Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered

<b>Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered</b>
Your “prayers not answered” means your “expectations not fulfilled.” The TAO wisdom explains why: your attachments to careers, money, relationships, and success “make” but also “break” you by creating your flawed ego-self that demands your “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Monday, September 21, 2020

Awareness and Mindfulness Healing


The Step of Awareness and Mindfulness

On your healing journey, you must always be aware of your steps and mindful of your surrounding.

Awareness

Awareness is deep concentration of the mind to know what is happening to the body. This is essential to healing of the body. Nobody—not even your doctor—knows your body better than yourself, but you have to be aware of it.

Breathing is your awareness of what is happening to your body. It is critically important to your overall health. Breathing gives life. Without food and water, you may still survive for a while, but without your breath, you die within minutes.

Breathing has to do with the lungs, which serve two main functions: to get life-giving oxygen from the air into the body, and to remove toxic carbon dioxide from the body. So, do not compromise your lung functions with nicotine or any drug.

Breathing patterns are critical to health. That is, how you breathe may positively or negatively affect your body organs and hormones. For example, taking short, shallow breaths, you are in fact telling your brain that a threat exists, which then stimulates a stress response, and thus creating destructive thinking patterns in your brain. Conversely, taking long and deep breaths, you are sending positive signals to your brain for positive thinking patterns. When you own your breath, you have calm and peace. Breathing is just a simple strategy for instant stress-relief.

Diaphragm breathing

Learn how to breathe right: diaphragm breathing is natural breathing; it is the complete breath.

Consciously change your breathing patterns. Use your diaphragm to breathe (the diaphragm muscle separating your chest from your abdomen). Place one hand on your breastbone, feeling that it is raised, and put the other hand above your waist, feeling the diaphragm muscle moving up and down. Deep breathing with your diaphragm gives you complete breath. This is how you do diaphragm breathing:

Sit comfortably.

Begin your slow exhalation through your nose.

Contract your abdomen to empty your lungs.

Begin your slow inhalation and simultaneously make your belly bulge out.

Continuing your slow inhalation, now, slightly contract your abdomen and simultaneously lift your chest and hold.

Continue your slow inhalation, and slowly raise your shoulders. This allows the air to enter fully into your lungs to attain the complete breath.

Retain your breath and slightly raise your shoulders for a count of 5.

Very slowly exhale the air. Your upper chest deflates first, and then your abdomen relaxes in.

Repeat the process.

Learn to slowly prolong your breath, especially your exhalation. Relax your chest and diaphragm muscle, so that you can extend your exhalation, making your breathing out longer and complete. To prolong your exhalation, count “one-and-two-and-three” as you breathe in and breathe out. Make sure that they become balanced. Once you have mastered that, then try to make your breathing out a little longer than your breathing in.

Practice diaphragm breathing until it becomes second nature to you. Diaphragm breathing is relaxing and stress-relieving.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is acute mental awareness, which is deep concentration of the body and the mind for their inter-connection: the body is created to support the mind. To sharpen your mind power, you must enhance the awareness of your body first. If you feel that your body, mind, and soul are not connected, most probably there is lack of body awareness by the mind in the first place. Therefore, mindfulness begins with awareness of the body first.

Most of us do not pay much attention to the body—except when we experience physical pain—let alone paying attention to the mind. But mental attention is important to the wisdom in stress-free living. The mind and the body are inter-connected. Your mental attention is essentially your body consciousness, or your attention to the physical conditions and the needs of your body in relation to how your mind thinks. Understanding this intricate relationship may help you relax both your body and your mind.

Are you always paying conscious attention to your body at all times?

The way you normally eat speaks volumes of the degree or intensity of your body awareness. It is not the food you eat, but how you are eating your food that shows your body awareness. While eating, if you are reading your newspaper, watching your TV, working on your computer, or checking your cell phone, you are not paying any attention to your body, which at that very moment is supposed to be eating and not doing multitasking.

