This article is inspired by the writings of Taoist Master Hua-Ching Ni.
1) The Dao is the Universal Matrix of the Universe
The universe was neither created nor designed. Even though there is no personified creator, Dao or Universal Matrix, the primal energy which exercises and develops itself, brings forth all manifestations of the universe. The original energy becomes the subtle law of its manifestation. Everything manifested and unmanifested is a spontaneous expression of the nature of the Subtle Origin; no intentional design is needed.
The universe is an energy field that connects all. All individual beings and things are under the influence of the energy field in the vast arena of the universe.
2) The Existence of the Dao is Absolute
Whether one is aware of the Dao or not, all receive their vital essence from the universal energy field of the Dao. Some follow Dao consciously, while others follow it unconsciously. Yet with or without awareness, the Dao is the essence of all life.
3) Spiritual Development is Purity of Purpose and Clarity
Autonomous spirituality avoids religious emotionalism, moralism and fanaticism. For the spiritually mature person, religious emotionalism will prevent direct union with the Dao. To follow the Dao is to follow the integration of the universe with harmonious life-giving energy. To follow religious emotionalism is to develop prejudice and judgmentalism, and it inclines toward hostility.
4) Spiritual Development is Energy Conservation
Spiritually developed persons do not scatter their vital energy or distract their mind with frivolous, unnecessary activities. They avoid wasting energy through arguments, fidgety behavior, and meddling in the affairs of others. In this way the seeker of truth can preserve the integrity of his or her spirit and enjoy harmony with the universe.
5) Spiritual Development means Facing the Truth of Life
Spiritual Development is not an escape from the reality of life, as may be the case in some religions. A simple, plain and natural life is essential to spiritual completeness. ‘Wu Wei,’ or the way of non-contention, is the highest discipline.
6) The Constancy and Normalcy of Universal Life
Spiritual Development based on the universal truth or Dao, focuses on keeping mental clarity even in situations of emotional turmoil, and have few desires, without however judging desire.
7) Neither Asceticism nor Wantonness
The autonomous spiritual seeker has no rigid, dogmatic worldview. He or she enjoys the beauty, richness and nobility of life, and practices the principles of right purpose, right acting, and right timing according to the universal subtle law of energy response.
8) Leading a Simple and Plain Life
This orientation toward life does away as much as possible with cultural conditioning in order to lead a disciplined, simple, and righteous life. The ultimate goal in all lifestyle considerations is to prefer a simple, plain life over an emotional and passionate life: a life that is unobstructed by worries, doubts and negative thinking.