ZEN OF WU WEI

The Practice of Balance

 

The practice & efficacy of  Wu-Wei  无为  are fundamental tenets in traditional Taoist philosophy. 

ZEN OF WUWEI is a philosophy aimed at achieving a state of perfect equilibrium, or alignment with the natural world, the Tao, in order to obtain an irresistible form of soft and invisible power.

The goal of ZEN OF WUWEI is to practice balance throughout your entrepreneurial endeavors to achieve mastery over them so that they become second nature, and seamlessly fit into your broader experience and enjoyment of life as a human being. 

 

ZEN

Practice

 

Definition of Zen

Zen is a philosophical school of thought that originates from Mahayana Buddhism, and is strongly influenced by Taoism.

The teachings of Zen emphasize the practice of rigorous self-control, meditation, insight into Buddha-nature, and the individual expression of these insights in daily life, especially for the benefit of others.

Zen de-emphasizes mere knowledge and doctrine, favoring direct understanding through experience, and zazen or reflection. 

Zen can be thought of as the art of being. 

 

Practice

In Zen, particularly the Sōtō school of Zen, meditation is practiced with no objects or content. The meditator strives to become acutely aware of his or her own stream of consciousness, in order to allow ideas, insights, opinions and judgements, to arise and pass away like water without emotional & psychological interference. 

By practicing Zen meditation, an individual can achieve greater equilibrium with the natural energy that flows within their body and through all things in nature, and through this practice achieve greater clarity of thought, vision, and purpose. 

 

Zen & Entrepreneurship

The teachings of Zen offer entrepreneurs a powerful means to process, manage and ultimately master the volume of information related to their everyday professional challenges, and the diverse human relationships that sustain their company. 

Through Zen, entrepreneurs can more easily clear their mind, eliminate the noise which permeates everyday life, and more easily discern appropriate strategies to facilitate the success of their business. The practice of meditation can help illuminate points of conflict, and at the same time help discover solutions to resolve challenges.

Lastly, by practicing Zen meditation, entrepreneurs can boost their confidence and improve their leadership qualities to achieve a more harmonious, aligned, and positive workplace.

WUWEI

Balance

 

Definition of Wu-Wei

Wu-wei is a fundamental concept in Taoism, literally meaning non-action or non-doing.

Taoist philosopher Laozi explains that human beings who are wholly in harmony with the Tao, the equilibrium of the universe, behave in a completely natural and uncontrived way. 

Laozi believed that as the planets revolve around the sun, they "do" this revolving, but without "doing" it. As trees grow, they simply grow without trying to grow. Within Taoism, the wisdom of action, or of knowing how and when to act comes not from recognizing "now I should do this", but from simply doing it according to what is natural. 

Taoism celebrates effortless action. 

The goal of Tao practices is the attainment of this natural, effortless way of behaving. In this way, wu-wei represents that highest form of virtue in Taoism as actions arise spontaneously without premeditation.

 

Meaning

Wu can be translated as; not to have or without.

Wei can be translated as; do, act, effort, serve as, or govern.

The literal meaning of wu-wei is "without action", or "without control", and is often included in the paradoxical expression wei-wu-wei; "action without action" or "effortless doing". 

According to Taoism, an individual person cannot actively pursue wu-wei.

Attaining wu-wei is an observed recognition of one's behavior after accepting oneself for who he/she truly is. In doing so, an individual becomes able to release conscious control of their life to the infinite Tao, or the universe, and gain a soft power or wisdom over all things.

A second use of wu-wei translates as "action without effort", or "effortless action", which is a fundamental competent of traditional Taoist schools of martial arts. 

Wu-wei complements the distinguishing characteristic of Taoist philosophy, that of being natural. To apply wu-wei to any situation is to take the natural course of action.

In Zen Calligraphy, wu-wei has been represented as a circle, and in China, the wu-wei characters themselves resonate with old Taoist legends.

 

Practice

As a person diminishes doing, they actively become closer to the natural harmony of the Tao. Doing in this case represents the intentional action taken to benefit oneself or to change the world from its natural state and evolution, which works against the Tao

Moreover, as one begins to cultivate Tao and achieve greater harmony with natural world he or she is able to attain a state of Ming, or 'clear seeing'. 

The state of Ming is among the highest forms of of being within Taoism.

Arriving at this state of being, of non-action, leaves an individual with nothing left to achieve. Ming can be thought of as the Taoist equivalent to enlightenment, at which point an individual begins to naturally preform wei-wu-wei, “action without action”. 

Thus, as one becomes able to work more closely to the Tao to accomplish what is purely needed, one begins to work in perfect harmony with the Tao, and in doing so leaves no trace of having done it.

In other words, effortless action. 

An example of active non-action using the principles of wu-wei, would be to teach in such a way that no course of action is dictated to the student. The student is told a series of raw facts about reality, and then left to their own creative devices. In which case, the student assumes to have been taught nothing, that is, until their learnings becomes integrated into and reinforced by their living experience.

