Tuesday, June 24, 2014
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.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau