FREEDOM with BONDAGE

<b>FREEDOM with BONDAGE</b>
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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Examples of How to Live Your Life

                     In your life, there're different ways of living, and here're two          examples:

      Living by Wants

      Many live according to what they want in life. Wants can come from basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter, or from other things desired in life, such as comfort, health, love, pleasures, success, wealth, and many other things in daily life.

     Yes, in life and living, there’re many wants, including the following: wanting alcohol may result in AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder); wanting gambling can happen to anyone from any walk of life, due to the fun that often turns into an unhealthy obsession with many serious financial and relationship consequences; wanting sex can lead to pornography, adultery, infidelity, and extra-marital affairs; wanting money can cause greed and attachments to material things; wanting hobbies can make life more interesting, such as dancing, drawing, and singing; wanting sports can increase physical and mental skills in competitive sports, such as football and soccer, while wanting non-competitive sports, such as running and swimming, can be exercises for physical health; wanting success in any endeavor, such as careers and businesses, love and relationships, health and healing, can set goals and objectives in life and living.

     But living by wants requires the means, that is, the money or the earnings to make a living, without which it’s impossible to get the wants. Unfortunately, many even without their means yet demand their wants, and thus ending up in crimes, such as stealing and robbing.

 

Living by Personality

 

     An ego is self-identity. Many may have an inflated ego that gives them a distinguished personality to live by. They believe they’re not only much better but also totally different from others. Accordingly, others must succumb to their demands and desires. They’ve become so self-centered that they’ll continuously inflate their own ego with higher expectations while controlling and demanding others to do what they want them to do for them.

 

An Illustration

 

     Donald Trump, with little discipline in childhood and adolescence, came from a wealthy family with high expectations. He began his own business in hotels and casinos. Unfortunately, he was labeled “public laughingstock” due to his repeated business failures in several of his different tumultuous business careers. But, with his self-inflated egoistic personality, Donald Trump was still able to give the public “delusional” perception of his high-flying success in real estate. He even started the Trump University, but that only ended up in many lawsuits. The bankruptcy protection in the United States saved Donald Trump from his own bankruptcy caused by all his business failures.

      Donald Trump’s ego-self turned around sharply and suddenly when he was elected the 45th President of the United States. With that great boost to his already self-inflated ego, he thought he could do just about anything to control everyone and everything around him. But his inflated ego was severely compromised when he “unexpectedly” lost his second-term presidency that led to many allegations of his conspiracy, insurrection, and plot to illegally hold onto power to sustain his inflated ego.

 

     On the other side of those with an inflated ego are those living with a deflated ego. They often feel inadequate, incompetent, insecure, and even unloved. Their perceived low self-esteem often originates from an unhappy childhood with extremely critical and demanding parents, as well as from their own ongoing life events, such as career and relationship failures and problems.

 

An illustration

 

     Paris Hilton is the great-granddaughter of the founder of the famous Hilton Hotels. Being given the nickname of “Star” by her mother and grandmother, and growing up in fame and prestige, she began her modeling career at any early age. Due to her own demand for celebrity status and media attention, Paris also began her other careers in books, music, and screen appearances. Her book “Confessions of An Heiress” was on the New York Times’s bestseller list; her role in the film “The House of Wax” earned her The Teen Choices Award.

     But Paris Hilton always thought that she was “less successful” than others. Her “deflated ego” and her envy of those who were “more successful” than she was led to her continual pursuit in music and television shows, such as “The World According to Paris,” and “Hollywood Love Story.” Feeling being a mediocre, she was always envious of those who she thought were more successful than herself. Throughout her different careers, she was haunted by the sin of pride and the sin of envy. The Guinness World Record in 2007 named Paris Hilton “the most overrated celebrity.” According to the media, she was “the worst actress of the decade.”

 

The Bottom Line

 

     Living by faith, you live with humility and not pride if you’ve an inflated ego; you live with simplicity to give you confidence, hope, and strength if you’ve a deflated ego.

