PRAYERS ARE SELDOM ANSWERED

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

Friday, January 15, 2021

The Importancee of Money Wisdom


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NORA WISE
Copyright © Nora Wise






Thursday, January 14, 2021

How to Pray


How to Pray

Praying is never easy: often complicated, and even paradoxical.

You’ve got to know what you want so that you can ask what you want in order to get what you want.

So, before you pray, you must know your true self: who and what you really are, and not who and what you wish you were.

Praying is talking to God through your heart, and not your words; repeating a right set of words isn’t as important as your heart talking to Him.

Prayer is God’s gift to anyone who prays for that free gift.

So, to pray for that free gift, you must show your desire to feel God’s presence, which is in anyone and everyone, as well as in anything and everything.

Several decades ago, a former colleague of mine had the opportunity to meet and dine with Gladys Aylward, a British missionary to China, whose amazing story was made into a Hollywood film in 1958: “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness”, starring Ingrid Bergman.

My former colleague told me that at the dinner with Gladys she found it very “odd” that Gladys had repeated almost non-stop “Praise the Lord!” throughout the dinner—when someone passed her a dish, some bread, even salt and pepper, or when someone made a comment. It might not have looked “odd” to someone who’d like to feel the presence of God in every moment of his or her life.

So, from now on, whenever you say “Thank you” aloud, maybe you should also try to say in silence “Praise the Lord!” so that you may feel His presence in your heart.

To feel His omnipresence,  you must also still your thoughts with mindfulness, and live in the now.

Prayer is how you react and respond to His presence in your daily life.

Always begin your prayer with God, and not yourself.

Asking for your needs is self-delusional: God already knows your needs.

Asking for your wants is self-sabotaging: trying to make God change His mind about what He has already wanted for you.

So, don’t pray for “be happy”, “be healthy”, and “be wealthy.”

If you’re blessed with His presence, you’ll still feel your happiness even in your adversities. Depression is humans’ refusal of letting go to receive His presence.

If you’re blessed with His wisdom, you’ll know how to take care of your body, even when you’re sick.

If  you’re blessed  with His grace,  you’ll learn
to let go of your greed and covetousness for your wealth.

Always pray for your trust and obedience: trust that God will give you the power to “respond positively” to any life challenge you may face; obedience that God will give you the wisdom to embrace anything and every-thing to let go of your control of your own destiny.

Remember, your prayers are always answered, but not your own expectations.

The TAO wisdom (the ancient wisdom from China, based on the wisdom of Lao Tzu, the author of the ancient classic TAO Te Ching) shows you how to live your daily life, and how your prayers may be answered.

“An empty mind with no craving and no expectation helps us letting 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

Li Ching-Yuan was probably the longest-living Chinese in history, who died on May 6, 1933 at the age of over 200 years.

This is one of his thought-provoking sayings regarding Zen, an Eastern philosophy about being and a way of thinking:

“Before I had studied Zen for thirty years,
I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters.
When I arrived with a more intimate knowledge,
I saw that mountains are not mountains,
and waters are not waters.
But now that I have got its very substance,
I am at rest.
For it is just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.”
Li Ching-Yuan

Li Ching-Yuan was talking about awakening or self-enlightenment, which is always effortless and spontaneous. So, if you strive to know and understand anything and everything, the awakening may never come.
You may like to pray, but your prayers are seldom answered; then you’ll see “mountains as mountains, and waters as waters.”

Your desire in seeking God may somehow change your perspectives; then you may see “mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters.”

But finding God, and living in His presence, you’ll just see that “mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters”—in other words, “prayers are seldom answered or not answered at all” is not only irrelevant but also inexplicable. What really matters is that you’ve found the spiritual wisdom to live your life as if everything is a miracle.

So, don’t use your pre-programmed causal reasoning to make sense out of the senseless in life. Instead, express your trust and obedience to your Creator and fully live in His presence.

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




Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Meaning of "Prayers Not Answered"


The Meaning of “Prayers Not Answered”

Prayers not answered” simply means “expectations not fulfilled.”

But what’re your “expectations”? And where do they come from?

You experience your own life experiences through your five senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling) as a result of the choices of your actions, inactions, and reactions in your everyday life.

Your sensations often become your own perceptions, which then form your own assumptions and predictions; for example, a good education will lead to a successful career, and bring about a happy relationship.

