The results you are getting in your life are directly in proportion to the effort you apply.
The thought demonstrates the law of cause and effect; it is vouchsafed by the third law of motion. This is what you and I have always believed.
Results are produced by action. Action is defined as a doing as opposed to the non- doing of inaction. It is one of the words which must be defined with the help of its antonym; the contrast is essential for the purpose.
It is the same with the word answer (in the sense of an answer to a question). If you are asked- are you hungry? your answer could be a yes, a no or perhaps something else. Action is when you give an answer, no matter which one it is. Inaction is when you give no answer and remain silent.
An answer communicates information. A non- answer, a silence, also communicates. If nothing else, it communicates that you, who were asked the question, choose not to discuss your hunger (or its lack) with the interrogator. The reasons could be many but they are not very relevant. The point is, silence also talks.
In a similar manner, if an action produces results, so does a lack of action. Everyone gets results, one way or another. The results produced by inaction may not be the results you want but they are results nevertheless.
This still doesn’t completely define the relationship between action and non- action; between doing and not- doing. For that, there is this:
In the pursuit of knowledge, everyday something is added.
In the practice of the Way, everyday something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things, until finally you arrive at non- action.
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.
It speaks of a state described as doing without doing. It is best explained by a story.
There is an old Taoist story about a group of Confuscian intellectuals strolling past a huge, roiling waterfall. Impressed by the power and majesty of the fall, they agreed that anyone unfortunate enough to fall into the water would surely not survive. Just then, they observed a human body in the churning waters. Horrified, they gather together to decide how to fish the body out and give it a proper burial. The discussion came to a stop when the body stood up and walked out of the river.
Once they had stopped gaping in astonishment, they ran after the man and asked him, “How did you do that?! No one could swim in that water without being killed!”
“Oh no”, the man said. “It is very easy. You just go up when the water goes up and down when the water goes down.”
In other words, you do without doing.
Only when your inner self is aligned with your outer self, will you enter a state in which you will do without doing. You will no longer need to force yourself. You will move forward with a lot more power than you experienced when you were pushing with all your might. Some things, some events, will seem to possess a volition of their own and will move forward on their own will. You will be amazed and astounded.
If you drive your car with the accelerator floored, it will give you the maximum power it is capable of. But not when you’ve simultaneously floored the brake too. Far from moving you forward, you will probably end up damaging a finely tuned machine which was capable of great feats. A conflict between your inner and outer selves is akin to driving your car with equal pressure on the brake and the gas pedal. Is it any wonder that you sweat so much yet don’t move forward?
When this inner conflict is stilled, you will do without doing.