Tao: Doing without Doing

PsychedelicYinYangOriginal Photograph Kel and Val

The Way never does anything
and everything gets done.
If those in power could hold to the Way,
the ten thousand things
would look after themselves.
If even so they tried to act,
I’d quiet them with the nameless
the natural.

In the unnamed, in the unshapen
is not wanting.
In not wanting is stillness.
In stillness all under heaven rests.

~Excerpt from the Tao Te Ching translated by Ursula K. Le Guin

Words for contemplation from the wise Lao Tzu. This Taoist concept of “doing without doing” is one I’ve mentioned briefly before. It is simple in theory, but extremely hard to wrap one’s mind around. In fact, I would venture to say that it’s impossible to wrap the mind around. You must experience this phenomenon with your whole self, your entire being. You must be completely and utterly present. My take on this seeming paradox is that one must learn to let go of what they hold to be true. Our minds have a powerful attachment to feelings and thoughts based on past circumstances and imagined future occurrences. It is the doing of limited thought that we must dispel. Only then can we act from a place of complete presence and do without doing. I don’t wish to expound too much on this. I want you to sit with these words. Carry them with you. Don’t try to analyze too much. Just pay attention to your breath and allow this message to sink into your heart.

By Terence Stone

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Chief Editor and Founder of Urban Spiritual, I’m a classically trained singer and actor living in New York City, who has performed in the U.S. and Europe. I’m also a writer, traveller, meditator, arts-lover, and well-being enthusiast.

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