Book Review: A Daoist Practical Journal


A Daoist Practical Journal: Come Laugh With Me

by Michelle Wood


I thoroughly enjoyed Shifu Li Chang Dao’s book, and it certainly lived up to the title: it is, indeed, a marvelous journal chronicling the eighteen-year journey of Michael Rinaldini’s personal progress as a Daoist priest and practitioner.

For one, I love what Christina Barea, also a Daoist Priest in the Dragon Gate lineage, said in her Forward to the book: “The most powerful part of the book lies in its sincerity. Michael is unafraid to show what every seeker inherently goes through. His words are not complicated; he expresses on paper what is true to his inner nature. He puts into practice the concept of “not two” allowing the virtue of his integrity to prevail. What you read in his book is an accurate reflection of who he is. It’s a daring work to say the least.”

In Michael’s book, I appreciated the insights and learned the value that solitary retreats offer for the purposes of awakenings and realizations. I also obtained a deeper understanding of several meditation and qigong methods, and of Daoist alchemy. One of the most inspiring moments was his retelling of the experience when he followed the flow of universal energies and intuitively created a new qigong form!

I love that he harmoniously blends Christianity and Buddhism and Daoism. Perhaps it is one of the great secrets of the Universe that Michael discovered across the decades of his journey: the heart of all practices is in Compassion and Oneness. “It was like a veil of darkness or illusion had lifted and it was perfectly clear that all things are basically pure energy and in harmony with the Great Dao, the Great Buddha, and the Great Christ.” p. 10

As a mystic who has had my own direct experiences of the underlying Truth of the Universe, I especially appreciated Michael’s deep sharing of his connection to Universal Oneness, “cracking the matrix” as he calls it.

The nugget I take away from reading Shifu’s book is that the goal of Not Two is very obtainable if one applies oneself with dedication and courage; one can have the explicit awareness and experience of Oneness.

Michael’s book is available on

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