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Friday, June 24, 2022

Money and Marriage


Money matters

We all need money to survive. As a result, in many marriages, many people fight over money matters. The problem is that people have different perspectives of money-worth. For example, you may think spending $100 on a pair of jeans is worth it, but your spouse may think otherwise. To determine the real worth of anything is subjective and difficult, and therefore should be based on the man-hours spent: that is, if you think you are willing and be prepared to work those hours for that pair of jeans, then it is worth it, at least to you.

All your behaviors are your choice, and hence you are responsible for the consequences—not somebody else, not even your spouse. Understanding the principle of choice may avoid unnecessary fights over money matters 

Nearly half of all divorces in the United States are a result of money problems in marriages.

Remember the saying of John Woodbridge Patten about money: “buys everything but happiness, and takes a man everywhere but heaven.”

Money is symbolic of so many things in life—effort, self-worth, and status, among other things. Money also symbolizes the unity and oneness of a married couple. If there is no harmony in money matters, it would be difficult to have balance and harmony in other things that constitute a good and healthy marriage.

The relationship with money

Identifying the real relationship with money, with neither self-criticism nor self-justification.

If you want to get rich (it is your choice), remember these:

The essentials of food, clothing, and shelter are all you need to be content and thankful.

The love of money often destroys a man’s life and his soul.

If you want to stay rich, remember these:

The ultimate ownership belongs to God, who owns all things.

Do good and be rich in your deeds and generosity. Help those who are less fortunate than yourself.

Understanding money problems

Understanding money problems is more than half way through solving the problems of money.

The principle of spending is simple: Never buy what you don’t need with the money you don’t have.

Buy what you need, not what you want.

Create a budget to avoid conflicts:

Determine the total net income after taxes.

Decide your basic expenses (rent/mortgage, foods, bills etc.)

Total income less expenses is the monthly spending money. Divide it into two.

Spend however you want to spend it.

Do not let money become a stress factor in life: money can age you more than anything else.

Do not let money become a bone of contention in your marriage: many money fights are in fact continuing fights between partners over control and power, but thinly disguised in money matters; they are only “fake” money fights.

Destructive marriage behaviors

Problems in a marriage often occur as a result of these behaviors related to money:

Playing the blame game
Complaining and criticizing too much
Nagging and threatening to get what one wants

Divorce


A marriage is made to last. So do everything within your power to make it last.

If your marriage is on the rocks, save your marriage and stop your divorce!

Julia Smarty 
Copyright© by Julia Smarty


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Nothing Is Everything

 



ANYTHING IS EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING IS NOTHING! NOTHING IS EVERYTHING!


All About . . . .


"Anything Is Everything, Everything Is Nothing, Nothing Is Everything" is a miracle of life and living, based on the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu from China, and the Biblical wisdom.

Live your life as if everything is a miracle. To do just that, you need the wisdom to know how your mind works--especially how it has created your ego-self that demands your attachments to the material world.

Learn how to be in the physical world, but not of the material world. More importantly, get the wisdom to know who you really are, and not who you wish you were. Knowing and understanding the truths of anything and everything may enlighten you so that you intuit the ultimate truth that everything is actually nothing, but this nothingness is your pathway to everything in your life.

The Outline of the Book . . . .

ONE: ANYTHING IS EVERYTHING

A frog in a well
Human wisdom and spiritual wisdom
Oneness of all life
Love and forgiveness
Gratitude and generosity
Sympathy and empathy

Compassion and loving-kindness

TWO: EVERYTHING IS NOTHING


Understanding is everything
The mind and the ego
Attachments and illusions
Control and power
Detachment and letting go

THREE: NOTHING IS EVERYTHING

The paradox
The Way
The miracle
The enlightenment

ANYTHING IS EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING IS NOTHING! NOTHING IS EVERYTHING!

Click here to get your copy.


An Excerpt from the Book . . . .


NOTHING IS EVERYTHING


The Paradox

”I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” Plato

“The paradox of reality is that no image is as compelling as the one which exists only in the mind's eye.   Shana Alexande

“The thinker without a paradox is like a lover without a feeling: a paltry mediocrity.”  Soren Kierkegaard

“Nothing is everything” is a paradox. In life, there are many paradoxes. The way of paradoxes is the way of attaining the ultimate truths of anything and everything. Knowing and understanding a paradox requires wisdom to see different human perspectives in anything and everything.

Paradoxes may be the way to wisdom, to the miracle of life, and ultimately to enlightenment.

An illustration

Christopher Paul Gardner, an American  author, entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist, was very poor and homeless in the early 1980s. Sleeping on the floor of a public toilet, Gardner never dreamt that he would become a multi-millionaire one day. His inspiring life story was made into a hit Hollywood movie: “The Pursuit of Happyness.

Gardner was brought up with the belief that he could do or be anything that he wanted to do or be. At some point in his life, he was homeless; everything seemed nothing, just emptiness and nothingness, to him. But he was not hopeless. He continued to dream of wealth and success, and his dreams were not mirages. Because of his right doing and right thinking, he made his dreams come true.

Initially, Gardner made his living by selling medical equipment. He did not make enough money to make both ends meet, and his poverty made him homeless for a year.

Then, one day, Gardner met a stockbroker in a red Ferrari, who offered him internship because of his incredible drive and sustained enthusiasm. Thus he began his own successful investment career, and he subsequently even opened his own investment firm, Gardner Rich & Co.

More than two decades later, after the death of his wife, who challenged him to find his true happiness and fulfillment in the remainder of his life, Gardner made a complete career change. He was suddenly awakened to the notion that his fame, success, and wealth seemed like nothing to him then. His feeling of nothingness transformed him completely: he then became a philanthropist and a motivation speaker traveling around the world, focusing not on his own wealth, but on humanity and the needs of others to pursue their own happiness.

According to Gardner, life journey is always a process of lesson learning and forward moving: “People often ask me would I trade anything from my past, and I quickly tell them no, because my past helped to make me into the person I am today.”  Yes, nothingness could be everything to him.

On any life journey, mental focus is essential: focusing not just on the big things in life but also on the small things as well; appreciating what you have, rather than dwelling on what is your nothingness.

What seems to be nothingness in the eyes of the world, when properly valued and put to use, can become anything and everything in the eyes of the beholder. Gardner turned his nothingness into great wealth. His ultimate enlightenment came when he looked at his own wealth in a different perspective-as no more than just nothingness-when he began to refocus his life goals on humanity and on inspiring others to become who they really are.

The bottom line: with wisdom you may know and understand the “nothing is everything” paradox that opens the door to self-enlightenment.

The Way

TAO, the profound wisdom of Lao Tzu, is the way toward knowing and understanding self and others, as well as things and circumstances around self. It may or may not lead to self-enlightenment, but at least it may help you see things as they really are, and not as they should be.

"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)

TAO wisdom begins with emptiness, or more specifically, with an empty mindset.

The emptiness

Enlightenment has its origin from emptiness. Irrespective of whether or not attaining self-enlightenment, emptiness is the way to go toward attaining profound wisdom of living in this material world.

Emptiness is a way of human perception: looking at life experiences without adding anything to them, or without taking away anything from them. It is the thinking of the mind with no assumption and no presumption -- that is, only an empty mindset.

As previously mentioned, emptiness can be either positive or negative (the glass half-full, or the glass half-empty). Positive emptiness can only occur when you allow yourself to surrender completely to any given circumstance or situation without any previous attachment.

According to Lao Tzu, develop an empty mindset, which is more than just “thinking out of the box”: it is your reverse thinking to create your own empty box of thinking.

"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 just settles into its own perfect place."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 3)


ANYTHING IS EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING IS NOTHING! NOTHING IS EVERYTHING!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Emptiness And Impermanence


Essence of change

The Creator has created for us a world of constant changes: everything is changing with every moment, remaining only with that very moment, and nothing remains permanent. It is through changes that we may transform ourselves into a better individual. Even in a difficult and challenging environment, we may learn from our mistakes and wrong choices in life, and so change ourselves. Change is transformation, which is educational and self-enlightening. Transformation is synonymous with impermanence, which is the essence of change.

Understanding that everything is impermanent is self-enlightening. Nothing is permanent: the good as well as the bad things that happen to us are impermanent; nothing lasts forever. We all are aware of this universal truth of impermanence. We all know that we cannot live to well beyond one hundred years, and yet we resist our aging process, continuously fixing our faces and bodies to make them look younger. We may have the face of a forty-year-old but the body and the mind of a seventy-year-old. We simply refuse to let go of the impermanence of all things; we desperately and self-delusively cling on to the “permanence” of all our attachments.

The illusion or self-delusion is that many of us wish the impermanent were the permanent. It is this wishful thinking that makes us unhappy. We were once healthy and now our health has declined, and we are unhappy. We were wronged by our enemies, and we still hold on to our old grudges, instead of forgiving and letting them go, and we are unhappy. Our past glories gave us the ego, which we refuse to let go of, and we become depressed and unhappy.

Life is about changes, and living is about letting go of what is impermanent that we naively believe and wish to be permanent.

Remember, nothing is permanent, and each and every moment remains only with that very moment. Therefore, live in the present, and live all your moments to their best and to the fullest as if everything is a miracle.
­

Permanent truths

Impermanence and change are the undeniable and permanent truths of all human existence. What is real is the existing moment, the present moment that is a product of the past, or a result of the previous causes and actions.  Due to ignorance, an ordinary mind may conceive them all to be part of one continuous reality. But the fact that they are not is the permanent truth.

The various stages in the life of a man, the childhood, the adulthood, the old age are not the same at any given time. The child is not the same when he grows up and becomes a young man, nor when the young man turns into an old man. The seed is not the tree, though it produces the tree, and the fruit is also not the tree, though it is a product of the tree. This is the permanent truth of all life.

Emptiness and nothingness

Death empties anything and everything—that is, the ego and all its attachments to the material world. Emptiness is nothingness in which everything becomes nothing.
For all human efforts, death will come in the end for all and sundry. This is an indisputable fact. No matter how long a life you may want to live, you will, like everyone else, face dying one day. This is the way of all flesh because you have a built-in mechanism in your genes to ensure your mortality.

Perspective of death

According to CNN news, Cathrin Ertmann, a celebrated photographer from Denmark, chronicles the enigmatical journey of the deceased from death until burial. While keeping all her subjects’ identities anonymous, she diligently records all the different stages of death, including autopsies and cremations, in quiet detail.

Before  she  started  photographing  death, Cathrin Ertmann had never seen a dead body. Viewed through her lens while standing in a quiet morgue, it was, surprisingly, much less frightening and more of a quiet mystery for her to explore death and its implications.

“I was amazed about how peaceful and undramatic everything looked,” she said. “I got the chance to look at death without it being my own relatives, without feelings involved, and it gave me a peace. The imagination of what death looks like is way worse than what I experienced. . . . . .

I also saw a peace and beauty. Sometimes the scare is in the brief look at something. Like when you watch a horror movie, you only see a glimpse of the ghost, murderer or monster, and your imagination works all the fright up for you. I think I felt I need to see everything to make it ‘normal’ and undramatic. And I think it works the same way with our relation to death in general.”

A new study of death gave Cathrin Ertmann a new perspective on life. “After working in the morgue, I was walking in the street and I got really over-whelmed by seeing all the people just walking, chatting and laughing,” she said. “I wanted to yell: YOU ARE ALIVE, USE IT!"

Indeed, death is a leveler of all. We all have a life; so go out and live it as God has intended and planned for you.

You will have to work hard and sweat a lot to produce the food you eat.
You were made out of the ground. You will return to it when you die.
You are dust, and you will return to dust.
(Genesis 3:19)

The news on death by Catherin Ertmann is very illuminating: it sheds light on how we should all view death—or  rather  life  and  death,  which  are  always interrelated. Remember, life always begets death, and what goes up must also come down. This is the natural cycle of anything and everything in this world. Many people live without ever thinking of death or deliberately ignoring its existence, while others live but always with death on their minds—especially those elderly. That death is inevitable is an indisputable fact, but one need not anticipate it as if it is imminent, even if one is advanced in years. Nobody knows when death may descend. Just live your life as if there is no tomorrow, live in the now, and live as if everything is a miracle.

Remember, whether or not you would like to let go of your attachments in the material world, you came from dust, and dust you shall return to.

Remember your Creator
before you return to the dust you came from.
Remember him before your spirit goes back to God who gave it.
(Ecclesiastics 12: 7)

The bottom line: remember your Creator, or where you came from; everything is nothing in the end. So, why hold on to, and why not let go of, anything and everything that eventually will become nothing? Just let go to let God, who is in absolute control; anything and everything must return to Him as nothingness. Indeed, the wisdom of everything is nothing is the wisdom of letting go to let God.

Death is emptiness, which brings an end to anything and everything in life. This emptiness, however, may have both positive and negative perspectives.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Marriage and Money

 



LOVE AND MONEY WISDOM

The wisdom of love

If you feel gratitude for those you love and for those who love you, you‘ll be happy.

If you appreciate what you now have, you’ll not feel the lack.

If you love and forgive yourself totally (only you can do that, and no one can do that for you), you’ll learn to let go of the past and move forward with your happiness.

The wisdom of love will give you the energy within for you to do anything and everything in every aspect of your life to give you happiness.

The wisdom of love and money

If you want to marry rich, do you think of love first, or the one you’re going to marry?

If you’re rich, does your loved one love you or your money? The rich and the wealthy, due to their ego, often don’t really care.

If you aren’t rich, do you love an individual irrespective of that individual’s abundance or lack?

There’re no definitive answers to all of the above questions. True and genuine love is unconditional, which is loving someone with or without money, and love is priceless.

The bottom line

Money cannot buy love, and love cannot buy money—that’s the reality. But love is hardly disconnected from the reality of living in the material world that involves money. And that’s also the reality.

So, you must focus on your own core values, such as honesty, integrity, love, compassion, generosity, and gratitude, among others. Your core values have little to do with money; instead, they demonstrate the values of what life has to offer, and not the values of things purchased with money. Your core values affect how you may live for the rest of your life, including with your marriage partner.

So, look at love and money from your own perspectives, such that you’ll not end up only loving money, and not its wisdom.

Getting Married to Make You Happy?

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Money And Your Ego


TAO Wisdom and Money

Money does not bring happiness.  

As an illustration, Barbara Woolworth Hutton was one of the wealthiest women in the world. She endured a childhood marked by the early loss of her mother at age five and the neglect of her father, setting the stage for a life of difficulty forming relationships. Married and divorced seven times, she acquired grand foreign titles but was maliciously treated and often exploited by several of her husbands. While publicly she was much envied for her possessions, her beauty and her apparent life of leisure, privately she remained deeply insecure, often taking refuge in drink, drugs, and playboys.

Her son died in a plane crash in 1972, at the age of 36, leaving her devastated. Dying of a heart attack at age 66, at her death, the formerly wealthy Hutton was on the verge of bankruptcy as a result of exploitation, as well as her compulsive generosity and spendthrift ways.

What does TAO wisdom say about money?

According to TAO, money is neither positive nor negative; it is all in the human mind.

But how you make your money and how you spend your money may turn money into something either positive or negative.

To increase your wealth in a positive way, focus on doing what needs to be done, and no more. On the other hand, the more you do to make money, the less focused you become, and the greater are your expectations of the outcome. That may ultimately create not only undue stress but also internal disharmony in your life, turning money into something negative.

Increasing your wealth, however, does not necessarily mean spending your money proportionately. That is to say, an individual making more money does not have to buy a much bigger house than what that individual actually needs. To illustrate, Warren Buffet, the billionaire, has set an excellent example: he is still living in his $31,500 home he bought some decades ago.

Another classic example is Ann Russell Miller, a celebrated socialite from San Francisco, also known as Sister Mary Joseph, She, who had ten children and nineteen grandchildren, had grown up in luxury and privilege, and had been living a life of incredible wealth. Instead of shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue she used to do for decades—she suddenly decided to give up everything, and became a nun devoted to living in poverty for the rest of her life. That unbelievable event happened more than two decades ago: one day she held a celebrity party in which she announced her incredible decision, and her announcement was widely reported in the media across the United States. Why did she make such an incredible decision to drastically change her lifestyle? She said she her had a calling, a true vocation that was hard to understand for the general public, and even for the close members of her family.

Excessively increasing one’s wants often leads to unduly inflating one’s ego as well, and thus creating many negative attachments that are often packed in one’s own bag and baggage.

NO EGO NO STRESS

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, June 20, 2022

Anything Is Everything


Anything Is Everything

Living in this material world is all about struggling and surviving. The good news is that it is a human race in which there are really no real winners and losers in the end. But no matter what, we all have to finish that race somehow, with no exception. Just do your very best, and let the Creator do the rest to help you finish your own race with grace and dignity. The wisdom of your body, your mind, and your spirit may awaken and rejuvenate you along the rest of your life journey.

Living is always a discovery process. Life is a journey of self-discovery—finding who you are, why you are here, what you really need, and how you may meet your basic needs, so that you, like every one else, can fulfill some of your life goals and purposes that are exclusively designed for you. But to do just that, you need profound human wisdom and spiritual wisdom to continue that journey 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.”

Indeed, life is a miracle in itself. Being alive is a miracle. Having your breaths is already a miracle. Everything in life is a miracle.

To truly believe and appreciate the miracle of life, you need the wisdom to grasp the full meaning of anything is everything, everything is nothing, and nothing is everything—they may all ultimately lead to your self-awakening, without which you will continue to live as if nothing is a miracle.

What is meant by “anything is everything”? It may have different meanings and different interpretations to different individuals.

First of all, human perceptions are subjective and individualized: they are affected not only by the five senses, but also by the unique experiences of an individual, as well as by the indelible memories of those experiences retained in the mind of that individual. Therefore, what is important to you may not be as important to others, and vice-versa. For this reason, anything could be everything to you, but not to others.

An illustration

Near the end of 2016, a road rage occurred in Arkansas that ended in the tragic death of a 3-year-old child. 

A woman, with her 3-year-old grandson sitting at the back of her car, stopped at a stop sign. A man in the car right behind honked her for not starting her car immediately, but the woman honked back; thus the road rage began with the man firing a gun shot at the back of the woman’s car.

Stopping too long at a stop sign,  or wanting to get to a place on time might be everything to the man. Having the right to remain where she was might also be everything to the woman, so she naturally honked back.  

Unfortunately, that anything-is-everything incident ended in tragedy—the death of the woman’s three-year-old grandson being shot dead while sitting at the back of her car.
In real life, anything could be everything to real people—it all depends on their respective perspectives of anything is everything.

A frog in a well

In many ways, many of us are just like a frog in a well, looking up at the limited sky above, in that we see only ourselves, and no one else, and therefore anything is everything to us. In other words, we see only our own needs and desires that have to be fulfilled and gratified no matter how, but without seeing those in others.

Just like the man in the car rage who saw only his own need to get going, but without even considering why the woman might be stalling her car at the stop sign and not moving ahead right away.

To get your paperback copy, click here; to get your e-book, click here.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, June 19, 2022

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




Saturday, June 18, 2022

The Meaning of "Prayers Not Answered"


The Meaning of “Prayers Not Answered”

Prayers not answered” simply means “expectations not fulfilled.”

But what’re your “expectations”? And where do they come from?

You experience your own life experiences through your five senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling) as a result of the choices of your actions, inactions, and reactions in your everyday life.

Your sensations often become your own perceptions, which then form your own assumptions and predictions; for example, a good education will lead to a successful career, and bring about a happy relationship.

All your “expectations” are only the personal and the subjective perceptions of your mind. But your “expectations” are often unreal and even self-delusive.

Even what you think you see with your own eyes may not necessarily be the reality.

To illustrate, in 1997, Richard Alexander from Indiana was convicted as a serial rapist, because one of the victims and her fiancé insisted that he was the perpetrator based on what the victim and her fiancé claimed that “they saw with their own eyes.”

But the convicted man was later exonerated and subsequently released in 2001, based on the new DNA science and other forensic evidence. Experts explained that a traumatic emotional experience, such as a rape, could “distort” the perception of an individual. That explains why the woman and her fiancé “swore” that Richard Alexander was the rapist, but evidently he wasn’t.

To illustrate “unreal expectations”: Helen Keller, celebrated author, political activist, and philanthropist, was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree; she became deaf and blind at an early age of less than two.

Imagine you were Helen’s parents: would you have “darkened expectations” of the future of Helen when she suddenly became deaf and blind?

Another illustration of “unreal expectations”: Shon Robert Hopwood, a young American convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to prison, became well-known as a jailhouse lawyer. While serving time in prison, Shon started spending time in the law library, became a jailhouse lawyer for the inmates, and ultimately a very accomplished United States Supreme Court practitioner by the time he left prison in 2009. Currently, he is professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.

If you were the parents of Shon, would your own expectations of your son have fallen short after his conviction of 12 years of imprisonment?

The truth of the matter

Your perceptionswhether true or untruebecome your realities, and are then stored in your subconscious mind as your memories.

Whenever you want to make a choice or decision, it’s your subconscious mind that provides your conscious mind with your many attitudes, beliefs, and predictions—all based on your memories of your past experiences. Your thinking mind then begins to process and project them into the future as your “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Points to Remember

Perceptions may easily become distorted and unreal. So, don’t let your own perceptions become your assumptive predictions.

Expectations are in the future, and their timeline is indefinite. So, don’t jump to any conclusion yet.

The past was gone; the future is yet to come; only the present is real. So, don’t use the past to predict the future as “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Click here to get Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © Stephen Lau