All your “expectations” are only the personal and the subjective perceptions of your mind. But your “expectations” are often unreal and even self-delusive.

Even what you think you see with your own eyes may not necessarily be the reality.

To illustrate, in 1997, Richard Alexander from Indiana was convicted as a serial rapist, because one of the victims and her fiancé insisted that he was the perpetrator based on what the victim and her fiancé claimed that “they saw with their own eyes.”

But the convicted man was later exonerated and subsequently released in 2001, based on the new DNA science and other forensic evidence. Experts explained that a traumatic emotional experience, such as a rape, could “distort” the perception of an individual. That explains why the woman and her fiancé “swore” that Richard Alexander was the rapist, but evidently he wasn’t.

To illustrate “unreal expectations”: Helen Keller, celebrated author, political activist, and philanthropist, was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree; she became deaf and blind at an early age of less than two.

Imagine you were Helen’s parents: would you have “darkened expectations” of the future of Helen when she suddenly became deaf and blind?

Another illustration of “unreal expectations”: Shon Robert Hopwood, a young American convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to prison, became well-known as a jailhouse lawyer. While serving time in prison, Shon started spending time in the law library, became a jailhouse lawyer for the inmates, and ultimately a very accomplished United States Supreme Court practitioner by the time he left prison in 2009. Currently, he is professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.

If you were the parents of Shon, would your own expectations of your son have fallen short after his conviction of 12 years of imprisonment?

The truth of the matter

Your perceptionswhether true or untruebecome your realities, and are then stored in your subconscious mind as your memories.

Whenever you want to make a choice or decision, it’s your subconscious mind that provides your conscious mind with your many attitudes, beliefs, and predictions—all based on your memories of your past experiences. Your thinking mind then begins to process and project them into the future as your “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Points to Remember

Perceptions may easily become distorted and unreal. So, don’t let your own perceptions become your assumptive predictions.

Expectations are in the future, and their timeline is indefinite. So, don’t jump to any conclusion yet.

The past was gone; the future is yet to come; only the present is real. So, don’t use the past to predict the future as “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Click here to get Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © Stephen Lau



Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Why Prayers Are Not 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

Friday, January 8, 2021

The Face Aging Process


The Face Aging Process

 Face aging begins as early as in the twenties, 

The twenties

In your twenties, your fibroblasts (cells deep within the skin) are in optimum conditions, continuing to produce new collagens (proteins) and elastins (substances to give elasticity to the skin) to support your skin. Your sweat and oil glands keep your skin moist and lubricated. The blood in your tissues gives your skin a healthy glow. Even when you contract your facial muscles as you smile, the temporary folds vanish once you relax your facial muscles.

Your skin simply looks gorgeous and stunning! Continue to protect and maintain your skin before it is too late.

The late twenties

In your late twenties, superficial lines begin to appear on the forehead and at the corners of your eyes. Tiny blood vessels start to surface on your cheeks and your nose.

Your first wrinkles may appear around age 30—for some, even well before that.

The thirties

In your thirties, there is a slight drop in the renewal rate of your skin cells. The accumulation of dead skin cells makes your skin look less fresh and drier. You need to scrub your face more often to get rid of the dead skin cells.

Your fibroblasts become less active in producing collagens (proteins) to support your skin, which by now may look less resilient. Dynamic muscles due to muscle motion begin to form in the expression areas of your face. In your late thirties, the fat layer under the skin begins to thin out, creating slight hollows around your eyes, on your cheeks and your temples. Due to a lack of support of the skin, there is sagging around the eyes, on the cheeks, and along the jaw lines.

If you are a sun worshiper, you may have a crosshatched and cobble-stoned look on your face, folds at the corners of your lips, uneven skin texture, and pigmentation.

The forties

In your forties, the rate of skin aging accelerates due to the slower rate of skin cell renewal, the loss of fats, and the shrinkage of bones. In addition, gravity pulls your skin downward, lowering your eyebrows, and making the tip of your nose droop, too—thus changing the overall physical structure of your face. Such changes are gradual and almost unnoticeable to you, but maybe apparent to others. More obvious signs of aging continue to appear: bags under your lower eyelids; vertical lines between your eyebrows; and deep-set wrinkles on your forehead.

The damaging effects of photo aging from the sun have become more evident:

Formation of hyperkeratosis (raised spots of thicker skin)
Freckles becoming old spots
Skin texture turning tough and leathery
Formation of basal cells and even malignant melanoma cancer cells

The fifties

In your fifties, the physical structure of your face further diminishes due to continual loss of bone mass, elasticity, fat, moisture in your skin, as well as the gravitational pull.

Your face may assume a crinkled appearance: crosshatching on your cheeks; folds and wrinkles on your neck; deep-set lines around your mouth extending to your chin; vertical lines extending up from your lip line; drooping eyebrows and eyelids; and smaller as well as thinner lips.

The sixties

Your face may have become rectangular or trapezoid in shape.

Your cellular renewal rate has slowed down dramatically by as much as 50 percent, and your skin’s elasticity and volume reduce significantly, resulting in excess skin on your neck, your cheeks, and around your eyes and jaw lines. Now, you look undeniably old. The skin aging process will continue into your seventies, eighties, and nineties until the ultimate end.


Make yourself look younger and healthier for longer.


Nora Wise
Copyright© by Nora Wise






Thursday, January 7, 2021

Skin Aging


SKIN AGING

Everybody's skin ages with time, with no exception. But how?

 Intrinsic aging

Intrinsic aging is caused by internal factors in your body, some of which are beyond your control.

Cessation or interruption of skin cell replication

Your skin cells divide and replicate continually. However, after a while, they stop the replication process. Surprisingly, the skin cells do not perish; instead, they accumulate in your skin and secrete substances that further interrupt the natural renewal process of other healthy skin cells. Such interruption adversely affects the level of collagen, which is the most abundant protein in your body. Given that collagen makes up approximately six percent of your body weight, its breakdown takes away support of the skin, and thus causing fine wrinkles to appear on your face.

Decline of hormone production

In chronological aging, your body’s production of hormones declines as you age.

If you are a woman, your estrogen (hormones) level may decline by as much as 30 percent during the first ten years of menopause. This significant loss of estrogen not only causes your skin to become thinner and less elastic, but also prolongs the renewal process of your normal skin cells.

Change in physical structure of the face

Over time, the physical structure of your face changes due to the loss of bone mass and the decline in the volume of fat under the skin.

Stress

Stress may cause the flare up of acne, eczema (red swollen skin), and rosacea (a chronic skin disease in people with fair or light skin)—they damage skin texture.

Extrinsic aging

Extrinsic aging is often within your control because the contributing factors are no more than a reflection of your lifestyle.

Photo aging

The sun’s UVA and UVB rays cause irreparable damage to your skin, known as photo aging. Sunrays promote the growth of free radicals in your skin. Free radicals are damaging agents to youthful skin: they are responsible for the reduction of collagen (protein under your skin), causing your skin to become thin and loose; they accelerate the release of copper and iron from your skin cells, and thus promoting the growth of more free radicals.

Remember, going for that tanned look often comes with a hefty price.

Tobacco smoke

The nicotine in tobacco generates free radicals, which damage your skin.
Quit smoking immediately. Smoking is no longer “cool” when you look much older than your chronological age.

Excess alcohol consumption

Too much alcohol damages your liver. A dysfunctional liver cannot efficiently remove body toxins and waste products accumulated in your skin, and a damaged liver gives you a yellowish complexion, instead of a healthy glow.

Always drink moderately. More importantly, learn how to cleanse your liver to rid your body of toxic waste materials.

Pollutants from the water

Install a filter system (e.g. a home reverse-osmosis drinking water system) to filter out chemicals and pollutants from the water you use for drinking and bathing. Do not buy bottled water (unsafe plastic bottles).

Poor diet

Avoid all processed foods, which are loaded with chemicals, such as food colorings, food emulsifiers, and food preservatives, among other chemicals.
Go organic and eat only super foods. Eat a balanced diet with abundant antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A, C, and E) to ameliorate the oxidative stress of free radicals, which are the main agents for skin aging.

Dehydration

Dehydration dries up your skin. Water and body fluids form a major component of your body. They serve several important functions for your skin:

Cushioning skin cells for protection against external damage
Flushing out toxins through your sweat glands
Enhancing communication between skin cells, thereby maintaining skin sensitivity
Moistening skin tissues to prevent problems of dry skin
Transporting nutrients and oxygen to skin cells

Research studies have shown that 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated due to the following reasons:

Dry artificially heated or cooled living environment
Regular consumption of dehydrated beverages, such as alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated sodas

Install a humidifier in your home.

