Illuminating the Dao – Miracle of Doing Nothing

Illuminating the Dao – The Miracle of Doing Nothing

Michelle Wood

Before you read today’s Illuminating the Dao column, you may want to take a couple of minutes and enjoy this YouTube video. It’s a slide show of George Harrison, and the background music is George singing the song “Inner Light” which is Daodejing verse 47 set to Indian music. The Beatles – Inner Light

One year ago this month, I wrote an article about intuition and shared the story about Mary who had experienced the accumulation of fluid in her body. She had what was thought to be a seizure and was taken to the hospital where the doctor wanted to perform a CAT scan. At first, Mary refused to recline on the bed of the machine. She had very strong feelings that if she did, she would die. She told the doctor this, and argued with him for almost an hour before he finally convinced her that she was in the hospital, she would be safe. Against her intuition, Mary reclined on the bed of the machine and immediately died. Luckily, the doctor was able to revive her, and she is presently recovering from her illness.

Today, I’m going to share more about Mary because an additional health challenge she experienced provided me with the title of this article: The Miracle of Doing Nothing. In Mary’s case, I thought the Doing Nothing made a lot of sense; it was her doctors who thought it was a Miracle.

First, I would like to explore the nature of Nothing as it relates to your health. As I’m sure you already know, it is the nature of your body to be well and healthy. Some days you will be healthier than others; that is the nature of change, nothing is stagnant. There is a Natural Order to the universe, and that is one of the Laws: no matter where you stand right now, your body always vibrates toward wellness providing nothing is interfering with its natural path. My friend Richard often says, “The body needs no help, just no interference.” I think that’s one of the great truths you often forget when suffering symptoms of illness.

It’s completely understandable that you want the quickest relief possible, but after you find that relief, it’s often forgotten that symptom relief does not address nor cure the underlying cause of those symptoms. Given time (and a reasonably well-functioning immune system), the body can heal itself of any illness.

Working on health in the form of visualization or energy medicine, or even doing exercise and other physical activities, can be most enjoyable and bring benefits, but are not actually required.

Your health is a lot like water running down hill; as long as nothing gets in the way or diverts the flow, the water will end up at the bottom of the hill. As long as nothing gets in the way or diverts the flow of your internal energy and consciousness and the natural internal workings of your body, you will attain health. You simply cannot do anything but attain health, that’s how the universe works.

To get back to Mary and her story: as she is recovering from her other ailments, it was discovered there was a perforation in her intestines. Normally this would be cause for immediate surgery. However, given her delicate health, it was felt that surgery would not be a good idea. Her doctors continued to monitor the situation and several months later, it was discovered that the perforation in her intestine had healed itself. The doctors thought it was a Miracle! They had never seen that happen before!

I suspect that the reason they had never seen a perforated intestine heal itself was because surgical intervention happened before the intestine had the time to heal itself.

It certainly makes you wonder how many other conditions might heal themselves if left alone to do so within the natural order of things. This is not to say that intervention is unnecessary, there are surely times of acute illness where intervention is crucial, but in the grand scheme of things, the only thing that will truly heal your body of a chronic condition, not just manage symptoms, is You. As Dr. Albert Schweitzer is reported to have said, “All healing is self healing.”

As mentioned, intervention in the form of activity is critical at times, and can be beneficial and enjoyable as when practicing qigong or meditation, but withdrawing from activity can be most beneficial and healing. Just ponder: Your body does most of its self-healing when you have withdrawn from all activity and are asleep! During sleep is when the hormones that support self-healing are at their highest levels.

Here I share the writing on “Withdrawal” from 365 Tao by Deng Ming-Dao:

“Activity is essential, but exhausting,
And its importance is only on the surface.
Withdraw into Tao at the end of the day.
Returning is renewal.

“Each day is filled with activity. We rush around from meeting to meeting; we make all sorts of arrangements for the future. Such doings are important, but they are not all that there is in life. Even as we engage in them, we must remember that all human endeavors are temporary and provisional.

“We cannot allow our accomplishments to divorce us from what is actually happening in the world. It is imperative that we withdraw to reflect upon the day’s events and collect ourselves for the continuation of our path. There is no need to go to a temple, a sacred spot, or a special room. We do not need elaborate ritual. All we need is a simple and natural turning within.

“This is why followers of Tao always use the word ‘returning.’ They recognize the necessity of activity in life, but they also recognize the need to return to Tao. In Tao is the source of all things, and in the source one finds the renewal that one needs to go on with life. This back-and-forth movement between the source and the activity of life is the movement of all things.”

