Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered

<b>Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered</b>
Your “prayers not answered” means your “expectations not fulfilled.” The TAO wisdom explains why: your attachments to careers, money, relationships, and success “make” but also “break” you by creating your flawed ego-self that demands your “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Sunday, April 18, 2021

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



Friday, April 16, 2021

Riches and Rags

Riches and Rags

From Riches to Rags

According to the Harvard Business Review, wealth and happiness are not positively correlated, because wealth may make people less generous and more domineering. In addition, wealth may not bring out the best of an individual: the more money that individual has, the more focused on self that individual may become, and so the less sensitive to the needs of people around, as well as the more likely to do the wrong things due to the feeling of right and entitlement.

A Case in Point

Barblara Woolworth Hutton, also known as “the poor little rich girl”, was one of the wealthiest women in the world during the Great Depression. She had experienced an unhappy childhood with the early loss of her mother at age five and the neglect of her father, setting her the stage for a life of difficulty in forming relationships.

Married and divorced seven times, she acquired grand foreign titles, but was maliciously treated and exploited by several of her husbands. Publicly, she was much envied for her lavish lifestyle and her exuberant wealth; privately, she was very insecure and unhappy, leading to addiction and fornication.

She died 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 own lavish and luxurious lifestyle.

Barbara Hutton was the unhappy poor little rich girl! She was widely reported in the media, and her story was even made into a Hollywood movie: “The Poor Little Rich Girl.”

From Rags to Riches

Christopher Paul Gardner, an American entrepreneur, investor, author, 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. He was homeless, but he was not hopeless. He dreamed of wealth and success, and his dreams were not mirages. Because of his right doing, 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. He had a successful investment career, and he subsequently 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 became a philanthropist and a motivation speaker traveling around the world, focusing not on his own wealth, but on humanity and helping others to get their 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.”

On that 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 you lack.
       
“Then again, what seems like nothing in the eyes of the world, when properly valued and put to use, can be among the greatest riches.” 

“Wealth can also be that attitude of gratitude with which we remind ourselves everyday to count our blessings.” 

“The balance in your life is more important than the balance in your checking account.”

The bottom line: according to Gardner, everything begins with self-belief and doing.

“I just wanted to make a million dollars. But I couldn’t sing and I couldn’t play ball, so I said to my mother, ‘How am I going to make a million dollars?’ And she said to me, ‘Son, if you believe you can do it, you will.’” 

“It can be done, but you have to make it happen.” 

Conventional Wisdom

Studies after studies by psychologists have shown that there is no correlation between wealth and happiness. The only exception is in cases of real poverty, when extra income relieves suffering and brings security. But once the basic material needs are satisfied, the level of income makes little difference to the perceived level of happiness.

The bottom line: let go of the madness of materialism! The Beatles rightly said in their song that money can’t buy love, and neither can it buy happiness.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Money Fantasies and Money Miseries


If money really matters to you, then earn more.

To earn more, capitalize on the skills you already have, enhance and improve them, and look for better and richer employment. In addition, there are likely many other skills you may possess that cannot be or have not been fully maximized or utilized wherever you are working. Then, harness those skills and capitalize on them through doing some freelance work on the side to maximize your current income.

If, on the other hand, you do not have the basic skills, and you do not want to learn and acquire them, and yet you always crave money and wealth, then your cravings are only your money fantasies.

What are money fantasies?

Only your money wisdom can separate your money fantasies from the money realities.

There was the story of a beautiful and sophisticated woman in her mid-twenties who wrote to an investment counseling company looking for a list of eligible bachelors with earnings of at least $600,000 a year. That woman had money fantasies in her mind.

According to experts, using marriage as an investment is a money fantasy, and no more than a bad investment bargain—just like investing into a shrinking currency. Imagine, the beauty of that woman will shrink over the years, while the $600,000 may grow over the long haul.

So, marrying into money, buying the lottery, and winning at the casino are all money fantasies.

What are money miseries?

Money miseries are also the realities for many, who always feel dissatisfied, frustrated, insecure, and insolvent. This mental condition suffered by many is often a result of constant exposure to media news of the rich and the famous, as well as their own perceptions of “possessions equal satisfaction.” It is your own mental interpretation of what you see verses who you really are.

