Monday, April 17, 2017

My Newly Published Book on Depression

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

My newly published book is perhaps one the few books with a totally unconventional approach to depression, a universal mind disorder. 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 may 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.

TAO is formless, shapeless, and inexplicable in words; after all, it had existed long before there were even words. TAO is infinite human wisdom, which is a pathless path to the infinity and the origin of all things.
TAO is not about making your life any easier; it is about acceptance of all aspects of your humanity that need to be fully experienced, embraced, and then to be let go of in order to become wholesome at other times of your life and living—that is the essence of TAO wisdom, which is true enlightenment of the human mind.

Living in a world of depression, you might want every-thing your way or no way. But TAO is the Way through your depression, enabling you to understand how and why you might have your depression in the first place.”

If this book is suitable for you, you can click here to get your Amazon digital copy, or here to get your paperback hard copy.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 27, 2017

No Judgment No Preference

“The Creator has no judgment, no preference:
He treats everything and everyone alike.
Every manifestation attests to the mysteries of his creation.
So, we, too, embrace everything and everyone with no judgment, no preference.
His grace, never depleting and forever replenishing, shows us the Way.
Judgment and preference separate us from his grace, causing attachment.
Only with his grace do we find renewal and rebirth along the Way.”
(Lao Tzu,Tao Te Ching, Chaper 5)

The above is taken from Lao Tzu's immortal classic Tao Te Ching, one of the most translated books in world literature. Lao Tzu was an ancient sage from China, who lived several hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Lao Tzu's profound wisdom is known as Tao wisdom, or simply Tao (also known as the Way).

We all have a physical body, living in a physical world often filled with toxic desires. Do not let the body become toxic too. In the physical world, our bodies with their five senses (seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, and touching) are constantly exposed to sensual sensations around us that may create desires in our bodies. For example, when we see something that pleases the eye, such as an expensive Rolex gold watch, we become desirous of it. That perception can be voluntarily rejected by the conscious mind, but it may be imprinted involuntarily on the subconscious mind, which, unfortunately, controls and directs the conscious mind. So, if the conscious mind does not even voluntarily reject the perception, it may become a toxic desire. Ideally, the mind should control the body, but if the body controls the mind, that is, letting the toxic desire get out of control, the mind will do just anything and everything—even to the extent of breaking the law—to gratify that desire of the body. That’s how toxic desires in a toxic body come into being.

In addition, we all have both a conscious and subconscious mind that process and interpret our physical sensations, leading to thoughts that may be positive or negative, depending on our mental input. The mind plays a pivotal role in changing negative thoughts into toxic desires in a toxic body.

Our conscious minds voluntarily control our mental input (that is, what we want to remember and what we want to forget); but our subconscious minds involuntarily absorb all physical sensations we are exposed to.  The subconscious mind is the master mind behind all actions that the conscious mind takes; therefore, it is important to have the wisdom to understand better how the subconscious mind works in order to have better control of the conscious mind, lest the subconscious mind create toxic desires in a toxic body.

Remember, the toxic mind is often created by human judgment and preference. Many of us have a tendency to judge others (the Bible says "Thou shalt not judge."); judgment may create a toxic mind. By the same token, many of us tend to pick and choose -- picking what we like, and choosing what we think may bring success, while rejecting what we don't like and avoiding what we think may cause failure. The wisdom is to "embrace" everything that happens in our lives, because we can learn from both the good as well as the bad. Live in the present moment, and stop being judgmental. 

Read my book: The Complete Tao Te HYPERLINK "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E76JP1C"ChingHYPERLINK "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E76JP1C" in Plain English to learn more about Tao wisdom to let go of all attachments that may prevent you from living as if everything is a miracle. This book also includes the complete text (81 short chapters of Tao Te Ching)

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

     

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Happiness Mindset to Live Long If You Just Don't Die!

Reverse thinking is what the ancient Chinese sage, Lao Tzu (老子), suggested in his immortal classic, Tao Te Ching (道德經), a book of poetry on human wisdom.
According to Lao Tzu, reverse thinking begins with an empty mindset, which lets go of any implicit assumption so that there may be room for clarity of thinking to understand how your implicit assumptions can create predictions and expectations in your assumptive world that never become your realities. Reverse thinking is the antidote to any pre-conditioned thinking, which is implicit assumption based on subjective predictions and expectations.

