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POEM: Wu-Wei

By Christi Ortiz


Ancient wisdom reminds us

it is not in the doing,

the best things in life you cannot force,

like love, joy, peace, generosity,

forgiveness, and lasting change.

This is hard for our driven minds to understand

we’re used to bulldozing our way through life

to get what we want,

our egocentric work ethic tells us:

good things come to those who work for it.

Yet, nature’s wisdom often laughs

at our constant effort

when she can sweep in to create or destroy

in an instant

or slowly create magnificent rock formations

one drip at a time

so simple and delicate and patient

in no hurry to prove anything,

just letting it unfold.

Yet do not doubt her power and strength

when it is needed.

Anyone swept under her crashing waves

knows to respect her.

Yet she feels no need to strut in pompous achievement

She’d rather unfold her beauty and her mystery

in the blossom of a flower.

As you ponder this way of being in nature,

perhaps you might feel invited

to enter into her flow.

When one takes the time to see

the wisdom of this path,

the whip naturally seems to fall to the wayside.

It no longer makes sense to continue berating

one’s own nature,

for there are destinations for which

no amount of striving can get you.

We know this, but I think we are afraid,

because doing is all we know.

We have not tried on the art of being,

afraid it will leave us naked, powerless.

In fact, part of entering into the Tao,

entails a letting go.

We opt for control, even if it is an illusion.

And so the struggle will continue.

Perhaps pride and fear tell us this is the only way.

Yet glimpses of this truth

will inevitable peek through

like rays of sun that shine in,

when the cloud passes by.

It may come at a moment

least expected and unsought.

Peel away the selfishness and anger,

love and forgiveness are born.

Still the noise,

and a wellspring of intuition will speak to you.

Like an athlete in the zone, or a child playing

there is a doing, without doing.

We are seeing now that we cannot fight for peace

and that we need to respect our environment.

Disasters of our own doing can wake us up

to our need for balance and harmony and respect.

So as we contemplate the lilies of the field

Let us turn to the words of the Tao Tê Ching:

“The Sage is occupied with the unspoken

and acts without effort.

Teaching without verbosity,

producing without possessing,

creating without regard to result,

claiming nothing,

the Sage has nothing to lose.”

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