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wu wei

Wu Wei: Doing by Not Doing


Wu Wei: Doing by Not Doing

“The Tao does nothing and yet nothing is left undone” - Lao Tzu

This famous passage embodies the concept of Wu Wei or non-action. As a goal oriented culture, this concept may bristle some - but on a deep level it is not about passivity or inertia but rather not forcing or acting against the grain. It is more appropriately about living in peace within yourself and the greater world. It is an inward process that spirals outward and an outward process that spirals inward.

We use this concept to understand the innate wisdom of the body. Acupuncture is about removing obstacles the body has acquired through daily stresses and letting the body do its healing. A healer’s role is not to change a person’s process but rather enable their natural course of healing and growth. Especially as adults we forget the exponential growth potential that exists - this potential is not reserved only for the young, but begins to look and feel drastically different as we age. And, it is a beautiful thing when embraced through Wu Wei.

Embrace It!

To begin embracing your ‘Wu Wei’ - you must first recognize the universal connection between humans and the cosmos - how we are sandwiched between heaven and earth. Begin to feel the Qi or Prana that circulates between beings and nature. This may be scary for some people to imagine so with that said, you also need…

...Boundaries and the Pericardium

Understanding that wu-wei is the far from passivity it is also essential to establish firm boundaries for the self.  Boundaries create a safe space for play and freedom. Much like children need to be free to run around in nature, they also need a safe place for this kind of light-heartedness to take place. This is where we can get into the work of the Fire season and the Heart and the Pericardium.  The role of the Pericardium is to protect the Heart, allowing the heart spirit or Shen to be free and open. By having clear boundaries and a strong heart protector, the body and soul are able to connect and be vulnerable on deeper levels of consciousness. It is through vulnerability that we gain strength and resilience. 

How Do I ‘Wu Wei?’

The short answer is you don’t. You breathe, you practice mindfulness and you begin to observe. You observe yourself, you observe others, and you observe nature. Begin to embrace the universal energy (qi or prana) that connects us all. Feel where the energy ebbs and flows in your body and around you. Open the heart and let it be light and free. 

The world is magical when we begin to see it as such.