“Glen, could you please explicitly explain the concept of Acting Without Acting?” (An inquiry from a reader of my book and blog.)
Response: Thanks so very much for your question. Humbly and respectfully, Acting Without Acting (Wu Wei) is the most central feature of the ages-old Bright Beautiful School of Thought (Ming Chia). It is a deeply loving, altruistic, and empathetic health/wellness philosophy that (genuinely) so-humbly sets forth that, through true effort one can learn to better and better realize true happiness through learning the genuine skill of doing the right thing for the right unselfish sake. So quite so, this is ‘tough stuff,’ to say the very least! Accordingly, it is learning to (more and more) selflessly treat life as a living loving art form…more and more each moment. It is in the benevolent spirit of true appreciation for the miracle of the moment, more and more each moment. Congruently, IF there is a Heaven, a ‘key to the universe,’ or even a ‘sixth sense,’ they are rooted in true honesty and true appreciation, promoting of true happiness and true freedom – but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind.
Put most simply, the world can obviously be a perniciously difficult place, and consistent with this philosophy, this difficulty is rooted in craving, desire, and fear of healthful change. That said, one can learn to better and better witness ‘glimpses’ of a so-to-speak existence where there is no time, no space, no distance…no yesterday, no today, no tomorrow…and once again nothing to hide behind, all is known. This ‘skill,’ which may take decades if not a lifetime to even begin to become good at (very strange to consider from the perspective of our culture), can manifest as the difference between living the living loving story of our lives, vs. just being a pawn to the story of our lives. One can learn to develop a way of life in which so-coined craving, desire, and fear of healthful change are not present, at least slightly more than not. It is requisite of insight that, one of the greatest gifts of all is that there is always room for improvement on this Earth, vs. ongoing stagnant plateaus which are like a living death.
Likely all or most all good work and intentions are of significant intrinsic value (and accordingly, it is QUITE easy to fool oneself with regard to one’s actual level of selflessness, i.e., the ‘sake’ with which we do good things). What this philosophy sets forth is, that the spirit by which one goes about doing what one does, is among the most important of things: There are magical things (not speaking of parlor tricks) going on inside of us, and all around us, ALL of the time (for which most people are untrained to witness and appreciate, or simply don’t care – lost in the spirit of survival – just getting by, by the ‘skin of their teeth’ – vs. a more healthful spirit of thriving). The splendidly healthful spirit of Acting Without Acting can allow one to, through the CLEAR lens of unblemished witnessing (i.e., a refined mindful/meditative spirit – ‘true meditation’), behold these beyond-words magical blessings/gifts. This is, once again, in the deeply loving and altruistic spirit of true honesty, i.e., there is a true love, inclusive, but much more than, familial, friendship, and romantic love.
According to this philosophy, the (quite literally speaking) sparkling spine-tingling/shivering realizations which are congruent with such ‘glimpses of Heaven,’ are actual beyond-words enjoyment of true health (and most significantly, ‘true health through true responsibility’). — Dr. Glen Hepker
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