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Wu Wei (Effortless Action)

mindatriskmindatrisk Veteran
edited October 7 in General Banter

Over the last few years I've become more and more interested in taoist concepts and materials, especially the concept of Wu Wei (effortless action), and especially the Carol K Anthony commentary on the I Ching 'A Guide to the I Ching'.

The concept of effortless action basically involves us developing a sensitivity to life and its / our natural flow - not forcing actions, but rather waiting for the right action to arise and then flowing with it.

Most of us will have heard of sports people taking about being 'in the zone', and most of us will have experienced a similar feeling in a creative activity where we lose track of time and the creative process of what we are engaged with seems to look after itself and simply 'happen'. This is 'effortless action'.

One of the hallmarks of effortless action is its capacity to create almost magical circumstances for our lives... far beyond what we might be able to plan or devise for ourselves under our own efforts. I've experienced two major examples in the last few years that have given me great confidence in this process.

The first major example was just over a year ago. Coming from a small, backwards town in the North of England, I'd always wanted to move to London. But, given my unwillingness to get a job and earn money, I couldn't see how I could possibility live in London and do the kind of work I wanted to without working A LOT to earn enough. It seemed like an unachievable dream. However, from nowhere, one day a friend who had done some volunteering with a charity said that the charity had acquired a building in London zone one and needed guardians to live in it... she'd been asked and was now asking me. So, for one year I lived in London for free! What is more, the charity allowed us to set up a food bank from the building, so not only did we get to help people, but we had access to the food we collected (from a large Sainsbury's literally 20 metres away and NCGM literally a 5 minute drive away) so we could even eat for free. Plus we had car parking space at the front which we rented out, earning sometimes £100 per day to develop our project. For my first experience in allowing life to be the creative force for me, it was a stunning, almost magical example of what is possible.

After one year we lost our building. At first I couldn't believe it. Everything fell apart and I ended up back at my parents for a few weeks. Then one day a friend travelling in Spain told me to come out and join her. Even though I had nowhere to stay and no reason to go, I 'knew' that I should. So, I booked a flight, figuring I could always sleep on the beach until something happened. Ten minutes after I booked my friend got a message saying we could go and live / work in an off-grid community in the Spanish mountains... relief! We got there and it was ok - not my thing, really, as everyone was drinking etc. but after a few days the owner said that he needed a house-sitter for the site between October and April, and all of a sudden I had a place where I could do a solitary meditation retreat in an incredible isolated location for six months, something I'd always dreamed of, but never knew how I could do it without earning a lot of money first. Amazing!

So, I'm two examples into this process now, and already I feel vindicated and greatly encouraged. I don't know what the creative force is behind these circumstances, but it seems hard for me to believe that this is pure good fortune, rather than some design at some level behind the scenes, since the opportunities provided are so perfect and particular for me.

It's a beautiful path to walk... but a difficult one too. It means letting go of my own plans, and my own ideas about how life should unfold. My plans are well intentioned, but, truth to be told, I don't always know what is best for me, nor the timing of when things should happen, and, so, letting go and allowing the path to unfold for me by living moment to moment and having the courage and patience to wait is VITAL. I was very tempted when I found myself back at my parents (I'm 35) to force things to happen, and I did prod and poke at life a little, but I remained patient and from nowhere incredible circumstances suddenly occurred. This is truly a moment to moment path. My focus is on looking after today and trusting that the future will unfold naturally and in accord with my highest potential and benefit, far beyond my small wishes and fears. It's difficult, and requires surrender, but it really seems to work, and has transformed my life into one seeming blessing after another. Good times!

Carol K. Anthony discussing what the I Ching is about...

ShoshinlobsterKeromeFosdickNadlatstSnakeskin

Comments

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I think there is something to this, but also that you have to put yourself out there as being available, and you have to make some friends. That’s easier to do when you are younger, people don’t make connections as easily when they reach 50+.

