Wu Wei and Effortless Action

Pronounced “ooo-way”, Wu Wei is a Chinese term for “action without action“. An example of this, from the Tao Te Ching:

The Sage is occupied with the unspoken
and acts without effort.
Teaching without verbosity,
producing without possessing,
creating without regard to result,
claiming nothing,
the Sage has nothing to lose.

I love the concept and can see it working well with the Japanese concept of Wabi-sabi (an aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.)

One challenge I see with Wu Wei is a conflict with Buddhism and it’s emphasis on thoughtful and deliberate action (aka mindfulness), although the goal is to be mindful without trying to be mindful. So in the end, Wu Wei should be the goal of most anything worthwhile in life.

via A Meditation on the Art of Not Trying.

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