Consciousness of the happiness mindset

 Consciousness may free yourself from the shackles of any automatic assumptive thinking that might have enslaved you, keeping you in bondage without your knowing it. Are you the master, or just a slave of your own life? Often times, we think we are masters of our lives and we are in total control, but in fact we are no more than slaves. You are the master only when you have complete control over your life, or rather over your way of thinking. Remember, your subconscious mind controls you with all your implicit assumptions. They make you act, react in different situations and circumstances in life. With reverse thinking, you may see more exceptions to whatever your pre-conditioned mind sees and says.
Happiness is the essence of life and living. Therefore, almost each and every one of us is always in quest of happiness because it is the meaning of our existence. In addition, advertising, consumerism, and the media have all mesmerized us into believing that happiness is one of the basic human rights we are all entitled to.
The reality is that Americans are becoming poorer, and many are living from hand to mouth. Scientists have been asking for decades the exact same question about the degree of personal happiness to an individual, and those who say they are happy are only getting fewer.

The different perceptions of happiness

Happiness is all in the mind. You have to be conscious of why you are happy or unhappy.
You have both a conscious and a subconscious mind. Simply put, your conscious mind does all your active thinking: selectively recording whatever data and information you want to remember, while purposely discarding whatever you consciously think is irrelevant or inapplicable to you. Your subconscious mind, on the other hand, absorbs everything indiscriminately that you are exposed to, and stores it at the back of your subconscious mind in the form of assumptions, emotions, feelings, and memories—they all have become the raw materials with which you weave the fabrics of the realities of your life, making you happy or unhappy, depending on how you perceive and relate them to your personality and life experiences. That is why you have to be conscious of your thinking in order to change your mind in order to change your perceptions of personal happiness—whether it is a glass half-full, or a glass half-empty.
The bottom line: according to Lao Tzu. you must have an empty mind to have totally different perspectives of what happiness really is. If you wish to live to 100 and beyond, you must reverse your thinking to have an empty mindset to look at happiness very differently.
"You Just Don't Die!" shows you just that -- how to live a long life, if you just don't die, and be happy with Tao wisdom.

Stephen Laua
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 13, 2017

Tao Wisdom to Let Go of Attachments

“We usually don't realize the thing that is defining our identity until that thing is taken away.” Tim Hiller

All human attachments are the raw materials with which one both consciously and subconsciously creates one’s identity through a period of confusion and uncertainty that inevitably leads to the identity crisis. Without human attachment, there will be no identity crisis.
Tao wisdom may be the solution to an identity crisis Tao wisdom focuses on letting go of the ego-self, which is the source of all human miseries. The ego-self is defined by our attachments that define who we are, or rather who wish we were—such as the car we drive, the clothes we wear, the neighbor we live in, and the career we have. We use our attachments to control how people think of us, or how we think of ourselves to give us the security we crave.
Tao wisdom is the ancient wisdom from China more than two thousand and six hundred years ago. It originated from the ancient classic Tao Te Ching, (道德經) the only book written by Lao Tzu, the Chinese sage, who was born with white hair—often considered a sign of old age and its related wisdom.
Letting go begins with the ego-self, whose main task in life is controlling.
Indisputably, life is forever changing, whether we like it or not. We must learn to accept the fact that we are sometimes powerless to stop any unwelcome change in our lives. Paradoxically, accepting that unwelcome change in our lives may surprisingly bring us not only clarity but also peace of mind. Yes, life is full of paradoxes that often confuse the human mind.

“With the human flaw, good cannot exist without evil.
Man is born with virtues, but grows up with vices.
Likewise, life and death complement each other.
Heaven is eternal life; hell is everlasting death.
Human existence is therefore dualistic:
it can make heaven out of hell, or hell out of heaven.
Faith and lack of faith go along with each other.
The first will be the last, and the last will be the first.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 2)

Without clarity of thinking, many of us simply choose to avoid any perceived change in our lives by controlling people who, we think, may either cause or steer us clear of any unwelcome change. Control stems from our fear and worry, which are projections of our minds into the future about what may or may not happen, and which are the major factors of stress in our contemporary living.
Controlling is not Tao wisdom because it is an unnatural way of running away from everyday problems, instead of embracing them. Controlling is a direct or subtle way of exerting our influence over others so that we may have power over the turn of events in our own lives. In other words, we delude ourselves into thinking that we can make things happen the way we want them to happen in our lives through control and manipulation of others. Of course, it is only a wishful thinking that we can have total control of what happens or does not happen in our lives. Controlling only leads to over-doing.

