I am fascinated with the traditional Chinese philosophical approach of Wu Wei. This is dedicated to the two great scholars (and proponents) of Wu Wei, Dr. Edward Slingerland of the University of British Columbia and the late Lin Yutang. Since Mr. Lin is no longer with us, I would nominate Dr. Slingerland as the scholar of Chinese philosophy with whom I would most like to have a beer. We could cook on the grill and discuss the Confucian virtues and the poetry of Li Po. The Chinese poet Li Po is wonderful, but very addictive. His poetry strongly attracts one's attention, a phenomenon that I suppose you could call "Li Po Suction." I couldn't help making that pun. Sorry! I had my friends Matthew Sola, Richard Semiatin, and Kevin Kotara in mind when I made that (horrible) pun.
About Li Po https://poets.org/poet/li-po
If you come to my house,
You will see a hand-painted sign with the Chinese Characters
And I also have a paper with those characters taped to the door of my study.
Is a simple Chinese philosophical principle
That requires very complicated definitions, unfortunately.
It is so simple, that I find it hard to describe!
Defining wu wei is very un-wu-wei.
It is the second cousin once removed to my grandmother’s statement
“Things have a funny way of working themselves out."
But the basic idea is that if one cultivates interior harmony
And an attitude of thoughtful, detached reflection
One can choose to do great things
By strategically doing nothing.
The idea is that
If you yourself are in peaceful equilibrium
Things will find their equilibrium without your action.
But you must cultivate peace within yourself.
Wu wei is not mere idleness or laziness.
It is not indifference or fatalism.
It is a kind of cultivated, thoughtful, and engaged detachment
It does not preclude caring
In fact, the decision to do nothing
Requires contemplation and reflection.
In order to contemplate and reflect, one has to care.
But wu wei means that you perceive
That all things have a balance
And if you cultivate your own garden
It can bear fruit elsewhere.
Perhaps removing the weeds from my own garden
Will improve the gardens around me without my effort.
You will find that it takes great effort
To do a meaningful nothing.