Wisdom from Books

<b>Wisdom from Books</b>
Stephen Lau's website to help you get the wisdom to live as if everything is a miracle!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Easy and the Difficult

I have become so fascinated by Tao wisdom that I have just published my third book based on Tao wisdom. First of all, Tao wisdom is the wisdom of Lao Tzu, an ancient sage from China, who was the author of the immortal Chinese classic “Tao Te Ching” on human wisdom.

I remember I had to memorize a short excerpt from “Tao Te Ching” when I was about eight or nine years old. Back in those days—when I was in Hong Kong before I came to the United States—students had to learn by memory some classical Chinese; it was difficult for most students because they were clueless about the meanings of the texts they had to memorize. Any excerpt from “Tao Te Ching” is especially difficult to memorize, not to mention understanding.

But it is the difficulty in understanding “Tao Te Ching” that has made this immortal Chinese classic become one of the most translated works in world literature, ranking with the Bible among of the top ten.

Let me explain why it is difficult to understand, and why it is the difficulty that has fascinated readers worldwide. The difficulty was "deliberate" on the part of Lao Tzu. First of all, he believed that “words” do not represent the “truths” or the “realities” in life because words simply “point” to the truths or realities, which are absolute and they had existed long before there were words. Another reason was that Lao Tzu was “forced” to put down his wisdom in words before he was allowed to leave China for Tibet. According to the legend, he was stopped at the city gate and was told that he would be allowed to leave the country only after he had put down his wisdom in words. Reluctantly and deliberately he put down his wisdom in exactly 5,000 words without any punctuation mark. Quite different from English, every Chinese word may have multiple meanings. As a result, what Lao Tzu put down in words could be interpreted in many different ways, especially without any punctuation mark to clarity the meaning. The text is therefore abstract and controversial, and this is the reason why it has fascinated many scholars worldwide.

Here is one of the many English translations of the First Chapter of the original text:

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
As nameless, it is the origin of all things;
As named, it is the mother of 10,000 things
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery of all things.
Ever desiring, one sees only their manifestations.
And the mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding.
(Chapter One, Tao Te Ching)

(original Chinese text; the punctuation marks were subsequently added by scholars)

Here is my explanation and interpretation of the original text:

Tao (or the Way) is the pathway to wisdom, which is self-intuition through self-awakening. Once it is expressed in words, it is no longer the pathway. Anything with a name immediately assumes an identity and thus becomes pre-conditioning and self-limiting—obstacles to freedom in thinking, which is the source of human wisdom.

The book I have just published is entitled Be A Better and Happier You With Tao Wisdom. This 132-page book is based on the profound human wisdom expressed in “Tao Te Ching.” My book contains the translation in simple English of the complete text of “Tao Te Ching.” To illustrate, the language is simple and easy to understand, but the wisdom expressed may be difficult:

“Like water, soft and yielding,
Yet it overcomes the hard and the rigid
Stiffness and stubbornness cause much suffering.
We all intuitively know
that flexibility and tenderness
are the way to go.
Yet our conditioned minds
tell us to go the other way.”
(Chapter 78, Tao Te Ching)

My book shows you how to attain true human wisdom through asking self-intuitive questions, creating an empty mindset with reverse thinking to let go of the ego-self to become a better and happier you.

The wisdom of Tao begins with the power of intent in the mind to know and to learn more about the true “self”—after all, wisdom is about self, and about how it reacts with everyone and everything around. In the quest of wisdom, the revelation of having no ego-self is the turning point, where you may begin to embark on a different life journey with a different mission. Your “conditioned” mind thus begins the journey of “reverse thinking” which will ultimately change your life, making you a better and happier you.
Tao wisdom enables you to see the wisdom in the oneness of all life—that everything exists because of its “opposite” and that everything will ultimately become its opposite, just as youth becoming old age, and life becoming death. Spontaneity, which is following the natural laws of nature, holds the key to attaining true human wisdom to live your life as if everything is a miracle.

Part One of my book explains the prerequisites of human wisdom. Without true human wisdom, it is almost impossible to perceive the innate human goodness in self, as well as in others. Human goodness leads to the attributes of genuine human happiness.

Part Two is the complete translation of the 81 short chapters of Lao Tzu's "Tao Te Ching" in simple English for readers to understand the complex and controversial wisdom of “Tao Te Ching.”

