Wu Wei

Wu wei, is a very interesting and important point both within spirituality and the internal martial arts. It is defined in Wikipedia this way:

“Is an important tenet of Taoism that involves knowing when to act and when not to act. Another perspective to this is that “Wu Wei” means natural action – as planets revolve around the sun, they “do” this revolving, but without “doing” it; or as trees grow, they “do”, but without “doing”. Thus knowing when (and how) to act is not knowledge in the sense that one would think “_now_” is the right time to do “_this_“, but rather just doing it, doing the natural thing.”

Another definition by Sifu Fong Ha seems more simple to understand:

Wu wei just means not doing anything consciously or intentionally. Then motion becomes effortless.

It seems according to my experience to go much deeper. In that we must not resist events that come our way, whether negative or positive. This reminds me of a Zen story. This story is usually related to misfortune but I believe it shows the farmers non-resistant (wu wei) approach towards life. It goes like this:

A Chinese farmer’s neighbors came over to offer him their sympathy after his horse ran away. The farmer replied, “Maybe.”

The next day, the farmer’s horse returned, and six wild horses came home with him. The neighbors returned to congratulate the farmer on his good fortune. Again the farmer said, “Maybe.”

Later that week, the farmer’s son broke his leg trying to train one of the new horses, and the neighbors came by to offer condolences. Once again the reply was, “Maybe.”

The next day, the emperor came through, gathering up young men to be in his army. They bypassed the farmer’s son, since he had a broken leg. Neighbors came to congratulate the farmer and as always the reply was, “Maybe.”

If we stay non-resistant to the occurrences in our life we will find peace and happiness. This peace will stay even through negative situations as well as the positive. We can live a more balance life and accept life as it is.