Eat more fruits and vegetables. Your body produces water when it turns foods into energy. At least 25 percent of your daily water requirement should come from fruits and vegetables. Of course, drink only pure water, and drink more—not just eight glasses!

Wind and heat

Extreme wind and heat may also damage your skin, especially in a work environment outdoor, or with regular close proximity to fire, furnace, and stove, such as working in a kitchen.

Protect your skin from dehydration with lubricant, such as Vaseline pure petroleum jelly (no need for expensive body creams and lotions).

Gravity

Gravity, over time, weighs down your skin, causing it to sag. Gravity begins to have its toll on your face in your 40s and 50s.

To sum up, your lifestyle has an impact on not only your overall health but also the youthful look of your skin. Remember, in your 20s, you have the face that Nature gives you; in your 40s and 50s, you have the face that you might rightly deserve due to your lifestyle.

The bottom line: Make yourself look younger and healthier for longer.


Nora Wise
Copyright© by Nora Wise





Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A Good and Happy Marriage


Foundation of a good and happy marriage

 A good and happy marriage makes you younger and healthier for longer.

A happy and good marriage is based on the following:

Caring

Caring is different from smothering your spouse with love. Caring is loving and understanding, and putting yourself in the other’s shoes to see the other’s point of view.

Caring is developing sensitivity to the fact that your marriage partner has very different needs from your own.

Commitment

Always commit yourself to changing yourself first, rather than your spouse. If you cannot change yourself, do not expect your spouse to change. Also, if he does not choose to change, any manipulative behavior, commanding, or nagging will not bring about changes in your spouse.

Commit yourself with your spouse, in the beginning of a marriage, to establishing a common value system or priorities, upon which both of you will base your future decision-making, especially with regard to money matters.

Communication

Communication is sharing both feelings and thoughts with your marriage partner.
Communicate with confidence, not with sarcasm or venom. Remember, the tongue is “a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James: 3:8-10)

Communicate in a timely manner. Timing is important: you can say the right thing at the wrong time, and miss the mark.

Communicate your heartfelt feelings: express you needs and wants in a specific yet non-demanding way to your spouse.

Make a list of your love needs—which must be specific, achievable, and not requiring much time or money e.g. watching a favorite TV program together.

Communicate with appreciation and wisdom.

For example, regarding forgetting your birthday and wedding anniversary, do the following:

Let him know your feelings about these dates.

Start a family calendar as a casual reminder of important dates in your life.

If he remembers them, show your appreciation; if he doesn’t, don’t punish him.

Communicate with honest sharing of feelings. Affirm your spouse whenever he shares his feelings with you. This promotes openness and sharing of feelings.

Communicate with understanding to a passive listener or a reluctant communicator.

Most men are passive listeners: to acquire his unique personality, a boy learns not to listen to his parents as he grows up into adulthood.

To communicate effectively, do the following:

State precisely how you feel and what you want.

Be selective, and prioritize you needs.

Refrain from nagging or lecturing.

To many women, talking things out will make a relationship work; to many men, continuing to talk things over means the relationship is not working. Therefore, understanding this glaring gender difference may put you in a difference perspective when communicating with your spouse.

Dealing with marital conflicts


Marital conflicts are bound to occur in any marriage due to the complexity of human personality and the difficulty in satisfying some of the basic human needs.

Decline in sexual desire or frequency

Drop-off in post-marital sexual desire is common in marriages due to the concern of sexual performance on your partner. Unlike you, he cannot fake sex. So he may resort to decreasing the frequency to avoid the frequency of poor performance. Understanding this male psychology may give you better perspective when it comes to sexual matters in a marriage, especially in a young marriage.

To help your partner overcome his lack of confidence or interest, give him plenty of compliments, not criticism, during and after the sexual act. Be patient, and more importantly, be honest with your own needs. Compromising your own sexual needs may lead to frustration, which may subsequently be reflected in undesirable marital behaviors.

If you want him to act like a young man, you have to begin acting like a young woman to him yourself.

On the other hand, if sex is a lower priority in your marriage, it is your choice, too.

Always choose a more effective total behavior that gets your needs satisfied.

Nora Wise
Copyright© by Nora Wise