Part Three highlights the essentials of Tao wisdom, and shows how it can be applied to contemporary living so that you may live as if everything is a miracle to be a better and happier you.

To be a better and happier you is both easy and difficult: Tao wisdom is easy to understand with an empty mind, but difficult to assimilate its depth and profoundness

To download the digital copy of my book, click here; to get the paperback edition, click here.

My two other books on Tao wisdom are:

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mind Focus and the Death of Robin Williams

The death of Robin Williams has shocked the world. Why did he kill himself? The media have been trying to figure it out what drove him to committing suicide.

Apparently, Robin Williams had everything that most people would wish for: career, fame, money, and success. He was diagnosed with depression and Parkinson's disease, but that might not have driven him to end his life so tragically. So, what was on his mind?
The brain is one of the most important organs in the human body because it controls what we do, and, more importantly, how we think. The mind is the storage place for our thoughts and memories that determine our actions and reactions in life.
People kill themselves because they are unhappy with their lives. Unhappiness has to do with mind focus. People are unhappy because they focus on what they don't have -- which in itself is negativity, creating negative energy that leads to negative thinking. In pursuing happiness, many of us focus on career, money, and relationship, and we end up being unhappy because we are focusing on what we don't have, rather than what we already have. In other words, we may want what Robin Williams already had, because we don't have them, just as Robin Williams would want something else other than those things that he already had. This is the reality of life.
But what did Robin Williams want that he did not have? It could be anything -- such as freedom from addiction and shame. Who knows?
At one time, Robin Williams did admit that he was "shameful" of his addiction and substance abuse. Shame is a more devastating and destructive emotion than guilt. The reason is that guilt may make us feel bad about ourselves but may prompt us to take remedial action, while shame makes us feel unworthy, humiliating us such that it may be recover to recover from self-inflicted low self-esteem.
But if our mind focus is on what we have, instead of on what we don't have, then we may be happier. In the case of Robin Williams, if he were to have his mind focus on what he had -- fame, money, success -- he would not have felt so shameful and worthless because of his addiction and substance abuse. Indeed, mind focus on what one has creates gratitude and thankfulness, instead of envy, remorse, and shame that are often associated with mind focus on what one doesn't have.
The tragic death of Robin Williams may shed some light on the importance of mind focus.

"Rethink" your mind to help you live a life as if everything is a miracle. Read my book As If Everything Is A Miracle to find out more.

 Stephen Lau 
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Loving Yourself First

Love yourself first, and live your life as if everything is a miracle. This is wisdom in the art of living well.

The role of love

Despite living in a world of conflicts and wars, love still plays a pivotal role in our lives. For all religious disparities, love still plays an essential role in all the world’s religions. “Love” is still a big word in human lives. Love involves our feelings and emotions. We all love some things and some people.

Ironically enough, love gives us both happiness and pain. When the love is fulfilled, we feel happy; when the love is rejected or unfilled, we feel pain. This, unfortunately, is the reality of love.

In Christianity, love refers to the love of God and the love of one’s neighbors or even enemies. In Buddhism, love refers to an awakened state of mind. The word “Buddha” means “wake up.” Buddhism is not a religion (at least, initially, it wasn’t meant to be), not a belief system, and not a philosophy. Buddhism is self-discovery to experience your awakened state of mind concerning loving and living in this mundane world.

Why loving yourself is hard

To love is not as easy as you may think. To love someone—especially God—is difficult, unless you overcome the hurdle of loving yourself first and foremost.

You may be judgmental: being hard on yourself, and feeling your inadequacy in spite of some success in your life. That is, it is not good enough for you, and therefore you want more.

You may have a conditioned mindset about love, such that “to love” becomes conditional. You have a pre-conditioned set of criteria for your loved ones, friends, and colleagues: if they don’t meet your criteria, you cannot and will not love them. By the same token, your love of yourself is also conditional, based on the self-image you have created for yourself, such as too fat.

How to love yourself first

Before you can love others, you must learn how to love yourself first.

The first step is to change your perspectives of how you look at yourself or others. If there is anything you wish to change, then make the effort to change it. If you can’t, then accept what you cannot change. Self-acceptance is an important ingredient in the expression of love. If you cannot accept yourself, there is no way for you to accept others, let alone loving them.

