I struggle big time with perfectionism and staying present in the moment. And my guess is that a large number of you guys do as well. Wei (do) Wu-Wei (without doing) is the spontaneous, natural Way that Lao Tzu addressed in the Tao Te Ching. Wei Wu-Wei is action without intentional, forced action or interference — “work without effort.” This concept provides a counterbalance to our society’s drive to engage in swift or forceful action, maintain control, worry about ourselves and others, or fear negative outcomes. In psychotherapy, for example, Yueh-Ting Lee argues that therapists should utilize the concept of Wei Wu-Wei (do without doing) as a checks and balances for the concern they feel for their clients, the advice they offer them, and their clients’ freedom to make their own decisions: “too much intervention … may produce negative outcomes.” Wu-Wei is letting go or letting be. Que Sera, Sera. Jung took this concept so far as to suggest that ANY interference or offering of advice was already too much. But what happens if the scales are tipped to the other side? Human beings who hold on too tightly are prone to transforming their assertiveness into aggression, becoming “hooked” (google Pema Chondron) and resorting to violence, inflexibility, war, and general competitiveness in all areas of life. And the benefits of Lao’s Wei Wu-Wei way of life are humility, modesty, quietness, wisdom, and a general helpfulness, compassion, and loving-kindness toward others. Perhaps the assumption we must make in order to understand Jung’s extreme letting go is the understanding that we never had control to begin with. Instead, Laotzi prescribes water personality:

Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water.

Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard; the gentle overcomes the rigid.

Everyone knows this is true, but few can put it into practice.

I hope this helps you breathe a little easier.

More on Wei Wu Wei & Water Personality here.

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