Train your mind to pay more attention to how your body reacts when you are eating, such as chewing your food thoroughly, slowing down your eating process by tasting each morsel of the food in your mouth. Always give the full presence of your mind to your meal. Again, how often you look at something without seeing it at all because your mind is not paying its full attention to what you are looking at. When your mind is not paying its full attention, your body becomes incapacitated; only when your body becomes fully conscious, then your mental capacity will then become enhanced and sharpened. Body awareness is simply paying full attention to what your body is doing at that present moment. In other words, be more conscious of what your body is doing when you are eating, walking, or doing anything routine. In any life situation, even while doing your dishes, you can use your total body awareness to switch off your thinking mind, and give it a meaningful break for your stress-relief.

The bottom line: with awareness and mindfulness, you may then begin to see the ultimate truths in anything and everything—including who you really are, all those close and related to you, as well as what is happening to and around you, including any illness or disease you may have.

The TAO Wisdom

According to the TAO, awareness is knowing who you really are, instead of who you wish you were. This is the only path to humility, which gives you an empty mindset with reverse thinking to rethink what is already in your pre-conditioned mind:

“Can we embrace both good fortunes and misfortunes in life?
Can we breathe as easily as innocent babies?
Can we see the world created as it is without judgment?
Can we accept both the desirable and the undesirable?
Can we express compassion to all without being boastful?
Can we watch the comings and goings of things without being perturbed?

Saying “yes” to all of the above is spiritual wisdom from the Creator,
who watches the comings and goings in the world He created.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 10)

According to the TAO, awareness is:

“watchful, like a man crossing a winter stream;
alert, like a man aware of danger;
courteous, like a visiting guest;
yielding, like ice about to melt;
simple, like a piece of uncarved wood;
hollow, like a cave;
opaque, like muddy water.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 15)

Mindfulness is the deep understanding of your body: how and why you are sick. The reason why a sage is not ill is that he sees illness as illness, and not as something else:

“Not knowing the Way,
but pretending we know,
we remain ignorant, and suffer.

Knowing that we do not know,
we pursue its wisdom:
knowing its origin,
knowing its ending,
and knowing our true nature.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 71)

Mindfulness is watching and observing what is happening to your body, as well as anything and everything around you. That is how and why you may have become sick.

“The Creator seems elusive amid the changes of life.
At times, He seems to have forsaken His creations.
In reality, He is simply observing the comings and goings of their follies.

Likewise, we watch the comings and goings of our likes and dislikes, of our desires and fears.
But we do not identify with them.
With no judgment and no preference,
we see the mysteries of creation.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 7)

With awareness and mindfulness, you may attain the true wisdom of knowing yourself:

“Knowing others is intelligence.
Knowing ourselves is true wisdom.
Overcoming others is strength.
Overcoming ourselves is true power.

Understanding that we have everything we need,
we count our blessings.
Identifying with our own true nature,
we hold fast to what endures.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 33)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, September 20, 2020

YourJourney of Healing


Journey of Healing

One of Lao Tzu’s famous sayings is “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” The TAO journey of healing myasthenia gravis is a great undertaking: every step is as important as the first; and each step is as firm as the previous one. The Chinese often like to say “feet stepping on solid and steady ground.” Your healing journey is the sum of all the steps you are going to take.

It is your journey, and only you can take your first step. So, you must choose to take your first step to go on that healing journey.

To continue on your journey, paradoxically, you must show no desire to heal and no intent to reach your destination.

But why?

The desire for good health may be difficult to sustain for someone who is currently confronted with the many health issues related to myasthenia gravis. It may seem not only difficult but almost impossible for that individual to restore natural health and get well again. Worse, ill health may even make that individual feel depressed and forget to take care of the body, and thus allowing the body's malfunctions to continue and deteriorate further.

A wise traveler on a long journey has no fixed plans, and is not intent upon arriving the destination within a certain time frame. But that traveler is ready to use all the situations and all the people encountered to help him along the long journey.
           
Likewise, healing is a long, on-going process, and not a destination. With innate and inexplicable power, it may appear that everyone and everything along your journey are also playing a part in facilitating in your favor all your endeavors in healing your myasthenia gravis.

The bottom line: take your first step of no desire and no intent for healing so as to change and to overcome any attitude of confusion and even despair related to the trauma of your myasthenia gravis diagnosis. On your healing journey, with no intent upon arriving at the destination any time soon, you will continue to keep yourself moving forward, and you will then go the long distance on your long healing journey.