To initiate any change, you must be mindful of why you need to change, and how to go about making the change. Mindfulness holds the key to discovering how you think and feel about yourself. One way to enhance your mindfulness to sharpen your mind is through meditation.

Empty your mind of any pre-conditioned thinking or conventional mindset. For example, many of us are ingrained in our minds that the purpose of life is to enjoy—that has led to to our quest for materialism.  Another example, many of us have the belief that we all have inherited badness from the Fall of Adam, and therefore we may feel guilt for not being good enough, and thus leading to depression.

With an empty mind, you may believe in the basic goodness in humans that never changes because it does not reply on “conditions” that are forever changing. In other words, basic human goodness is beyond the basic concepts of good and evil; it is a state of our being—natural and unchangeable. Believing in the basic goodness in all enables you to love yourself first, and then extend that love to others, too, because we are all one and the same—just as the famous poet John Donne says: “No man is an island.” 

"Rethink" your mind to live as if everything is a miracle.

Stephen Lau 
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, July 14, 2014

As If Everything Is A Miracle.

I have just published my book "As If Everything Is A Miracle" on Amazon.
In this day and age, living in different phases of life is challenging. For one thing, in this world of technology and information, many of us are addicted to speed, which seems like a prerequisite for success in career and in many others facets of life. As a result, stress is unduly created, which may lead to toxic actions, reactions, thoughts and emotions. Consciously and subconsciously we have created for ourselves a world in which our bodies, our minds, and souls have become toxic and we live as if nothing is a miracle.

To do just the opposite -- living as if everything is a miracle -- we have to renew the mind,  renew the body, and reconnect the soul, and realign the being so that we know who we really are, instead of who we "think" we are.

This 125-page book is about the wisdom in living as if everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein once said: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle."

Life is a miracle; even your breath is a miracle in itself. To live your life as if everything is a miracle, you need wisdom of the body, the mind, and the soul.

The body perceives all sensations and experiences in the physical world. The mind interprets and registers them in the subconscious mind, which controls the conscious mind in its daily life choices and decisions, resulting in actions, non-actions, and reactions of the body in the physical world. The soul feeds the mind with spirituality that provides connection and interconnection with others through empathy and compassion, gratitude and generosity, as well as love and forgiveness. The body, the mind, and the soul—all play a pivotal role in wisdom in contemporary living. The essence of this wisdom is their “alignment” with one another for balance and harmony in the being of an individual.

Having said that, living in the physical world, the body can easily become toxic, and its toxins may contaminate the mind due to the scientifically proven body-mind connection. A toxic mind is filled with toxic thoughts and memories, which result in toxic choices and decisions that further exacerbate the toxic body with its toxic actions, reactions, and behaviors in the physical world. The spiritual guidance of the soul is often ignored by a toxic mind.

You mind provides the map for your body to go on your life journey, and your soul is the compass; without the compass and map, you are going nowhere, and you live your life as if nothing is a miracle.

This 125-page book provides information on how you can rethink your mind, renew your body, and reconnect your soul for alignment of your being to live your life as if everything is a miracle. Click here to download your copy.

Stephen Lau 
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Is Your Memory Going Bad?

Do you have a bad memory? If you think you cannot remember dates of appointments, special events and occasions, such as birthdays, where you have put your keys, the names of people you have just been introduced to, you may think you have a bad memory, or, worse, the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In truth, you may "think" you have a bad memory; it is just your mental perception. Epictetus, the famous Greek philosopher once said: "People are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them." In other words, it is just your perception of your bad memory that is bothering you.
Why do you hold this belief? It is because you are comparing the conditions of your present memory with those in the past. Has your memory really gone from bad to worse? Can it be just your subjective perception rather than a factual or scientific validation of your memory decline? More importantly, you have added more years to your life, and therefore you have more data stored in your memory, and that may explain some of your problems in retrieving the extra information stored.
Believing you have bad memory will not help your memory loss. Quite the contrary, such a belief may only add insult to injury by creating undue stress that inhibits good memory.
The process of your memory involves encoding, which is turning information you wish to remember into some sort of a code to be stored in your brain for future retrieval, Bad memory is your inability to retrieve at will the information stored in your brain. Your inability to retrieve the information is often due to your anxiety. In other words, the more you are anxious about your bad memory, the more difficult it is for you to retrieve the desired information.
The bottom line: don't even think you have a bad memory; relax your mind through diaphragm breathing and meditation to increase your mind power; most importantly, learn the techniques to improve your memory.