What I most like about this writing is the first sentence. There is much wisdom here if you will listen: “Activity is essential, but exhausting, And its importance is only on the surface.”

Activity engages the mind, and when the mind is working, you are not at rest. You are not “in the flow” of nature, you are not not-doing. It’s as simple as that. Mindful activity can be beneficial, but more often it’s a distraction or a struggle. I can’t tell you the number of times people have come to me and said they can’t meditate, it’s too hard or too much work! And I ask, “What are you doing that is too hard or too much work?” And they reply, “Well, I have to sit this certain way that is uncomfortable, and make this certain sound, and empty my mind of thoughts… you know how hard that is, to force all those thoughts out of my mind?!”

What a struggle that is! Trying to force thoughts from your mind is about the most exhausting thing you can do while sitting quietly and meditating.

And I say, “All you have to do is follow your breath. Very simple, just follow your breath. Sit any way that is comfortable, don’t make any particular sound, don’t force emptiness, just let any thoughts drift in and out like clouds in the sky.” And they look amazed, like a miracle has just happened before their eyes. Then, they go home and try it, and the miracle happens again. And again.

We humans like to work at things, the harder the better. We’re taught that it’s the only way to achieve anything. In truth, the only way to achieve anything is to cease struggling, cease doing.

If you hold the belief that a thing is possible, you will achieve it. I was sent an Oprah quote a few days ago that said: “What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.” The message here is simple but full of power: If you dream or wish or hope for health, believe you are well.

Today I quote from John C. H. Wu’s translation of verse 47 from his book Tao Teh Ching to share the wisdom of Wu Wei or Non-Acton:


Without going out of your door,
You can know the ways of the world.
Without peeping through your window,
You can see the Way of Heaven.
The farther you go,
The less you know.

Thus, the Sage knows without travelling,
Sees without looking,
And achieves without Ado.

In considering this verse in a self-healing capacity, let’s assume that your body is your temple, or at least your house with its doors and windows. Here is how this wisdom can work for you:

Without going out of your door,
You can know the ways of the world.

The “world” is all that you perceive from your physical body through the senses of taste, touch, sight, smell, and sound as processed by your consciousness. There is no other way for you to know the world except though your experiences as relayed through your consciousness.

To go out of your door means to look outside yourself for the things you want to experience. You don’t need to go out of your door; the world comes to you, always, through your senses and consciousness. You can gain knowledge by going out your door, by reading a book, or doing research online, but it only though experience that you can truly know anything.

Without peeping through your window,
You can see the Way of Heaven.

As often mentioned in metaphor, your eyes are your windows to the world. People can see in, and if you have ever had the experience of having someone look deeply into your eyes, you know what I mean! You can see out by putting your attention into visual mode. However, the things you see in that manner are simply constructs of the mind. Facing a chair, you see “chair.” When you turn your back to the chair, you intellectually know the chair is there, but if you are not looking at it, it is no more than a bunch of molecules spinning in the space where “chair” resides.

The things you need to see to attain health are not visible to the human eye. The way of Heaven is the way of nature and the natural order. The things you need to “see” are belief, trust, appreciation, joy, and love. You won’t find those outside of yourself no matter how long you stare out your peepers. The only place they can be found is within. That’s where the miracles occur.

The farther you go,
The less you know.

The farther you go from the experience of your consciousness, the more you are working at it, and the less awareness you have of yourself. You can get so caught up in outside healing modalities, you become detached from yourself and your true nature which is to allow the flow of self-healing to occur.

Anything you do to heal the body that does not involve allowing the natural order of healing to occur causes confusion to the mind. If the intervention you use sends the message that the body is well and working correctly, the mind and consciousness will not follow the natural course of healing. Self-healing is discontinued because of the false message of “wellness” received.

Additionally, each intervention can cause a reaction (for example, side effects of prescription medications) and that causes you to seek another intervention which sends another false message of wellness and removes you further from the actuality of self-healing.

As I said earlier, interventions such as surgery and medications are sometimes necessary, but medications should be carefully monitored and reduced or discontinued as the body heals itself, which it will given the opportunity.

Thus, the Sage knows without travelling,
Sees without looking,
And achieves without Ado.

You don’t need to go outside of yourself to find wellness. You will achieve it by believing and allowing it to come to you.

Let go of the action and live the Miracle!

[Michelle Wood helps you Create Health through Consciousness and Awareness Development techniques such as qigong, and meditation, and tools such as Affirmation Movies and Meditations. Find her services and articles online at “Believing Is Seeing: Your Portal to Harmony Happiness Health” and Affirmation Movies  She is available online via Skype.]

Do you like this? Please share it:
This entry was posted in Illuminating the Dao and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.