- Thoughts for inspired living

November 20, 2007

Wu Wei Way

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:20 am

Wu Wei comes from the Ancient Chinese Taoists. It literally means “do not war.”

Philosopher, Alan Watts noted that within the context of the writings, it probably had a deeper meaning which he characterized as “do not force.” He likened it to putting a key into a resistant lock. He suggested that jiggling would be a better strategy than imposing your will on the lock, resulting in less broken keys.

TV legend, Jackie Gleason unknowingly addressed Wu Wei. Paraphrasing a response to a question about being successful, he said something like the following:

“Be going out when the tide is going out and be coming in when it’s coming in. Anytime I did it differently, I paid the price.”

Forcing the action is not great strategy to live by. It’s like the famous biblical quote metaphorically states,

“Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

How many times in your life have you pushed when you would have been better served by pulling? I was a world class pusher. Ask anyone who worked for me in the radio business. I was mission oriented.

I didn’t get that way by accident. My father was a bricklayer by trade who came up through the ranks and was selected to be a foreman by Grace Kelly’s father. My father was known by his peers as a “pusher.” He had a reputation for getting the job done. I worked for my father as a construction laborer in the summertime. I can attest from personal experience that his reputation was not a myth.

Getting things done is an admirable and highly sought after skill.

The purpose of this blog is to get you curious about where your penchant for pushing may be coming from. If it’s from your conditioning, you may want to take another look at the process.

Actions coming from your will wear you down. There is too much mental noise attached to this approach and far too much effort. This imposition of your will takes painstaking, conscious planning and an exacting amount of control – all giant energy depleters. You always have to keep the balls in the air. And anyone who knows how to juggle will tell you that the ball eventually drops.

This is not a treatise on not planning or not doing necessary work. The real question is where are your actions coming from?

The Taoists suggest actions are best when they come from the “Tao.” The Tao is “the way” – a pathway that’s in harmony with the universe.

The most productive strategy is to align yourself with the intelligence that permeates the entire universe. This means to take time and quiet your mind so that you can bathe it in the rejuvenating essence of mental solitude. The results are that your actions become infused with aligned energy where force is unnecessary.

You get to the same destination but on a much smoother road. There is less wear and tear and the best news is you get to come out of your head more often and sample more of life’s journey.

All the best,


November 21, 2008

Cold Case

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:18 am

It’s the one we can’t forget about, but also can’t figure out. In police terms it’s called a “Cold Case.”

The sense of who we are is a cold case.

The sense of who we think we are is burning in the forefront of our mind. Call it our personality, self image or ego. Who we think we are always leads us on a familiar path of non-discovery.

But every now and then we get a nudge or a stray piece of evidence that leads us back to the cold case archives in an effort to bring our true self to the front burner.

The impetus to search again could be triggered by a book, a blog, a seminar, a friend, or a quiet moment of contemplation. Something is driving us to discover that we are more than meets the eye.

There is an urge to reconnect in each one of us. That urge is denied a seat in our conscious mind because it’s always so crowded in there, but our body has more capacity.

That sense to discover is an unmistakable feeling that we can’t consciously figure out. The logic goes something like this: “If I can’t wrap my mind around it, it must not exist.” But your body keeps sending you signals that there’s something that needs thawing which would deliver a great benefit to you.

The stirrings begin about the midpoint of life for most. Before that we’re too busy figuring everything out. Then one day comes the realization that we’re never going to figure it out, and for many, this recognition triggers the fear of losing control. It’s a scary time.

Then as we move through this period, we find that we never had any control to lose in the first place. The pseudo-control we were attempting to exert had no more effect than a “dummy” steering wheel on the passenger side of the car. We were attempting to control reality rather than accepting it.

Acceptance is the catalyst that begins the thawing process.

What’s really thawing is our resistance to the fact that there is something bigger than we can comprehend that is the driving force of our life. This acceptance allows us align ourselves with this unscripted intelligence and we begin living life smarter and with less effort.

“Make it happen” becomes “Allow it to happen.”