Stephen Lau 
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Happiness Myths

Happiness is what makes life meaningful and living worthwhile. Most of us pursue happiness as one of our major lifelong goals, but happiness is like a carrot stick in front of us, forever unattainable. Why?  Because many of us are misguided by happiness myths.

It is  an assumption that as you get older, it is more difficult to be happy, because things are getting more and more difficult to do, while you are able to do less and less. But this is only a myth; and nothing could be further from the truth. Truly, happiness has to do with health: the healthier you are, the more likely you are happy even as you continue to age. Other than your health, there are many factors that contribute to happiness. According to research, many senior people are happy despite their senility and infirmity.

It is a myth that happiness has to be with luck. If you are lucky, you win the lottery. For one thing, winning the lottery may not bring you happiness; as a matter of fact, many lottery winners are unhappy after the initial excitement of winning.

It is the most common myth that happiness has to do with money and status. Of course, we need money to survive, and living from hand to mouth may not be a pleasant life experience. Be that as it may, money does not and cannot create happiness. And neither can status bring happiness; more often than not, it brings only stress.

It is also a myth that happiness has to do with circumstances. If you are successful in your career, or having a rewarding love relationship, you will be happy. Again, circumstances may change.

The bottom line: do not pursue happiness myths; they are not realities of life and living. Life is a bed of roses that come with thorns. It is forever changing, and nothing really lasts; that explains why pursuing material things to bring happiness is unrealistic.

Happiness has to do with your attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of life experiences. Given that your life experiences are forever changing, it is always a cup half-full or half-empty.  It is all in the mind. Remember, it is already a blessing that you are breathing.  Life is a game in which there are really no winners or losers in the end; as long as you are in it, it doesn't matter who wins or loses. Come to think of it, everything in life can be a source of happiness. It all depends on the individual to make a heaven or hell out of it.
Read my book "The Book of Life and Living" to find out the wisdom in living in this contemporary world.
Stephen Lau 
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Your Phone, Your Being, Your Health

Nowadays, almost everyone has a phone. You live by your phone, and you can't survive without it because everything about your life is stored inside your phone. Your phone has become your being. Honestly, can you live without your phone? Probably not.

If your phone is your being, most likely you feel that time flies, that you are always on the verge of good health and success but never quite getting them, that even you have some achievements in your life and yet you are not quite enjoying the fruits of your success, and that you are always struggling with something you can never identify or understand.  If your use your phone all the time, and your life has evolved around your phone, it has, indeed, become your being. 
Without a doubt, we are all living in a world of speed. and many of us have developed a compulsive mind without even knowing it, as evidenced by our overuse of the phone. Well, what is a compulsive mind? A compulsive mind is one which is always shuffling between the past and the future, but rarely stays in the present. A compulsive mind is about doing, and not being. That's why a compulsive mind cannot quiet down, let alone rest. A compulsive mind, which is essentially a distressed mind, is the source of imbalance and disharmony in the mind, and thus leading to disease and disorder in the body because the body and the mind are interconnected.  Science has attested to the body-mind connection in human health.

Do you have a compulsive mind? You may have a compulsive mind if you talk on the phone while driving. Being means you are living in the present moment; that is, you have presence of mind in what you are doing right now. Talking on the phone while driving means your mind is on the phone, and you have put driving on autopilot. Are you talking on the phone, or are you driving? Which is more important? Your mind can be present moment to moment on doing only one thing at a time. Multitasking distracts the mind and blunts its mental awareness, which is critical to a healthy body.

Mental awareness or mindfulness holds the key to good health. Your body communicates with your mind through messages to warn you of the imminence of a disease or disorder. But without mindfulness, you may not recognize the subtle signs and symptoms in the form of fatigue, discomfort, restlessness, aches and pains. In addition, according to research studies, mindfulness strengthens your immune system to protect you from disease.

