"You're trying too hard, but keep trying. Whatever it is, I'm not buying."
- Day One, Trying Too Hard
Now, nearing 40, I spend most of my time in the palace of the future. I make plans, think through passages, decide directions, and prepare all the navigational aids. I leave the delivery of the present to others. Nobody seems to care about the past, and we doom ourselves by our ignorance.
Stopping, sitting, the momentum of the future runs away with me. Anxiety and restlessness, literally, as the body and the senses detach from the imaginative, creative mind. Urge upon urge to Do Something. Create. Consume. Even these words, right here, are just that. Stopping is an act of change. To be stopped requires a trajectory and natural time. "We can't stop, it's too dangerous." Ludicrous Speed.
I watch the candle flicker, pulsating out time like a speaker spitting out sound waves. It has no plans, only light. Lightness, and its own, inevitable, unpredictable rhythm.
Writing about wu wei is one of the hardest things I keep trying to do. The more I write about it, the more I realise I don't need to write about it. The more I think about it, the more I realise I don't need to think about it.
It is often translated as "no action", but this translates badly into the Western mindset. Somewhere between "no effort" and "no contention". Yoda got close with "Do or do not, there is no try", but even this misses the key element - Yoda still places the emphasis on the self as an agent, still implies that there is an I that does, does not, or even tries.
Follow, don't lead. Once you can follow, contention becomes painful. Effort becomes nothing more than what's already happening. Intention becomes nothing more than nature's own cause and effect.
Water doesn't flow because it wants to.