In many areas of life, there is a path of least resistance, a way to slice through things smoothly with a minimum of wasted effort. In Taoism, this is called “Wu Wei, “the “Watercourse Way.” There are Zen chefs who are so skillful at cutting with the grain of everything that their knives supposedly never need sharpening. In human relationships much wasted effort can be saved by respecting the I Ching principle of “meeting halfway” (see A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler). This principle can also apply to your relationship to the cosmos. If you try something repeatedly and it doesn’t work, then it may be time to try something else, as the cosmos didn’t meet your efforts halfway. There are many analogues to these principles in the West, such as, “work smarter, not harder” or even “measure twice, cut once,” which gives mindfulness precedence over mere action. There is an aesthetically elegant form of efficiency in the design principle “form follows function.” Aleister Crowley’s principles of Magick follow this principle of efficiency. Consider his first two postulates:
I Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.
II. Postulate ANY required Change may be effected by the application of the proper kind and degree of Force in the proper manner through the proper medium to the proper object.
Notice that cutting a watermelon efficiently meets Crowley’s standard of Magick perfectly. This is the warrior principle of mindful, efficient action, which has a form-follows-function elegance and simplicity.
Our addictions, habits and neurotic tendencies can easily be recognized as cross-grained to these principles, as they are energetically inefficient and inelegant, consuming excess resources and with messy, ugly results.
Obviously there are some cases where an obstacle is tenacious and cannot be sidestepped. Even when we have to confront something like that head-on, some ways of handling it may be smoother and more efficient than other ways.
Consider the occurrence of this card a propitious time to consider where in your life you are slicing through it smoothly, and where you are wasting your energy.
See Path-Finding/Day-Mapping for some simple techniques for slicing through the chaos of the day more smoothly.
For how to get through situations that don’t go smoothly see:
Mechanical Resistance Matrix