     Living by faith, you believe that God has given you your true self destined by Him to live a life of humility and simplicity.

 

Living By Faith shows you how to live your life in this material world with real-life examples.

 

Stephen Lau

        

 

The Bag and Baggage


The Bag and Baggage

Life journey is forever on a long and winding road with many detours and sideways. On this bumpy life journey, we all carry with us our own bag and baggage, containing our individual beliefs, feelings, and skills, some of which may ultimately become the signs and symptoms of our own depression.

Thinking questions

What are you carrying in your own bag and baggage?

Who packed your bag and baggage? Did others help you with your packing?

How long have you been carrying your own bag and baggage?

Is your own bag and baggage getting heavier with each day passing?

Does your own bag and baggage serve the purpose of your life journey in any way?

Have you ever thought of unpacking some, if not all, of what is inside your own bag and baggage?

What is inside an individual’s bag and baggage could be anything from anger, bitterness, frustration, regret, sadness, shame, to “what-if”—the major components of depression.

TAO is the human wisdom, which is The Way of going through what is in your bag and baggage.  


Emotions and feelings are two sides of the same coin; they are closely related, but they are two very different things in that the former create biochemical reactions in the body, affecting the physical state, while the latter are mental associations and reactions to the former

Depression involves the numbing of strong emotions and feelings, especially anger, fear, and shame, that an individual often experiences and carries in his or her own bag and baggage.

According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we all have qi (), which is the internal life-giving energy circulating within each of us, giving us internal balance and harmony. Emotions are energy states, which may either contribute to or deplete our own internal life-giving energy, causing harmony or disharmony, and leading to positive or negative emotions and feelings.

The Seven Emotions

According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are seven emotions that are the underlying causes of many internal diseases, and they are anger, anxiety, fear, fright, joy, sadness, and worry. Because Chinese medicine is all about internal balance and harmony, these seven emotions may even affect different human body organs. For example, excessive anger impairs the liver, causing headaches, while excessive joy dysfunctions the heart, leading to mania and mental disorders.

Generally speaking, any “excessive” emotion or feeling may trigger insomnia and loss of appetite, which are some of the common symptoms of depression.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Good Fortunes and Misfortunes


Good Fortune and Misfortune

Life may be a bed of roses, but always with thorns. Good fortunes and misfortunes exist side by side, and they complement each other. A misfortune is an ingredient that one needs to blend with the rest of the ingredients of life and living. Life will not be wholesome without misfortunes and tragedies, which exist to enable one to appreciate more what life has to offer.



A case in point

There was a Chinese story . . . 塞翁失馬  A man lost his only horse, which ran away one day. His friends comforted him. But he was not upset at all; instead, he said: “That’s not a misfortune.” A few days later, his horse came back with a stallion. This time, his friends congratulated him on his good fortune. But he said: “What’s so good about that?” Later on, his only son rode on the stallion and accidentally broke his leg when he fell from the horse. Once again, his friends comforted him for the misfortune. But he said: “Breaking his leg may not be a misfortune.” Indeed, soon after that, a war broke out, and all the young men were drafted into the army, except the man’s son with his broken leg. All of them were later annihilated in a fierce battle. The moral of the story: a misfortune may turn itself into a good fortune.

There is a Chinese saying: “A man’s destiny cannot be summarized and sealed until nails are put on his coffin’s top.” So, nothing is set in stone.

TAO wisdom

According to TAO, willingness to accept your own fate or destiny provides you with inspiration for right conduct. Not accepting is a controlling and manipulative mindset through unbecoming conduct to control your destiny to get what you want in life. 

In TAO, there is no such thing as “good luck” or ”bad luck.” Let go of the negative concept of bad luck, such as “13” and “touch wood,” or even the positive thinking of having good luck. Instead, let the natural flow of life move through you, giving you internal power to make the impossible become possible, the difficult become easy. Simplify your life, and get rid of clutters that make you become superstitious. Remember, luck is something that you create for yourself, and that it is an external reality beyond your control, whereas you can always create your own internal reality of peace to overcome any groundless fear responsible for your internal negative energy.

