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The Dao of Letting Go

Edward Slingerland | 4:47


Wu Wei is early Chinese term that means literally no doing or no trying. But I think a better translation is effortless action. And it's the central spiritual ideal for these early thinkers, I look at so confusions and the Dallas. And what it looks a little bit like flow or being in the zone as an athlete. So you're, you're very effective, you're moving through the world in a very efficient way, the social world and physical world. Like you don't have a sense of doing anything, you don't have a sense of effort, you don't have a sense of yourself as an agent, you kind of lose yourself in the activity you're involved in. 

And you're not only efficacious in terms of skill in the world, you also have this power that the early Chinese call, unfortunately, the Mandarin pronunciation is de sounds good buddy. But it's often translated as virtue or mean something like charismatic power or charismatic virtue. It's this energy, you kick off an aura that you kick off when you're in a state of way. And this is why these early thinkers one way because we're both of them that confusions in the Dallas. It's the key to political and spiritual success. 

So if you're a Confucian, getting into a state of way gives you this power. And this allows you to attract followers without having to force them or try to get them to follow you. People just spontaneously want to follow you. If you're a Taoist, it's what relaxes people, puts them at ease and allows you to move through the social world effectively without harm. So everybody wants this, because it's very, the key to success. But they're all involved in this tension, then of how do you try to be effortless? How do you try not to try. So the first strategy is the early confusion strategy, which I refer to as carving and polishing strategy, which is essentially, you're going to try really hard for a long time. And if you do that, eventually, the trying will fall away, and you'll be spontaneous in the right way.

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