“The Creator does nothing,
yet nothing is left undone.
The ordinary man is always doing things,
yet there are always many more to be done.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 38)

Controlling is holding on to all attachments in life. According to Tao wisdom, any attachment is the source of human pain and suffering, and we must learn to let go of controlling.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Monday, March 6, 2017

Spiritual Wisdom for a Successful Marriage

The rate of divorce is skyrocketing in the United States, and the U.S. Census estimates about half of marriages end in divorce.  According to relationship experts, the number of long-term relationships heading towards separation is now becoming more frequent with a longer life span and a growing acceptability of divorce by society. What some experts are saying is that people divorce because they have a longer lifespan, and that divorce is no longer a social taboo.

The following is taken from my book THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING; it explains the pivotal role of spiritual wisdom in the success and survival of a marriage:

Marital relationships are complex and difficult.  due to the complexity and difficulty of interpersonal relationships.

To illustrate, when you take your marriage vows, you solemnly promise to love and care for your spouse “for better or for worse.” But that is a tall order in a marriage. Your marriage partner owes you a debt (or so you think!) if he or she falls short of your expectations. As a result, you become angry and resentful. Without God’s saving grace, you only see yourself as unforgiven and unacceptable to God; in turn, you become unforgiving and unaccepting towards your spouse. The outcome may be a divorce or, at best, an unhappy marriage.

Reflective Thought

Relationships are difficult and unpredictable: many prefer to wet their feet first before they jump into a marriage.

Case in Point

According to a recent study by the University of Denver, about 70 percent of couples co-habit before getting married.

Nowadays, many are afraid of getting married because they do not have sufficient faith either in themselves or in God.
Faith in marriage and living in faith hold the key to a successful marriage.

Not Knowing Self

Self-esteem is an important factor in a healthy love relationship. You must believe that you are “good enough” for your partner. True self-esteem stems from who you are, and not from what you do. If self-esteem were based on success, then many would indeed have low self-esteem because they would not be able to overcome the many hurdles of failures in their lives.

From the Christian point of view, self-esteem comes from the fact that you are made in the image of God.
  
“and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the one Who created him.” Colossians 3:10

Therefore, God loves you, and you are as good as you can be.

From the TAO's point of view,  self-esteem means loving yourself completely for who you are, irrespective of what you like or dislike about yourself—or else you cannot love another person wholeheartedly. According to TAO wisdom, if you cannot accept something unpleasant or incomplete in yourself, you cannot accept something that you think is unpleasant or incomplete in another person. It is just that simple! If you reject that person, you are in fact rejecting a part of yourself that you do not like. In a love relationship, you often begin to “mask” what you do not like about yourself, hiding it from the person you love. You are afraid of opening yourself completely, and accepting yourself just as who you really are. If you don't take off that “mask” of yours, you will only make that love relationship difficult to last.

Lack of self-esteem leads to fear of rejection—fear that the love relationship may not last. Subconsciously, you “anticipate” the inevitable rejection, picking fights and testing the other person constantly in fits of anger and jealousy, even though deep down you want the love relationship to last. Ironically enough, it may eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  
Reflective Thought

True love always risks rejection.

Case in Point

When God created men, He hoped for a loving relationship. However, love is only real if it is unconditional and freely offered. Accordingly, God made human beings capable of both loving and choosing. Living in faith, you can then love and choose in spite of your innate fear of rejection. 

Not Trusting in Spiritual Wisdom

Any relationship—whether it is the relationship with your family, with your co-workers, or just anyone you just met—is not easy, because it involves people. However, through the spiritual wisdom of grace, all things are possible. Jesus said: “With people, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Marriage, for example, is not a short-term option: it is for life. Nowadays, many people are afraid to get married. Trusting in spiritual wisdom means taking the first step, just as Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” If you really love someone, take that first step to get married, and put your trust in spiritual wisdom to guide you along the way.