Our activities become infused with ease and grace and we instinctively adopt the attitude of what the Chinese call “Wu Wei” – Do not force.

There really is a magic part of you that you’ll never figure out that’s sitting in the cold case storage room. When you stop resisting figuring it out, melting will begin and the case will solve itself.


All the best,

John Morgan


May 1, 2008

Row Your Boat

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:52 am

The opening stanza of the English nursery rhyme serves as a musical mantra for life.

Row, row, row your boat,

Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream.

Life is not a race although we seem to be rushing to get somewhere. The purpose of a dance is not to get to the end of the song (unless you don’t like your dance partner), but to enjoy the flow of the movements.

There are a lot of mantras that seem more suited for living our daily life – “Seize The Day,” “Just Do It,” “Buy Low; Sell High” and “Show Me The Money” to name a few. They have their place but seem to come out of the Yang side of the energy equation. They keep the yielding, Yin energy buried in the dirt, but it is always there ready to sprout when provided with the light of day.

The stream of life is going to move at its pace – not yours. It will range from a canoe ride on placid pond to a white water rafting adventure. Seems like we get focused on what we have the least control over – making the river run faster or slower. It’s our ego’s attempt at being God.

The Buddhist proverb, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” is the Yin energy at work as is the Chinese expression, “Wu Wei” which means do not force. The message is to let life come to you.

There are times when forcing the action works, but they are rare. We have the tendency to take those infrequent occasions and extrapolate them across our life and convince ourselves this is the only way. Action, as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, is always in the present and it’s always best when it comes out of a state of presence – yielding to the gentle stream of Yin within.

When you marry your Yin with your Yang, you have actions that are born out of stillness. They aren’t manufactured actions that have us frenetically paddling upstream, but actions that are in the flow of life.

Enjoy the boat ride. Take in all the merriness it has to offer and stop trying to control the current. Take actions born from gentle stillness and let the dream come to you.

Sing the rhyme everyday and start right now on the First of May.

Row, row, row your boat,

Gently down the stream.

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,

Life is but a dream.

All the best,


October 22, 2010


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:02 am

Back in August of 2009 I wrote a blog post about the 4 Signs of Immaturity. Thank God I didn’t say the list was all-inclusive because I’ve found another one – undependability.

Yesterday, The Grasshopper delivered this: “Learning to be dependable is learning to be an adult.”

Sidebar: I’ll admit that “adult” can be a polarizing word depending on one’s maturity level. If the lyrics in your head are “I won’t grow up” from Peter Pan, or you’re still singing “I don’t wanna’ grow up; I’m a Toys ‘R Us kid” from the TV commercial, adulthood is something you’re still rebelling against.

Being dependable is a mark of maturity. There is nothing more satisfying to me than dealing with people who do what they say they are going to do. I am reminded every day why Werner Erhard‘s quote is one of my favorites. “The reason life doesn’t work is because people don’t keep their agreements.”

If, more often than not, you agree to do something and you don’t follow through, you are undependable and locked in by another sign of immaturity.

Yes, we all forget from time to time that we agreed to do something that just slipped our mind. That’s a far cry from the slippery slope of undependability.

We expect children, teenagers and young adults to be immature because maturity is a learning process. Those who learn maturity become dependable; those that don’t have earned their soiled reputation.

Please don’t confuse maturity with success. There are many people who are successful who are not dependable. They are generally the people you refuse to do business with again. They may have all the talent and expertise to do the job, but their lack of maturity makes their delivery schedule and them undependable.

It’s never too late to become dependable. It’s a process that takes regular practice in doing what you say you will do. Once learned it becomes second nature and will come to you naturally.

If you are serial disappointer, start small and follow through. It will serve as a stepping stone on the pathway to maturity.

Also, it’s helpful if you keep your lips zipped. The telltale clue of undependability is a grandiose litany of what you’re going to do. Don’t over promise because you’ll always under deliver.

If you are undependable, you are immature and you will continue to be less than you can be.

You’ll know you’ve reached maturity when you can confidently say, “You can depend on me.”


All the best,