“It means that Tao doesn’t force or interfere with things, but lets them work in their own way, to produce results naturally. Then whatever needs to be done is done.” ~ Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
During the last few months, I have been faced with an internal conflict. It has escalated after reading 2 Taoist books, especially The Tao of Pooh. I am just not able to get my head around it.
Some background on the book – written by Benjamin Hoff in 1982, it introduces Taoism through Winnie the Pooh comics.
What has got me thinking is the concept of non-doing.
I have grown up in a society which worships hard work. Without work, nothing is achieved. Education, career, relationships, life. And these things are supposedly linear; the more you work, the more you achieve.
But over time, I have found that life is nowhere near linear.
Add to that, there isn’t necessarily a clear cause-and-effect relationship between occurrences. A lot of randomness around.
I might attribute some success to a past activity or habit, but to tell you the truth, I really don’t know. (I could just have been in the right place at the right time.)
Come to think of it, there are many things which don’t require my active effort and still turn out pretty well. Like respiration, digestion. Actually life in general (as far as I eat and keep myself sheltered).
More salt to my ego’s wounds – there is another fact to be acknowledged – the world carries on its own whether I want it or not. The Gulmohar tree in a nearby park keeps blooming. The cuckoos keep cooing.
What does this all mean? Should I not interfere much with things? Should I stop making so much effort?
If yes, where is the line between making effort and letting go?