Wu Wei

I have an unfortunate tendency to cogitate excessively.  Rumination is prized in our culture, reason an admirable exercise.  But the reality is that thinking is not the best tool for most situations.  It is good for long-term planning and organizing belief sets.  That’s about it.

What is of more value is action.  But more than that, action without action.  I can make the most ridiculous shots while playing basketball completely without any intention to do so.  I can charge three men and kill them all within the space of 3 seconds so long as I do not engage the analytical portion of my brain.  I can be charming and witty on any occasion only to the extent that I do not make a concerted effort to be charming and witty.  In effect, I can be far more effective in most activities by emptying myself of desire and allowing my unconscious mind to do what it does so magnificently: calculate the optimal set of behaviors for efficacy in any situation.

On the other hand, action without thought can be dangerous if emotions are completely in control.  It isn’t just thinking that is a barrier to achieving optimum performance, which is why desire is equally…undesirable.  Sadly, having desires is an integral part of being human, and even the desire to eliminate desire will keep a person from reaching a state of effortless being.  Thankfully, not every moment is one in which I must empty myself and simply happen.  But when those moments occur, I am able to act without acting as needed.  I can’t explain how I do it, or I wouldn’t be able to do it.

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