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Sunday, 22 October 2017 19:54

Edward Slingerland: Wu-Wei in the Garden

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Most requested by clients/students? "I don't want to spend a lot of money, it must have little maintenance." This is what I know for sure. Replying in detailed response to that pair of demands, via Gardenese language, no one accepts, no one.
From those who have asked, of course.
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"Wonder, and its expression in poetry and the arts, are among the most important things which seem to distinguish men from other animals, and intelligent and sensitive people from morons." Alan Watts, The Way of Zen.
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"Things become complicated only when we think about them." Alan Watts.



Pic, above, here.
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"Trying to force a lock bends the key. For which reason a truly intelligent man never forces an issue." Alan Watts. (I must try harder to prevent bent-key-thinking. Better, when bent-key-thinking intrudes into my life, from another, "I'm not listening to your bent-key-thinking.")
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"To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax and float." Alan Watts.
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Wielding this style Garden Design, above, rich, humorous, humbling. Further along the Garden Design archetype than whence begun. Few immune to the Garden Design archetypes path. Nothing new, existed well before cuneiform records.
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Humorous? Simplicity, above, gives you, you. Richest construct in your life, you.
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"We have allowed brain thinking to develop and dominate our lives. As a consequence, we are at war within ourselves. The brain desiring things which the body does not want, and the body desiring things which the brain does not allow; the brain giving directions which the body will not follow, and the body giving impulses which the brain cannot " Alan Watts.
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Funny? In my garden, there is no 'me'. In my garden, my body hears what my brain cannot. In my garden, I am gone, with the body remaining present. Follow your bliss, find where you experience eternity here, Joseph Campbell truths. In my garden there is no me, no time, no hunger, no tiredness, no awareness of bruising/bleeding, no sense of want, no fear, expansive joy. Deeper, at the conclusion of being in my garden, answers arrived to questions known, and unknown, ahead of being in my garden. Epiphanies from spirit, without fear.
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Seek presence over productivity. Gaining maximum productivity, though not sought. .
"All to easily, we confuse the world as we symbolize it with the world as it is." Alan Watts.
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Before I had a language describing being in my garden I labeled it, "The best selfishness ever." After a few years realized it is grace. How could it not be grace? Epiphanies too many, too potent, life changing. Bounty of resources, from garden epiphanies, beyond measure. Into the realm of E.M.Forster describing a multi-millionaire woman, one of his characters, as having no 'resources'. Interesting. Letting go, giving up control, is a resource.
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"The brainy modern loves not matter but measures, no solids but surfaces." Alan Watts.
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There are places to "Transcend our futile strategies for controlling life and surrender to its living essence." In the garden, merely one.
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"We have been taught to believe that the best way to achieve our goals is to reason about them carefully and strive consciously to reach them. Unfortunately, in many areas of life this is terrible advice. Many desirable states — happiness, attractiveness, spontaneity — are best pursued indirectly, and conscious thought and effortful striving can actually interfere with their attainment." Edward Slingerland
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Your act of choice, is my Garden Design writing. Write an article about how to dig a hole? No longer do I confuse the map for the territory, noise for signal. Though I'm wicked good about digging a hole with a shovel or auger attached to a Caterpillar. Pure noise, how to dig a hole if you're wanting a good garden, you in your Garden is signal territory.
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" For the early Chinese thinkers … the culmination of knowledge is understood, not in terms of grasping a set of abstract principles, but rather as entering a state of wu-wei. The goal is to acquire the ability to move through the physical and social world in a manner that is completely spontaneous and yet fully in harmony with the proper order of the natural and human worlds (the Dao or “Way”). Because of this focus on knowing how rather than knowing this or that, the Chinese tradition has spent a great deal of energy over the past two thousand years exploring the interior, psychological feel of wu-wei, worrying about the paradox at the heart of it, and developing a variety of behavioral techniques to get around it. The ideal person in early China is more like a well-trained athlete or cultivated artist than a dispassionate cost-benefit analyzer." Edward Slinglerland
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"Our excessive focus in the modern world on the power of conscious thought and the benefits of willpower and self-control causes us to overlook the pervasive importance of what might be called “body thinking”: tacit, fast, and semiautomatic behavior that flows from the unconscious with little or no conscious interference. The result is that we too often devote ourselves to pushing harder or moving faster in areas of our life where effort and striving are, in fact, profoundly counterproductive." Edward Slingerland.
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Clients with gardens getting-there the fastest? All women, ages 40+, and a gay couple who travel the globe for their work, and are 30+/50+.
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"Some of the most elusive objects of our incessant pursuits are happiness and spontaneity, both of which are strikingly resistant to conscious pursuit." Maria Popova
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" Wu-wei literally translates as “no trying” or “no doing,” but it’s not at all about dull inaction. In fact, it refers to the dynamic, effortless, and unselfconscious state of mind of a person who is optimally active and effective. People in wu-wei feel as if they are doing nothing, while at the same time they might be creating a brilliant work of art, smoothly negotiating a complex social situation, or even bringing the entire world into harmonious order. For a person in wu-wei, proper and effective conduct follows as automatically as the body gives in to the seductive rhythm of a song. This state of harmony is both complex and holistic, involving as it does the integration of the body, the emotions, and the mind. If we have to translate it, wu-wei is probably best rendered as something like “effortless action” or “spontaneous action.” Being in wu-wei is relaxing and enjoyable, but in a deeply rewarding way that distinguishes it from cruder or more mundane pleasures." Edward Slingerland.
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"We’re drawn to people with wu-wei, Slingerland argues, because we inherently trust the automatic, unconscious mind due to a simple fact from the psychology of trust — because spontaneity is hard to fake, we intuit that spontaneous people are authentic and thus trustworthy. But Western thought has suffered from centuries of oppressive dualism, treating intuition and the intellect as separate and often conflicting faculties — a toxic myth that limits us as a culture and as individuals. Fortunately, Slingerland points out, recent decades have brought a more embodied view of cognition acknowledging the inextricable link between thought and feeling and debunking, as Ray Bradbury so eloquently did, the false divide between emotion and rationality. (We’ve seen, too, that metaphorical thinking is central to our cognitive development, and metaphor is itself rooted in emotion.) The Chinese tradition, on the other hand, has a millennia-long history of cultivating a more integrated model of the human experience..." Maria Popova .
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If you haven't discovered Maria Popova yet, you're going to be glad you have now.
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Letting go, and finding eternity, in the garden, has made my life. Those in my tribe, share this joy. This is your garden. Not me writing about when to deadhead your peonies.
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Within each Garden Design, from a historic template, wu-wei/grace/abiding, is the bonus. Guaranteed.
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Garden & Be Well, XO T

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