Everything in this material world has meaning only in comparison with one another, and that goes for good luck or bad luck too. Does “Friday the 13th” worry you? Are you getting yourself depressed by thinking of your bad luck in relation to the good luck of others? Go deeper into the core of your being and take control of your own beliefs, and not follow those of others. Fear is only your mental construct.

According to conventional wisdom, winning is always related to conflict: you must fight in order to win, just like in any contest or competition. The bag and baggage that all winners and losers carry with them is that their net worth and value are solely based on their winning or losing.

TAO, on the other hand, focuses on doing your best in any endeavor. More importantly, it is you, and no one else, who will judge your own wins and losses.

“Everything that happens to us is beneficial.
Everything that we experience is instructional.
Everyone that we meet, good or bad, becomes our teacher or student.

We learn from both the good and the bad.
So, stop picking and choosing.
Everything is a manifestation of the mysteries of creation.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 27)

“We accept all that is simple and humble.
We embrace the good fortune and the misfortune.
Thus, we become masters of every situation.
We overcome the painful and the difficult in our lives.
That is why the Way seems paradoxical.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 78)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, May 27, 2024

Living By Faith

This is your living by faith. Living in this contemporary world is challenging and difficult. Why? Because there's too much information, disinformation, and misinformation, and thus you're easily led astray. Worse, you're living in your flesh--which means your thinking mind is controlled by your physical desires.

According to Albert Einstein, thinking is everything in everyday life and living, but people seldom do it. In other words, your human wisdom is inadequate and incomplete. So, you need your spiritual wisdom to help you in your everyday life choices and decision. But believing in God is a tall order. The journey of faith is long and winding with many obstacles, detours, and sidetracks. 

But once you've your faith, your living by faith will help you in your actions and inactions, as well as in your choices and decision, in your everyday life and living.

Living By Faith Is Living in Miracles

Stephen Lau

How to Avoid Human Conflicts


Balance and Harmony

The Way Through Human Conflicts

Human conflicts are many. The Way is the only way to go through them, rather than avoiding them.

Balance and harmony

Always maintain your internal balance and harmony. Remember, the world around you is always a reflection of what is deep inside you.

“The Way is easy,
yet people prefer distracting detours.
Beware when things are out of balance.
Remain centered within the Creator.

Distractions are many,
in the form of riches and luxuries.
They allure us from the Way.
Accumulations are like extortions of the poor.
They bring only disaster and suffering.
Do not deviate from the Way.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 53)

“When there is no desire to be someone that we are not,
separate from our true nature designed by the Creator,
all things are in perfect balance and harmony.” (Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 37)

Five elements and natural cycle

The five elements of the ancient Chinese are: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.

The five elements balance and complement one another to create both internal harmony and a natural cycle. To illustrate, water nourishes trees or wood; without wood, there will be no fire (which burns wood); without fire burning wood, there will be no earth (the ashes from the burnt wood); without earth, there will be no metal (from the earth itself); through condensation, fire heats metal to produce water; without metal, there will be no water; without water, there will be no tree or wood.

These five elements are interdependent on one another for their own existence in the form of a natural cycle. In many respects, human relationships and our dealings with one another attest to the cyclical nature of the world we are living in.
                                                      
TAO wisdom

Think about your own nature with reference to the five elements. Are you strong and independent like metal, bold and pioneering like wood, soft and flexible like water, fiery and passionate like fire, or nurturing and receptive like earth?

Also, think about the different natures of the people around you, or you have to deal with. Understanding their different natures may result in better and more harmonious relationships with them. Indeed, the five elements can give you profound wisdom and insight into many different life situations to help you avoid unnecessary everyday conflicts and disparities.

