been learning to enjoy rowing more. I used to go around with Wu wei in mind most of the time, trying to make minimal effort. Indeed I always arrived at my next destination, and nothing of vital importance was ever amiss.

There is a problem with it though. Since you're not putting any effort, you're in no position to make any demands, you're just an observer of the landscape. And if you're not liking the landscape, too bad! No other option for you because you're getting a free ride without putting in the work necessary to open up different options.

I tend to be extremist about things. I go in 100% with the ideas that make sense to me. But I'm slowly letting go of that attitude. Maybe it's possible to experience the best of both philosophies, to oscillate between stoicism and taoism freely, finding that middle point which is optimal for the mind, body, and soul. A bit of effort never hurt anyone, it just strengthens the muscles and sharpens the mind. But too much is actually you trying to control everything, and this leads to illness, disappointment, and anger.

Anyway, today I didn't continue my blogging streak about the mixed seed patch and I'm happy I didn't. My eyes were tired, specially my third eye, it literally hurts from all that time in front of a screen. Today I feel compassion for all the people who do most of their work on a computer. You're literally getting fucked by the system. Your senses are being dulled and you're becoming little more than a piece of hardware in a machine. I wish you the perceptiveness to see beyond the trap.

As for me, I'll keep trying to find the balance between rowing and sailing. I want my muscles strong and my heart in peace. I want to choose what I can get from Life without forgetting that everything has a price that goes beyond money, and most of the time it's Mother Nature paying it. But it's not only her, we also pay with emotions, with energy. Gotta be mindful of that, what energy you give and that which you receive.

Good night 🌃


Hear, hear! I'm with you on this. I feel both extremes ( doing too little and pushing too hard ) can lead to depression. The latter to burnout too. I have been on both sides, several times and still balancing things out, almost daily.

I am a Libra and one of twins, so I guess I can't help myself but I also think that this is only natural.