Sunday, July 21, 2019

Adversity and Pain


Adversity and Pain

“Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself, and awakens us to a courage and faith unrealized before.” Dr. Albert Schweitzer

Adversity is part and parcel of life. Adversity comes in different phases of life; it only becomes more intense and challenging as aging continues, causing more unhappiness. Adversity is like rites of passage, which come in three stages: the separation stage in which you feel separated from your comfort zone; the confusion stage in which you find yourself in no-man’s-land, at a loss of not knowing what to do next; and the transformation stage, in which you may initiate the life changes to cope with the adversity.

Human pain comes in different forms: emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual pain. Inevitable as it is, pain also comes in different stages of one’s life, and most predominantly during the golden years as a result of loss of loved ones, loss of physical capability and functioning, as well as loss of health and wellness.

Adversity and pain cause human unhappiness.

The good news is that you may also learn from your pain and suffering. The most valuable lesson is awakening from the illusion that this physical life of yours will go on forever. This awakening may help you re-discover your connection to others and, more importantly, to God, and hence may deepen the meaning of life to you, as well as your relationship with God. If your life has a positive meaning, then human pain must also have its meaning for your body, mind, and spirit. You just have to look for its meaning.

Human suffering is caused by adversity and pain. Don't let your suffering continue. Get your happiness wisdom! Learn to let go of your adversity and pain.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Wisdom in Living



This is a completely updated website on how to live your life as if everything is a miracle.

The journey of life is long and unpredictable. We all need wisdom to guide us along the way so that we will not get lost; even if we do, we may still find out way back to where it will eventually lead us to our final destination.

This new website may provide you with wisdom as your compass and roadmap on your life journey.

Wisdom in living comprises seeking God's wisdom through understanding human wisdom in order to live a meaningful and purposeful life, even in the golden years. The ancient wisdom of Tao holds the key to applying these principles of life and living in this modern world.

Stephen Lau

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Role of Humor in Depression


While laughter is instantaneous, humor is always subtle, gradual, but infectious. The major role of humor in life is to change your perspectives of what is happening to you. It enables you to look at yourself in a less serious manner. Since you are approaching the end of your life journey, why should you look upon life so seriously? Weave humor into the fabrics of your life: let yourself find good humor in almost everything you do. Remind yourself that you are much more blessed than most people—for  one thing, you already have lived to a ripe old age—and that many things are beyond your control anyway, so loosen up your tight jaw and start smiling. Laugh at yourself by sharing some embarrassing moments in your life with those who are also fun and playful. Look for humor in any bad situation; if you look further, you will always find the irony and absurdity of life. Above all, make a conscious effort to overcome your daily stress, which is a major impediment to laughter and humor.

According to the 2006 International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, a sense of humor can significantly improve the survival rate of end-stage renal disease patients by as much as 30 percent. The reason is simple: positive distractions from stressful situations, such as dialysis, have salutary effects on the patient.

Remember, if you just continue to live, you will also continue to face many adversities. Laughter and humor will let you see only their positive sides, instead of becoming the problem yourself.

You do not have to be funny in order to have a sense of humor—just the ability to see the lighter side of everything in life. Now that you are nearing the end of your life journey, nothing can be that dead serious—not even death.

Stephen Lau

     Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Thursday, July 18, 2019

No Comparison, No Depression


No Comparison, No Depression

Depression is a mind disorder, which affects brain chemicals, which distort how the mind thinks. Therefore, it is important to understand what causes the disorder in the first place. Taking anti-depressants   may control the symptoms, but without addressing its cause.

Human thoughts are generated by the human mind through its perceptions. Oftentimes we compare ourselves with others, or simply with our own past, and thus subconsciously create our own negative thoughts that depress us.

There was an ancient Chinese fable of a stone cutter who worked so hard at cutting stones that he often felt stressed and depressed.

One day, while standing behind a huge stone where he was cutting his stones, he looked up at the sky, and saw the beautiful sun. Then, he wished he were the sun that could give warmth and sunshine to everyone on earth. A fairy came to him and granted him his wish, so he became the sun.

For a while, he was happy and contented. Then, one day, a big cloud came over, blocked out everything from his view, and he could not see what was below. He became distressed and unhappy, and wished he were the cloud, instead of the sun. Again, the fairy came to his rescue, and granted him his wish. He became the cloud, and began drifting and floating happily and peacefully in the sky.

After a while, a strong wind came and scattered the cloud in different directions. Now, he wished he were the strong wind that could blow away anything and everything that stood in his way. Again, the fairy made his wish come true: he became the strong wind, blowing here and there. For a while, he was happy and contented.Then, one day, he found out that he could not blow away the big stone behind which he used to cut stones. Worse, he was stuck there, going nowhere. Now, finally, he began to realize that was where he belonged. He made his one last wish to become the stonecutter that he used to be. The fairy granted him his last wish, and now he was contented to be the stonecutter again.

The moral of the fable: any comparison and contrast between self and others—or even between the current self and the self in the past—is often a stumbling block to self-contentment, the lack of which will direct one's thoughts inward and generate depression. Indeed, if you are discontent with what you have or what you are, while matching an area of your own deficiency with that of someone else’s obvious strength, you are in fact preparing the groundwork for your own depression. It is just that simple!

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Depression and Money


In the United States, consumer debt is escalating at a stunning pace to the tune of more than 2.5 trillion dollars. From Wall Street to Washington, many are counting on consumers to use their credit cards to jump start the sputtering global economic engine all over again. However, the United States is facing an economy in which 70 percent of its economic output depends on consumer spending. Now that the consumers are over their heads with massive debt, any sustainable economic recovery in the near future is but a wishful thinking.

So, be prepared for a longer and deeper recession. There will be more difficult times ahead. No matter what, believers have to live and survive on faith.

To survive in this economic crisis, a believer needs Biblical wisdom to survive on faith that has little to do with being poor or rich.

According to Solomon, neither is prosperity a sign of being blessed, nor is poverty an indicator of being spiritual. Solomon asked that he not be left in poverty or riches:

"Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." (Proverbs 30:7-9)

Poverty may make a person bitter and depressed, while prosperity may turn a person away from God.

In addition, Jesus said that prosperity being more of a stumbling block than a stepping stone to salvation: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24)

However, Biblical wisdom to live in faith will make all things possible, whether in poverty or prosperity. Jesus said: "With people, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

But faith alone, without works, is not enough.

"You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." (James 2:24)

Therefore, to survive on faith, you need not only to have the wisdom in the right concept of money, but also to put it into practical application in your daily life. Your relationship with money in terms of practical material matters is a reflection of your ultimate relationship with God.

To survive on faith in tough economic times is the tallest order requiring the observation and application of three Biblical principles:

(1) The Biblical principle of gratitude: Be grateful for what you have, and stop complaining of your lack. God may have given you less than others, but everything is relative. Presently, you may be struggling from paycheck to paycheck; you may be working hard, but still can hardly keep your head above water.

"You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes." (Haggai 1:6)

(2) The Biblical principle of sharing with others: The more you give away, the more you will receive. It is not the other way around: receiving more before giving away more.

(3) The Biblical principle of God owns it all: God, who owns everything, does not need your money. Jesus taught that followers of God must put Him first.

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26)

God should be your first priority, not your concern of poverty or prosperity. With faith, God will take care of all your needs.

Because God owns it all, your money is not yours, and you are only a steward of God's money. Living in faith helps you stay focused on these Biblical principles related to everyday practical money matters. Accordingly, managing your money becomes your responsibility. Good money management leads to financial freedom even in difficult economic times. This is Biblical wisdom to survive on faith.

Living in faith means believing that God can do anything that He chooses to do, including providing material things, such as better jobs and more money. However, there is one uncontested truth: No one has ever created wealth without learning how to handle money wisely, nor without applying what they have learned. 

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Emotions and Physical Wellness

Emotions and Physical Wellness

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.

Consciousness of Physical Wellness

At the physical level, your wellness is basically affected by what you eat, what you drink, and what you do with your body. It’s just that simple; its complexity is no more than distractions from your consciousness of doing the right things for your physical body.

Just be conscious of the right numbers: your body weight, your blood pressure, and your cholesterol levels. If you take good care of these numbers, which are inter-related, the rest of will take care of themselves. There is only one indisputable fact, with no exception: a centenarian is never obese. If you wish to live longer, not necessarily to one hundred years and beyond, you must do something about your body weight now, and not later.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, July 15, 2019

Happiness Is Anti-Depression

Happiness Is Anti-Depression

Life is meaningless and purposeless if happiness is absent. The truth of the matter is that many people are unhappy. So, the leading question is: what makes you happy?

It is also a myth that happiness is something that can be pursued with willpower and effort. The Bible rightly says that pursuing happiness is “like chasing the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11)

 

Effort does not necessarily bring happiness; it only creates the illusion of an environment conducive to creating temporary happiness.

One may work diligently in one’s career to excel and to get to the top of the profession only to find that one has a terminal illness, or has incurred a debilitating accident. To illustrate, Joe Paterno the former Penn State football coach, whose reputation ruined by a sexual abuse scandal at the peak of his career, was fired, and died shortly of cancer; Steve Job, the co-founder of Apple computers, had his life cut short by pancreatic cancer at the height of his successful business career. Extra effort does not always pay off.

Pursuing happiness may be only a fantasy fueled by temporary moments of happiness, because aging, illnesses, misfortunes, and ultimately death plague all alike; in other words, impermanence cuts short all human efforts to bring happiness. We are all aware of the fact that impermanence is a leveler of everybody and everything, but many of us still choose to delude ourselves into thinking otherwise. Denial only fosters the myth that if there is a will there must be a way to attaining happiness, and that all it requires is human effort to make any dream come true.

The truth of the matter is that true happiness is, surprisingly, effortless, because it comes from within, and not from without; it is part of self, and is natural to human life and existence.


This book shows you how to attain true human wisdom through asking self-intuitive questions, creating an empty mindset with reverse thinking to let go of the ego-self to become a better and happier you. 

The Happiness Wisdom

This book shows you that true human happiness comes from human wisdom to understand self and others, as well as the world around, and thus deepening the innate spirituality that guides the body and the soul to live as if everything is a miracle.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Suicide Is All About the Mind


The suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade last week shocked and stunned the world and left millions of people asking the  question: “Why?”

“It stands to the everlasting credit of science that by acting on the human mind it has overcome man’s insecurity before himself and nature.” Albert Einstein

Suicide is all about the mind—the "thinking" mind; more specifically, how the mind functions. The human mind plays a pivotal role in suicide: it could be the underlying “cause” of many problems related to depression; on the other hand, it could also be the "antidote" of depression, leading to suicide. That is to say, the human mind is a double-edged sword: it could create many “problems” for depression, as well as provide many “solutions” to depression. 

The thinking mind plays several major roles in your life, especially in relation to depression and suicide

Life is about experiences, which are composed of thoughts of those experiences by the human mind. According to James Allen, the author of As A Man Thinketh, men are “makers of themselves” and the human mind is the “master-weaver, by both of the inner garment of character and the outer garment of circumstance.” Accordingly, you may have become who you and what you are by way of your thinking mind over the years; in short, you are the sum of your own thoughts. Therefore, your thinking mind plays a pivotal role in your life.

First and foremost, you must fully understand the major roles of your mind in your everyday life and living, and how it may work for you or against you with respect to your depression.

Perceptions and Realities

“Everything you perceive, externally, is the manifestation of some internal part of you. If it was not, it would not be present in your perceived reality.” Tony Warrick

Your mind perceives all your life experiences through your five senses: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting. To most people, seeing is the most important perception; however, what they see may not be the absolute reality, because their visual perceptions may be conditioned by what they see, and distorted by many other factors during the processing of their perceptions. Remember, it is the intuition of your soul that really perceives your reality. The wise have known for a long time that what we know through our eyes are not the same as the intuition of the soul. If that is the case, sadly, most people rely on what they see, thinking that "seeing is believing," and thus lose themselves in external things.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, July 13, 2019

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© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Happiness and the Thinking Mind


“If we could get your subconscious mind to agree with your conscious mind about being happy, that's when your positive thoughts work.” Bruce Lipton

Given that happiness has a direct link to depression, it is therefore important to understand how the thinking mind may affect the mental state of happiness.
Generally speaking, the purpose of life and living is two-fold: to enjoy life, and to expand happiness.
But how can one enjoy life if one is not happy by nature, or how can one expand happiness if one has no idea what happiness is all about? Therefore, it is critically important, first and foremost, to understand how the thinking mind works, and how it can make you happy or unhappy over the long haul.

The Happiness Myths

Happiness is only an abstraction, a far-fetched thought that is often elusive and evasive; it is difficult not only to define but also to understand. To further the complication, happiness often creates certain misleading myths.

The myth: the happiness sources

It is always a myth that abundant wealth, good health, and satisfying relationships—what most people crave and pursue in their lives—will bring them happiness. Abundant wealth, good health, and satisfying relationships are only the byproducts of happiness; they do not cause or bring true and lasting happiness in real life.
To illustrate, many lottery winners attest to their experiences of temporary ecstatic happiness, and nearly all winners confess that their winning has ultimately made them miserable and unhappy for various reasons. Maybe once the initial stimulus of sudden wealth and the drastic changes of lifestyle have worn off, they ultimately return to their original baseline level of happiness or unhappiness. Or, maybe, according to some experts, having too much pleasure—what is known as “eustress”—could also cause stress, just as lacking in pleasure might be stressful to the many have-nots.

The myth: the happiness effort

It is also a myth that happiness is something that can be pursued with willpower and effort. The Bible rightly says that pursuing happiness is just “like chasing the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11)
Effort does not necessarily bring happiness; it only creates the illusion of an environment that is conducive to temporary happiness. To illustrate, one may work diligently in one’s career to excel and to get to the top of the profession only to find that one has a terminal illness, or has incurred a debilitating accident. For example, Steve Job, the co-founder of Apple computers, had his life cut short by pancreatic cancer at the height of his successful business career.
Pursuing happiness may be only a fantasy fueled by temporary moments of happiness, because aging, illnesses, misfortunes, and ultimately death plague all alike; in other words, impermanence cuts short all human efforts and endeavors to bring happiness. We are all aware of the fact that impermanence is an ultimate leveler of everybody and everything, but many of us still choose to delude ourselves into thinking otherwise. Denial only fosters the myth that if there is a will there must be a way to attaining happiness, and that all it requires is the human effort to make any dream come true.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Adversity and Pain

Adversity and Pain “Pain is a more terrible lord of mankind than even death itself, and awakens us to a courage and faith unrealized b...