The Toltec Arts

Wu Wei of Playing Pool

I couldn’t blame the patrons of the billiard hall for rolling their eyes as I moved to the silent jukebox, using the cue in my hand as a walking stick. No doubt they were cursing themselves for not feeding more bills into the machine.

Scrolling through the cd’s, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t filled with country music. Fifty cents a song. Not bad. My first dollar went to Black Sabbath. When “War Pigs/Luke’s Wall” came on, the bikers in the corner were able to stop wishing I would drop dead. When “Supernaut” came on a short time later, the tall, fat one in brown leather gave me what was probably a rare grin.

Nine bucks later, everybody was satisfied and my date and I could enjoy some tunes while we played a few games. Paul waited for me at the pool table, beer in hand as he leaned against the edge.

Paul was magic. The first time we went out, we hung out in the back patio of my favorite downtown club and talked like we had been best friends for years. Best friends who had never kissed. I remember watching his lips when he spoke, fascinated by their rose tint and the way they moved more than an American’s lips should, lips that needed another language to move right.

Three months later, here we were in a cheap pool hall listening to old metal surrounded by people who wanted to be left alone and signs telling customers not to spit on the floor. He was still magic.

“You look like a club bitch,” he said as I walked up to him.

“I know,” I said as he grabbed me around the waist and pulled me to him.

He laughed and kissed me, mumbling against my mouth that people thought I would pick out Sade songs. I pushed away after running my fingers through his curls and told him to break. It was our usual argument. He would counter with the fact that he had racked and I would claim that I stunk at breaking. It was a game I always won.

Paul went first and three balls went in. Two stripes and one solid. He was chivalrous and took solids. He got another solid in and then missed.

I looked at the table, trying to calculate which ball would be the easiest for me without any thought to setting up a later shot. Aligning myself perfectly after choosing my ball, I knew where I should hit to make it go in. The shot was simple and would go in.

The ball didn’t go in. It was now Paul’s turn and he was hot until he got to his final shot and missed. He was taking pity on me like a big dog letting the chihuahua have the tug-of-war toy for a few moments of victory. If I missed the next shot, he would tell me to go again. If that shot failed, he would coach me until the time that he felt it was fair for him to end the game.
Having nothing to lose, I didn’t plan my shot and just walked up to the table and aimed. The ball went in. That method worked for me and I walked to where the next ball was lined up, allowing my body to stop where it decided. Again it went in. In this manner, I made all my shots.

When I tried to sink the eight-ball, I was careful and tried to do it right. This would be my first time beating Paul. The ball struck the edge of the hole and bounced back towards me.

“What the hell went wrong? You were doing great,” he told me.

“I thought about it.”

“Always a mistake,” he said as he sunk the ball and won the game.

Conclusion: The body knows better than the mind when it comes to the physical. Paul is still magic.




This was a Prompt For the Promptless post. PftP was started by rarasaur at and the following can be found at Rara’s awesome page, which you should visit right now.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wu wei, or non-doing, is a Taoist practice involving letting one’s action follow the simple and spontaneous course of nature rather than interfering with the harmonious working of universal law by imposing arbitrary and artificial forms.  In other words, it is the action of non-action.

“As the planets revolve around the sun, they “do” this revolving, but without “doing” it. As trees grow, they simply grow without trying to grow. Thus knowing how and when to act is not knowledge in the sense that one would think, “now I should do this,” but rather just doing it, doing the natural thing. The goal of spiritual practice for the human being is, according to Laozi, the attainment of this natural way of behaving.” – Wikipedia

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Comments on: "Wu Wei of Playing Pool" (44)

  1. […] GeorgeFloresWrites – Wu Wei of Playing Pool […]

  2. Saucy, fluid, and a wonderfully original take on the prompt! 😀

  3. You are a great story teller.

  4. I was thrown by the Black Sabbath. I was thinking like the bikers I guess.

  5. Nice! You shouldn’t have thought. Those things will get you every time. I had that problem when I used to play golf a lot. When I let it flow, I was ok when I thought about it, I sucked. The mind messes up a lot of good stuff. Thanks for sharing Georgina! PS I like Sade. 🙂

    • Yeah, I’d imagine golf to be like that. It seems to have a lot of forms that need to be obeyed. Mind sometimes interrupts flow. I like Sade too, I have an eclectic love of music and it didn’t go with the scene, which was fictionalized. I never went to that place with that guy… Thanks for coming by and commenting, Jonathan! 🙂

      • Loved it, and thought it was fiction, but you never can tell, which I think means you did a really good job of writing it. I have been in that situation once, in a biker bar playing pool, scared for my life. Yet everyone was really good. It was awhile ago in my youth but I can’t remember what music was playing. Thank you for sharing your brilliance!! 🙂

      • Thanks, Jonathan! This pool hall does exist. I went around 15 years ago and I wouldn’t walk in there without a male companion, sad to say, but no one bothered us. They did have the no spitting signs 🙂 That bar you mention sounds scary and I’m glad you made it out without having to dance to the song “Tequila”! You have just made me blush, because of that last sentence. I definitely don’t see me that way, I know how goofy I am 🙂

  6. My dear friend, I have nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Please visit this link for the rules:

  7. Mmmm, romantic in the best way. Putting lovers in a place like a biker bar around a pool table gives the romance a certain edge, you know? Lord, I love me some Sade, that menthol voice, unmistakable from the first note (the mark of a good singer). And yes, sometimes thinking gets in the way of that natural flow. I learned this as a club singer, that you go with your gut, whether it’s choice of song, a note you’re usually not able to hit, or turning down an obnoxious “suitor’ who thinks that, because you’re a woman performing in a club, you’re a slut on the make.

    Really, really liked this one, G! Amy

  8. Thanks Amy! Sade is elegance and grace on the ears. I’m glad you told me that was the mark of a good singer because some singers sound alike a lot of the time to me, so maybe it’s not just me who’s out of touch. 😉 You are truly awake, Amy. It’s so interesting to me that we can come to the same conclusions no matter where or how life showed us these things. How you found out about allowing the natural flow is exotic to me. So different from my life. I can imagine the obnoxious suitors if they learn you travel and entertain! Stereotypes and fantasies.

  9. […] GeorgeFloresWrites – Wu Wei of Playing Pool […]

  10. […] – Wu Wei / A Number of Things – Wu Wei / Draliman on Life – Letting it Happen / GeorgeFloresWrites – Wu Wei of Playing Pool / Heart and a Half – No Wu […]

  11. prayingforoneday said:

    hey 🙂
    Please accept this award for “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”
    Thanks a lot, and well done!! And remember to follow the rules 🙂

  12. I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

  13. so true of pool – you’ve got to let your body decide.

  14. I really like this! It makes me think of an article I read recently that talks about a new theory regarding cognitive though which states that there are multiple types of “genius” among people. One of them is physical, asserting that natural athletes actually have a higher level of intuitive knowledge regarding the actions of their body.

    • 🙂 Thank you! I read an article like that many many years ago, I can’t believe they’re trying to pass it off as new now. I believe it, though because I’ve met some people who really are geniuses of the physical. And I used to date one 😉

  15. Miss hearing from you. Hope you are doing well! I just nominated you for a cool WP Award. Welcome to the family! Follow this link to find out more.

  16. I think your jukebox choices were flawless. This biker, for one, is suitably impressed. 🙂

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