A partial lack of emotional self-awareness,
and an inability to live modestly,
may result in aberrant behavior,
without resulting in violence.
Possessing a partial capacity for conscience,
these sub-criminals still deceive,
manipulate, and spread malice
but do so below the notice of the law.
The pain caused, less physical than emotional,
lies in the grey area so hard to govern.
Some humans lie near the utter extremities,
where all color fades to black...
Without conscience, one cannot worship-
Heavenly grace - restricted, due to insufficient humility.
A complete lack of moral guidance
cannot be substituted for, later in life.
Not all are so bereft of empathetic resonance,
but some certainly are.
~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
Worship with your conscience,
receive grace with humility.
Guide with awareness,
lead with modesty.
written by Deng Ming-Dao
The altar is a tool, as is a pew, a shrine, or a frigid waterfall. If we kneel before it and confess our wrongs, we are really telling that to ourselves. If we give thanks for good fortune, we express our modest appreciation for finding luck in this world. There is no outside force listening in, nor is there a divine retribution waiting for our wickedness. The altar is symbolic, those who follow Tao must use it to focus self-awareness.
If we choose to leave the altar, we should not lose our self-awareness. We must not let the fact that worship is largely symbolic lead us to immoral behavior. Wee must act with a conscience, and lead others without manipulation or taking advantage of the situation for personal gain.
This requires a great deal of maturity, to live by an honorable, pious code of conduct even while understanding that there may be no gods to provide final judgement. It takes insight to realize that you alone are the preeminent disciplinarian. The wise realize that divine law must come from within, finding inner guidance as if it were truly the word of Heaven.