The bottom line: enhance your mindfulness with moment-to-moment presence of mind. The simplest and easiest way to practice mindfulness is to focus on your breaths. Again, most of us are totally unaware of our breaths unless we have breathing problems. But breaths give us life; without our breaths, we die more or less instantly. Practice mindfulness to sharpen your mental alertness by noticing your breathing in and breathing out through your nostrils. You can do this anytime and anywhere if you choose to -- just give your mind a meaningful break from its compulsive thoughts.

Or, next time, when your phone rings, don't pick it up; instead notice your breaths to slow down your mind. Your mindfulness is much more important than that phone call!

Remember, stress is the root cause of all human miseries and diseases. Mindfulness is the antidote to stress. Be present to the now. The past was gone, the future is unknown, and only the present is real, and that's why it is called "present" because it is a gift from above.
Stephen Lau 
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, May 9, 2014

Overcoming Wedding Stress

My daughter got married in May, 2013 -- almost a year ago. Now as I look back, it was a wonderful wedding: it was a simple wedding, very well planned, and everybody enjoyed it.  Now it's May, and you may be hearing wedding bells: loved ones, friends and relatives are getting or planning to get married.

A wedding is a lifetime grand event for great celebration. However, it may create undue stress. Planning a wedding may take months or even more than a year, and therefore the stress may be cumulative and protracted. Overcoming wedding stress, you need to understand the causes of wedding stress. 

There are four main causes of wedding stress:

Money is the major factor in wedding stress. A wedding is about spending money, and financial stress is often a byproduct of a wedding. An average wedding in the United States may cost between $20,000 and $30,000, and a 5-tier wedding cake could have a price tag of well over $2,000, not to mention the other accessories that come with the celebration, such as wedding attire, the ceremony and the reception, among others. Everything costs money, and money creates stress, especially in this economic environment.

The second cause of wedding stress is the wedding planning with the many details of the wedding. Although it is often just a one-day event, a wedding involves many details, such as the ceremony, the reception, the honeymoon, the bachelorette parties, the rehearsal dinner, the bridal dress, the bouquets and flowers, the gifts and favors, the decoration, and the photography, among others. Each comes with its many unique details that demand attention and planning, involving a multitude of venues and personnel. On top of that, they  are often a source of conflicts, disagreements, and disputes among those involved..

Time element is another cause of wedding stress. Wedding planning requires time to put everything in the right order and in the right place. However, procrastination, a common human weakness, may become the source of stress and hassle in the planning and the outcome of the wedding.

Finally, man proposes but God disposes. Unpleasant surprises and mishaps may get in the way during the planning process, or worse, on the wedding day. No matter how organized and thoughtful is your planning, something may go wrong, such as the vendor has gone out of business, the Maid of Honor has fallen sick, or the photographer has failed to turn up due to an accident. 

To overcome wedding stress, you must plan ahead, give yourself sufficient time to deal with all the anticipated and unforeseeable issues.while planning a wedding.

If money is no object to you, by all means plan a lavish wedding. However, many of us do not have that luxury at our disposal, so the option is to go for a budget wedding, in which all unnecessary costs have been eliminated and all wedding items have been acquired at their best prices. A budget wedding is essentially a "resoureful" wedding based on the principle of "dollars and sense." It is important to understand that a wedding, which is only a one-day event, is only a part of a marriage, and that it is crucial for a married couple to enter into their married life without incurring a big consumer debt. The bottom line: Spend according to your means.

Planning a wedding is no easy task. For this reason, it is important to involve your family members and close friends as well; you don't have to listen to them, but they may help you one way or the other. Delegate them with fun errands and wedding projects. Don't try to do everything yourself. Learn to relax and enjoy the planning process.
Conflicts and disagreements are inevitable during the planning process. Look upon wedding planning as an opportunity to experience what married life is all about. For a marriage to work, a couple must understand each other's needs, differences and preferences, and, most importantly, the need for compromise. Planning based on agreement and disagreement will help the couple to prepare for the married life ahead ofthem. To deal with time stress and procrastination, get yourself organized. If both you and your partner are unorganized, consider hiring a wedding consultant, even though it adds cost to the budget. 

No matter how careful you may have been with your wedding planning, something may still go wrong. Look at everything in perspective. Just remember that the wedding is only a small part of your marriage. Don't lose focus on what is the most important: your marriage, not the wedding. It is the love and bond with your future spouse that matters, so fully utilize wedding planning to enhance that love and bond. Keep this in perspective whenever you feel any wedding stress.