The practice of wu-wei is undoubtably difficult to fully grasp. The main takeaway or theme of the Taoist principle is to practice the things that you do until your actions become so natural that they no longer feel like actions, but rather fit harmoniously into your natural state of being. 

Entrepreneurship

 

Wu-Wei & Entrepreneurship

The concept of wu-wei holds great value to better cope with the challenges many entrepreneurs face during their day to day actions and life. 

While the ultimate goal of wu-wei may appear counterintuitive to the everyday realities of business professionals such as; producing economic returns, creating marketable solutions that change the world, leading and growing a team, and manipulating your environment. The Taoist concept of effortless action holds great power. 

Professionals and business leaders can benefit from adopting the fundamental ideas of wu-wei as effortless action in the following ways:

 

A. Achieve zen.

Practicing wu-wei can foster a more relaxed and zen perspective of what needs to be accomplished, and how to go about accomplishing it. The self-reflective and observational qualities of wu-wei, and Taoism in general, encourage entrepreneurs to set time aside during the work week to meditate on ways to improve how they approach, process, manage and cope with the challenges within and outside of the workplace.

Practicing zen endows individuals with greater power over their actions, desires, perspectives and beliefs. 

 

B. Achieve greater efficiency in all actions.

Entrepreneurs, particularly in dynamic environment of our time, are constantly rifling through tasks, often multi-tasking, and typically experience thousands of distractions that affect the quality of their work, and the living experience of doing their work.

Practicing wu-wei cultivates a powerful sense of focus and of being in the present.

By embracing effortless action, professionals can limit the effect of distractions, and boost their confidence to more easily and efficiently achieve the tasks demanded of them. 

 

C. Become more attuned with the internal environment.

Wu-wei demands that one become closer to the Tao. Applying that principle to the workplace means developing a heightened awareness of what is happening around you and how it affects the broad long-term strategy of your business.

With this frame of mind, entrepreneurs can better understand the needs of their colleagues and of the workplace, and act upon them with the goal of becoming a more attuned co-worker, a more inspiring professional, a more compassionate leader, and a more effective entrepreneur.

 

D. Become more attuned with the external environment.

In the same way that practicing wu-wei can help professionals become more attuned with the internal environment of their workplace. Wu-wei can also help professionals become more aware of their external environment to better manage the relentless changes that naturally take place, and which can negatively or positively affect their business.

With a heightened external awareness, leaders can anticipate how indirect forces can impact their business, and discover new opportunities that many not be self-evident. 

Practicing wu-wei can help entrepreneurs develop a more nimble and open mindset to more effectively navigate their company through a constantly evolving environment over the long term. 

 

E. Achieve a greater sense of personal and collective spirituality.

Practicing Wu-wei is at the same time a practical and metaphysical exercise. Observing the outside world and conditioning oneself to better exist within it represents a personal exercise of self-discovery, self-acknowledgement, and self-improvement to become more aligned with the natural world.

Thus, practicing wu-wei can enhance the way entrepreneurs and professionals spiritually understand their roles among each other, within their company, in their community and across the globe.

 

F. Achieve equilibrium.

Wu-wei means becoming alined with the Tao as a natural state of being in harmony or in equilibrium with nature. Practicing wu-wei can help entrepreneurs achieve a better life balance between all of the internal and external forces that affect their experience of life  within and outside of the workplace.

By achieving greater balance, entrepreneurs can more efficiently cope with their personal and professional challenges, and master them so that what was once considered difficult can become easy and second nature. 

 

G. Live with compassion.

Aligning oneself with the Tao, or to a professional environment requires self-sacrifice and the unconditional belief and/or love for the project, the business, it's people, and the greater environment.

In this way, practicing wu-wei in a professional context demands that entrepreneurs exude positive energy and practice compassion towards others, even to those who may not share their perspective and personal drive for self-improvement.

By being compassionate towards others, others will eventually offer compassion towards you, and in doing so strengthen the professional and human bonds you share.

 

With these valuable insights into the positive affects of wu-wei established, leaders should acknowledge that there are limits to the effectiveness of wu-wei principles for entrepreneurs. 

Wu-wei is a very complex and purposefully undefined concept, which is it's strength and also it's weakness. To be properly understood and applied the principles of wu-wei require creativity, belief and confidence. 

When effectively embraced, the Taoist principle can offer amazing insights into the way we act, what motivates us to act, and how our actions impact ourselves and the people around us. And, by practicing zen and the concepts of wu-wei entrepreneurs can more easily balance every aspect related to initiating a company and managing their business.

These insights can offer entrepreneurs unexpected, powerful and hidden wisdoms to improve their professional development, and cultivate of a more harmonious and effective work place. 

Ultimately, the goal of practicing wu-wei is to transform what is difficult into something easy.

Overtime, the discipline can help revolutionize the way entrepreneurs think about everyday tasks and challenges, from things that need to be done, to things that are done because doing them becomes simply natural. 

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