Many of the people that I meet are trapped in a labyrinth created by their intellects - and most of them would deny that this is true. After all isn't the intellect, our ability to cut, separate, and make sense of the outside world (and ourselves) one of the most powerful tools human beings have at their disposal?

My answer to this is yes and no. As is the case with so many things, it depends upon an individual's initial intention. When it comes to "getting things done" in a tangible sense, then the intellect can be a very powerful tool indeed. In fact, in the mystic world of symbolism and myth, the intellect is often likened to a sword.

For all of its power to separate, however, a sword simply isn't the best tool for bringing things back together. Yet so many of us attempt to use our intellects to reassemble our "fragmented" worlds. But what else are we to do?

When it comes to "bringing things together", sometimes the best thing we can do is "not to do". The idea of "not doing" to accomplish something might seem like an odd idea, especially if those of you have been schooled in Western systems of thought like I have. For many Westerners, the thought of "not-doing" brings along associations of slothful laziness.

The concept of "not-doing" from an Eastern perspective is quite different from ideas of indulging in indolence. Many martial arts actively practice this principle, known as "wu wei", or actionless action. This idea of "actionless action" carries with it the idea of "working with", or "going with the flow" if one is searching for a more groovy gist. Well-seasoned cabinet makers follow this principle almost intuitively, having learned long ago that sanding while "going with the grain" brings out a richer luster and smoother finish to the wood they work with.

And so it is with ourselves. Rather than seeking love, or actively attempting to "force things together", Rumi recommends simply removing the barriers that we have created that block this aspect of Nature that permeates all palpible things. In an odd type of twist, cultivating compassion (which can be viewed as a form of love) often has less to do with "doing something" in an active attempt to "force things together".

Somewhat paradoxically, cultivating compassion is more a matter of "not doing", allowing us to see things in their natural state of connectedness and unity. Taoist philosophers (lovers of wisdom) likened this to the state of a statue before the sculptor had taken a chisel to it.

Each of us has the opportunity to return to the state of the "uncarved block" at any moment in time, simply by "not doing" — thereby placing our intellect on pause. Once we stop cutting and categorizing aspects of our experience compassion will naturally spring forth and reveal itself, not by anything that we've actively "done", but instead by what we've actively "not done" or allowed ourselves to stop doing.