The bottom line: learn to live a life without any conflict and confrontation with others. To do just that, you need to know not only yourself but also others.

“Knowing others is intelligence.
Knowing ourselves is true wisdom.
Overcoming others is strength.
Overcoming ourselves is true power.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 33)

Everything will be in its natural place because everything follows a natural cycle. So why do you strain, stress, and strut yourself?

“We stay in the very center of the Creator,
and refrain from controlling our destiny.
Everything will evolve and fall into its natural place,
according to the laws of the Creator.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 37)

Soft and flexible

To help you overcome conflicts and resolve issues, you need the flexibility of TAO. Always be flexible, instead of being strong-willed and uncompromising.

“The Way is paradoxical.
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 mind
tells us to go the other way.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 78)

It does not mean that you let people walk all over you and do nothing. Just step back, giving yourself some open space to create a detached mindset. If you are combative and strike back with a personal attack, you are in fact driving a nail into wood with a hammer; when you pull out the nail, the puncture on the wood is still there. So do not do anything that you may regret for the rest of your life. Always defer your anger for later processing.

All in all

Having good human relationship with others may not only afford you joy and happiness, but also heal you mentally, physically, and spiritually through your own connections with others. On the other hand, having bad human relationships may make you feel sad, lonely, hopeless, and depressed.

“If we are in harmony with the Creator,
we are like newborn babies,
in natural harmony with all.
Our bones are soft, and our muscles are weak,
but our grip is strong and powerful.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 55)

We are all living in a world of speed in which nothing seems to last too long, including human relationships. In contemporary living, there is too much focus on speed. Given that life is short, there is a great deal to be done and accomplished. As a result, you may feel the compression of time, and you may have developed a compulsive mind with a multi-tasking mindset, such as talking and texting on the phone while driving at the same time.

Remember, it is your compulsive mind that makes you feel distressed and unhappy. Ironically, it is because you know and believe that nothing lasts, that you want to do more, much more than necessary, hoping against hope that some of the things that you are doing may last a little longer. Because nothing lasts, so you begin to look for new ones to replace the ones that have expired. An example is a love relationship: if it does not turn out to be what you have expected, you just let it end itself, and then start looking for another one because it is your belief that nothing lasts.

According to TAO, truly nothing lasts, but that is the wrong way to look at the impermanence of things. The right way is to look at everything with non-attachment, which is letting go of whatever that happens in your life, be it joy or sorrow, success or failure, happiness or un-happiness. Letting go essentially means understanding that nothing lasts, and that what goes up must also come down, because everything in life follows a certain natural order—just like youth becoming old age, and life transforming into death. Understanding the impermanence of all things may change how you are going to live your life and interact with others. If nothing lasts, then let go of everything, and live your life to the fullest, which is in the present. The past was gone, so let it go; the future is yet to come, so let go of your expectations. Only the present is real, so live it to the fullest.

“Therefore, we focus on the present moment,
doing what needs to be done,
without straining and stressing.

To end our suffering,
we focus on the present moment,
instead of our expected result.
So, we follow the natural laws of things.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 63)
 
Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

"YOUR LIVING BY FAITH"

This is your living by faith. Living in this contemporary world is challenging and difficult. Why? Because there's too much information, disinformation, and misinformation, and thus you're easily led astray. Worse, you're living in your flesh--which means your thinking mind is controlled by your physical desires.

According to Albert Einstein, thinking is everything in everyday life and living, but people seldom do it. In other words, your human wisdom is inadequate and incomplete. So, you need your spiritual wisdom to help you in your everyday life choices and decision. But believing in God is a tall order. The journey of faith is long and winding with many obstacles, detours, and sidetracks. 

But once you've your faith, your living by faith will help you in your actions and inactions, as well as in your choices and decision, in your everyday life and living.

Your Living By Faith

Stephen Lau

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Cancer Cure

 



This book is all about . . . .


