Actio Est Reactio

Old Mister Newton, the one with the apple and gravity, also wrote the famous sentence: “Actio est reactio”. Every action causes a counteraction. The existence of an action is only possible due to the presence of a counteraction. One grows proportionally with the increase of the other, perfect co‑dependence. Ah, you know this one.

The underlying thought of Tai Chi is: “Any action is to be as gentle as possible. In yielding is strength.” It reduces the opponent’s impact.


The mentioning of those significant snippets of wisdom was triggered when I read some parts of the Buddhist thinking. They recommend not having any expectations in order to avoid disappointment in case they are not fulfilled. The principal object of Buddhism is to reduce and finally end all suffering.

I would like to suggest the opposite: Don’t try to have no expectations because what you suppress you make stronger (see above). Unfulfilled expectations will cause your desires to grow and until they become irresistible and overpowering. Their pursuit fills up your mind and life passes you by. There are other ways to avoid suffering than this.

My idea is to have expectations and enjoy them and let their energy fill you, they may possibly come true, at least partially. Some dreams come true; anticipation makes your heart beat stronger. Life goes on, no matter what. Thought is creative, especially when they are accompanied by emotions.

Expectations, beliefs and trust in the future are forms of focused thoughts filled with emotions. What better chance could you have for them to manifest? The sad alternative is: Have neither joy of looking forward, nor enjoying their existence, now. Go on and dream for the sake of dreaming, it’s wonderful, and if they come true, it’s an added bonus.


Don’t try to be detached from your dreams, because your determination fuelled by your desires will lift them in levels, where they develop a life of their own power, needing no attention from you for sustenance.

Feel the pleasure of attachment to something you love, now, rather than the anguish of possible separation. It may remain for longer than you ever dreamt, maybe forever. Don’t permit the shadows of tomorrow’s worries and yesterday’s misfortune cast darkness upon your presence. They are no longer real at this point in time, only this moment is.

Accept your desires and enjoy them, instead of resisting or fighting them; it only makes them grow until the force of maintaining the resistance will take all your energy, which will cause lasting pain. Pain you believe you may need to endure because of your lack of discipline.

What you resist you supply with strength.
At one stage it may overpower you.

Channel the energy of your resistance
into the experience of the present moment.

It will grow stronger, be more supportive
and will open the internal source of your strength.

At least this is the path I try to follow.


PS: 22 years later… Thanks for reminding myself, 8th of October, 2015 … here it is published


Wolfgang Köhler

written: 01 April 1993
published: 08 October 2015

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