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 11, 2021

Letting Go


What Is “Letting Go”?

“Letting go” literally means releasing your close or tight fist in order to abandon or give up something that you are holding in your hand. If you are close- or tight- fisted, you also cannot receive anything. “Letting go” is detachment.

The opposite of “letting go” is “attaching to” something that you are stubbornly holding on to.

To live well, you need to ask yourself many self-probing questions as you continue on your life journey in order to find out: who you really are, and not who you think or wish you were; what you really need, and not what you want from life; why certain undesirable things happened while certain desirable things did not happen to you. Without knowing the answers to those questions asked, you can never be genuinely happy because you will always be looking for the unreal and the unattainable, just like the carrot-and-stick mule forever reaching out for the unreachable carrot in front.

In many ways, the human brain is like a computer program. Your whole being is like the computer hardware with the apparatus of a mind, a body, and its five senses. The lens through which you see yourself, as well as others and the world around you, are the software that has been programmed by your thoughts, your past and present experiences, as well as your own desires and expectations. In other words, it is you—and nobody else—who have programmed your own mindset. All these years, you may have been trapped in a constricted sense of the self that has prevented you from knowing and being who you really are. That is to say, your “conditioned” thinking mind may have erroneously made you "think" and even "believe" that you are who and what you are right now; but nothing could be further from the truth.

By asking relevant questions, you may have the human wisdom to "change" that pre-conditioned mindset, and thus enabling you to separate the truths from the half-truths or even the myths that you may have created for yourself voluntarily or involuntarily all these years.

What Are Attachments?

An attachment is basically your own emotional dependence on things and people that define your identity, around which you wrap your so-called “happiness”, and even your survival. Attachment is holding on to anything that you are unwilling to let go of, whether it is something positive or even negative.

An attachment is no more than a safety blanket to overcome your fear—fear of change and fear of the unknown from that change. To cope with that fear, all your attachments become your distractions.

We are living in a world with many problems that confront us in our everyday life, and many of them are not only unavoidable but also insoluble. To overcome these daily challenges, many of us just turn to attachments as a means of distracting ourselves from facing our problems head on, or adapting and changing ourselves in an ever-changing environment.

All our struggles in life, from anxiety to frustration, from anger to sadness, from grief to worry—they all stem from the same thing: our attachment to how we want things to be, rather than relaxing into accepting and embracing whatever that might happen after we have put forth our best effort.

Given that attachment is closely related to the thinking mind: how it processes life experiences, it is therefore important to know and to understand the different phases of life.lo, such as the development phase, the transitional phase, the consolidation phase, and the letting-go phase.

The Letting-Go Phase

With advancement in age, and as age begins to take its toll on the body and the mind, most of the life habits that control how they should live have become well established. Their thoughts, based on decades of their past experiences, now dominate their thinking, and hence control how they live the rest of their lives. At this point, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to alter the way they process their experiences and perceptions—just as the saying goes: “It is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks.”

In this final phase in their lives, unfortunately, they have to learn letting go, whether they like it or not. Everything begins to slip away from their lives: their youth, their health, and inevitably their minds too.

All in all, how the mind processes experiences and perceptions determines the type of person you are and will become. The happenings in your life are real, but the way you process and perceive them may positively or negatively affect your life because they are stored in your subconscious mind, which may either give you valuable life lessons, or create delusions and self-deceptions that may not only confuse you but also lead you astray. True human wisdom, therefore, plays a pivotal role in how the thinking mind processes all life experiences and their respective expectations.

It is in this final phase that you must learn how to let go of anthing and everything in order to live the rest of your life as if everything is a miracle.

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




Friday, April 9, 2021

Happiness and Wisdom


Happiness and Wisdom

Thinking is a process of self-intuition through asking relevant questions to create not only self-awareness but also self-introspection. It is the natural habit of the thinking mind to try to solve problems by asking specific questions. Solving problems with relevant questions is self-empowering the human mind to attain human wisdom because it creates the intent to learn, to discover, and then to change for the better. Without the ultimate change, life often becomes static, boring, and ultimately unhappy.

