This concept was presented to me in The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle the modern mystic. Wu Wei implies inner non-resistance and intense alertness. Tolle goes on to say that resistance is inner fear & weakness. That there is much unconscious role-playing without surrender in most human interaction. When you surrender, you don't need false masks. You become simple, real. Ego says that's dangerous, you'll get hurt, you're vulnerable. Only by doing this, can we be invulnerable. This is all from my notes on the book. I'm going out on a limb to say Wu Wei is like surrender, Ishvara Pranidana (Sanskrit), when your consciousness merges with universal consciousness. I see white tiger gave an excellent overview of the concept already, thank you! I am looking for anecdotes or illustrations for my students. Please share your wisdom! Namaste.

asked 03 Oct '12, 14:00

Malaika%20Butoyi's gravatar image

Malaika Butoyi


i agree with ursix when he cited Tao Te Ching and IshvaraPranidana.

in modern terms: surrender by 1) getting into the vortex, 2) practicing allowing and 3) living your excitement or Following your bliss

(01 Mar '13, 10:38) don

@don - vortex, allowing, excitement ... love it; and thanks for the link :)

(01 Mar '13, 10:53) ru bis
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The way I see Wu Wei is as the missing "third action" in any decision.

What I mean by that is that when you are faced with a decision about something to do, you have three options (not two)...

  1. Do It
  2. Don't It
  3. Wu Wei - Deliberate Non-Action...a decision not to make a decision

answered 03 Oct '12, 16:52

Stingray's gravatar image


well stingray if you know what those decision are going to do before you make them. does it not help you to take that decision?you are responsible of your decision not of other people decision you could take decision one to stop a fight but you know that they will fight anny way. so you will take decision 2. to not do it.or you could take desicion 3 to not take that action but to make the police come around so they will not fight to get arrested or to divert their mind and shift their awareness-

(03 Oct '12, 17:39) white tiger

on something else so they will totally forget that they came to fight or you could try to wise them up before the fight so they will know the truth about the matter and will lose the stupid idee of fighting or why not ask them a question,who will get badly hurt or die and who will get arrested and go in prison for it?or you could send a man of god to say the second greatest commendement. humm didd we pass 3 choice or 3 decision?

(03 Oct '12, 17:43) white tiger

walking is what comes to mind .when you walk you do not think left - right - left - right you just do it. No thought. When you start thinking about your gait it gets difficult. The same could be said about breathing through the course of your day do you consciously do you pay attention to your breathing? (Yes there are ways to improve and use your breathing such as meditation and such )
I heard/read a story about a pair of golfing buddies that were playing a round of golf and the score between the two was close .When the the golfer with the lower score asked his partner "Do you breathe in or out when you hit the ball?" from that point on the high scoring players game deteriorate. Yes there are some subconscious parts to why but the foundation is the breathing was just a natural part of the game.

To quote the Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching: Chapter 48
translated by J. H. McDonald (1996)
One who seeks knowledge learns something
new every day.
One who seeks the Tao unlearns something
new every day.
Less and less remains until you arrive
at non-action.
When you arrive at non-action,
nothing will be left undone.

Mastery of the world is achieved
by letting things take their natural course.
You cannot master the world by changing the
natural way.



answered 04 Oct '12, 02:21

ursixx's gravatar image


by making them experience it for them self. many are like thomas and unless they see they will not believe you or trust that you are telling them the truth.only those with eyes to see and ears to hear will understand what you say. there is light in a person of light and it shines on the whole world if not it is dark. so let there be light,be the light that you can be,experience and enjoy.


answered 03 Oct '12, 17:24

white%20tiger's gravatar image

white tiger

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