You have money miseries if you have a job with a modest income but still living from paycheck to paycheck. If you are struggling with money miseries, you need your money wisdom to change your belief system, to stop comparing yourself with others around you, as well as to identify all the whys of your emotional feelings about and around your money miseries.

Why so many are broke?

According to The Wall Street Journal, many consumers (nearly 70 percent) are living from paycheck to paycheck. More than 50 percent consumers worry a lot about money, such as retirement. Once they lose their jobs or encounter any financial crisis, they become broke.

Even wealthy celebrities, such as Mike Tyson and Michael Jackson, go broke.

Mike Tyson, a boxing champion with several heavyweight titles, earning over $300 million dollars during his successful boxing career, ended up in bankruptcy in 2003.

Michael Jackson, recording artist, dancer, singer and songwriter, earning more than $500 million dollars, was heavily in debt when he died in 2009.

Of course, you might say: “If I had those millions of dollars, I wouldn’t become broke?” But if you cannot change your current spending habits, it would be a lot more difficult to change them when you have become a wealthy celebrity, such as Mike Tyson or Michael Jackson.

So, going broke is no respecter of persons, whether you are poor or rich.

The bottom line: Everyone needs to have the money wisdom to know how to earn, invest, and spend money to avoid going broke.



Click here to ge your paperback, and click here to get your ebook.

NORA WISE
Copyright © Nora Wise

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Does Money Make You Happy?


Human existence is meaningless, if it is devoid of human happiness.

Since time immemorial, man has been searching for happiness. Many believe that human wisdom holds the key to ultimate success in the quest for happiness. Hence, the pursuit of wisdom is also as old as age.

Happiness is like a carrot-and-stick to a mule—forever unattainable: the more pain inflicted on the mule, the greater desire it shows to reach out for that unreachable carrot in front. Maybe that explains the painstaking pursuit of happiness by many. Indeed, happiness is not only abstract and intangible, but also elusive and evasive.

Happiness comes in many different forms. What happiness to one individual may not be happiness to another—just as one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Happiness is uniquely personal. In addition, even if it is attainable, happiness comes and goes, just as day and night. Furthermore, no matter what, happiness has to come to an end with the expiration of life.

It is human nature to seek happiness by any means, and human wisdom is considered the most appropriate way to attaining human happiness. During the brief lifespan, humans seek their own wisdom to help them pursue their happiness that may come to them in many different forms, such as wealth, good health, satisfying relationships, successful careers and endeavors, and among others.

Sadly, the many different forms of happiness that most people crave and pursue in their lives may not bring them true and lasting happiness.

Why not? It is because there are certain myths about true happiness.

One of the myths is that happiness is about experiences. Accordingly, many use money to buy those pleasant life experiences, such as going on a vacation, throwing a party, or buying an expensive dress. The memories of those happy life experiences in the past, as well as the thoughts of those happy moments to be repeated in the future—both are unreal: the past was gone, and the future is yet to come. So, the happiness created by those memories and thoughts in the human mind is unreal and self-delusional at best.

Another happiness myth is that most happy life experiences have to do with sensual sensations, which are based on pleasures derived from the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. But sensations can provide only sensual pleasures—such as the excitement of new experiences, the thrill and passion of sex, or the delights of a fine meal—they last only a brief moment or two, and they do not contribute to true and lasting happiness.

The truth of the matter is that all your wonderful life experiences are only to be enjoyed, and then to be let go of, just as a delicious meal is to be enjoyed, savored, and then to be digested, and ultimately eliminated from the body. So, the continuous quest for happiness is elusive and evasive, just like chasing the wind.

The truth of the matter is that happiness is but a state of mind, and that is why it is abstract, intangible, and unattainable. It is all in the mind’s eye—just as John Milton, the famous English poet, says in his masterpiece Paradise Lost:

“The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n.”

According to the Harvard Business Review, money and happiness are not positively correlated, because wealth may make people less generous and more domineering. In addition, money may not bring out the best of an individual: the more money that individual has, the more focused on self that individual may become, and so the less sensitive to the needs of people around, as well as the more likely to do all the wrong things due to the feeling of right and entitlement.

