By Steve Clayton
Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip,
That started from this tropic port,
Aboard this tiny ship.
Now, any of you who are older than forty years of age probably recognize these words immediately. For those of you too young enough to recall, or those not exposed to 60’s TV in Canada, these are the opening lines from Gilligan’s Island, a sit-com about seven castaways on a small tropical island which began in 1964 and ran three or so years. It was a simple comedy that made people laugh. As we grew older and watched reruns of the show, the inevitable jokes began. A predominant one was, “If the Professor was so smart, why could he not fix the hole in the boat?” After all, it was miraculous what the man could do with the flotsam and jetsam the tides brought to the island and yet, with all his ingenuity, he could not fix a simple hole in a small wooden boat. Of course, as viewers, we know he is not meant to fix the boat. He fixes the boat, the castaways get off the island, and the show is over. Then we are left looking for something else to fill that time gap. Herein lies the nemesis of television: how long to allow a show to run its course? Unfortunately, here in North America we do not understand the principle of allowing a show to die with dignity. Depending with whom you are talking, there are varied answers for this, greed often being credited as the main motivating factor. This may or may not be a valid reason, but I believe there is a deeper factor than just money. (How naive can I be?!?)
Whether I am being simplistic or naive, I believe the problem lies in ‘filling the gap’. We, as a culture, have become obsessed with the notion that we should always be doing something, or else we are wasting precious time. Ironically, the last fifty years have introduced us to an incredible array of gadgets that really are a marvel but which allow us to waste time at an incredible rate. Even when we become dissatisfied with the latest gadgets we often buy others in our quest to fill the gap. This idea of constantly ‘doing’ is so ingrained in us, that people who have spontaneously awoken to the conundrum of always ‘doing’ and begun to walk a more spiritual path may ask, “What can I be doing to help speed up the process of enlightenment?” The answer can be perplexing and less than satisfying. This answer is found in the title of this piece: Wei Wu Wei. Simply put, Wei Wu Wei means, “to do without doing”. Put another way, it means simply to be…to be in your space; to be in touch with who you are.
There is meditation, self reflection, yoga, tai chi and countless other ways to discover who you really are. The key is not to try to find yourself, for even you have set or preconditioned ideas of whom you are. We are told our whole lives who we are and it can be quite hard to ignore a lifetime of conditioning. There exists a meditation that helps you focus on the gap (space/time) between each breath rather than the breath itself, but it really does not matter how you obtain the gap. Once you get there, removed from all external influences, what you will find is unique. Without even looking, you will discover the authentic YOU. This ‘new’ discovery will bring you peace and happiness because everything will feel so right that you just accept it. With this acceptance you will find that the discombobulated pieces of your life will start to fit together in harmony. All this will happen without you doing anything other than being still long enough to meet the real you.
So, just sit right back and enjoy the gift: the gift of Wei Wu Wei, the gift of YOU!