©Nikki Broadwell 2017
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Wuwei

May 10, 2019

 

The concept of Wuwei is basically doing while not doing--or at least that's how I translate it. If applied to writing it means if you're not in the mood, or you're forcing a story into submission, you should stop, take a break and do something else. Ever heard the saying,'don't push the river, it flows by itself'? That's Wuwei. I've been interested in Taoist principles ever since the day I picked up the I-Ching, the book of changes, when I was in my twenties. Carl Jung wrote the foreword to the Wilhelm translation. I have since moved on to another version written by Carol K. Anthony, a less patriarchal version that has a different take on the hexagrams included. I highly recommend it if you're a woman, or a man in touch with his feminine side.  

 

In this fast-paced culture we live in it is hard to embrace Wuwei--it seems that everything around us demands a fight, or needs to be forced into place, or planned out with engineered precision. Anger replaces calm acceptance, action takes the place of non-action. If looked at shallowly one might think that Wuwei is lazy. It is not. As an example: you are fighting with your boss, you're furious and you want to shoot off an email and tell him exactly how you feel. I can guarantee that if you threw a hexagram and asked what to do in that situation it would inevitably tell you to retreat, another way of saying don't do anything until you have control of what you're truly feeling. Did I mention that I have a very hard time following these concepts? But I do have a copy of the I-Ching next to my bed, and when I find myself about to pick up the phone or spew my anger all over someone, I try and remember to sit quietly for a second and ask the question. I usually know the answer before I get it. 

 

As far as politics go, it is just another place to practice. Our anger, frustration and upset will not  change the current situation, plus, all that emoting could end up harming us. Do I follow my own advice? well...no, but I'm trying. Oddly it is not about doing less, it's about falling into the river of life and flowing with it instead of trying to swim upstream. It is being truly who you were meant to be, with all your flaws and all your impulses, good and bad. What it is NOT, is trying to be spiritual, or trying to be or do something that you're not suited for because of some lauded idea about what that is. And it doesn't mean never being angry! It's more about how we handle that anger. 

 

Here's a link to an article you might be interested in: https://www.learnreligions.com/wu-wei-the-action-of-non-action-3183209

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

                             

 

 

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