Just be yourself, and learn how to relax and enjoy the engagement and experience of wedding planning prior to the wedding.

Stephen Lau 
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dealing with Life Challenges

Life is full of challenges. But some of us may not remember how challenging life was even when we were young. Many of us struggled simply because we would like to conform to society, to fit in with the norm, or to become what was expected of us. To illustrate, being too fat or too skinny might be challenging. On the one hand, we were curious of the world around us; on the other hand, we wanted to "belong" to some group, or something that we would like to be able to identify ourselves with. 

After we became adults, the challenges have continued in the form of academic education, relationships, career pursuits, and starting a family, among others. The accumulative challenges never seem to let up.

Then, as we continue to age, the challenges may have become not only overwhelming but also insurmountable when we are confronted with infirmities, frailties, illnesses, and the impending imminence of death and dying. 

Is there a solution, or a way out other than death? How do we deal with life challenges?

Yes, dealing with life challenges requires wisdom in living. Throughout life, we might have acquired much knowledge necessary for survival, for living the life we would like to pursue, for reaching the goals we have set for ourselves; but we might have neglected cultivating and intuiting wisdom. Knowledge is accumulation of facts and information; wisdom is deep understanding and internalization of knowledge and its application to everyday living. A knowledgeable person is not necessarily wise, by the same token, a wise person may not be knowledgeable.  

Wisdom in dealing with life challenges necessitates looking at the wider picture of life, which means looking at not just ourselves, but also others around us. As T.S. Elliot, famous the poet, once said "No man is an island." That is, we are all connected with one another one way or the other. Accordingly, we may begin to see everything in perspective, and life may become less challenging. Therefore, focusing on self -- or, according to the ancient Chinese wisdom of Lao Tzu, on the ego-self -- may make us see only our immediate needs and not the teaching moment or another door of opportunity being opened to us. In Lao Tzu's wisdom, living in the present moment holds the key to attaining awareness, which enables us to see the natural cycle of life; understanding the natural order of things eliminates the focus on the ego-self, which is the obstacle to dealing with life challenges. In place of the ego-self is spontaneity, and life no longer has its challenges. 

The Book of Life and Living shows you how to enhance human wisdom..

Stephen Lau 
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Is There Another Way to Live Your Life?

The mind controls everything: how you  think, how your experience what happens to you, how you perceive your past and present experiences, how you anticipate your future expectations, how you make  decisions and take actions that affect your future experiences. In short, your thoughts become the raw materials with which you weave the fabric of your life.

Unfortunately, we were never taught how to think. Albert Einstein rightly said: “Thinking is difficult; that’s why so few people do it.”

You are who you are and what you have  now become because of how you think; that is, your thoughts have become you.  Given that life is complex, and living is never simple,  it is important that you know how to control your mind, and hence your  thoughts to enable you to make the best and the most out of your life.

When you were young in the early phase  of growth and development, you were exposed to the world around through your five senses; then your mind began to process what you perceived in your  experiences, generalizing and interpreting it according toy our mental input, and applying it whenever and wherever you thought appropriate and applicable. Over the years, these perceptions and experiences have made you think this is  who you are. You seldom challenge your thoughts.
If you have not been living a life of your dream, most probably it is because your mind has been pre-conditioned by your thoughts. Remember, where you are right now is only temporary -- conditioned by your mindset. If you can change your thoughts, you can change your life; it's just that simple!

We are all living in a belief-generated world, and our beliefs are generated by the media, the people around us, and, most notably, by ourselves in our subconscious minds. Our beliefs create our own reality in life. If we believe we can change for the better, we can. On the other hand, for instance, if we believe we are victimized by our fate, then our victim mentality will keep us in that state indefinitely until we change that negative mindset. To make any significant change in how we think, we must separate ourselves from our thoughts, and this requires mental awareness. To develop and enhance this mental awareness, we must, first of all, have the intent to change, that is, our total responsibility for what is happening to us or what we have become.

Now, you can see how powerful your mind is. Yes, there is always another way to live your life; nothing is set in stone. If you don't like the life you are living now, don't just sit there, whining and complaining about this and that. Do something about it! Your mind is the most powerful life tool. Make good use of it.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Zen Living in Contemporary Life

Contemporary life is like a pressure cooker into which are dumped obsessive thoughts and worries about career, money, children, relationships, health, and social responsibilities. As a result, contemporary living is hectic and stressful. The human mind often becomes a victim of undue tension and distress.

