Daoist Principle of Wu Wei – “Non-Doing”


It’s a Daoist thing.  And often mistranslated and misunderstood, non-doing sounds pretty lazy!

Daoism is actually the science of how the universe works (and us included, since we are part of it).  We’re starting to learn that Daoism dates back to before there are written records in China, which makes it 7000+ years old.

It’s believed that Daoism is really just the way people lived back in the day – not made into a formal thing until civilization started to grow and people started to stray from the natural course of things.

Daoism is the science of how the universe works.  Chinese physicians, monks, martial artists, and other people have meticulously studied the way the human body works in relationship to everything around us, realizing that we are part of this whole thing, not separate. The poetry written to convey what they learned shows how deep their understanding is and how simple it all really is.

So, non-doing.  The opposite of doing, right?  Sort of.

Non-doing is the translation, and it can mean many things.  I will very simply explore one of the meanings for you to ponder.

When we practice Qigong or meditation, the mind should strive for non-doing.  Think about it, from the moment you wake up, you are doing something.  Analyze your day. I have analyzed mine, and it is jam packed.

Any time we consider “down time” likely spent doing something.  You could technically count a nap as “non-doing”, but if you are dreaming during that nap, you are doing something.

Non-doing is not easy to obtain.  The mind wants to be doing something all the time.  It takes practice to be able to shut the conscious mind off and truly achieve non-doing.

This might sound difficult, but it should be something you work towards to understand and experience.

The million dollar question:  Exactly how does one achieve non-doing?

By relaxing, breathing and focusing on your “awareness mind” or your dantein (belly).  Find your center in your belly as let your belly expand out when inhaling and let it contract when you exhale.

So simple, yet so marvelous.

When you bring your awareness down to the dantien, your conscious mind takes a back seat, fights it a little, then eventually steps aside.  At first, you are doing – you are focusing on your breathing.  But slowly, you slip into a state of non-doing as your conscious mind lets go of the focus on breathing.

Non-doing is the goal, but one step before non-doing is to have a single focus.  When you are relaxing and breathing, do just that, don’t let your mind wander.

When you are reading, read.  When you eat, eat (not eat and watch TV, eat and talk, etc.).  Focus on whatever you are doing at all times.

Yes, in our multi-tasking world this is not easily achieved.  Don’t worry, and don’t try accomplish non-doing all at once.  Understand the concept, check out your daily habits and incorporate this when you can.

Slowly, over time, you’ll see that focusing on only what it is your doing – being in the moment as they say – is an extremely inspiring place to be.

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