    Personally I’m not so good at making connections, I have a few close friends, but if I rely on just waiting for what happens, then nothing happens! I’m just coming out of a five-year period of recovery, and during that time I’ve found that if I don’t act, poke existence as you say, it gets awfully quiet.

    BunksFosdickSnakeskinTosh
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited October 7

    I have used fortune telling including the I ching but find it has little to do with Tao or wu wei. Wu wei I have lot of time for. Enjoyed your experiences. I totally agree and confirm your experiences of some underlying 'creative force'/Tao/Ain/Flow/Matrix ... I don't know what it is BUT is it is!

    Go with the flow ... iz unplanned plan!

    Snakeskin
  • @Kerome said:
    I think there is something to this, but also that you have to put yourself out there as being available, and you have to make some friends. That’s easier to do when you are younger, people don’t make connections as easily when they reach 50+.

    Personally I’m not so good at making connections, I have a few close friends, but if I rely on just waiting for what happens, then nothing happens! I’m just coming out of a five-year period of recovery, and during that time I’ve found that if I don’t act, poke existence as you say, it gets awfully quiet.

    Indeed. We have to be in the world, but - again - it does not need to be forceful or against our nature, and we do not need to go to where we think we need to go for something to happen. It seems there is a creative force behind the scenes (of ourselves or the universe) that has immense intelligence and capability. In other words, our role in this is to live our natural lives, to 'meet todays needs', and to simply be receptive to what comes.

    This creative force is capable of bringing the right people and situations to us, and usually in surprising ways. It is also very capable of side-stepping what we think we want (or are worthy of experiencing) to bring us situations we would not even think to dream of. My two examples above are good cases... I never thought it possible to live in London for free, and I never thought it possible to do a six month retreat in the Spanish mountains for free - I always expected that I'd have to take traditional, 'hard working' routes to do this. Not so!

    But, from this perspective now looking back on how I had previously lived, it is clear to me that this creative presence was always at work, but my ideas about how life should be, what I wanted, what I deserved etc. made me overlook incredible opportunities. As John Lennon said, life is what happens as we are busy making other plans. It is worth nothing that I feel very much the beginner in this path, and it has taken me three years to get to this point.... there are a lot of poor habits of mind to overcome. It really is a whole new way of thinking and living. The best help I've had is the Carol K Anthony book.

    lobsterpaulysoSnakeskin
  • @lobster said:
    I have used fortune telling including the I ching but find it has little to do with Tao or wu wei. Wu wei I have lot of time for. Enjoyed your experiences. I totally agree and confirm your experiences of some underlying 'creative force'/Tao/Ain/Flow/Matrix ... I don't know what it is BUT is it is!

    Go with the flow ... iz unplanned plan!

    The I Ching is most definitely not fortune telling! It provides us with an insight into the present moment and guides 'how we should think' to be in alignment with the creative force. Much like the dharma, it is a corrective tool.

    Snakeskin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "I see great changes in your life...And for this to happen...that must happen and for that to happen ...this must happen...These changes are inevitable ...Suffering is optional... ! "
    "That will be $100...Will you be paying by cash or efpos"

    TravellerNadlatst
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Wu Wei (Effortless Action)

    I'm under the impression that in order for something to be extraordinary there has to be a strong sense of self present to witness/document the event and when there's a strong sense of self there, there's also a strong possibility of illusion being added to the mix... Mystery & Imagination......

    Effortless action means a selfless act.... Which is where the extraordinary becomes extraordinary and nothing special ...

    lobsterNadlatstSnakeskin
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    lao is tao,buddha is dharma.tao and dharma ,the word is different,but the breath--or spirit of the letter--is the same...way--pointing the way.the common spirit is to go beyond self--or i like to say,get over myself--and participate in,as that famous vietnamese zen teacher,would say...interbeing.or it can be the art--meaning practice--the way of the spirit in breath,with the auspicious life that is moving,addaptable fluid and sometimes coincidental or timely.just my opinion.

