If you didn’t already know, I minored in Religious Studies. Now, while it’s not necessarily narrowed down on paper, I did focus mostly on Asian Religion, more specifically Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. With that being said, I’d like to briefly describe the concept of Wu Wei. Hopefully this will be the first of many many posts on such subjects.
The simplest definition of Wu Wei (pronounced woo way) is knowing when to act and when not to act. Wu may be translated as not have; Wei may be translated as do, act, serve as, govern. Quite literally it means “without action.” Wu Wei is a fundamental tenant of the Taoist school of thought. The aim of wu wei is to achieve a state of perfect equilibrium, or alignment with the Tao, and, as a result, obtain an irresistible form of “soft and invisible” power.In the context of my life, I like to use the simplest definition of knowing when to act and when not to act. This is something that a lot of people do not give much thought. Why do things happen as they do? Is there a reason that that person told you that thing at that particular time? The concept of wu wei is not necessarily that you put a whole lot of thought, time, or energy into knowing when to act or when not to act, but rather that you have become one with the Tao enough so that you just know. I like to think that I know when to act and when not to act, without much effort. Sometimes though this doesn’t work out as well as I’d like, especially since I seem to like to talk a lot. It’s my mouth that usually gets me in trouble. So do we pay attention to the particular way in which things fall in our lives? Are the things in our life that we conceive in our lives to be ironic, really just the natural order of things? Ever consider what would happen if that particular thing didn’t happen at that particular time? or if that person had said something different? or if you had gone a different direction? I’d like to touch on some of these idea’s in relation to the Taoist, Buddhist, and Hindu schools of thought. This is just the beginning.