Moving forward by taking no action

Imbolc                                                                   Valentine Moon

This last week was a bust as far as Latin or the book.  It was spent in the emotional and rigorous task of restoration, order to books, objets d’art, the new furnace.  Hardly wasted effort, but the effect on forward progress was substantial.

You may notice that I’ve added a quote by Lao-Tze over the weather.  In it he advises the way of wu wei, of non-action, or, better of going with the flow, following the path life offers rather than overburdening it with goals, timelines, projects.  It’s not a huge difference from the Dalai Lama’s notion that the world does not need more successful people.  This week I’ve allowed the pace of the week to set my pace.  The result has been less frustration, less impatience.

When the way opens again for work with Latin and the novels, I will be ready to do that.

Though.  There is that tiny, niggling fact that I have northern European roots, not Chinese. Wu wei to my Teutonic ancestors would not have made much sense.  Set the goal, plow ahead, damn the obstacles.  Blitzkrieg.  Dynamite. (Nobel) The onward rush of history, it’s progress through material reality.  These are not the thoughts or inventions of people who follow the Watercourse Way.

Nor, for that matter, is the other ethnic blood in my veins, Celtic.  Hot-blooded, quick to laugh, quick to anger.  Impatient with oppression.  Creative and dreamy.  Living in this world and the other world.  In one case the rational tank rolls over barriers; in the other the emotional maelstrom cooks up revolution and poetry and love.

Wu wei is a corrective, another way of being in the world.  And we need it.  It leavens our energetic attempts to mold the world with a willingness to listen to how the world might mold us.

It’s for another time, but the long run application of Taoist and even Confucian principles have produced a moral and ethical sink in contemporary China.  They are not the whole way.  We need each other.