But understanding the spiritual wisdom, without work, is not enough. You need to embrace it and put it into practice.

“You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” James 2:24

Living in faith is a tall order because you need work, which is marriage commitment. Marriage is a contract, requiring you to honor it “for better or for worse,” which is the commitment in a happy marriage.

Marriage commitment means marriage life is never plain sailing: there will be storms along the voyage.

“And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” Mark 4:39-40

Marriage commitment means you listen to God's voices for answers to your marriage problems. God always wants to talk to you.

“My sheep hears my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27

If you are His sheep, He will point the way ahead of you.

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

Marriage commitment means you humbly surrender yourself to God. You acknowledge your own weaknesses and problems in your marriage; instead of going your own willful way to deal with them, you choose the spiritual wisdom that is innate in each and every one of us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

When you have humbly surrendered yourself, God will speak, and you will hear His voice—which is the spiritual wisdom. You will not hear your own voice, or that of the devil.

Marriage commitment means you make yourself and your partner spiritual through worship, prayer, the Word of God, and service to others in His name. Above all, you make yourself open to forgiveness, and cherish togetherness through acceptance and respect for each other.

So, take the leap of faith to marry someone who is prepared to walk with you in this journey of spiritual wisdom. Remember, God gives each of us the capability to love and to choose. Your choice should not be based on physical appearance: all that glitters is not gold.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 27, 2017

Knowing the Basics in Life

In addition to the basic human need for food, clothing, and shelter, there are some basics in life, which are fundamental to the art of living well.

Feeling Good About Oneself

In life, there are generally three things that most people want and desire: abundant wealth; good health; happy relationships.

Indeed, they become the life goals of many. Success in their pursuit of these goals makes them feel good about themselves, not to mention satisfying their basic need to feel self-important.

Ask yourself these questions: What are the things you desire most in your life? Why are they important to you?

Forming Good Life Habits

Living is about processing experiences in life. Living life to the fullest is contingent on how you process your experiences, which are the consequences of your choices in life, rather than due to your circumstances. Good life choices stem from good life habits. Your habits, good or bad, control you more than anything else does, in particular, your thinking mind. Given that your life is the sum of your thoughts, forming good life habits is critical because you tend to become a slave to your habits, once they are formed.

Ask yourself this question: What are some of the life habits that you must form in order to help you process your experiences in life?

Good life habits include: living in the present moment; developing body and mind awareness; embracing right conduct and positive thinking.

According to Aristotle, we are what we repeatedly do; therefore, excellence is also a habit that can be cultivated.

Being Who You Are
If you wish to create a better life for yourself, you must do it all by yourself; after all, it is your life and you must live it yourself. In other words, it is all up to you.

Be yourself: who you are, and not who you want to become. Being who you are means you must stop blaming others, who have nothing to do with who you are or what you have become for that matter.

Remember, no one else is to blame for your experiences, which are uniquely and totally yours.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 24, 2017

An Empty Mind to Begin Understanding

Tao wisdom—the human wisdom of Lao Tzu, ancient sage from China more than 2,600 years ago—is profound and controversial to many. The reality is that it is simple and easy to understand—if you have an empty mind.

Tao wisdom begins with having an empty mind. What is an empty mind? An empty mind is more than just "thinking out of the box": it is reverse thinking to create your own box of thinking. An empty mindset originated from Lao Tzu:

"An empty mind with no craving and no expectation helps us let go.
Being in the world and not of the world, we attain heavenly grace.
With heavenly grace, we become pure and selfless.
And everything settles into its own perfect place."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 3) 

There was the story of a professor visiting a Zen master to find out more about Zen, which is an Eastern philosophy. In the beginning of the visit, the professor kept on talking while the Zen master served him tea. At some point, the Zen master kept pouring tea into the teacup held by the professor even though it was brimming over. The moral of the story is that one must have an empty mind before one can accept new and unconventional ideas. Likewise, to intuit true human wisdom, one must have an empty mind capable of reverse thinking.

An empty mindset frees us from the many shackles of life that may enslave us and keep us in bondage without our knowing it. Are you the master or just a slave of your own life? Often times, we think we are masters of our lives, but in fact we are no more than just slaves. You are the master only when you have complete control over your own life, especially how you think.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau