Have you ever reflected on the word ‘doing’? ‘Doing’ points to performance, achievement, effort. It also implies that there’s a ‘doer’ who engages in ‘doing something’, and that there’s a passive element or ‘the thing that’s being done’.
But does it work that way? Is there a separation between the thing that ‘does’ and the thing that’s ‘being done’? Or is the thing that does actually what’s being done and vice versa? Ancient Taoist writers might urge us to think about ‘doing’ (and ‘not doing’) a bit differently than we’re used to. At the root of Taoist philosophy lies the idea of an all-encompassing force called Tao, from which all elements of the universe derive.
The flow of existence is something we can live by or resist. If we follow the Tao, our lives will be easy. But if we try to resist, our lives will be difficult. When we’re mainly focused on striving and straining, because we’re convinced that only through ‘effort’ we’ll get where we need to be, we may be swimming against the stream.
So, what if ‘doing’ isn’t always necessary to get things done? What if many of our actions are a waste of time and energy? What if we can take shortcuts in life if we learn how to embark on the natural course?
This video explores the paradoxical art of doing without doing (Taoism), and how we can live life the smart way (TAOISM | The Art of Doing Without Doing).
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