Little Thistledown Things

Am sharing a video of Alan Watts, one of my favorites.

Here’s the transcript:

I remember once, I, uh, 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.

So, I take that as: structure yourself to work with the Universe to act without effort.

The Taoist notion of ‘Wu Wei’ can be described as “the cultivation of a mental state in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the flow of life”. So you can read THAT, or choose to think about “those glorious little thistle down things”.