Stress is a complex problem involving the body's response to increased mental tension, which is a byproduct of contemporary living. 

Learn to live by Zen. 

What is Zen, or the way of Zen?

Zen is a way of living, which is crucial to contemporary living. Zen is a philosophy of living to deal with stress. Make no mistake, Zen is not a religious belief. Despite having its origin from Buddha, Zen is not the foundation of Buddhism. Zen is only a philosophical approach to human happiness through intellectual cultivation.

The word “Zen” is Japanese, but it derives from the Chinese, meaning “meditation.” It is an Oriental mental practice for self-enlightenment. More specifically, Zen is a transcendental mental state that affects the overall physical and mental well-being of an individual. 

Zen cultivates intuitive knowing, which is naturally knowing the ultimate truth of living. According to the ancient philosopher Plato, life is a process of “forgetting” with episodes of experiences and happenings that can make you “forget” how to live. The way of Zen is to help you re-discover that innate wisdom of knowing the eternal truth of living. That re-discovery is “self-awakening,” which cannot be taught but can only be intuited through stillness of the mind attained in meditation. Through "self-enlightenment," you will be liberated from the shackles of memories of the past and worries of the future. 

The way of Zen is simple: live in the present. Unfortunately, most of us don't live in the present: we live in the past, rummaging through memories of both pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and then projecting them into the future, striving to repeat the pleasant ones and to avoid the unpleasant ones. That is how many of us live in the past and the future, but not in the present. In the process of picking and choosing, we create not only stress for ourselves but also problems that did not exist in the first place. Zen living is living in the present, embracing whatever that may come along in life, without picking and choosing, and learning from both the pleasant and unpleasant experiences. Essentially, Zen living is learning how to relax by acquiring the wisdom of neither avoiding problems in life, nor seeking solutions to problems that might not even have existed in the first place.

Contemporary way of life is often an unhealthy lifestyle: it is much like living in a pressure cooker. The endless challenges, demands, and goals continue to churn out stress in every form. 

Zen living focuses on the present moment—not the past, and surely not the future

Zen living teaches us to relax through meditation that may give us the "self-enlightenment" to truly understand the essentials of life and living. 

The essence of Zen living may be summarized in the following Zen poem: 

"The perfect Way is without difficulty.
Save that it avoids picking and choosing.
Only when you stop liking and disliking
Will all be clearly understood.
A split hair's difference
And heaven and earth are set apart.
If you want to get the plain truth,
Be not concerned with right and wrong.
The conflict between right and wrong
Is the sickness of the mind."
from an old Zen poem

Start Zen: Learn the healing art of Zen meditation. Free yourself from the thoughts and emotions that are holding you back in your life. Dramatically improve the quality of your life by enhancing the quality of your mind.

Living By Zen: Learn to live a life of inner peace without stress from Dr. Brenda Shoshanna, the famous psychologist and best-selling author. .

Read my books: The Book of Life and Living -- a blueprint for living a stress-free life through an integration of the ancient wisdom of Tao, the contemporary wisdom, and Biblical wisdom; Your Golden Years and Santa Claus -- a book on the wisdom in living your best in your senior years. .

Visit my website: Wisdom in Living.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 10, 2014

Toxic Desires in a Toxic Body

With a physical body, we are all living in a physical world often filled with toxic desires. Do not let the body become toxic too.

In the physical world, our bodies with their five senses (seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, and touching) are constantly exposed to sensual sensations around us that may create desires in our bodies. In addition, we all have both a conscious and subconscious mind that process and interpret our physical sensations, leading to thoughts that may be positive or negative, depending on our mental input. The mind plays a pivotal role in changing negative thoughts into toxic desires in a toxic body.

Our conscious minds voluntarily control our mental input (that is, what we want to remember and what we want to forget); but our subconscious minds involuntarily absorb all physical sensations we are exposed to.  The subconscious mind is the master mind behind all actions that the conscious mind takes; therefore, it is important to have the wisdom to understand better how the subconscious mind works in order to have better control of the conscious mind, lest the subconscious mind create toxic desires in a toxic body.  

