Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Be Like Water

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
~~ Lao Tzu

There’s a concept in Taoism, “wei wu wei”, which is often translated as “action without action” or “effortless doing”. I prefer to think of it more in the sense of “action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort”.

This is an important concept, because effortless action is a way to not only achieve focus in a world of chaos, but to be effective without stress, to respond to any situation with economy of effort and action, and to pursue our passions while beating procrastination.

Think for a moment of times when you've struggled to work, and instead procrastinated by heading for your distractions — email, social networks, blog reading, games, whatever your flavour might be. I am very guilty of these distractions!

This struggle is often a losing battle for most of us. We fight against it, but only win occasionally.
According to Lao Tzu effortless action is an easier way to find focus and beat procrastination.


An appropriate mental image is that of water, which seems naturally effortless in its action. It isn't necessarily still, nor is it passive, but it flows naturally around obstacles and always gets to where it’s going.

This is effortless action. It uses gravity and the natural contours of its landscape, instead of forcing things. Water can never be anything but effortless, and yet it is quietly powerful.

"We must learn to position ourselves effortlessly within each moment, rather than stumbling through time. We can either escape from the moment or stay with it as it unfolds and do something good with it."

And this is exactly right. Are you trying to escape the moment, fleeing from it and struggling against it? Or are you inhabiting the moment effortlessly?

"Simply stay at the center of the circle."
~~ Tao Te Ching

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."
~~ Lao Tzu

I took this photo in Norway in July 2010, it shows how effortless and powerful water can be. 


McMGrad89 said...

A interesting concept. I certainly often choose distraction and procrastination over finishing tasks. I will have to think about this a little longer (haha).

Roban said...

I must be the water that spends time swirling around in a whirlpool! Distractions pull me like a magnetic force, and I LET them keep me from my tasks.

Interesting to think about.... and something to aspire to.

Can-Can said...

Just being, just flowing is so difficult. Your words are wise. I know that when I meditate (I'm a beginner), it's been helpful to go with the distracting thought then go back to my meditation gently. When I kept resisting the distractions I'd get frustrated, now I'm much less so. Waterful...flow. Thanks.

Relyn Lawson said...

You've given me much to think about this morning. Thank you.

HappyOrganist said...

effortless doing. That's how I clean my house!

k - now to read the rest of your post...

HappyOrganist said...

That is a gorgeous waterfall...

Lilly said...

Just what I needed to read today. Go with the flow and don't fight it.