Try Not To Try

Try Not To Try

There is an effortlessness in life that we should all aspire to. Cognitive scientist are only now beginning to understand the power of spontaneity and why it is so essential for our well being. When something is right, it truly is easier and much more effortless. In fact, Chinese philosophers wrote extensively about an effortless way of being in the world, which they called wu-wei (ooo-way). New research reveals what’s happening in the brain when we’re in a state of wu-wei—why it makes us happy and effective and trustworthy. Effortlessness requires shutting the mind off and allowing the body to do it’s thing. It is very challenging to get the mind to let go of itself, and to stop trying, free fall into trust, be present and to know what comes goes, and what stays must be maintained. To cultivate behaviors and fruit bearing tendencies of wu-wei let go of the Western Culture ways of achieving goals through careful reasoning and conscious effort. Recent research suggests that many aspects of a satisfying life, like happiness and spontaneity, are best pursued indirectly. The older I get, the more I realize I do not want to spend the majority of my life preoccupied with effort, the importance of working, striving and trying, only to find the more I try hard to will things into manifesting, the more elusive they become. I’d rather let go of any rigidity, cease over-planning life which has been proven to limit happiness and success. I prefer to live life relaxed and flexible, pursuing whatever interests me, and feeling confident that it will work out—and it generally has.


1. Practice “body thinking.” This is a tacit, fast, and semiautomatic behavior that flows from the unconscious with little or no conscious interference. Stop yourself from any and every effort requiring pushing harder or moving faster. Relax. Slow down. Stop (which means to cease all motion). Accept that sometimes effort and striving are profoundly counterproductive.

2. Practice effortless action. This is not dull inaction. Quite the contrary. Wu-wei is “not trying” or “no doing.” It’s the state of mind of a person who’s optimally active and effective. Practice living in a state of effortless action. You will feel as if you’re doing nothing, while you are actually creating proper and effective conduct, harmonious order, brilliance and beauty. For a person in wu-wei, proper and effective conduct follows automatically as if the body gives in to the seductive rhythm of a song. The body, the emotions, and the mind become integrated. Being in wu-wei is relaxing and enjoyable in a deeply rewarding way that distinguishes it from cruder or more mundane pleasures. It’s a state of BE-ing.

Beloved, I am effortlessly praying with and for you.

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