Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Letting Things Happen

Scott Bradley


Wu-wei, non-doing, is not a concept easily understood. This should not surprise us, given that it is not a concept at all, but a way of being in the world.

If we can understand how that we might be fully engaged in the world, completely involved in the work of change, for instance, and yet able to serenely accept whatever transpires, we begin to understand what is wu-wei.

Letting things happen happens as things happen; it has nothing to do with passivity. We can try and make things happen in a certain way, but however they happen in the end, they do not disturb our serenity; we let them happen.

Wu-wei has nothing to do with activity or non-activity; it has to do with our relation to what happens, whether actively pursued or not, whether the outcome is as we had hoped or not. Success or failure can be real in terms of our activity, but need not ever be real in terms of our serenity. We walk two roads.

Perhaps Dylan had a sense of this when he wrote: "There is no success like failure, and failure is no success at all." At the deepest level, there is really neither success nor failure, for though we rightfully work for one outcome in preference to another, whatever the outcome, we dwell beyond what happens.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your insight in Wu Wei. This is a very interesting view on how we react to events that happen to us. The keyword here is keeping our serenity in our (re)actions.

    Personally I am trying to pratcice Wu Wei to the fullest while in the process of getting fired by a company that I worked at for 22 years.

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