The Art and Skill of Effortless Being
· Be Like Water – Bruce Lee’s Philosophy ·
In this time of COVID-19 quarantine – critical psychological survival priorities are learning to be less hurried, less driven – and more flexible.
The Chinese philosophical concept of wu wei – strategic non-action – has actionable insights for the 21st century.
The Tao Te Ching, written in China around 600 BC, first described the idea of effortless being: wu wei.
“Do that which consists in taking no action and order will prevail.”
The Tao Te Ching presents the idea that we should stop trying to force action.
Wu wei refers to the cultivation of a state of being in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the ebb and flow of the elemental cycles of the natural world. It is a kind of “going with the flow” that is characterized by great ease and awareness, in which—without even trying—we’re able to respond perfectly to whatever situations arise.
The starting point for achieving this natural ‘action of non-action’ is: Mindfulness.
Nothing is weaker than water,
But when it attacks something hard,
Or something resistant – then nothing withstands it,
And nothing will alter its way.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu, Chapter 78
Bruce Lee’s Private Letters and Writings
“In order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with – and not against – my nature.”
Bruce Lee’s private letters and writing have been published in the book Artist of Life (Bruce Lee Library).
From his writing, we can gain insight into the many facets of his life, including life philosophies.
“After spending many hours meditating and practicing, I gave up and went sailing alone in a junk.
On the sea I thought of all my past training and got mad at myself and punched the water!
Right then — at that moment — a thought suddenly struck me; was not this water the very essence of gung fu? Hadn’t this water just now illustrated to me the principle of gung fu? I struck (the water) but it did not suffer hurt.
Again I struck (the water) with all of my might — yet it was not wounded! I then tried to grasp a handful of water – but this proved impossible.
This water, the softest substance in the world, which could be contained in the smallest jar, only seemed weak. In reality, water could penetrate the hardest substance in the world.
That was it! I wanted to be like the nature of water.
Suddenly a bird flew by and cast its reflection on the water. Right then I was absorbing myself with the lesson of the water, and another mystic sense of hidden meaning revealed itself to me.
Should not the thoughts and emotions I had when in front of an opponent – pass like the reflection of the birds flying over the water? This was exactly what Professor Yip meant by being detached.
(He did not mean) being without emotion or feeling. (He meant) being one in whom feeling was not sticky or blocked.
Therefore, in order to control myself, I must first accept myself by going with – and not against – my nature.”
From Artist of Life (Bruce Lee Library)
Quiet the Mind and the True Self Will Speak
“Guiding individuals to uncover and activate the ability of Calm Abiding Mindfulness.
Providing personal growth opportunities with Mindfulness Training and More.”
Start where you are. Progress at your own pace.
Our Mindfulness Training courses present several different methods for learning to calm the mind and develop Mindfulness.
While some individuals very quickly resonate with counting the breath; others do not find that method helpful.
We present several approaches to Mindfulness Training that work with differing learning styles.
Our training classes include visualization, movement, sound, breath training and discussion.
All training classes are non-denominational and ecumenical.
• Calm Abiding Mindfulness
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