Wu Wei and Ziran are Taoist concepts that encourage us to be natural, therefore making it easier for our horse to connect with us.
Your horse will be drawn more to connect with you if you can do things in an easy and effortless way when you’re with him. In Taoism the term for doing things in an easy and effortless way is Wu Wei (wei sounds like ‘way’ in English). It is literally translated as ‘non action’ and can be interpreted to mean action without effort.
There’s another Taoist quality or concept that makes us attractive to horses and that is Ziran. Ziran literally means ’self so’. It can be interpreted to mean being natural and spontaneous.
Wu Wei and Ziran are Taoist concepts that are found in the Taodejing, written circa 400 B.C.
The Taodejing, is attributed to Lao Tzu. He is reputed to have been the Chief Librarian in a state in China. This means he would have been one of the most educated people in his state.
The traditional story is that Lao Tzu became disillusioned with war, so he travelled west on a Buffalo. The guard on the border wouldn’t let him out of his state unless he wrote his wisdom in a book. Over the course of the night he wrote the book and departed the next day.
The Taodejing can be considered like a practical manual for you to develop in yourself the ideas it contains.
Wu Wei gives you space to be able to ‘do’ flexibly.
Wu means no, and Wei means action, but it can also mean effort. In English we are used to words just meaning one thing, but it’s not like that in Chinese. Words can mean layers of things at the same time.
In the same way that poetry can mean more than one thing, the Taoists use Chinese in a poetic way. So to them, Wu Wei is effortless natural action, moving as in water. Sometimes it does actually mean no action. It depends on the context.
The opposite of Wu Wei is ‘You Wei‘ (you rhymes with ‘so’ in English). You Wei is the idea of doing something correctly, doing something according to the rules. Because of this, it’s much more limiting. Whereas with Wu Wei you have effortless action.
Wu Wei and Ziran go together.
Ziran meaning self-so is something that is self created, as nature renews and creates itself.
Ziran can mean the natural, as in the natural state you were born in, or going forwards, the things you strip away to become enlightened. Da Ziran (big Ziran) means to become enlightened, to merge with The Tao. Your soul is Ziran in the sense that it is part of nature.
Becoming Ziran means that you’re not reactive, as in only doing something because someone else did something further down the line.
Being Ziran means becoming spontaneous, becoming flowing.
Being Ziran means that you act spontaneously according to what comes up while keeping to your natural self, self creating and recreating yourself like nature does.
The opposite of Ziran is to be fixated on outcomes and second guessing things.
You can’t isolate Ziran, it needs to be taken in context, so you act spontaneously out of the natural circumstances that arise and are ‘self so-ing’.
Being Wu Wei as you do things with your horse allows space for interaction between you.
It allows time to develop a harmonious partnership that is nurturing for your horse as well as you.
When you do things in an easy effortless way without stress or tension, it gives you time to notice your horse, to observe his reactions to you, and to what you’re doing with him. He will appreciate you noticing him. He will feel heard.
Being Ziran when you’re with your horse makes you very attractive to him, because you flow with what happens, spontaneously self creating and renewing yourself. This allows for movement and freedom and excitement in your partnership.
As well as this your horse will come to trust you, because you can be relied on to act in character, according to your natural self, as things come up.
Your horse is already Ziran, when you’re Ziran along with him, together you flow with the energy of life.
Maybe you’re reading this and you’ve realised that you’re already Wu Wei and Ziran when you’re with your horse, but sometimes knowing something as a concept or with understanding can be useful. You can see how it fits in with what you do and it may help guide you.