The Tao - from Immortality and Reincarnation – Alexandra David-Neel
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Immortality and Reincarnation – Alexandra David-Neel
It is not certain whether the doctrine of non-action preached by Lao-tzu was a personal innovation. It seems that the Chinese have always tended to believe that the natural play of things rules their behaviour without the administrative presence of any outside power.
If man interferes in this natural order, if he claims to bring change or improvements to it, he disturbs it and a fatal disorder results. As this was the case in regard to the physical world - the succession of the seasons, the tides, the movements of the stars, and so on – the Taoists extended the same conception to the plane of mental activity.
The mind should be left in its natural state. It shouldn’t be disturbed with conflicting thoughts and the construction of ideas and so forth.
This is what Taoist non-action consists of. One mustn't be fooled into thinking the expression "non-action" means that those who practice it cease all material activity and embrace inertia; that is not it at all.
The Taoist attends to his normal occupations and to those intellectual and material situations in which he finds himself, but his mental attitude is different from that of the individual who believes he controls the flow of events that concern him or from those people who take on the colouring of the environment in which they find themselves.
He understands that he doesn't control the course of life any more than the stars consciously control their revolutions, or the seasons rule their progression. He understands that he is a participant in the eternal and inconceivable Life of the Tao and that, like Existence itself he is eternal motion, without doing anything.