When someone practises their will against the World in a manner that is out of rhythm with the cycles of change, they may disrupt that harmony and unintended consequences may more likely result rather than the willed outcome.
Taoism does not identify one’s will as the root problem. Rather, Taoism asserts that one must place their will in harmony with the natural universe.
Tao is the process of reality itself, the way things come together, while still transforming. Change is the most basic character of things. Everything in nature is part of the same whole. We are intricately linked to it and created by it through a sort of existential force.
The central teaching of Taoism is that Humans can fulfil their highest goal by achieving integration with nature, thereby becoming one with the Tao and contributing to cosmic harmony.
Wu wei is often considered the most important of all the Taoist beliefs. Wu wei is the idea that one should not overreact or over-plan in any situation.
Wu wei is the idea that actions should come naturally, that we should be spontaneous, taking life as it comes to us, doing only what is necessary in the moment.
Water exemplifies the philosophy of Wu Wei. Water does not resist, but by the same token, water can be a powerful mighty force that carries away life in its current, in other words action without action.
I remember once, I, was looking in the open air and one of those glorious little thistledown things came and I picked it up, like that, and brought it down.
And it looked as if it was struggling to get away, just as if you caught an insect by one leg, like a daddy longlegs or something of that kind.
It seemed to be struggling to get away and I thought, ‘Well it’s not doing that, that’s just the wind blowing.’ And then I thought again, ‘Really? Only the wind blowing?’
Surely, it is the structure of this thing, which, in cooperation with the existence of wind, enables it to move like an animal, but using the wind’s effort, not its own.
It is (a) more intelligent being than an insect, in a way, because an insect uses effort, like a person who rows a boat uses effort, but the man who puts up a sail is using magic.
He lets nature do it for him, with the intelligence to use a sail, you see. Now, that is the most highly skillful art of all. That is Taoism in perfection.