Home > Personal & Spiritual Development > Lessons from my Taoist Masters

Lessons from my Taoist Masters

Suzie (black) and Willie (Yellow)

I live with two Taoist masters, yes two, they are my two dogs, Willie and Suzie. Now then, before you click away thinking I have lost my mind, let me explain. 🙂

One of Taoism’s central goals is to live in harmony with the natural flow of the universe (known as the Tao, hence where the religion gets its name). One of the central concepts ofthe fluid and harmonious philosophy of Taoism is reflected in the essential Taoist concept of Wu Wei (action without action). Wu Wei is best described as effortless action, or acting without acting. While this may seem paradoxical, it simply means acting in accordance with the natural flow of the universe. For example: a stream flows without having to consciously act to flow, heavenly bodies revolve and orbit throughout the universe without any conscious action on their part, even plants and animals grow without having to consciously undertake actions to grow. Therefore, the key to Wu Wei is to simply act in accordance with nature; in other words, act when it’s appropriate, and refrain from acting when it’s inappropriate, basically learn to go with the flow of life.

The flowing philosophy of Taoism and Wu Wei is evident in the flowing and seemingly effortless martial art of Tai Chi, which has close ties to Taoism. In Tai Chi, emphasis is put on flowing movements, and in combat the opponent’s energy is used against them by harnessing that energy and redirecting it efficiently.

Taoists believe that through the practice of Wu Wei, one can ultimately find balance and harmony with the Tao, and even positively harness its power. The concept of Wu Wei can be used by anyone no matter your spiritual path or preference in order to relax and find peace. Too often people feel that they “need” to do something, or “need” to act or react in a certain way. By simply acting naturally and not worrying about what you “should do”, you can find balance and order in your daily life, which will reduce and even eliminate stress and anxiety.

Suzie Doing the Snoopy

This is where I think my two dogs, and most dogs for that matter, are masters of Taoism. Dogs don’t really worry about how they should act, they just act how a dog should naturally act. Dogs don’t seem to replay past events and experiences constantly through their mind, nor do they really get too stressed out, well at least as long as you feed them and give them restroom breaks on time. I often find it poignant that when it seems that I am stretched to my thinnest, I can look over to my dog Suzie, who is most likely asleep on her back, with her paws stretched high in the air (doing the Snoopy as we call it).

Sure dogs don’t have jobs, bills, social or family obligations; however, I think that we can all learn a thing or two from our furry friends, and learn to embrace Wu Wei, and simply learn to go with the flow of life. Just enjoy living in the now. 🙂 

Practical Tips: When you find yourself being overwhelmed, simply try to focus on the positive aspects of your life, and above all  just enjoy the flow of life.



As always, if you enjoyed what you read, please share on social network sites, subscribe to this site, and share this site with others!

Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)

  1. bc
    February 13, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    thank you, that was lovely, I actually feel more relaxed than I did moments before I read your post. Mission accomplished!

    • February 13, 2012 at 10:51 PM

      Thank you for your comment! I am glad that you enjoyed the post, and found it useful!

  2. February 13, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Great post. I too learn huge lessons on the art of just being and on unconditional love from our dogs.

    • February 13, 2012 at 10:51 PM

      Thank you for sharing Morgan! It is amazing what we can learn from the sentient beings that surround us!

  3. Baruti KMT-Sisouvong
    February 13, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    As always, an excellent presentation!

  4. February 14, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    As someone who lives with 4 dogs and 4 cats I get at least one lesson daily. Glad to see I am not alone in this.

    • February 14, 2012 at 11:15 AM

      Sounds like you have lots of furry companions (teachers)! Thanks for sharing!

  5. February 20, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Just enjoy living in the now… I love this phrase. And phase. Thank you, Jason, for sharing your knowledge of Wu Wei. My cat is a master too then, I guess?

    • February 20, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      Thanks Marion! Living in the now has become a personal mantra of mine. Also, although, I don’t have any cats of my own, I am positive that cats are also masters of Wu Wei. =)

      • February 20, 2012 at 4:41 PM

        Thank you. Then I will follow his lead now, and go to sleep. It’s almost midnight here in Holland.

    April 8, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    I really enjoyed reading this one. You have a beautiful and peaceful (written) voice.

    • April 8, 2012 at 9:35 AM

      I’m glad that you enjoyed it, and thanks for commenting! Most of my posts are written after my afternoon meditation, so I’m glad that some of my post-meditation state transfers. 😉

  7. May 29, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    I especially enjoyed reading this. I am a dog person too, dogs rather–got 25 lovable pets and working dogs in our orchard farm!

    • June 5, 2012 at 9:20 AM

      I’m glad that you enjoyed this. Oh my 25 pets, you are a saint! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting Cynthia!

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