Observing the Way of Heaven and Following its Motions
The concept of 《Dao Follows Spontaneity ( 道法自然 Daofa Ziran )》 and the principle of Non-Interference ( 無為 Wuwei ) do not imply that one should remain inactive, but rather that we should avoid excessive human interference. It does not oppose action in conformity with the Great Dao ( 大道 Dadao ) nor actively Practising ( 行道 Xingdao ) and Cultivating Dao ( 修道 Xiudao ). The first sentence of the chapter 《Kaizong Mingyi》 of the Book of Secret Correspondences ( 陰符經 Yinfujing ) opens with the sentence 《Observe the Way (Dao) of Heaven and Follow its Motions》. The so-called 'Way of Heaven' ( 天道 Tiandao ) refers to the basic laws of the entire universe. To 'observe' means to investigate and experience. The purpose of knowing the Way of Heaven is to grasp its laws in order to apply them. This means on the one hand to control external objects and improve oneself, and also to be able to follow the movements of Heaven. This is the basic theoretical foundation of all different Daoist Magical Arts ( 方術 Fangshu ) of Cultivating Immortality ( 修仙 Xiuxian ). On this basis, Daoist adepts actively attempt to apply the principles of the Great Dao and to experiment with different methods to improve oneself (cultivate an Immortal Body ( 仙體 Xianti ) or prolong one's life) and control external objects and spirits (often by dispatching Spirits ( 鬼神 Guishen ) to effect changes in the myriad beings). These pursuits have left a rich heritage in the history of Chinese technology, hygienics ( Nourishing Life ( 養生 Yangsheng ), medicine and pharmacology, much of which has significance as contributions to world civilization. This active pursuit of the Great Dao in order to control external objects also established the unique characteristic of Daoism as rich in practical Daoist Arts ( 道術 Daoshu ).
Of course, the foundation of Observing the Way of Heaven and Following its Motions is based on Dao and Spontaneity. Any action which does not conform to natural Spontaneity, any form of forced human intervention which goes against natural laws, has no chance of success and can only said to be reckless and wild.