1) Explain the concept of Wu Wei in your own words.
One who follows the Wu Wei does not undergo active effort in order to selfishly gain something. The term emphasizes the whole concept of going with the flow, and not disturbing the natural order of the universe to try to gain something for ourselves. Wu Wei emphasizes the idea of not changing our own path, even if we feel that it will help you to reach our selfish desires. Results are better when they are not interfered with, and instead produced naturally. The things in life should happen by themselves, spontaneously. According to Taoism, one who operates on the principle of minimal effort will naturally find what they are looking for because the natural world does not make mistakes. We, humans, make mistakes when we interfere with the natural laws of the universe and start trying too hard. In order to reach the level of Wu Wei, we must work with our own nature within, and form a connection between our Inner Nature and the natural laws of the universe.
2) Think about something in nature that utilizes the concept of Wu Wei.
Leaves utilize the concept of Wu Wei. Without any wind, leaves stay put in their position. When wind comes, nature sways them in a specific direction. The leaves then do not fight this action, they trust that if they follow nature’s course then they will change into a bright and beautiful color once fall comes. They do not try to change color on their own because they understand that their life is a natural process. Nature will do its job. Humans, unlike tree leaves, believe that cleverness is responsible for whether things do or don’t work out. According to Taoism, this is false. It’s the mind that see’s what is in front of it, and follows the nature of things that ultimately discovers what it is looking for.
Questions 3 and 4: What are some things that you do well using Wu Wei (with minimal effort or thought)? What often happens when you try too hard? What happens when you are in tune with the ways things work?
My shot, in basketball, is something that I do well using Wu Wei. The more that I think about the mechanics, the worse I do because it detracts from my concentration and takes me out of the zone. By questioning my natural shot, I lose confidence in my natural ability, and therefore have a weak connection between my mind and body when putting up the shot. My natural shot that I’ve developed through muscle memory of practicing those certain mechanics should produce baskets because I trust my skill that has already been developed. I’ve never taken voice lessons, or followed any sort of instruction when I sing. Instead, when I do sing in the shower or in my room I utilize the concept of the Wu Wei. I merely go try to feel the rhythm of what I’m listening to, and match that rhythm with my voice. When I try too hard, I realize that I simply identically match the CD or IPOD that I’m singing to. Instead, it sounds better if I add my own inflections and bring my own spirit and enthusiasm. This can only be done, when I know the song well and know the lyrics, beats, and pauses ahead of time.
5) “Force is overcome by yielding, not with greater force.” This is a Taoist concept. Think of an original example to support this idea.
This Taoist concept suggests that instead of fighting force, one should let it come. An example of this is yielding to a sneeze, generated by an internal force from the body. Instead of holding the sneeze in to avoid making an unpleasant noise, it is better that one does not fight it and instead lets it out. By letting it out, the person is helping the body to be healthy by allowing natural process to occur.