    Snakeskin
  • @Shoshin said:

    Wu Wei (Effortless Action)

    I'm under the impression that in order for something to be extraordinary there has to be a strong sense of self present to witness/document the event and when there's a strong sense of self there, there's also a strong possibility of illusion being added to the mix... Mystery & Imagination......

    Effortless action means a selfless act.... Which is where the extraordinary becomes extraordinary and nothing special ...

    Can you explain this again? I'm not sure I'm following, but you seem to be saying something worth understanding. Thanks!

    Snakeskin
  • NadlatstNadlatst earth Explorer

    @Shoshin said:

    Wu Wei (Effortless Action)

    I'm under the impression that in order for something to be extraordinary there has to be a strong sense of self present to witness/document the event and when there's a strong sense of self there, there's also a strong possibility of illusion being added to the mix... Mystery & Imagination......

    Effortless action means a selfless act.... Which is where the extraordinary becomes extraordinary and nothing special ...

    Nice..good thinking..

    TravellerSnakeskinShoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @mindatrisk said:

    Can you explain this again? I'm not sure I'm following, but you seem to be saying something worth understanding. Thanks!

    @mindatrisk
    If the sense of self starts to make the experience/event into something special then there is still a mind that clings and grasps (illusions arise when the flow is blocked/obstructed by attachments) ... Whereas with non-self there's nothing special to see...what is, "Is"....nothing special (non-clinging & grasping mind...with no attachment...no illusions will arise) ...Well that's the overall plan of non-action :)

    "Awareness is fundamentally non-conceptual before 'thinking' splits experience into subject and object" (What "Is" then becomes something special)

    Just go with the flow....( bearing in 'mind'...there's no permanently abiding self to let go of in the first place).... :)

    So to quote the Buddha....

    "Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (Nothing whatsoever should be clung to )

    TravellerSnakeskin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @mindatrisk said:
    The I Ching is most definitely not fortune telling! It provides us with an insight into the present moment and guides 'how we should think' to be in alignment with the creative force. Much like the dharma, it is a corrective tool.

    Insight always welcome.

    If there is definitely a way you should flow or creatively think, a system of divination will direct your fortunes ...

    ... and now back to the uncorrected ...
    http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2015/01/can-buddhists-seek-advice-from-divination/

    TravellerSnakeskin
  • @lobster said:

    @mindatrisk said:
    The I Ching is most definitely not fortune telling! It provides us with an insight into the present moment and guides 'how we should think' to be in alignment with the creative force. Much like the dharma, it is a corrective tool.

    Insight always welcome.

    If there is definitely a way you should flow or creatively think, a system of divination will direct your fortunes ...

    ... and now back to the uncorrected ...
    http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2015/01/can-buddhists-seek-advice-from-divination/

    A nice play of words, dear Lobster.

  • mindatriskmindatrisk Veteran
    edited October 9

    @Shoshin said:

    @mindatrisk said:

    Can you explain this again? I'm not sure I'm following, but you seem to be saying something worth understanding. Thanks!

    @mindatrisk
    If the sense of self starts to make the experience/event into something special then there is still a mind that clings and grasps (illusions arise when the flow is blocked/obstructed by attachments) ... Whereas with non-self there's nothing special to see...what is, "Is"....nothing special (non-clinging & grasping mind...with no attachment...no illusions will arise) ...Well that's the overall plan of non-action :)

    "Awareness is fundamentally non-conceptual before 'thinking' splits experience into subject and object" (What "Is" then becomes something special)

    Just go with the flow....( bearing in 'mind'...there's no permanently abiding self to let go of in the first place).... :)

    So to quote the Buddha....

    "Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (Nothing whatsoever should be clung to )

    I think we can make the distinction between recognising profound results from our spiritual practice and being attached to them.

    In meditation I might experience a sense of deep peace, for example. Now, of course, it is possible and quite usual for an attachment to form for this state as it is so desirable, however, there is also a healthier perspective pre-attachment that recognises the fruits of our practice and utilises the experience to encourage further practice. I think this is healthy, at least in the initial stages of any practice when we might be uncertain about its merits. Attachment to a certain state is a stage later - it is recognising the fruit and then wishing to hold onto it, in contradiction with the truth of impermanence.

