W5L2: Wei Wu Wei

Week 5: 2-Wei Wu Wei

Overview & Purpose

  • Wei-Wu-Wei
  • The Art of Non-Doing
  • Effortless Effort
  • Acceptance without resistance
  • The highest Taoist Philosophy

Wei-Wu-Wei is the fastest route back to our authenticity.

What can you do to connect to yourself, your Conscious Higher-Self, and others most efficiently and accurately? How can you slide into your flow in your element? Wei-Wu-Wei

Wei-Wu-Wei is the highest Taoist concept, and it is about going with the flow, being effortless, and allowing the proper action to unfold at the right time properly.


  • The art of finding that sweet spot between two opposing energies, yin/yang
    • Coming together in a state of flow
  • Yin – non-action/Yang – action and the merging of the two
    • The transition state between the two sides of the polarity can be ‘challenging, or effortless
  • Adversity reveals the quality of your connection to your inner strength and your gifts
    • Trying to control the external world and trying to keep yourself safe pushes you out of balance
    • Conserve your resources; your energy will create the highest outcomes with the least amount of effort

Don’t try to bring this concept into everything you do; allow it.

Let go of the culture of how you have learned in the past. The goal of the universe is to conserve energy and expand by connecting to new information.

How is Wei-Wu-Wei relevant to Open Inward?

Imagine your Feeling-Mind blending into your Thinking-Mind effortlessly. This experience is what flow is. You respond to life correctly, using the least resources to create the highest intentions and outcomes. 

Have you had this experience in the past? What was it like? The opposite of Wei-Wu-Wei is getting stuck, using an excessive amount of resources and energy, and still feeling stuck. 

When we perceive, observe and respond to people and events from the perspective of Wei-Wu-Wei, we grant ourselves the fastest and easiest access to our innate talents and wisdom, our Conscious Higher Self. 

“The breath of the flute player; does it belong to the flute?” – Rumi

Feel the flute player’s ease playing his song. It was as if the flute played itself. This exquisite experience gave birth to the most sublime experience for the flute player and his audience. 

The Sacred Dance

When two opposing energies (Yin and Yang, black and white, right and wrong) come together at a sweet spot, they create a state of flow, balance, harmony, and a sacred dance unfolds. Ideally, the Feeling-Mind and the Thinking-Mind work together like two ends of a pulley system—a natural alignment to nature and your authenticity. 

We can use Wei-Wu-Wei as a way to flow through adversity, challenges and bumps in the road, just like the water glides down the twists and turns of a river system.

Wei-Wu-Wei is a way to ‘shapeshift’ from your Feeling-Mind to your Thinking-Mind seamlessly and again without ‘thinking’ about it. 

The transition state between the two can be effortless. Become more aware of the transition. You can create this quiet spiritual experience by finding harmony in yourself and your environment regardless of what is happening at the moment. Just look outside your window to see that experience unfolding all the time where nature is undisturbed. Be like the wind blowing through the trees without work, making a song as it goes. 

Wei-Wu-Wei is the fastest route back to our authenticity

Adversity and challenges reveal our true nature – who we are. It creates an opportunity to connect to our inner strength and gifts in the most straightforward, efficient way possible. If we resist, we will get stuck. We need these stresses to expose who we are and to learn how we respond to challenging circumstances. 

Challenges and adversity allow us to access and use our spiritual gifts. 

  • The tree does not resist the wind. It adapts, bends, or is easily uprooted. 
  • The wind does not oppose the tree. It just is the wind. 

Accept, adapt, overcome are what maintain balance in nature. The scale of polarity in nature is beyond our comprehension. When nature whips up a significant change, for example, in the weather or the tectonic plates, we are like ants in the garden being disrupted by planting a flower on their nest. When we pretend to intervene with Mother Nature, we create an imbalance in our nest. Likewise, we moderate or suppress our hearts; we create an imbalance within. Trying to control or resist external things creates an imbalance within. 

We have the choice to emerge from nature as if in the spring. We become part of this seemingly spontaneous yet elegant exacting process of growthful awakening. 

In a nutshell, Wei-Wu-Wei is a way of creating balance and harmony in our lives and cultivating awareness of our surroundings. We become more mindful, grounded, centred. We also have the potential to move into a charismatic state which can lead to great success spiritually and also while engaged in your element (that thing you may find that you can do that makes your heart sing). While in this charisma, animals and people are drawn toward you. 

If you create any experience that is not easy and flowing, you move out of this delicate state of harmony. Examples: You debate, judge, question, resist, believe you are ”right,” and someone else is ”wrong” or you conceal and hide, cover your tracks, or you go into denial, or you create a confrontation – you move out of ease, and into a struggle. 

If you quickly self-correct, you will return to this natural state of balancing everything and everyone; you return to Wei-Wu-Wei. 

Open Inward has introduced you to the art of learning and engaging with ritual and practice. Although at first, it all seems like you need a great deal of effort and concentration, the process feels pedantic and complex, but eventually, you will become proficient at each stage and with each technique. Ease will arrive along with charismatic spontaneity and great skill, and you will know you are beginning to experience Wei-Wu-Wei. 

The Science of Spontaneity: Mastering Wu-Wei | Edward Slingerland | Big Think

Optional: 9:32 duration

There is no worksheet for this lesson!