dao defiance

Chinese characters for "defiance"

spring morning mist in our meadow

Every god can be defied.
No choice, no devotion.

There have been many rebels who have chosen to defy their gods. Without this option, there can be no true devotion to a holy concept. For devotion is only valuable when a conscious decision is made to follow that course, even in acknowledgment of the difficulties ahead. Choosing to be a devout person is good. Choosing to defy the gods is also good, for it reaffirms the basic ability of human beings to make choices. We cannot support religions which say that there are no choices.

Metaphysical totalitarianism of any kind stifles the freedom we have as human beings. It is not acceptable to have a religion where the alternative to faith is punishment... Spirituality is only great when it allows that utmost freedom to follow it. If we suffer from difficulties, that is not holy retribution, and we should not allow it to create debilitating questions.

If you endure a crisis in your life, it may well challenge your faith. Perhaps you will even respond bitterly to your gods and cry out: ‘How could anything holy permit this atrocity to happen to me?’ But gods are not only parents or protectors. They are there to inspire us to be better people. They symbolize the inherent choice of this existence. It is secondary whether we choose belief or defiance. What is precious is that we are always able to choose.

365 Tao
Daily Meditations
Deng Ming-Dao
ISBN: 0-06-250223-9

Hello dear friends;
Today is my birthday and I wanted to do something special. I don't know how many of you readers know that the daily meditations began over seven years ago on a recovery club that I began, which has since morphed into a group (Taoists in Narcotics Anonymous). Members of that group still receive the daily meditations, as well as 28 other groups and over 240 individuals. One of the groups was give to me when the owner went on to follow his dao and work with Thich Nat Hahn as his quest for peace. (Tao of Recovery group).

This is a poem I wrote one day when my old computer couldn't dial out one night and I was frustrated about getting you the daily meditation. Do enjoy, and thank you for allowing me the amazing joy of sending out a daily meditation and searching for Asian artwork for so many Just For Todays.


Open books at random
feel words
of solace and wonder.

I hold Chi ball
engraved soapstone, four
inside one
engraved of dragon and phoenix,
I turn circle of wonder
touch engravings
feel peace

sitting in my garden watching
hummingbirds flicker

like the first epiphany in recovery —
discovery! I never
have to use


meditation ritual
hold yinyang
smooth and cool
in my hands

trade them to
each finger, listening to clinking
clanking and silence
click, clank, silence

I watch
rufous-sided towhee
on forest floor finding
food for his children,

he was fed from this forest, when
it was his very first spring


the circle, return,
as birds do each spring.
arrival with new song
familiar to us
for six (eleven!) summers now
learned finally to listen
eleven summers now

lazuli bunting
grosbeak, purple finch
return each spring

they feed children from meadow
remember the forest
fed by their parents
they remember first spring


pine cone drops almost silent,
gladiola force strong
leaves, as
delicate flowers
struggle toward the sky
shows hummingbird
sweet nectar
shows yellow bee
they remember first spring


Inside again, must post these great words I have
stumbled on
for the day
share with my family,
consistent the circle
through circle I wander

I remember each spring


midnight am discovered
asleep in my chair
husband tells me
“we can try to get you
online tomorrow
come warm the bed now”


Awake at 5:30
in cyberspace I wander
complete circle is life
through circle I wander

a great forest floor
I remember
first spring

through circle I wander
with acts of Tao passing

through Tao I wander
being fed from its
I remember first spring

through circle I wander
I remember Tao spring...

a reading list of books and interpretations of the Daodejing is available at
for a meditation sent to your email address each day, please write
‘subscribe tao’ in the subject line and send to lisbeth at duckdaotsu

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