An illustration of going from riches to nothing

Barbara Woolworth Hutton, also known as “the poor little rich girl”, was one of the wealthiest women in the world during the Great Depression. She had experienced an unhappy childhood with the early loss of her mother at age five and the neglect of her father, setting her the stage for a life of difficulty in forming relationships.

Married and divorced seven times, she acquired grand foreign titles, but was maliciously treated and exploited by several of her husbands. Publicly, she was much envied for her lavish lifestyle and her exuberant wealth; privately, she was very insecure and unhappy, leading to addiction and fornication.

Barbara Hutton died 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 own lavish and luxurious lifestyle.

Barbara Hutton was the unhappy poor little rich girl! She was widely reported in the media, and her story was even made into a Hollywood movie: “The Poor Little Rich Girl.”

An illustration of going from rags to riches

Christopher Paul Gardner is an American businessman, entrepreneur, investor, author, and philanthropist. In the early 1980s, Gardner was very poor and homeless; he was often sleeping on the floor of a public toilet. Gardner never dreamt that he would become a multi-millionaire one day. His very inspiring life story was even made into a hit Hollywood movie, starring Will Smith: “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. He was homeless, but he was not hopeless. He often dreamed of wealth and success, and his dreams were not mirages. Because of his right doing, 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. He had a successful investment career, and he subsequently 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 own true happiness and fulfillment in the remainder of his life, Gardner then made a complete career change. He became a philanthropist and a remarkable motivation speaker traveling around the world, focusing not on his own wealth, but on humanity and helping others to get their 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.”

“On that 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 you lack.”
       
“What seems like nothing in the eyes of the world, when properly valued and put to use, can be among the greatest riches.” 

“Wealth can also be that attitude of gratitude with which we remind ourselves everyday to count our blessings.” 

“The balance in your life is more important than the balance in your checking account.”

According to Gardner, everything begins with self-belief and doing.

“I just wanted to make a million dollars. But I couldn’t sing and I couldn’t play ball, so I said to my mother, ‘How am I going to make a million dollars?’ And she said to me, ‘Son, if you believe you can do it, you will.’” 

“It can be done, but you have to make it happen.” 

The above illustrations show that money can make you happy or unhappy, depending on your money values, and how you apply them to your daily life and living—that is, your money wisdom.

Click here to ge your paperback, and click here to get your ebook.

NORA WISE
Copyright © Nora Wise




Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Importance of Money Wisdom


You are living in a world wanting wisdom. The majority of people experience the lack and not the abundance, while only a small number of people feel both the affluence and the wealth. Surviving and navigating in this world of money disparity require profound wisdom—the perspectives of human wisdom, Biblical wisdom, and the TAO wisdom from ancient China.

So, always ask yourself many questions regarding your money wisdom, given that money always plays a pivotal role in this world of both abundance and lack.

Charles Proteus Steinmetz, a German-born American mathematician and electrical engineer, once said: “There are no foolish questions and no one becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.”

So, continue your life journey asking yourself many self-intuitive questions with respect to your money wisdom. The spirit of wisdom demands you to ask as many questions as possible on how you view the world today based on your past and present life experiences. Your money wisdom is your individual need to think more about your money. Do not bury your head in the sand! Just be wise on all your money matters!

Asking-questions-and-seeking-answers may give you your money wisdom. Your own life experiences are often responsible for your judgmental attitudes, your bias prejudices, and your assumptive presumptions—they may prevent you from knowing your real self, as well as from separating the truths from the half-truths or the myths about your money wisdom.

The truth of the matter is that your money wisdom is all based on your own perceptions and interpretations of your life experiences. That is why your money wisdom is uniquely yours.

Your money journey in this world is forever filled with missteps and detours, irrespective of your abundance or lack. Even if it may seem to be a bed of roses to you because of your abundance, it is always filled with some thorns. So, you need your spiritual wisdom to give you hope and guidance on your money journey.

To attain that spiritual wisdom, you need your faith—which is your trust and obedience to your Creator. According to Saint Augustine, faith is to believe in what you do not see, and you will then see what you believe. So, if you believe in your money wisdom, you will then see your security in every aspect of your life, whether you have abundance or lack..

