Action Without Intent // 無爲
Taoism, Stoicism, and Acceptance of Nature
I’ve been recently absorbed with the writings of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, on the concept of “stop wanting, start accepting”, a philosophy known as stoicism.
In a time of immense political and social turmoil, I find myself retreating back to these writings as a way to make sense of reality (or “the new normal”).
One of the most important axioms about stoicism that stood out to me was:
“If we want to suffer less, we need to learn to embrace our pain and live with it without struggling against it as much.”
Source: Life Hacks from Marcus Aurelius: How Stoicism Can Help Us
Often times, there is this constant battle to fight for things that are often times outside of our control.
Nature is one of those very ambiguous, metaphysical elements that can be incredibly difficult to understand - no matter how much we try to structuralize, rationalize, or explain it.
This is especially been true during COVID-19.
We’re wired to a very Western, Judeo-Christian binary level thinking of “right and wrong”, where we box our values into very clean boxes values of morality - when in reality, we’ve seen that life is not like this.
Emotional acceptance is the theme that emerges when reading about stoicism.
Acceptance of the pain and struggle, and really channeling our greater energies and responsibilities toward the elements of life we have true control over.
I think often times in life, there’s always a gap between the expectations we place upon ourselves versus the reality that occurs.
Reality meaning human nature, our personalities, society, the world around us.
And this pattern emerges everywhere. In the institutions we are part of, the social structures we are embedded in, the companies we work for, or even ourselves, when we hit critical inflection points in our own personal lives.
For myself, I’ve learned to not be too hard on myself when things don’t go the way as intended.
Rather, it’s an opportunity to constantly reassess, realign, and re-shift energies each day. At an incremental pace.
Whether it be the groups that I’m a part of, the life that I choose to live, or where I place my time/energies, I’ve learned to focus on the energies that I can control.
Because these steps help build a foundation toward where nature’s fate lies for each person.