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!

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