Wisdom has much to do with how the human mind processes life experiences, and asking questions about how and why those experiences occured.

We all process our experiences in different ways in different phases of our lives. All our thoughts associated with our own past experiences are indelibly etched in our subconscious minds, and inevitably creating our different emotions and feelings, both positive and negative ones, in different phases in our lives.

Human life is complex, and living is always complicated. To truly understand what life is all about, you must distill life to one simple but difficult question: “Am I happy?”

If you are unhappy, why are you unhappy?

Maybe there is one more question you should also ask yourself: “Am I wise?” Happiness and wisdom are related. Read my most recent book: The HappinessWisdom.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Thursday, April 8, 2021

BETTER ENGLISH FOR YOU - New Book

 BETTER ENGLISH FOR YOU


WHAT this book is all about:

This book is about every aspect of both written and spoken English.

It covers the basics as well as the essentials of good and effective written and spoken English.

It helps you avoid all the common errors made by both native and non-native speakers of English.

WHY you should read this book:

This book is for every one who speaks and writes English every day.

This book is especially for ESL learners who are not familiar with the use of the English language.

This book is also for native speakers of English, who need to write good English in their education, and throughout their careers.

CONTENTS

ONE: WHY BETTER ENGLISH
TWO: HOW TO HAVE BETTER ENGLISH
LEARING TO SPEAK BY SPEAKING AND TO WRITE BY WRITING
GETTING BASIC TOOLS FOR BETTER ENGLISH

      An English Dictionary
      A Thesaurus
THREE: BETTER WRITTEN ENGLISH FOR YOU
THE PURPOSE OF WRITING
THE ENGLISH GRAMMAR BASICS
     Nouns
     Pronouns
     Adjectives
     Verbs
     Adverbs
     Conjunctions
     Prepositions
     Interjections
THE ENGLISH SENTENCE
     Sentence Patterns
     Different Types of Sentences
     Balanced Sentence Construction
THE TENSES
THE PUNCTUATION
      The Comma
      The Semi-Colon
      The Colon
     The Dashes
     The Period (Full-Stop)
COMMON SENTENCE ERRORS
     Avoid Double Negatives
     Avoid Omission of Key Verbs    
     Avoid Omission of Words in Comparison
     Avoid Dangling Participles
     Avoid Misusing Dependent Clause
BEGINNING TO WRITE
     Paragraph Development
     Learn Commonly Used Difficult Vocabulary
     Learn Commonly Used Difficult Vocabulary
     Learn Idioms and Colloquial Expressions
     Learn to Know the Difference
     Learn to Avoid Wordiness
DEVELOPING THE TOPIC
     Point of View
     Tone
     Planning the Writing
     Writing the Introduction
      Planning the Outline
      Expanding the Writing
      Writing the Draft
GOOD WRITING
      Clich├ęs
      Figures of Speech
      Italics
      Simplicity in Writing
FOUR
: BETTER SPOKE ENGLISH

      Slang and Colloquial Expressions

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

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

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© by Stephen Lau





Tuesday, April 6, 2021

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, April 5, 2021

Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered?


Why Your Prayers Are Seldom Answered?

Albert Einstein once said, “Thinking is difficult; that’s why so few people do it.”

Thinking is a process of self-intuition through asking relevant questions to create self-awareness and self-reflection. It’s the natural habit of the human mind to try to solve all problems by asking questions. Through the process of solving problems, the human mind may then make things happen.

So, asking all relevant questions is self-empowerment of the human mind to increase wisdom because it initiates the intent to learn, to discover, and then to change for the better.

Here are some of the questions you may want to ask yourself concerning why your prayers are seldom answered or not answered at all:

What’s a prayer?

Jesus said: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Is a prayer just your way of asking for something that you want?

Is it a personal request to the Creator to make something happen or not to happen in your life?

Is it a conversation or communication with the Creator to further develop your relationship with Him?