    For me, in these early stages of practicing 'non-action', to not recognise the fruits of my practice would be to keep myself in the dark, and, as such, likely discourage my own continued practice... not a good idea! It is a fine balance, of course. When my situation in London occurred it all seemed so miraculous that when it fell apart there was a strong sense of attachment to the situation. But fall apart it did (as much as I tried to hold on), and having fallen apart and given myself breathing space to understand, I returned to non-action, and a couple of months later I experienced an even more profound situation arise, that is even more desirable, even more helpful for my spiritual practice, and, that too will come to an end. All of which is okay, so long as I am able to let it all come and go as the flow of life dictates.

    It is also worth noting that 'flow' naturally incorporates change. Also worth noting that 'I Ching' translates as 'The Book of Changes'... so attachment is a long way from the purpose of this, and more just a natural predilection of experiencing wonderful things that I need to be alert to. I might be wrong, but I'm also fairly sure that what we consider to be Zen Buddhism is a mutation of Taoism and Buddhism coming together - initially in China as 'Chan', and then later in Japan as Zen. So the two paths are certainly not incompatible. In fact, everything I've stated here can be found in one form or another in Buddhism, if only with a little bit of 'reading between the lines'.

    SnakeskinShoshin
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    It is worthy to note here as well that the I Ching is not exclusively Taoist nor does Taoist practice necessarily incorporate usage of the I Ching.

    lobsterSnakeskin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    Snakeskin
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    Personally, I tried to get into the I Ching years ago but it just didn't sit with me too well. That doesn't mean it isn't a very useful tool for someone that does get it.

    Snakeskin
  • NamadaNamada Veteran

    Effortless action, hmm seems to be the lazy monkey mind playing games. Life is hardwork for most uf us...ofcourse if you sing a happy song while doing hardwork, it can lighten the mind.

  • @Namada said:
    Effortless action, hmm seems to be the lazy monkey mind playing games. Life is hardwork for most uf us...ofcourse if you sing a happy song while doing hardwork, it can lighten the mind.

    If you think about each moment of your life and how many different choices you have in each and every moment to act in a multitude of vastly varying ways, how is it we can know what is the right, most efficient, most effective, most ethical, most successful, most authentic etc. etc.?

    The answer is that most of us do not know, and because we do not know 'right action' moment to moment, we create a life of suffering for ourselves, for others, and for the wider world. One look at the news on any given day would indicate quite clearly that most human beings have no idea of what 'right actions' are.

    Non-action is not about not acting, but rather allowing the correct action to arise spontaneously from a higher part of our nature and then following through with it without any expectation of what will result. It is most certainly not about doing nothing! I still have to chop my wood and collect my water.

    Life does not need to be hard work. I live in the West too. Until recently I thought that I had to work hard to achieve in life and 'get what I wanted'. The problem for me was that I had no real desires and nothing I wanted to achieve. So, the 'hard work' that seemed to be involved in making any little idea or project I had in mind work was never worth it.

    But then, through the practice of non-action, incredible circumstances arose... easily, naturally, spontaneously, without any effort on my part. Circumstances that I would not have dreamt of as possible, nor really been able to 'work hard' to achieve. For example, living in central London for free for one year, and, now, living in the Spanish mountains for six months doing a meditation retreat for free. These are incredible blessings, and, yes, maybe it's just a bit of good luck, but somehow these blessings keep unfolding, and more and more I cannot deny that there appears to be an almost magical, creative force behind my conscious scenes orchestrating these incredible circumstances.

    There is nothing special about me, other than the fact that I find this planet so dull that I'm willing to experiment with and commit to any interesting idea and philosophy 'just to see'. In this way I discover some amazing angles to life.

  • @David said:
    Personally, I tried to get into the I Ching years ago but it just didn't sit with me too well. That doesn't mean it isn't a very useful tool for someone that does get it.