The TAO

According to the TAO, being free of desires is your path to detachment, and thus giving you clarity of thinking to start your own healing journey.

Paradoxically, if you have no desire to desire for change or healing, there is stillness, in which you may see yourself gradually changing for the better in order to slowly heal yourself:

“To live a life of harmony, we need letting life live by itself. . .

So, follow the Way.
Stop striving to change ourselves: we are naturally changing.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 57)

“Accordingly, we do not rush into things.
We neither strain nor stress.
We let go of success and failure.
We patiently take the next necessary step, a small step and one step at a time.
We relinquish our conditioned thinking. Being our true nature, we help all beings
return to their own nature too.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 64)

According to the TAO, a good traveler neither has fixed plans, nor shows any effort to arrive at the destination:

The softest thing in the world
overcomes what seems to be the hardest.
     
That which has no form
penetrates what seems to be impenetrable.

That is why we exert effortless effort.
We act without over-doing.
We teach without arguing.

This is the Way to true wisdom.
This is not a popular way
because people prefer over-doing.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 43)

Begin your healing journey, and take your first step with effortless effort and humble simplicity:

“Those, who think they know, know not the Way.
Those, who think they know not, find the Way.

Simplicity is clarity.
It is a blessing to learn from those
with humble simplicity.
Those with an empty mind
will learn to find the Way.
The Way reveals the secrets of the universe:
the mysteries of the realm of creation;
the manifestations of all things created.
The essence of the Way is to show us
how to live in fullness and return to our origin.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 65)

So, begin your own journey of self-healing of any disease you may have.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
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Saturday, September 19, 2020

The TAO of Healing


Millions and billions of people worldwide are suffering from autoimmune diseases, including myasthenia gravis which is only one of the many different autoimmune disorders that are causing anxiety, fear, pain, mental confusion, and even suicidal thoughts in some of those afflicted.

According to Western medicine, there is no known cure for autoimmune diseases due to the complexity of their causes. Understandably, patients afflicted with autoimmune diseases are seeking healing from many different healing modalities, such as the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Ayurvedic medicine, and among many others. In addition, they are desperately looking for help from herbs, fruits, and all kinds of natural nutrient supplements, as well as from physical exercises and spiritual practices, to rejuvenate their failing health due to their weakened immune systems.

Knowledge and Wisdom

Knowledge comes from how your mind perceives and processes any information available. Wisdom, on the other hand, is how you apply the knowledge acquired to cope with any disease and disorder you may have, as well as your everyday life and living. The important implication: being knowledgeable may not necessarily make you wise or wiser.

The bottom line: you need both knowledge and wisdom to heal yourself of any human disease, including myasthenia gravis.

Given that both knowledge and wisdom come from the thinking mind, your brain is, therefore, the most important of all your body organs. With its billions of brain cells, your brain is not only most complicated but also major source of all your health issues and problems.

So, first and foremost, it is important to keep your brain healthy as much as possible in order to be capable of acquiring the knowledge and attaining the wisdom to initiate  your self-healing of any disease you may have.

The Healthy Brain

This is how you may keep your brain healthy:

Keep yourself hydrated because 80 percent of your brain is water. Drink at least 7-8 cups of water per day.

Keep healthy gums, and floss your teeth regularly to prevent any gum disease.

Enhance and improve blood flow to your brain with your 30-minute exercise at least several times a week.

Eat a healthy diet: high-quality lean protein; low-glycemic and high-fiber carbohydrates; natural and not processed foods.

Avoid inflammation and the formation of free radicals in your body.

Avoid sugar and sugary drinks, including all sodas and diet sodas.

Quit smoking, and limit your alcohol consumption to no more than 5 glasses per week.

Manage your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Maintain healthy levels of nutrients, e.g. vitamin D and omega-3s.

Maintain healthy hormones of the thyroid and the testosterone.

Promote good mental health, and avoid anxiety and depression.

De-stress yourself with correct breathing and daily meditation.

Get quality sleep of at least 7-8 hours a night without the help of medication.

Develop meaning and purpose in your life.

In addition to having a healthy brain, you must learn how to empower your thinking mind to seek and acquire the knowledge to heal your body of any disease.  

