“Hey, Mom,” said my teenage son, holding his phone as he crossed the kitchen floor with a sly grin on his face. “Do you know the concept of wu wei?”
“You mean the practice of do nothing and accomplish everything?” I replied.
He looked disappointed. He thought he had me.
“Know your audience,” I said.
And then we had the most unexpected conversation, though two different interests in the concept. He is designing another video game and wu wei will play a part.
For me, a publishing client and friend, Mackenzie Hawkins of Learning the Mind, introduced me to wu wei last year, and the concept pervaded my mind and body.
Do nothing, accomplish everything.
By no means am I an expert on this subject, and most likely not even an adept student of the practice, however I love to connect the dots.
Immediately, I embraced wu wei. My belly and shoulders released just considering do nothing and accomplish everything. Then my attention turned to karma. We create much karma during the course of our busy day. Words spoken, thoughts contemplated, actions taken.
It occurred to me that we create far more karma on any given day than what we resolve, and I believe that is the quest: to resolve karma. Certainly not to create any more undesirable karma, which will solidify our cyclical existence.
As one of my teachers once said, “If you’re not willing to learn the lesson, then see ya’ next life.”
Due to the fast-paced, never-enough life we tend to live today, we create more: karma, clutter, waste, and suffering. Of course we also create beauty, conditions of healing and joy. But I’d have to say that we, in the west, tend to create more stuff, mental and emotional, and that stuff may tie us life after life to this place.
Wu wei, then, provides an opportunity to not create more undesirable karma. I’m not saying that we should spend a lifetime not engaging in life, not doing life, but that even if 25% of the time, rather than doing something… something more, something else, we simply did nothing.
No excess created. No waste. No competitive straining. No harsh words.
Not only that, but during our practice of wu wei, we come into flow with the natural order of the universe. This flow holds the potential for creativity, insight, inspiration and elevation of the human condition.
How much this will accomplish in our quieting of the mind, body and undesirable karma, along with inspiring harmony, health and wisdom.
What a gift!
After our conversation, my son decided to use karma as a way to score his new game. Seems appropriate.
Where does wu wei show up in your life?