Wu-wei | The Art of Letting Things Happen - Deepstash
Wu-wei | The Art of Letting Things Happen

Wu-wei | The Art of Letting Things Happen

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Lao Tzu, the author of Tao Te Ching, stated that the world governs itself. It doesn't need our intervention. Lao Tzu wrote: "When you arrive at non-action, nothing will be left undone."

The idea resembles the basic understanding of the paradoxical concept "we-wei." Wu-wei means "non-doing", "doing nothing", or "effortless action." It is about aligning our actions with nature and not forcing anything.


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Wu-wei can enhance our relationship with the world

The ancient art of "letting things happen" doesn't make us passive.

Lao Tzu stated that using force, "forcing the flow of nature" always leads to unseen troubles. Nature has its course and is always working in the background to create and recreate the 10,000 things.


4.02K reads

Human effort

Human effort

Today's society focuses on the importance of conscious human effort. We celebrate effort, despite its actual effectiveness, as we aim to always be busy for the sake of being busy. 

Hard work is necessary and action is often reasonable, but on many occasions, it isn't. That is why we often experience that "forcing things" leads to ruin, and pushing our luck beyond nature's constraints often backfires. Conversely, situations often solve themselves when we don't intervene.


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Navigate through life like water

Navigate through life like water

Spending our lives fighting against nature is a waste of time, no matter how much people celebrate us for engaging in the effort.

We are really better off accepting what is and navigate through it like water, flowing through a rocky surface.


3.02K reads

Effortless action

Effortless action

With effortless action, we are not so much doing, but rather going.

We start on a river stream without considering where it leads us. We're setting sail into unchartered territory, without getting worried about the great unknown. We swim with the current, not against it, making our way smooth.

For example, going on a date means you want to get to know the person. But many people overprepare, overanalyze, and rehearse causing them to become nervous and come across as staged.


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Letting go of the result

We often focus too much on the results.  Zhuangzi talks about how different prospects can influence our actions and emotional states if we attach ourselves to them.

In the context of a date, we want the other person to like us, and if we don't succeed, we feel miserable. Instead of just enjoying the evening out, it becomes a stressful event with lots of mental preparations. However, entering a date unprepared lets you act natural. You are present in the moment and most people love that.

If we let go of the results, we can act more effortlessly and responsively.


2.58K reads

The ego

The ego

Ego often distorts how we perceive reality.

For example, when we converse with a spouse, the ego tends to fill the unknown gaps with prejudices, fantasies, and convictions.

The larger the ego, the more it will dominate the situation and close us off from what's really going on. That's why Lao Tzu urges us to return to a more unprocessed state he calls "the uncarved block" where the person is unencumbered by intellectual baggage.


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The need for courage

We need to be brave enough to let go of what we've learned and ignore our assumptions. 

As Lao Tu puts it, "Renounce knowledge and your problems will end. What is the difference between yes and no? What is the difference between good and evil? Must you fear what others fear? Nonsense, look how far you have missed the mark!"


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"Fasting of the heart"

Confucius described "fasting of the heart" as a form of meditation, which leads to letting our preconceptions go and making room to receive. 

Understanding wu-wei helps us to let go of the ego, so we can act with the situation at hand, as it is. We let things happen and act responsibly, unrestrained by our preconceived ideas.


2.71K reads



Running away from your problems is a race you`ll never win.


Wu Wei is the responsive way of action from a clear openness in yourself.

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