To illustrate, according to CNN (1/24/2014), Bob McDonnell “was once one of the Republican Party's rising stars. There was even talk of his running for the White House. But today, the former Virginia Governor and his wife are charged with taking gifts from a local businessman in exchange for using the governor's position to help his company.”

Four years ago, McDonnell was sworn in as governor. Demonstrating his potential as a rising political star, he gave an outstanding GOP response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address; he had won back the governor’s office from Democrats by double digits.

But now McDonnell and his wife are both facing criminal indictment for taking expensive gifts, including luxurious Rolex watches, they were not supposed to.

In politics, there are always political rock stars tumbling to fallen stars at their own hands due to their toxic desires in their toxic bodies. Some survived (like Bill Clinton), but most ended their careers in disgrace.

How could a political rock star become a fallen star? Toxic desires in a toxic body!

We all have desires, which come from our five senses. For example, when we see something that pleases the eye, such as an expensive Rolex gold watch, we become desirous of it. That perception can be voluntarily rejected by the conscious mind, but it may be imprinted involuntarily on the subconscious mind, which, unfortunately, controls and directs the conscious mind. So, if the conscious mind does not even voluntarily reject the perception, it may become a toxic desire. Ideally, the mind should control the body, but if the body controls the mind, that is, letting the toxic desire get out of control, the mind will do just anything and everything—even to the extent of breaking the law—to gratify that desire of the body. That’s how toxic desires in a toxic body come into being.

Learn how to increase your mind power to control your subconscious mind to your advantage.

Mind Secrets Exposed: Learn the art of getting what you want out of life. If you find yourself facing constant frustration from never-ending problems in life, or you feel as though your life is a proverbial treadmill, not going anywhere. Now is the time to take charge of your life. It is all in your subconscious mind that is the real power center of your being and the "headquarters" of your body. Use state-of-the-art subliminal messages to transform your subconscious mind in order to change your conscious mind.

Get more information on mind-wellness wisdom from my newsletter: Wellness Wisdom Newsletter.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wellness Wisdom 2014 Newsletter

I have just published “Wellness Wisdom 2014 Newsletter.” The goal is to share with you information and tips regarding wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul, all play a pivotal role in our overall wellness and well-being.

In this 2014, many of us have made our different resolutions to change ourselves so that we may have a better year than the previous one. Wellness is indeed a blessing from above, especially as you continue to age or you are already advanced in years. Make your golden years “golden” and not tarnished golden. To do just that you need wellness—holistic wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul.

This “Wellness Wisdom 2014 Newsletter” will be regularly updated with news, comments on news, and tips regarding health and wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul. In addition, if you subscribe to the newsletter, you will also be sent an email (on the 1st and 15th of each month) with information to boost your health. 

Remember, health is often not valued until it has deteriorated. To turn back the clock is a bit harder, but it could still be done—provided it is not too late. So, take matters into your own hands, and do what you can with what you have, and do your very best at that. Dr. Deepak Chopra, M.D., bestselling author, and founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, once said: “If you don’t take care of your health today, you will be forced to take care of your illness tomorrow.”

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Wake Up Stretches

Stretches are important to health and wellness  because they not only eliminate muscle pain but also promote muscle flexibility, which goes a long way to preventing falls, which are common among the elderly. Use stretches to "wake up" your senses and vitalize your body for wellness. 

Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute, said that stretching your back prevents slipped discs, which often occur within an hour after waking up, because people get out of bed too soon and too quickly without giving the rested body time to adjust.

Extend your arms over your head and extend your legs as far as possible, as evidenced by the stretch in the tips of your fingers and toes. Meanwhile, inhale deeply through your nose. Then breathe out deeply and slowly while drawing your arms down along the side your body with your palms facing up. You will feel full relaxation in your legs. Repeat the stretches several times to energize as well as to relax your body.

Do a single / double knee hug. Start by bringing your knee into your chest. Massage your hip joint by moving your leg in circles in both directions. Repeat with the other knee. Finally, hug both knees into your chest, raising your nose to your knees as much as possible. Now relax your body and let your knees fall gently down to either side. Repeat the whole process several times for stretch and relaxation.

Use Pilates to relieve back and joint pain after waking up..

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau