A man is supple and weak when living, but hard and stiff when dead. Grass and trees are pliant and fragile when living, but dried and shriveled when dead. Thus the hard and the strong are the comrades of death; the supple and the weak are the comrades of life.
– Chinese proverb
Think of a bamboo shoot and a blade of grass. Which one is stronger? You might think it’s the bamboo shoot. It’s hard and rigid whereas the grass is soft weak. But what if a strong wind whips up? The bamboo shoot will snap in two. Our ‘weak’ friend the blade of grass, however, will basically go with the flow and survive unharmed. This principle is known as non-resistance, or effortless action. Strong winds will come into all of our lives. Which one will you be? The bamboo or the grass?
Here’s one more story to learn from. A horse was tied outside of a shop in a narrow Chinese village street. Whenever anyone tried to walk by, the horse would kick him. This went on and on, with many getting injured. Before long, a crowd had gathered and was arguing how they could best get past the dangerous horse. Suddenly someone came running. “The master is coming. He will know what to do!”
The crowd watched eagerly as the master came around the corner. He saw the horse, turned, and walked down another street.
Rigidity fails. Flexibility succeeds.