The Power of Letting Go of Control: The Wu-Wei Principle

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Losing control is difficult. People feel safer when they have a sense of control during unpredictable circumstances. This frequently results in efforts to influence circumstances, events, other people’s responses, or the environment. People cling to attempts at control more tightly when the situation becomes uncertain.

Wu Wei is the cultivation of a way of being in which our activities flow naturally with the ebb and flow of the natural world’s elemental cycles. It is a style of “flowing with the flow” marked by remarkable ease and alertness in which, without even trying, we are able to react flawlessly to whatever circumstances happen.

Tips to overcome the need for control with Wu-Wei

1. Do nothing

We may respond to circumstances simply and easily when in a relaxed, alert state, which is also contagious. No one wants to be around us when we’re nervous, tense, or annoyed, and we frequently make others angry.

People are more inclined to want to be around us and work with us rather than against us when we are calm, at ease, and comfortable. In this regard, karma yoga and meditation are beneficial. In reality, some meditation or relaxation practice is necessary for our welfare in our stressed environment.

2. Remain Calm

When you move out of the way and stop obstructing the flow, the answers will typically be there or come to you. You simply need to look, listen, and answer appropriately using your knowledge, experience, and resources while in this condition of effortless effort.

Your mind is generally clear and more able to observe, judge, and react to situations when feeling calm and balanced.

3. Slow Down

Observe how stress flows in and out. It strikes the ideal balance. Only work on something once you are completely worn out. Take periodic breaks to rest and rejuvenate. Studies have revealed that brief, intensive bursts of activity followed by rest intervals help us function at our best. Your mind will be more alert when you return to whatever you were doing, resulting in more insights, productivity, comfort, and enjoyment.

In addition, try to maintain your enjoyment in whatever you are doing. Find a small part that you like, and concentrate on that. While boredom and drudgery seem to constrict and dampen, happiness is energizing and invigorating. Maintain an attitude of acceptance if there is nothing particular about your actions that you especially appreciate. 

4. Stay Positive

Worrying about things that are out of our control is pointless. That is a prescription for an unhappy life. Accept that there is a bigger picture to life, a field of possibility that, even if the consequences aren’t what we might have desired, ultimately takes care of everything. Everything that occurs in life does so because it is inescapable.

Do your best, but don’t worry about the outcome. Although we are accountable for our actions, we are not accountable for the outcomes. Why? Because every outcome in life is influenced by various uncontrollable reasons rather than a single underlying cause.

What is Wu Wei?

Chinese philosophers first introduced an old idea called Wu Wei around 600 BC, which evolved over the years.

It is the core idea of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, a religious literature that teaches that rather than striving to make things happen against their natural course, we should instead allow ourselves to be in touch with the cosmos.

It means embodying Wu Wei by being in tune with life’s flow. It refers to acting naturally and without effort or force to meet the demands of any circumstance. 

This flow state is marked by effortlessness, ease, and allowing the appropriate activity to occur in the proper moment and in the right way.

What Wu Wei is not.

Wu Wei doesn’t advocate laziness, giving up on life, or impatiently waiting for things to turn out your way. It promotes appropriate action rather than inaction. We frequently exert too much effort to make outside events go our way, which leaves us feeling irate, upset, nervous, terrified, or disappointed. In response to that excess, there comes Wu Wei. We learn to act more like water as a result.

Signs it’s time to let go.

It might be simple to feel the need to manage every aspect of your life.

If you don’t learn to let go, you can find yourself quickly overcome by fear, rage, and other bad emotions.

You could see it challenging to regulate your controlling behavior and responsibilities.

  • You overplan and become irate when things don’t go as expected.
  • You become fixated on even minor details.
  • You believe there is just one correct approach to accomplish a task.
  • You hold others in low regard.
  • You micromanage or micromanage others.
  • You have absurdly high expectations..
  • You detest change (unless, perhaps, you’re the one who brings it about).
  • You dislike being surprised.

Why surrendering to life is powerful. 

Giving up or giving in does not constitute surrender; instead, it is letting the universe operate through you and making oneself available for spiritual instruction.

Wu wei is Chinese for “doing nothing” or “not doing anything.” It is a welcoming invitation to unwind or, worse still, to give in to lethargy or apathy.

We ought to seek out this flow and submit to it, advises Wu Wei.

Going against nature means going against who we are. Everything has a natural flow to it, a path we can enter with little to no force.

In Conclusion

Wu Wei’s main goal is to enable us to accept who we are and how we behave. It involves properly using the correct amount of action so that we flow with rather than attempt to resist our circumstances. 

Remember these four techniques for letting go and getting over a control issue. You’ll experience contentment and inner peace.

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