Monday, March 19, 2018

My Newly Published Book: The Happiness Wisdom

I have just published my book: “The Happiness Wisdom”, which is a 161-page book on human wisdom based on ancient wisdom from the East and the West, conventional wisdom, and spiritual wisdom, which may all provide guidelines for choosing the happiness ingredients for your own happiness recipe. In addition, the book also provides real examples taken from real life, illustrating how these real people perceive their realities, and thus leading to their happiness or unhappiness.

Human happiness or unhappiness is no more than a perception of the human mind, based on an individual's own life experiences. You think, and your perceptions then become your "realities"; with profound wisdom, you can change how your mind processes your perceptions. Change your mind to change your realities, and live your life as if everything is a miracle! Your life journey is uniquely yours. Make your own happiness recipe from the happiness ingredients of ancient wisdom, conventional wisdom, and spiritual wisdom. Continue your life journey with your own happiness recipe.

Click here to find out more about the book.

Click here to get your digital copy, and here to get your paperback copy.

Stephen Lau

Thursday, March 15, 2018

My Way No Way Is Not the Way

My Way! No Way! TAO Is The Way!
TAO Wisdom To Live And Survive In A World Of Depression

This book is perhaps one the few books with an unconventional approach to depression, a universal mind disorder affecting many people worldwide. Instead of the conventional ways of avoiding depression with distractions, such as exercise, suppressing its symptoms with affirmations and visualizations, and elevating its depressive moods with medications, this 180-page book uses the ancient wisdom from China, what is known as TAO wisdom, to experience anything and everything in depression, that is, going through every aspect of depression.  

TAO wisdom may enlighten you so that you can ultimately free yourself from depression, or at least look at your own depression very differently.

Here is the INTRODUCTION to the book:

“TAO is neither a religion nor a philosophy.

TAO is simply a way of life about the Way of life, that is, a general way of thinking about everything in life. It is a pathless path of humanity to live as if everything is a miracle.

TAO is the Way through anything and everything in life in order to fully experience them and live in balance and harmony. TAO is not about avoiding or getting out of anything unhappy and undesirable in everyday life, such as depression; rather, it is about going through depression by experiencing every aspect of it in order to become enlightened, if possible, with the profound human wisdom to continue living in peace and harmony in a world of depression.

TAO is looking at life not as a series of both happy and unhappy episodes, but simply as a journey of self-discovery and self-awakening to the real meaning of life existence. You are defined not by your words and thoughts, but by the ways you act and react, as well as the impact you may have on others around you. You exist not because you are simply here; you are here in this world to love and to learn how to live, as well as to help one another do the same."

To get your Amazon digital copy, click here; to get your paperback copy, click here.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 12, 2018

Change the Reckless-Spending Mindset

Money can make the world go round. This mindset may make many people become depressed, when they think and believe they don't have the abundance. We desire the abundance, but we want to spend, while expecting the abundance.

We, Americans, have forgotten how to be thrifty, and about what the real core value of money is. Many of us, especially the younger generation, have grown accustomed to only the good times: for decades, we have enjoyed unprecedented economic prosperity that we have forgotten the financial woes of the Great Depression.

Whenever we experiencing some economic hiccups with higher-than-normal unemployment rate, we start whining and pointing fingers at politicians or the government. In spite of the past busts and downturns, we are still spending like there is no tomorrow (especially our government), and we have forgotten how to be frugal. It is time we changed our mindset of reckless spendingbuying the things we don't need with the money we don't have, or bailing out corporations and banks that are "too big to fail."

The problem is that the little busts and downturns will not change our spending behavior. We may or may not have a big meltdown, but the little busts and downturns may go on indefinitely for decades until we change our reckless-spending pattern. President Trump would not make a significant difference in the economy unless we, as a nation, change our reckless-spending mindset.

Japan is a case in point. In the 1980s, Japan's economy boomed, and bought up many American companies. The boom, very much like ours in the past decades, turned into a bubble, and, like all bubbles, it busted with a meltdown that was on a much smaller scale than ours. The Japanese government, like what the US government has been doing since our meltdown, tried to prevent banks and companies from failing with bailouts and economic stimulus plans. History is repeating itself: we are doing exactly what the Japanese were doing two decades agopreventing the bubble from busting. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to have worked for the Japanese; for the past two decades, Japan has not had any major economic catastrophe, but its economy stagnated, and everything deflated gradually and slowly, instead of the one-time catastrophic blow-up.

