Our modern age is polluted by urgent deadlines, endless responsibilities, and constant distractions. The challenges of simple living can sometimes feel overwhelming. For many, Taoism offers the building blocks to a more insightful and empowered existence amongst the chaos. The feature-length documentary The Art of Effortless Living explores these tenets of Taoism, its inventory of life-enhancing benefits, and ways we can incorporate its practices into our daily lives.
Led by the concept of Wu Wei, which literally translates into "non-action", the practice teaches us how to relinquish our need to control our world as if we could force it to bend to our will. This encourages a feeling of oneness with nature, a trust in the natural order of the universe, and a renewed confidence to live our lives with the freedom of intelligent spontaneity.
These concepts are explained in great detail throughout the film's many chapters. The first section of the film delves into the belief in the effortless mind, and illustrates the importance of conserving our energies and developing a stronger and more intimate sense of our personal identity.
The chapters - or lessons - build from there. There's a segment that compares Confucianism to Taoist practices. Another section discusses the conflicts between our inner selves - altruistic on one side and selfish on the other. The hierarchy of power is the subject of a latter segment, and how true practitioners of Taoism are often regarded as enemies of the powerful due to their inability to be controlled. Along the way, viewers will also find valuable insights on how to absorb the power of the universe within the frame of your mind and body, methods for living in the moment and embracing the world without selfish desire, and the keys to reversing personal and societal unrest.
Presented with a wealth of calm-inducing imagery and comforting narration, The Art of Effortless Living makes even the loftiest philosophical concepts relatable. It's the perfect primer for those who feel overwhelmed by the realities of their everyday lives, and want to explore the Eastern philosophies as a means of defining a new reality for themselves.
Directed by: Jason Gregory