The ancient sages probably knew more about the Way of heaven than most people. And they wrote down the ways of heaven, earth and man in the Book of Changes for posterity.
According to the ancients, the diligent study of the Book of Changes (I Ching / Zhouyi) and sincere practice can bring a student closer to Heaven and Tao.
Apart from the neidan meditation, the holy sages also enciphered the four cardinal virtues - Benevolence (Ren), Justice (Yi), Mores (Li) and Wisdom (Zhi) - into the Book of Changes. Unless the student consider oneself already pure or innocent, cultivating these cardinal virtues is necessary to become a good person.
The cultivation of virtues helps raise our spirituality. Neidan meditation further heightens spirituality through the transformation of essence (jing) into energy (qi) and energy into spirit (shen). Together they constitute the dual cultivation.
When the spirituality is so heightened, the cultivator may experience affinity with heaven and realize why it is on the side of the good. (Refer TTC 79)
Without the virtues, one cannot be the right person. Without the most complete sincerity, one cannot divine like a spirit (shen).
If you happen to have an aversion to reading the four Confucian books where Confucius and Mencius discussed and taught the cardinal virtues in depth, you can study the Book of Changes. If you find the I Ching too profound or deep, try the Tao Te Ching where Laozi briefly touched on these virtues. If you still do not understand them well, try the Dhammapada – the eightfold path. Buddhists versed with the Dhammapada, if required, can fine-tune their understanding of virtues with some of the books or classics mentioned.
When the student is ready, teachers will appear. These teachers include Daoist heavenly immortals and Buddhas that is if you have affinity with heaven.
When there is affinity with Heaven, whether one is Daoist, Confucian or Buddhist, heavenly immortals and Buddhas may teach you something on the Book of Changes if you are humble, earnest and sincere. The divinities may also teach you a bit about Tao and cultivation from time to time.
To the Chinese, there are other ways to obtain affinity with heaven such as becoming a religious Daoist, Buddhist and/or devotees. Daily rituals and prayers to divinities can also bring believers closer to heaven.
If there is affinity, these divine teachers from Heaven may heal disciples and/or devotees of diagnosed terminal illnesses (including cancer). Such miracles, usually unreported or documented, do happen. If there is no affinity, nothing happens.
Therefore if you intend to have Heaven on your side, but do not wish to be religious, try not to forget to cultivate the cardinal virtues taught by the ancients. In case you forget or are not aware of what Mencius has taught, all people are born good.
Nothing wrong with cultivation to return to the original or natural state to receive heaven’s blessings now, is there?