If a catastrophic meltdown in the US is not imminent, then it will be a protracted recession or deflation lasting for years, if not decades, just like Japan's decade-long recession. In 2009, the US national debt rose to more than $12.trillion. In the next ten years, the US debt is forecast to reach $25 trillion. And this debt does not include any funds needed to continue propping up a practically bankrupt financial system. The forecast also assumes optimistic growth in GDP, which is extremely unlikely, given the current spending habits of the Congress, and the wars the country is involved in. 

Currently, US Federal debt is many times what it collects in tax revenue every year. No matter what, the debt can ever be repaid with normal money. In addition, with debt out of control, interest rates will rise steeply as a result of inflation—no right now, but ultimately. It is a wishful thinking that the US economy will improve anytime soon with President Trump's focus on helping the economy. If you think you will see the light at the end of the tunnel, think again! The worst is yet to come. The US will continue to print trillions of dollars worth of new government securities or quantitative easing. But the buyers of these government securities might start to become scarce. The rest of the world may dump their holdings of US debt, which would result in the dollar dropping precipitously and interest rates rising substantially. The future does not bode well. 

What you can do is to change your mindset of spending: Save, save, and save for the future! 

Next, you need to change your reckless-spending mindset, such as buying things you don't need with the money you don't have.

Finally, always pay yourself first: no matter how insufficient your income may be, always set aside a sum of money for saving for the rainy days; with less money, you will spend less, or figure out how to adjust your spending according to your means.

If everybody could change reckless-spending mindset, maybe the government would follow suit. The bottom line: reckless spending will not help you avoid depression; making you happier; rather, it often leads to depression when you feel the lack.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Living in the Now

Those who are depressed are probably living in the past with regrets, and or living in the future with expectations of fears and worries. To get rid of your depression, you may not have to rely on medications; rather, living in the now.

Living in the now is not easy in this day and age with the advancement of technology. Speed is everything, and performance is based on speed and efficiency, such that the human mind becomes naturally compulsive.

Our actions or inactions are derived and driven by our thoughts and memories of our past experiences. If those experiences were negative, our conscious and subconscious mind will tell us to avoid them in the future; on the other hand, if they are positive, they tend to instruct us to repeat them in the future. Accordingly, the human mind will constantly shuffle between the past and the future. As a result, it seldom stays in the present moment. To illustrate, while talking on the cell phone, how often do we talk about what happened or what we are going to do next? If we think more deeply, the subject of our conversation mostly involves mostly the past or the future. In a worse scenario, if you are talking or texting while driving, your mental focus is certainly not on the now—which is driving your car.

The first step to train your mind to focus more on the present is to concentrate on your breathing. Most of us are totally unaware of our breaths, unless we are short of breath after running or climbing stairs, or due to some medical conditions that may cause difficulties in breathing. Concentration on how you breathe in and breathe out, as well as your body’s sensations during the inhalation and exhalation trains you to develop mindfulness. Understand that your body is yours only, and it is always with you. Finding the moment-by-moment relationship with your body through your breathing is your pathway to wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul.

Mindfulness is your purposeful attention to the present moment. This purposeful attention enables you to recognize your thoughts as they occur, but without paying judgmental attention to them; in other words, they neither distract nor disturb you, and you just observe them objectively, like watching a movie about yourself unfolding before your very eyes.

Learn mindfulness from an expert who provides a useful guide to harness the power of your mind with mental training tools and techniques to perfect the art of mental transformation. Are you living your life, or your life living you?

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 5, 2018

Life Management

To avoid depression, you must know how to live well.

To live well, you must know life management, which is the art of living well. Living well has to do with the mind, which processes all life experiences, including sensations from the five senses. Your mind not only stores the information regarding those experiences in the form of consciousness and subconsciousness, but also uses the information to make life choices.
Therefore, life management begins with the mind. Nobody can live your life for you. To manage your life, you must know who you and what you want from your life. In addition, you must understand about life and death, because the concept directly or indirectly affects how you live and manage your life. From the Buddhist and Christian point of view, negating self enables you to see things in perspective, and therefore helping you manage your life.
For more information, go and read my article: Life Management.

Also visit my website: Wisdom in Living.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Darkness of Life

The darkness of life is a reality, not a myth, and that everyone has a dark side to his or her being. The dark side does not necessarily mean it is something evil. Any connotation of evil may lead to denial, instead of acceptance.

The alleged sexual abuse of children by Jerry Sandusky and the pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the Ponzi scheme of Bernie Madoff and the scams and rip-offs by some of Wall Street executives are just some of the many examples of the extreme darkness of our society and culture.

But, in spite of the human inclination to be good, we all show our own dark side every now and then—such as not expressing as much compassion and loving-kindness as we should to our fellow human beings, or telling a white lie—because we are imperfect, and, as such, all human behavior is imperfect.

The Dark Side of Life

The Bible calls the dark side of human nature “sin.” None of us is exempt from sin. Life is always an inner struggle between what is perceived in an individual’s moral system as “right” and the dark opposing force inside to do just the opposite. To make matters worse, most of us are really quite good at self-deception. Either we deceive ourselves into thinking that the dark opposing force does not exist in ourselves, or we simply inflate our own personal virtues to overshadow the dark force within us.

Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous Scottish novelist, calls this dark side of human nature the duality of man. In his famous story of “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” he presents Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde both having a dark side within them, where evil is lurking to surface anytime. Both of them hide their evil away, pretending it never exists. In the end, it turns out that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are actually one and the same person.

If the darkness of life is deemed as something “evil” as depicted by Robert Louis Stevenson, it may immediately lead to self-denial and downright rejection. The dark side is ideally described as a “not-so-good” quality, or just human flaws and weaknesses that we see in others as well as in ourselves. Whatever the definition may be, the darkness of life, ironically enough, makes life wholesome, without which life is incomplete and unreal—at best, a self-delusion. Human darkness is part and parcel of human existence. Denying its existence only leads to more pain, regret, and resignation. But understanding the dualistic human nature offers a way to return to wholeness, which brings about wellness of the mind and the soul, essential to the art of living well. 

To live well, you need to have profound human wisdom to understand human nature --the imperfections of life and living, not to mention the imperfections of ourselves.

The Book of Life and Living (2nd edition) is a 200-page book that explains what true wisdom is: it is a process of asking meaningful questions and getting relevant answers from them to empower your mind to think differently. After all, life has to do with thinking -- how you think, how you react to your life experiences, and how you process and internalize them to become your memories. The brain is a complex organ. The book explains in simple layman language how the mind works, and how you may weave the fabrics of your realities acquired from your life experiences encountered.

To get the Amazon Kindle version of The Book of Life and Living, click here; to get the paperback edition, click here

Also, visit my website: 
Wisdom in Living

Stephen Lau

Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 26, 2018

Are You Happy?

Are you happy? Or, why are you unhappy?
Happiness has much to do with attachments to the material world we are living in. Are you attached to your careers, your relationships, your past, your emotions, or your ego-self? Letting go of all your attachments is the only way to happiness. But letting go is not easy: it requires both human wisdom and spiritual wisdom.
The pursuit of human happiness is forever elusive and evasive. Why? It requires human wisdom to ask the right questions, and spiritual wisdom to seek self-enlightening answers to the questions asked throughout one’s life journey.
Human wisdom comes from the mind: an empty mindset with reverse thinking; mindfulness living in the present with no expectation and no picking; and spontaneity with understanding of the natural cycle of all things, that is, what goes up must also come down. The ancient Tao wisdom from China may enhance human wisdom.
With human wisdom, one may see the wisdom of letting go of all attachments in the material world. Attachments are the raw materials with which one often creates the self-delusive realities of the ego-self. Letting go of the ego and all its attachments may let one see the true nature of everything: who one really is, not who one wishes to become, and what one really needs, not what one desires.
The ego is the human flaw that not only undermines the natural human wisdom but also distorts the lens through which one sees the world around. Therefore, one needs spiritual wisdom to complement the inadequate human wisdom, to guide the soul on one’s life journey. Spiritual wisdom can only be attained through trust and obedience to the Creator, which is letting go to let God.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Dementia and Depression

There is a close connection between dementia and depression -- both medical conditions have to do with a dysfunctional mind.

Loss of memory may lead to depression. The human brain performs thousands of tasks, and we are usually unaware of most of them. Patients with dementia, due to brain damage, often become frustrated when they cannot perform simple daily chores they used to be capable of doing. This alone is enough to put many into a depression.

However, not all individuals suffering from dementia have depression, although those who have both dementia and depression will demonstrate improvement in their memory once their depression is treated. Accordingly, it is important to treat the symptoms of depression in those with dementia in order to give the patients better quality of life as well as their caregivers and family members an easier time to cope with their dementia problems.

One of the behavioral symptoms of dementia is social withdrawal -- a result of inability to respond and communicate with others, as well as a way of coping when things get too complicated for the dementia mind. In communication, sensory input is important. Persons with dementia may remember only partially what they have just heard, and thus their response represents only part of the message received. Defective communication only accentuates the sense of loss in those with dementia. The result is withdrawal -- which is also a common symptom of depression. It is, therefore, critical to determine if the individual has depression, or simply the symptoms of dementia. Other characteristic symptoms of depression include: weeping; weight loss; change of sleep patterns; fatigue; and preoccupation with health problems. Depression in individuals with dementia should be treated to avoid further strain on their memory loss problem.

In addition to the use of medications to relieve symptoms of apathy and listlessness in depression or dementia, keep the patient mentally and physically active. However, it is important to know the limits -- which means knowing the level of involvement and capability of involvement. Remember, small failures may have damaging, instead of beneficial, results on the dementia mind; likewise, repeatedly telling a depressive individual to snap out of a depression only engenders further frustration without facilitating the recovery.

 Stephen Lau

Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 19, 2018

Your Emotions and Your Depression

Your body lives in the physical world, and thus it plays a pivotal role in your overall being, including your mind and your soul. Science has already attested to the close connection between the body and the mind: the body affects the mind as much as the mind affects the body.

Human emotions, in particular, affect the physical body. In Woody Allen's movie Annie Hall, Diane Keaton would like to know why he wasn’t angry. "I don't get angry," he humorously replied, "I grow a tumor instead." Indeed, toxic emotions can lead to a toxic body.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), human emotions are the major underlying causes of many diseases and disorders because for centuries Chinese physicians have believed that certain body organs are related to emotional activities; for example, the heart is related to joy, the liver to anger, the spleen to obsessive thoughts, the lungs to anxiety, and the kidneys to fear. Therefore, excessive emotions may disrupt the free flow of qi, the life-giving energy that flows through the body, and thus causing imbalance and disharmony that may lead to diseases and disorders.

In addition, human behaviors—often a byproduct of human emotions—affect the mind, just as emotions of the mind affecting the body. According to a study at Ohio State University in 2003, physical behavior, such as enhanced body language of nodding in agreement or shaking head in disagreement, may significantly affect how we think without our knowing it. According to that study, even posture, such as sitting up straight, may be conducive to remembering positive memories or thinking positively, because posture changes the production of human hormones.

The interconnection between the body and the mind is further evidenced by the indisputable notion that a healthy heart produces a healthy brain by pumping sufficient oxygen and nutrients to nourish the brain through its bloodstream.

Stephen Lau  
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 16, 2018

Go Through Depression to Get Out of Depression

My Way! No Way! TAO Is The Way!
TAO Wisdom To Live And Survive In A World Of Depression

This book is perhaps one the few books with an unconventional approach to depression, a universal mind disorder affecting many people worldwide. Instead of the conventional ways of avoiding depression with distractions, such as exercise, suppressing its symptoms with affirmations and visualizations, and elevating its depressive moods with medications, this 180-page book uses the ancient wisdom from China, what is known as TAO wisdom, to experience anything and everything in depression, that is, going through every aspect of depression. in order to become enlightened.  

TAO wisdom may enlighten you so that you can ultimately free yourself from depression, or at least look at your own depression very differently.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

My Newly Published Book: The Happiness Wisdom

I have just published my book: “ The Happiness Wisdom ”, which is a 161-page book on human wisdom based on ancient wisdom from the East...