Not-doing LO1069

David E. Birren, MB/5, 608.267.2442 (
Fri, 5 May 1995 09:44 CST

Replying to Dick Althouse LO1052 (re: not-doing)

>My first guess it deeply appeals to those of us who live exceedingly busy lives
>but feel as though we're accomplishing very little (speaking for myself). I
>have a difficult time imagining those who have little to do (e.g., poverty
>folks) would identify much with it. We want to accomplish a lot. It's hard to
>imagine accomplishing anything doing nothing.

Dick, that's the whole point. Not-doing is the opposite of accomplishing
anything. The idea is that we simply participate in things that happen,
without imposing our will on them. There is an intelligence in the
natural order of things that we can perceive clearly only as we increase
our awareness of the interconnectedness of all things. It involves
letting go of desires, which are the root of most of our problems.

>We/I get very anxious. Nervous.
>Life passing us by? Not getting our share of recognition? It seems this may be
>the result of our incorporating a very culturally bound process; again
>confusing quanity with quality. Maybe we'll find something in a book I hear

Being concerned about recognition is the opposite mental state from
not-doing. It's about ego, which is generally a source of trouble. Try
reading the Tao Te Ching with an open mind (I mean letting go of your
preconceptions and values). Maybe you have.... maybe this isn't for


David E. Birren Phone: (608)267-2442
Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources Fax: (608)267-3579
Bureau of Management & Budget Internet:
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"To know, and not to act, is to not know."
--Wang Yang Ming, 9th-century Chinese general