To apply your money wisdom in the material world you are living in, you need the wisdom of the TAO—which is the humility to detach yourself from all attachments that you think define who you are. With no ego, you may then become self-enlightened: perceiving the “nothingness” of all things, as well as self-intuiting your “connectedness” to anything and everyone in the world. So, you are in balance and harmony with anyone and everyone, and you are no longer at war within yourself with your fear of insecurity—that is ultimately your money wisdom.

Click here to ge your paperback, and click here to get your ebook.

NORA WISE
Copyright © Nora Wise






Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment

“The ancient prophets were wise.
Their wisdom was unfathomable.
It is indispensable to understanding the salvation from the Creator.

All we can do is to live by their profound prophecies:
watchful, like a man crossing a winter stream;
alert, like a man aware of danger;
courteous, like a visiting guest;
yielding, like ice about to melt;
simple, like a piece of uncarved wood;
hollow, like a cave;
opaque, like muddy water.

Living by their prophecies, we wait for our muddled thoughts to settle,
our composed minds to become clear just like muddy water, until enlightenment arises, followed by eternal salvation.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 15)

Living in TAO is the art of living well.

Living is simple: just be a spectator, only watching the comings and goings of anything and everything.  

With what you have, do what you can. With no picking and no choosing, never over-do anything. With no preference and no expectation, just accept and embrace whatever that turns out. Life always follows a natural cycle of spontaneity—everything just comes and goes, giving balance and harmony.

Following a naturally cycle, you just have to let go of anything and everything; do not hold on to any attachment in your life.

Stephen Lau        
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Oneness with All Life


Oneness with All Life

With both human wisdom and spiritual wisdom, you may see anything is everything not just for yourself but also for others as well. In other words, you may intuit the wisdom of oneness with all life, which is your interconnection with others, not just with those who are close to you,  but also with those  who are  distant and unrelated to you. Life is all about anything and everything.

No man is an island

According to John Donne, the famous English poet, “no man is an island”; that is, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. Therefore, we are all interconnected with, as well as inter-dependent on, one another in many different ways.

Connectedness

Oneness is the law of nature: what we do to others, we also do to ourselves, either consciously or unconsciously. It is the unity of all life—life is what we all have, and what empowers all of us, giving us the enlightening experiences and the holistic ways of living.

The Bible has repeatedly stated the significance of oneness of God’s creation and salvation to all.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1: 1)

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. (Colossians 1: 16)

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles,  slave or free—and we  were all
given the one Spirit to drink.
(1 Corinthians 12:13)

According to Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese sage, one of the reasons why nature has continued to exist for thousands and thousands of years is that all forms of life in nature have their presence, which depends on one another for their co-existence. Just think about that: everything in nature does not exist just for itself, and that is why it can last forever.

Each and every being in the universe.
is an expression of the Creator.
We are all shaped and perfected by Him.
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 51)

Blessed is he who has no ego-self.
He will be rewarded with humility to connect with the Creator.
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 9)

So, always focus on others, instead of just on yourself all the time. Focusing on others also initiates your connection with the Creator, providing you with spiritual wisdom to guide you along the rest of your life journey.

According to Buddha, “Nothing ever exists entirely alone. Everything is in relation to everything else.”  What Buddha means is that it is not uncommon for humans to blame their problems on all the things outside themselves—other people and circumstances that are beyond their control. But the connectedness with all life contradicts that common but erroneous belief; the reality is that what we see in others and in our own circumstances is a reflection of our inner life, of what we believe in—which is the main source of all human  miseries  and sufferings.  The truth  is that  all humans suffer because they do not see the miseries and sufferings in others, except in themselves.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Baptist minister, and leader in the civil rights movement, once said: “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” So, your connectedness to others plays a pivotal role in helping you become your true self, instead of who you wish you were.

Even John Lennon in his famous hit song “Imagine” says: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope one day you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” That the world will live as one may indeed become a reality, and not just a dream.

To get your paperback copy of Anything Is Everything! Everything Is Nothing! Nothing Is Everything!, click here; to get your e-book, click here.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau