Here I am doing my part to cultivate the Tao. I realize that I’ve been doing no less than that for quite a while, so why not call it by its name? For this first edition, a quick list of tips on how to do nothing — wu wei.
It’s not really like what it sounds though. Wu Wei requires a keen awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings in the same way that a surfer surfs, a bird flies and a mother nurtures. We all have something that comes naturally to us, and wu wei is allowing this natural thing to take root and grow.
Here are some tips on how to get started.
1. When you can’t beat them, join them. I don’t mean this in the traditional “selling out” sense. When in a competition and you’re not exactly winning, it’s not really that you’re worse. It could also be that the others are simply better — they know something you don’t or have trained more than you. “Join them” by learning more, improving your own skills and techniques, and maximizing your abilities. As a coach once told me, winning is all about attitude. Even winners practice and train right? Keep your chin up!
2. When you can’t keep your eyes open, close them. We live in a multi-tasking world where people take pride in doing more things in less time, and so a lot of us tend to forget the importance of taking a good nap or getting some sleep. Just as the day turns to night, so should we. Well-rested people tend to be more focused, alert, active and awake during the times they’re supposed to. Right, dear students? 🙂
3. When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re not hungry, don’t eat. I think any diet regimen can be summarized with that. Forget counting calories and fighting carbs. All that will make you crazy and will get in the way of enjoying life. Instead, remember that eating is for nourishment and it is the act of nourishing — and not the eating itself — which is actually enjoyable. We don’t eat for food’s sake but for ours, so don’t deprive yourself. Let every meal be a treat because you’re sustaining yourself for another day. Just stop when you’re full. Moderation is key! (I’ve made this my personal diet philosophy lately and so far, so good! I still want my Krispy Kreme though. I’ll do so the moment I get near the area! 🙂 )
4. When you can’t write anymore, read. When you can’t read anymore, write. This is my advice for budding writers. I strongly believe that reading and writing are two skills that go hand in hand. To write better, read more. And you’ll enjoy reading more the moment you start writing. The secret is to take the two as yin and yang; do one when the other tires you, then alternate. But of course when your eyes tire, close them!
5. When the silence becomes deafening, pump up the volume! With so much to concern us these days, nothing could be worse than drowning in our own thoughts. Talk about a case of analysis paralysis! The cure? Listen to music. Find the genre you fancy and the artists you can relate to, and just listen. Music has a unique way of articulating our innermost feelings — this is why the iPod became so personal and essential for a lot. Just don’t let the lyrics replace your own ideas because at times, these songs can also suggest what you should feel. (This is why emo music is so popular among teens.) Like food, take it in moderation. When you begin getting tired, turn it off. Remember: iPod, I control. Don’t let it control you.
This is all for now. Either I’ll do five at a time or as many as I’d like but right now, it’s five. The above tips are nothing groundbreaking obviously, but it’s so interesting how so many of us forget the simplest things. That’s what we mean by wu wei! It’s is not literally doing nothing, but it is about making it seem that we’re not doing anything by being simple about it.
So following my own advice, I bid you all adieu. It’s getting late and it’s almost time to do the most nothing of nothings — sleep! 🙂