    Can I recommend Carol K Anthony's 'A Guide to the I Ching'? It is a commentary orientated to the western mind that I find very helpful. The original I Ching text is to me incomprehensible.

  • @lobster said:
    Somehow I thought this was relevant ...

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DLk_QBDUEAAvulu?format=jpg&name=large

    Do you have any creative outlets... painting, writing, composing music etc.? If so, do you have moment when you are working on, say, a painting, and you have little inspiration and you feel yourself trying to force something through? Do you also have moments where the creative juices flow and your art, whatever it is, just comes out easily and freely and spontaneously? If so, are you aware of that flow state, where time disappears and you become completely absorbed in the activity? If so, this is Wu Wei... this is 'non-action... this is the flow state. The only difference being that in wu Wei we are taught that our whole lives can be lived in this flow state, where everything unfolds easily, freely, spontaneously, and, most importantly, correctly in accordance with our highest nature.

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @mindatrisk said:

    @David said:
    Personally, I tried to get into the I Ching years ago but it just didn't sit with me too well. That doesn't mean it isn't a very useful tool for someone that does get it.

    Can I recommend Carol K Anthony's 'A Guide to the I Ching'? It is a commentary orientated to the western mind that I find very helpful. The original I Ching text is to me incomprehensible.

    Same here but it isn't that. Don't get me wrong, everything else you posted in the o/p is bang on in my opinion.

    I am a Taoist Buddhist who would dance the Wu Li but the I Ching just is not my cup of tea leaves.

  • @David said:

    @mindatrisk said:

    @David said:
    Personally, I tried to get into the I Ching years ago but it just didn't sit with me too well. That doesn't mean it isn't a very useful tool for someone that does get it.

    Can I recommend Carol K Anthony's 'A Guide to the I Ching'? It is a commentary orientated to the western mind that I find very helpful. The original I Ching text is to me incomprehensible.

    Same here but it isn't that. Don't get me wrong, everything else you posted in the o/p is bang on in my opinion.

    I am a Taoist Buddhist who would dance the Wu Li but the I Ching just is not my cup of tea leaves.

    Aye, fair enough.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited October 9

    It is also worth noting that 'flow' naturally incorporates change. Also worth noting that >'I Ching' translates as 'The Book of Changes'... so attachment is a long way from the >purpose of this, and more just a natural predilection of experiencing wonderful things >that I need to be alert to. I might be wrong, but I'm also fairly sure that what we >consider to be Zen Buddhism is a mutation of Taoism and Buddhism coming together - >initially in China as 'Chan', and then later in Japan as Zen. So the two paths are certainly >not incompatible. In fact, everything I've stated here can be found in one form or >another in Buddhism, if only with a little bit of 'reading between the lines'.

    "The story unfolds in China as Buddhism appears on the scene and is accepted by the Chinese population as a “simplified version of Taoism” that the Western barbarians (subcontinent Indians and Central Asians, e.g. Tibetans, et al.) could understand. They shared many philosophical similarities that made Chinese acclimation to Buddhism much easier – but the more dogmatic ways in which Buddhism was practiced helped it to get the fast track on becoming the predominant religion in China."

    @mindatrisk it's great that this is happening ie, tuning in(to the flow) & dropping out...however all I've been saying is...ride the experience("Wow this is so great")...don't cling to it ... It's easy to get caught up/stuck in the moment and want more of the same...which inevitably leads to disappointment

    We are just bundles of vibrating energy flux held together by karmic glue...And as the set of aggregates known as @mindatrisk knows...there's no permanently abiding self that an experience can really belong to ....experiences come and go... the self is here today-gone tomorrow so to speak..one moment up the next moment down ...

    Life just flux (ever changing) ...and I might just add that this a good thing...(just imagine what it would be like if it didn't) :wink:

    "The Great way is not difficult for those who have no preference"

    ~Chien-chih Seng-ts'an~ (Third Zen Patriarch) "Hsin Hsin Ming"

    "The wise enjoy nothing in particular, and therefore enjoy everything in general !"

    ~Lao Tzu~

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    @mindatrisk said:

    @lobster said:
    Somehow I thought this was relevant ...

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DLk_QBDUEAAvulu?format=jpg&name=large

    Do you have any creative outlets... painting, writing, composing music etc.? If so, do you have moment when you are working on, say, a painting, and you have little inspiration and you feel yourself trying to force something through? Do you also have moments where the creative juices flow and your art, whatever it is, just comes out easily and freely and spontaneously? If so, are you aware of that flow state, where time disappears and you become completely absorbed in the activity? If so, this is Wu Wei... this is 'non-action... this is the flow state. The only difference being that in wu Wei we are taught that our whole lives can be lived in this flow state, where everything unfolds easily, freely, spontaneously, and, most importantly, correctly in accordance with our highest nature.

    mindatrisk,i know what you mean.im an artist...paint,draw,sculpt.,for fun.the stuggle..and ease spectrum...which reminds me without practice the familiarity of ease or flow can be rusty in any activity one engages in.practice builds expirience and wisdom.lao said something like he was in the womb of wisdom for a long time.so it took a while for him to grow in wisdom.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    also practice builds proficiency,the flow or ease,in art and in a job.for me landscaping.getting better.plus,good exercise.

    Shoshinlobster
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    DÜDJOM RINPOCHE
    MEDITATION
    Since everything originates in the mind, this being the root cause of all experience,
    whether good or bad, it is first of all necessary to work with your own mind, not to let it stray and lose yourself in its wandering. Cut the unnecessary build-up of complexity and fabrications which invite confusion in the mind. Nip the problem in the bud, so to speak.
    Allow yourself to relax and feel some spaciousness, letting mind be to settle naturally.
    Your body should be still, speech silent, and breathing as it is, freely flowing. Here, there is a sense of letting go, unfolding, letting be.
    What does this state of relaxation feel like? You should be like someone after a really hard day's work, exhausted and peacefully satisfied, mind contented to rest. Something settles at gut level, and feeling it resting in your gut you begin to experience a lightness. It is as if you are melting.
    The mind is so unpredictable that there's no limit to the fantastic and subtle creation which arise, its moods, and where it will lead you. But you might also experience a muddy, semi-conscious drifting state, like having a hood over your head - a kind of dreamy dullness. This is a manner of stillness, namely stagnation, a blurred, mindless blindness.
    And how do you get out of this state? Alert yourself, straighten your back, breathe the stale air out of your lungs, and direct your awareness into clear space in order to bring about freshness. If you remain in this stagnant state you will not evolve, so when this setback arises clear it again and again. It is important to develop watchfulness, to stay sensitively alert.
    So, the lucid awareness of meditation is the recognition of both stillness and change, and
    the quiet clarity of peacefully remaining in our basic intelligence. Practice this, for only by actually doing it does one experience the fruition or begin to change.

    lobsterShoshin
  • @Shoshin said:

    It is also worth noting that 'flow' naturally incorporates change. Also worth noting that >'I Ching' translates as 'The Book of Changes'... so attachment is a long way from the >purpose of this, and more just a natural predilection of experiencing wonderful things >that I need to be alert to. I might be wrong, but I'm also fairly sure that what we >consider to be Zen Buddhism is a mutation of Taoism and Buddhism coming together - >initially in China as 'Chan', and then later in Japan as Zen. So the two paths are certainly >not incompatible. In fact, everything I've stated here can be found in one form or >another in Buddhism, if only with a little bit of 'reading between the lines'.

    "The story unfolds in China as Buddhism appears on the scene and is accepted by the Chinese population as a “simplified version of Taoism” that the Western barbarians (subcontinent Indians and Central Asians, e.g. Tibetans, et al.) could understand. They shared many philosophical similarities that made Chinese acclimation to Buddhism much easier – but the more dogmatic ways in which Buddhism was practiced helped it to get the fast track on becoming the predominant religion in China."

    @mindatrisk it's great that this is happening ie, tuning in(to the flow) & dropping out...however all I've been saying is...ride the experience("Wow this is so great")...don't cling to it ... It's easy to get caught up/stuck in the moment and want more of the same...which inevitably leads to disappointment

    We are just bundles of vibrating energy flux held together by karmic glue...And as the set of aggregates known as @mindatrisk knows...there's no permanently abiding self that an experience can really belong to ....experiences come and go... the self is here today-gone tomorrow so to speak..one moment up the next moment down ...

    Life just flux (ever changing) ...and I might just add that this a good thing...(just imagine what it would be like if it didn't) :wink:

    "The Great way is not difficult for those who have no preference"

    ~Chien-chih Seng-ts'an~ (Third Zen Patriarch) "Hsin Hsin Ming"

    "The wise enjoy nothing in particular, and therefore enjoy everything in general !"

    ~Lao Tzu~

    I agree. As the London experience fell apart, I certainly found myself clinging to it and not trusting the natural cycle of things that always ends in decay. I think this is because it was my first experience of this 'magic' and I was yet to experience a repeat of this magic to give me the peace that it was not a one off. Now that the Spain circumstance has arisen, I feel much more relaxed about letting whatever will be to be, as I trust that, as and when this experience decays, another magical circumstance will arise.

  • @Jeffrey said:

    DÜDJOM RINPOCHE
    MEDITATION
    Since everything originates in the mind, this being the root cause of all experience,
    whether good or bad, it is first of all necessary to work with your own mind, not to let it stray and lose yourself in its wandering. Cut the unnecessary build-up of complexity and fabrications which invite confusion in the mind. Nip the problem in the bud, so to speak.
    Allow yourself to relax and feel some spaciousness, letting mind be to settle naturally.
    Your body should be still, speech silent, and breathing as it is, freely flowing. Here, there is a sense of letting go, unfolding, letting be.
    What does this state of relaxation feel like? You should be like someone after a really hard day's work, exhausted and peacefully satisfied, mind contented to rest. Something settles at gut level, and feeling it resting in your gut you begin to experience a lightness. It is as if you are melting.
    The mind is so unpredictable that there's no limit to the fantastic and subtle creation which arise, its moods, and where it will lead you. But you might also experience a muddy, semi-conscious drifting state, like having a hood over your head - a kind of dreamy dullness. This is a manner of stillness, namely stagnation, a blurred, mindless blindness.
    And how do you get out of this state? Alert yourself, straighten your back, breathe the stale air out of your lungs, and direct your awareness into clear space in order to bring about freshness. If you remain in this stagnant state you will not evolve, so when this setback arises clear it again and again. It is important to develop watchfulness, to stay sensitively alert.
    So, the lucid awareness of meditation is the recognition of both stillness and change, and
    the quiet clarity of peacefully remaining in our basic intelligence. Practice this, for only by actually doing it does one experience the fruition or begin to change.

    I'm not sure how this fits into the discussion - I'm not saying it doesn't. But I'd love for you to explain the relevance of this point within the wider context of what is being discussed. I think it would open up new angles. I don't want to reply on presumption of knowing why you posted this. I'd rather you explain. Thanks!

  • @paulyso said:

    @mindatrisk said:

    @lobster said:
    Somehow I thought this was relevant ...

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DLk_QBDUEAAvulu?format=jpg&name=large

    Do you have any creative outlets... painting, writing, composing music etc.? If so, do you have moment when you are working on, say, a painting, and you have little inspiration and you feel yourself trying to force something through? Do you also have moments where the creative juices flow and your art, whatever it is, just comes out easily and freely and spontaneously? If so, are you aware of that flow state, where time disappears and you become completely absorbed in the activity? If so, this is Wu Wei... this is 'non-action... this is the flow state. The only difference being that in wu Wei we are taught that our whole lives can be lived in this flow state, where everything unfolds easily, freely, spontaneously, and, most importantly, correctly in accordance with our highest nature.

    mindatrisk,i know what you mean.im an artist...paint,draw,sculpt.,for fun.the stuggle..and ease spectrum...which reminds me without practice the familiarity of ease or flow can be rusty in any activity one engages in.practice builds expirience and wisdom.lao said something like he was in the womb of wisdom for a long time.so it took a while for him to grow in wisdom.