Is it a way of seeking advice from the Creator to help you deal with your own life’s problems and challenges?

Is it a means of asking the Creator for His blessings you think you may be entitled to?

Or is it none of the above?

How often is a prayer said or offered?

Before you getting up, and before you going to bed?

Several times throughout the day, such as before your meals?

While attending a religious service?

Seldom, if ever, unless expressing with your condolences to someone you feel sorry for?

There’s an old proverb that says: “He who cannot ask cannot live.” Life is all about asking questions, and seeking answers from all the questions asked.

By answering all of the above questions, you may be able to self-intuit why your prayers are answered or not answered at all.

Your self-intuition requires not only your spiritual wisdom, but also your human wisdom, in particular, the TAO wisdom of the ancient sage Lao Tzu from China, who was the author of Tao Te Ching, the ancient classic on human wisdom.

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

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Begin Your Healing Journey


The Healing Journey

One of Lao Tzu’s famous sayings is “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” The TAO journey of healing myasthenia gravis, or any autoimmune disease, is a great undertaking: every step is as important as the first; and each step is as firm as the previous one. The Chinese often like to say “feet stepping on solid and steady ground.” Your healing journey is the sum of all the steps you are going to take.

Before you take your first step, ponder on this reality: in life, all humans have two desires or pursuits—happiness and healthiness, which not only often come with many delusions and illusions but also always are unattainable and unsustainable. But the TAO may give you self-intuition and self-enlightenment to help you along your own journey of healing myasthenia gravis.

The Step of No Desire and No Intent

It is your healing journey, and only you can take your first step. So, you must choose to take your first step to go on that healing journey.

To continue on your journey, paradoxically, you must show no desire to heal and no intent to reach your destination.

But why?

The desire for good health may be difficult to sustain for someone who is currently confronted with the many health issues related to myasthenia gravis. It may seem not only difficult but almost impossible for that individual to restore natural health and get well again. Worse, ill health may even make that individual feel depressed and forget to take care of the body, and thus allowing the body's malfunctions to continue and deteriorate further.

A wise traveler on a long journey has no fixed plans, and is not intent upon arriving the destination within a certain time frame. But that traveler is ready to use all the situations and all the people encountered to help him along the long journey.
               
Likewise, healing is a long, on-going process, and not a destination. With innate and inexplicable power, it may appear that everyone and everything along your journey are also playing a part in facilitating in your favor all your endeavors in healing your myasthenia gravis.

The bottom line: take your first step of no desire and no intent for healing so as to change and to overcome any attitude of confusion and even despair related to the trauma of your myasthenia gravis diagnosis. On your healing journey, with no intent upon arriving at the destination any time soon, you will continue to keep yourself moving forward, and you will then go the long distance on your long healing journey.

The TAO

According to the TAO, being free of desires is your path to detachment, and thus giving you clarity of thinking to start your own healing journey.

Paradoxically, if you have no desire to desire for change or healing, there is stillness, in which you may see yourself gradually changing for the better in order to slowly heal yourself:

“To live a life of harmony, we need letting life live by itself. . .

So, follow the Way.
Stop striving to change ourselves: we are naturally changing.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 57)

“Accordingly, we do not rush into things.
We neither strain nor stress.
We let go of success and failure.
We patiently take the next necessary step, a small step and one step at a time.
We relinquish our conditioned thinking. Being our true nature, we help all beings
return to their own nature too.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 64)

According to the TAO, a good traveler neither has fixed plans, nor shows any effort to arrive at the destination:

The softest thing in the world
overcomes what seems to be the hardest.
       
That which has no form
penetrates what seems to be impenetrable.

That is why we exert effortless effort.
We act without over-doing.
We teach without arguing.

This is the Way to true wisdom.
This is not a popular way
because people prefer over-doing.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 43)

Begin your healing journey, and take your first step with effortless effort and humble simplicity:

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau


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


Letting Go

What Is “Letting Go”? “Letting go” literally means releasing your close or tight fist in order to abandon or give up something that yo...