This book is about what to do when one is diagnosed with cancer. The author is neither a doctor nor an oncologist. He is simply showing the power of the mind not only in coping with the traumatic experience of cancer but also in overcoming the disease itself. In addition, he presents detailed information on what an individual must do on the cancer journey of cure and recovery.

A cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. Rather, it is an opportunity for growth and development. Harness your mind power to conquer your cancer.

CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'VE GOT CANCER!

An Excerpt from the Book . . . .

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a multidimensional disease. The word “cancer” is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. It is a consequence of the failure of your repairing and defense mechanisms in your body. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases of humanity.

This is a common scenario. You feel a lump or a swelling under your arm and see your doctor about it; or you may have some health issues, requiring some tests. The doctor tells you that you have a tumor, which is a swollen collection of cells. Is the tumor benign or malignant? For confirmation, a biopsy is usually performed.

A benign tumor means it is slow growing, it does not easily spread to other parts of the body, and therefore unlikely to be fatal. If the tumor is malignant, it is growing rapidly, and is likely to spread to other parts of the body, and therefore life-threatening. If the cancer shows good response to whatever treatment the patient chooses, it is said to be in a remission. The chance of the cancer returning is often greatest in the first two years. In the next three years, the chance is considerably reduced. After five years, the patient is said to be cancer free. Probably as old as life itself, cancer has been around humanity for ages, but only in the second half of the 20th century did the number of cancer cases begin to explode exponentially. The sudden surge of this devastating disease was probably due to:

The drastic changes of high-stress lifestyle

The overuse and misuse of drugs and pharmaceuticals

The inferior quality and the huge quantity of junk food available

The excessive use of chemicals and extensive exposure to environmental pollutants

All of the above were not around a hundred years ago, or at least not as rampant as they are now,

Contrary to popular belief, cancer is not a mysterious disease against which you are powerless. If you understand its causes and take positive actions, and if your body still has enough time to make the necessary adjustments, you can still win your battle against cancer and become a cancer survivor.

Cancer appears to be a mysterious disease because it is a disease caused by not one but many factors. Unfortunately, the conventional approach to the disease is to treat the malignancy of the tumor. Cancer is holistic dysfunction of the body, the mind, and the spirit; as such, there should be a holistic approach to the disease.

Although you may not be a doctor or an oncologist, learn everything you need to know about your cancer. You need neither a medical background nor medical expertise to know the basics of cancer. Your goal is not just to survive your cancer, but to thrive and turn your health around.

You have to understand that in many ways you are responsible for the disease. Get a handle on why you may have made yourself prone to that disease in the first place. In life, everything happens with a reason, though it may not be too apparent to you at first. Once you understand the reason, you may be able to control, if not get rid of, the disease completely.

Be A Cancer Survivor

Although cancer is a complex disease, it is critical that you empower your mind to know as much as you can in order to initiate the healing process.It is estimated that only approximately 15 to 20 percent with chronic or catastrophic illness, such as cancer, can be called cancer survivors.

The attributes of a cancer survivor

A cancer survivor is an individual who is willing to take the responsibility for his or her health conditions, who makes an effort to reshape his or her life, and who actively participates in his or her recovery process.

Do you wish to become a cancer survivor, or are you content to become one of the 50 to 60 percent of cancer patients who just sit back and let their health professionals take control of their prognosis?

Even worst, are you like one of the 20 percent cancer patients, who have a death
wish because they have found themselves in a death trap?

If you become more knowledgeable of cancer, you make better health decisions, and you have a greater chance of survival.

Be a cancer survivor. The choice is all yours.

The Importance of Emotional Well-Being

An important aspect of your cancer therapy and recovery is your emotion, which
is controlled by your mind.

One of the most essential aspects of the mind is self-acceptance. As a matter of fact, self-rejection is the root cause of all emotional problems, such as mental depression. In life, you are who you are, and you must accept yourself as who you are, not someone you wish you were or could be. Likewise, you must accept the hard reality that you have cancer, and you must deal with your disease accordingly. Many cancer patients harbor thoughts of denial, or, worse, self-guilt. Therefore, if you are unhappy, angry, blaming yourself, the world, or even God, you are self-generating and perpetuating your own misery, which is destructive both emotionally and physically.