    Indeed. I play guitar and compose music. The best music I compose is when I am in a flow state - when the music doesn't come from me, but through me. When the flow is not there and I'm just composing for the sake of it, the results are not so hot! However, to even be able to compose in the first place means I have had to practice my instrument first.

    Can practice our practice be based on utilising the flow state, or do we sometimes have to drag ourselves through the muck to become more proficient? I think if we trust the flow state as the 'correct' state then the ultimate results are the highest ones.

    I say this because, I practice the guitar very infrequently... only when I 'feel like it', i.e. only when the flow to pick up the guitar is there. This has left me as a very limited guitarist given the amount of years I've been playing, however, now that I have 17 years of context to reflect upon, I can see that being a limited guitarist has worked to my benefit, as my limitations on guitar have required me to expand my creativity in other aspects of composing to make a piece of music more satisfying... using texture, tone, rhythm, other instruments, unusual compositional structures.

    In other words, the limitations of my guitar playing have expanded my creativity rather than restricted it, and that has only come to be because I am not someone who can force myself to do something I don't want to do. I think most great art is born of limitation... creativity thrives with limitations... limitations inspire creativity. Perhaps if I had been a very technical guitarist I'd be lost in exploring that world alone without feeling the need to expand into other areas to 'compensate'. Who knows.

    Our individual flow is 'unique', and I am of the character where it really is almost impossible for me to do something I don't feel like doing. I guess in many ways I've lived my whole life within an aspect of the flow without realising it, appreciating it, or accepting my life as okay as it was within that flow, because, of course, I was always measuring and comparing myself against others.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    mindatrisk, i whole-heartedly agree my best percieved art work came from a place of inspiration and flow,as you say not by me but through me. inspiration is a good catalyst to get the juice or flow going.which speaks to the aspect of being in the mood and how practice,initially,is building a familiarity with a skillset to be one with the flow without to much struggle or constriction,in the buddist term feeling tone.next paragraph in next post.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    mindatrisk,you ask...can practice our practice be based on utilizing our flow state,or do try to drag practice for proficiency? both.the first aspect of the question,is the result.the second question is the effort toward the result. strive to be striveless,is a school of thought i ascribe to based on knowing anything new,is going to be a struggle. like any skillset or fundamentals it needs to be learned.once the basic skillset is learned ,it can be natural or innate ,we can tap into which allow the flow state thrive.anothe way of saying effort towards effortlessness,strive ,struggle,ease .unless the creative talent is there ,then there might be a smoother transition towards ease or flow.got to prepare for work.will comment some more later

  • @mindatrisk, I don't think it's necessarily totally connected. But it it does describe instructions to get in the desired state of mind in meditation. Some times it is tough sledding to get in the zone and what I quoted described that like a stagnation.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    mindatrisk that is a fair point of view about limit or lack of experience,allow creative possibility or flow to explore.which reminds me when i was younger i just drew without preconceive notion in how to draw.so yah i get it about limit of experience or technique allow free expression.and i also appreciate teachers who encourage my creative aspect. the more i engage in the arts the more i got better. by the way im in the process of learning acoustic guitar.is challenging at the moment.my limited expirience,allow this beginners mind-zen coin-- explore endless possibility of plucking and strumming the cords...but hope to have--as the zen master say--an experts mind --through my music teacher--the basic fundamentals to really be one with the creative flow unity.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    mindatrisk,ok i think i know what you mean,from another angle,its about quality over quantity?....regarding limitation.i feel you about that too.produce a lot of art. some are crap,some i like.which speaks about the evolution of an artist,our sucess and failiure.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    mindatrisk, your last paragraph ,i can respect that. as an artist we do our thing,and helpful advice to not compare ourself to others.

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