The TAO of Healing

The TAO is the wisdom of Lao Tzu from China more than 2,500 years ago. Lao Tzu, the ancient sage, was the author of the immortal classic TAO TE CHING on human wisdom. The TAO may play a pivotal role in the healing process of any autoimmune disease, including that of myasthenia gravis.,

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, September 18, 2020

How to Pray


How to Pray

Praying is never easy: often complicated, and even paradoxical.

You’ve got to know what you want so that you can ask what you want in order to get what you want.

So, before you pray, you must know your true self: who and what you really are, and not who and what you wish you were.

Praying is talking to God through your heart, and not your words; repeating a right set of words isn’t as important as your heart talking to Him.

Prayer is God’s gift to anyone who prays for that free gift.

So, to pray for that free gift, you must show your desire to feel God’s presence, which is in anyone and everyone, as well as in anything and everything.

Several decades ago, a former colleague of mine had the opportunity to meet and dine with Gladys Aylward, a British missionary to China, whose amazing story was made into a Hollywood film in 1958: “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness”, starring Ingrid Bergman.

My former colleague told me that at the dinner with Gladys she found it very “odd” that Gladys had repeated almost non-stop “Praise the Lord!” throughout the dinner—when someone passed her a dish, some bread, even salt and pepper, or when someone made a comment. It might not have looked “odd” to someone who’d like to feel the presence of God in every moment of his or her life.

So, from now on, whenever you say “Thank you” aloud, maybe you should also try to say in silence “Praise the Lord!” so that you may feel His presence in your heart.

To feel His omnipresence,  you must also still your thoughts with mindfulness, and live in the now.

Prayer is how you react and respond to His presence in your daily life.

Always begin your prayer with God, and not yourself.

Asking for your needs is self-delusional: God already knows your needs.

Asking for your wants is self-sabotaging: trying to make God change His mind about what He has already wanted for you.

So, don’t pray for “be happy”, “be healthy”, and “be wealthy.”

If you’re blessed with His presence, you’ll still feel your happiness even in your adversities. Depression is humans’ refusal of letting go to receive His presence.

If you’re blessed with His wisdom, you’ll know how to take care of your body, even when you’re sick.

If  you’re blessed  with His grace,  you’ll learn
to let go of your greed and covetousness for your wealth.

Always pray for your trust and obedience: trust that God will give you the power to “respond positively” to any life challenge you may face; obedience that God will give you the wisdom to embrace anything and every-thing to let go of your control of your own destiny.

Remember, your prayers are always answered, but not your own expectations.

The TAO wisdom (the ancient wisdom from China, based on the wisdom of Lao Tzu, the author of the ancient classic TAO Te Ching) shows you how to live your daily life, and how your prayers may be answered.

“An empty mind with no craving and no expectation helps us letting go.
Being in the world and not of the world, we attain heavenly grace.
With heavenly grace, we become pure and selfless.
And everything settles into its own perfect place.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 3

Li Ching-Yuan was probably the longest-living Chinese in history, who died on May 6, 1933 at the age of over 200 years.

This is one of his thought-provoking sayings regarding Zen, an Eastern philosophy about being and a way of thinking:

“Before I had studied Zen for thirty years,
I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters.
When I arrived with a more intimate knowledge,
I saw that mountains are not mountains,
and waters are not waters.
But now that I have got its very substance,
I am at rest.
For it is just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.”
Li Ching-Yuan

Li Ching-Yuan was talking about awakening or self-enlightenment, which is always effortless and spontaneous. So, if you strive to know and understand anything and everything, the awakening may never come.
You may like to pray, but your prayers are seldom answered; then you’ll see “mountains as mountains, and waters as waters.”

Your desire in seeking God may somehow change your perspectives; then you may see “mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters.”

But finding God, and living in His presence, you’ll just see that “mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters”—in other words, “prayers are seldom answered or not answered at all” is not only irrelevant but also inexplicable. What really matters is that you’ve found the spiritual wisdom to live your life as if everything is a miracle.

So, don’t use your pre-programmed causal reasoning to make sense out of the senseless in life. Instead, express your trust and obedience to your Creator and fully live in His presence.

Click here to get Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered.



Click here to get The Complete Tao Te Ching in Plain English.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © Stephen Lau