A Trauma, Not A Trap

To be diagnosed with cancer is already a traumatic experience, to have to undergo various therapies and treatments only further aggravates that excruciating experience. Therefore, it is critically important that you do not let your traumatic experience overwhelm you and turn it into an emotional trap.

What is an emotional trap? How does it differ from an emotional trauma?


Click here to get your copy.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Paradoxes of Life

The Paradoxes of Life

A paradox is a statement with two totally opposite meanings that may seem contradictory to each other and yet together they not only are true but also make sense.

Believing in God in itself has many paradoxes: the Creator becomes a creature; the Infinite becomes finite; the Eternal One enters into time; and death is the way to life. These are some of the paradoxes expressed in the Bible.

The presence of God is one of the many paradoxes of life. Indeed, sometimes we see God’s love, mercy, and justice, but there are also times we see only His indifference, condemnation, and even injustice. In fact, there are many times we are prone to asking the pivotal question: “Where is God?”

So, how do we explain this enigma and the paradox of God’s presence in human lives?

The reality is that God does not change. God is always and will forever be who He is: God is constant and present. It is only humans’ perceptions of God that constantly change under many different circumstances.
 
Believing in God is a tall order because we are living in a world not only of paradoxes but also of changes.

The paradox of two-in-one person

You are a two-in-one person. As a matter of fact, we all are, to a certain extent.

There are two persons living inside you: one is your ego-self; the other is your spirit. They co-exist: your ego-self is living in the physical or material world, while your spirit is living in a totally different environment with a different dimension. There is constant and continual contact and interaction between these two personalities.

Your ego-self is assertive, and even aggressive, always telling you that you are separate from everyone else. Your ego-self wants more of everything, not only to define who you are but also to separate you from others. Your ego-self is judgmental, not only self-evaluating but also assessing others through comparison and contrast with yourself. Your ego-self is constantly shifting and shuffling back and forth between the past and the future, instrumental in improving the ego-self in the past, as well as in enhancing the ego-self expected in the future. 

Your spirit is the other person living inside you. Your spirit, on the other hand, is gentle and submissive in nature, always nudging you to do what is right and to avoid doing what is wrong.

The paradox is that both your ego-self and your spirit co-exist, and that each strives to dominate and influence the other.

The classic illustration of the two-in-one person is Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the story, both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have a dark side within them, where evil is always lurking underneath to surface anytime. In the end, it turns out that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are actually one and the same person. 

Given that the ego-self and the spirit co-exist and that one can never totally get rid of the other, the reality is that the more control the ego-self has over the spirit, the more difficult it is to understand God’s presence, not to mention to attain His wisdom. To unravel the paradox of two-in-one person, let go of the ego-self, or at least diminish its control over the spirit, so as to feel more the presence of God in order to seek His wisdom.

The paradox of understanding

One of the reasons for the paradox of God’s presence is rationalization. Man is a rational being, and understanding is vital to believing.

According to St. Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo (354-430 A.D.), in life there are certain things we do not believe unless we understand them, and there are also other things that we do not understand unless we believe them first. According to St. Augustine, faith is not opposed to understanding, nor is it independent of understanding. His famous statement “faith seeking understanding” is an act of believing first, without which unbelief closes the door to further understanding. In other words, believe first, and understanding will follow. St. Anselm of Canterbury, a well-known Christian philosopher and theologian of the eleventh century, also echoed St. Augustine’s statement in his famous motto “I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand.”

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
(Hebrews 11:3)

The reality is that man has only limited power of understanding. Therefore, let go of any pre-conceived concept or rationalization in order to appreciate the presence of God, thereby opening the door to further understanding the mystery of His presence.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau