Monday, July 16, 2018

Tao Wisdom Can Make You Better and Happier

A Better and Happier You 

There is an old Latin axiom: “nemo dat quod non habet” — meaning, one cannot give what one does not have.

If you don’t have the wisdom to know your real self, you won’t have the wisdom to understand others, especially who they are and what they need. In order to understand others to have better human relationships, you must first and foremost have the wisdom attained through asking self-intuitive questions throughout your life.

Then, with mindfulness, you observe with a nonjudgmental mind what is happening to you, as well as around you. Gradually, you will be able to see things as what they really are, and not as what they may seem to you: anything and everything in life follows its own natural cycle, just as the day becomes night, and the night transformed into dawn. With that wisdom, you may become enlightened, which means you begin to know your true self—what you have and what you don’t have, and you were created to be who you are, and not what you wish you were or want to become. Knowing what you have, you can then give it to others. It is the giving, rather than the receiving, that will make you become a better and happier you.

Yes, TAO wisdom can make you become a better and happier individual.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Human Dualistic Existence


Lao Tzu, the author of Tao Te Ching, has expressed his profound wisdom in the dualistic existence of man. According to Tao wisdom (the wisdom expressed in Tao Te Ching), what goes up must come down; what begins must also end; life is followed by death. That explains the dualistic nature of man: good and evil exist side by side.

“With the fall of man, 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)

Here are some Bible verses that echo what Lao Tzu says:

“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.]For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7: 18)

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20: 16)

“Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death.” (Jeremiah 21: 8)
             
The bottom line: Given the dualistic existence of man, we should rely not just on human wisdom, but also on Biblical wisdom; as a matter of fact, human wisdom is forever inadequate and imperfect; therefore, it has to be  enhanced and enlightened by God’s wisdom, which is infinite and perfect.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, July 9, 2018

Why Biblical Wisdom and Tao Wisdom?


Why Biblical Wisdom?

Biblical wisdom is not just for the Israelites; it is for all believers and non-believers alike because it is the only way to human salvation, which is the ultimate conquest of human mortality.

Human existence is all about life and death. Living for life is making the most out of life and avoiding any disorder in life that may bring about premature death. To meet this tall order, human wisdom is inadequate. Biblical wisdom shows humans how to live life to the best and the fullest, as well as how to conquer death, which comes as the end.

Why Tao Wisdom?


If the Bible is about God’s wisdom, then why should we read Tao Te Ching, which is, at best, only about human wisdom? Why don’t we just read the Bible instead, and forget about Tao Te Ching? Why should we settle more for less?


According to Lao Tzu, less is more.

“To guide a great country, we need a great ruler.
To wage a successful war, we need good strategies.
To live a life of harmony, we need letting life live by itself.
That essentially means:
the more efforts we exert, the more failures we experience;
the more weapons we make, the more dangers we encounter;
the more laws we enact, the more law-breakers we produce.”
(Chapter 57, Tao Te Ching)
“Living our lives is like frying a small fish;
we neither over-season nor over-cook it.”
(Chapter 60, Tao Te Ching)

Understanding human wisdom is the first step in the journey of a thousand miles towards understanding God’s wisdom. Without human wisdom, God’s wisdom is even more unfathomable and forever unintelligible to many.

Many of us often overwhelm ourselves in our pursuit of God’s wisdom in the Bible with its many books such that after a while we may end up giving up reading it—and that is the result of more for less.

Lao Tzu, on the other hand, shows us the importance of taking the first step, a small step, and one step at a time, along the Way, and human wisdom will slowly and subtly unfold itself to each and every one of us. So, beginning with less, we may get more in the long run.



“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.”
(Chapter 64, Tao Te Ching)

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Tao Wisdom Is Inside You

Don't look elsewhere! Tao wisdom is internal wisdom; it is inside you!

Tao wisdom is the profound wisdom of Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese sage who was the author of the immortal classic Tao Te Ching, which is one of the most widely translated works in world literature, perhaps only second to the Bible.

So, what is Tao wisdom? Tao is also known as the Way—the way or direction to understanding true wisdom, whether it is human or spiritual wisdom.

Look no further! Tao wisdom is inside you. You need not look any further because it is right inside you! Ironically enough, it is not easy to find the Way: we tend to look to others or outside of ourselves in quest of that far-fetched and forever elusive wisdom.

There was the story of a beggar who asked a stranger for money. The stranger said he had no money to give him, and asked the beggar if he would look elsewhere for money, including the box he was sitting on. The beggar said he had been sitting on that box for years but he had never looked inside it. The stranger urged him to look inside the box. Reluctantly, he did. To his amazement, he found the box was filled with gold coins.

Yes, Tao wisdom is inside each and every one of us! But you have to look, just like the beggar did in the story!

First and foremost, what exactly is Tao wisdom?

Tao wisdom is the eternal wisdom from ancient China contained in the ancient classic Tao Te Ching. Literally, "Tao" means "the Way"; "Te" means "virtuosity"; and "Ching" means "classic." The book was written approximately in 6th century B.C. by Lao Tzu (which literally means "old master"). According to the legend, the ancient sage was forced to put down his profound wisdom into words before he was permitted to leave China for Tibet. Reluctantly, he expressed his wisdom in 81 short chapters with only 5,000 words, because he believed that true wisdom could not be expressed in words. The language he used was extremely simple and concise, but intriguing and paradoxical. That was one of the many reasons why the book has fascinated millions of readers worldwide.

Why must you look for Tao wisdom inside you, and where do you look?

Unlike conventional wisdom, which is external, focusing on the acquisition of knowledge, Tao wisdom, on the other hand is internal. According to conventional wisdom, knowledge is empowering; the more knowledgeable you are, the wiser you become. The ancient wisdom of Tao is quite the opposite: the more you know, paradoxically, the less wisdom you may have. As a matter of fact, there was the story of a professor seeking the wisdom of Zen (originated from Tao) from a Zen master who kept on pouring tea into the already filled-to-the-brim teacup of the professor. Later on, the Zen master told the professor that in order to fully understand the wisdom of Zen or the Way, he must, first of all, empty all his preconceived ideas of Zen, that is, he must have an empty mind to be receptive of the wisdom. Hence, to fully understand Tao, one must preempt one's mind of any knowledge. 

Accordingly, following the teachings of others, looking for role models to imitate, and making extra efforts—all recommended by conventional wisdom—they will not work for the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu. In Tao wisdom, you just look inside yourself because the internal wisdom is based on intuition of, insight into, and internalizing of your own experiences in life. It is "your" life and "your" own experiences that are uniquely yours. Looking for external sources does not help, and nobody can tell you how you should live your life. Only you have access to your life's blueprint, which is the essence of Tao wisdom in living.

The Book of Life and Living is an explanation of ancient wisdom, contemporary wisdom, and spiritual wisdom illustrated with concrete everyday examples. Create your own recipe for wisdom in living. 

Your Golden Years and Santa Claus explains the wisdom of living in the present, the wisdom of letting go, and the wisdom of not picking and choosing -- they are the essentials for happy and successful aging in the golden years. Learn how to think and act like Santa Claus in your golden years.

Stephen Lau
Copyright ©2018 Stephen Lau


Monday, July 2, 2018

Why Pride Is the Primary Cause of Human Miseries


Why Pride Is the Primary Cause of Human Miseries

Humans often set life goals, which generate expectations that necessitate judging, picking and choosing. Disappointments and frustrations are their byproducts. In Lao Tzu’s mind, everything in life is to be welcomed and embraced, not avoided.

“Everything that happens to us is beneficial.
Everything that we experience is instructional.
Everyone that we meet, good or bad, becomes our teacher or student.

We learn from both the good and the bad.
So, stop picking and choosing.
Everything is a manifestation of the mysteries of creation.”
(Chapter 27, Tao Te Ching)

According to Tao wisdom (the wisdom of Lao  Tzu, the author of Tao Te Ching, the  ancient classic on human wisdom), the root cause of all human miseries is pride, which is to satisfy the ego-self delusively created in the flawed human mind.

“The Creator is above,
and we are below
The Creator is in front,
and we are behind.
Because this is the nature of things,
humility is only natural to us.
Yet many are desirous of the top
fearful of lagging behind.
Humility is the Way.”
(Chapter 66, Tao Te Ching)

Humility makes us want to become “dull like stones” instead of “shiny like jade.” But with humility, we also become dependent on the Creator, instead of on ourselves—this is the foundation on which the healthy relationship is built.

“Dependent on the Creator,
our horizons broaden and expand,
our souls inspire and nourish,
our relationships grow and flourish.
Everything around us becomes oneness with the Creator.

Dependent on ourselves,
our horizons contract and shrink,
our souls wither and die,
our relationships break and crumble.
Everything around us becomes depleted and damaged.”
(Chapter 39, Tao Te Ching

Humility initiates the process of letting go of everything that distracts us from our pursuit of wisdom of the Creator.

“Possessing little, we become content.
Having too much, we lose the Creator.
Having no ego, we become humbled, and our actions are enlightened.
Having no desire for perfection, our actions are welcome by all.
Having no expectation of result, our actions are selfless and non-judgmental.
Having no goal, our actions are under-doing and never over-doing.

Accepting what is, and finding it to be perfect is not easy.
But that is the only Way to the Creator.”
(Chapter 22, Tao Te Ching)

Indeed, distractions in modern life come in many different forms that ultimately distance us from the Creator.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Why Is It Difficult to Love?


Love” is a big word in all human civilizations. For all religious disparities, love still plays an essential role in all the world’s religions. Love plays an important role in human lives, especially living in a world of conflicts and aggression.

But it is not easy to love, and that is the reality.

What is the real meaning of “love”? Love involves our emotions and feelings. We all love some things and some people. Love, ironically enough, gives us both happiness and unhappiness. When the love is fulfilled, we feel happy; when the love is rejected or unrequited, we then feel pain, which becomes the unhappiness. This, unfortunately, is the reality of love.

Loving others is not that easy, and loving yourself is sometimes even more difficulty. This is also the reality of life.

The truth of the matter is that to truly love someone is very difficult, if not impossible, unless you love yourself first.

Self-acceptance

In a general sense, self-esteem is the positive or negative evaluative perception of self.  It is a rating of self based on a partial assessment of current and/or past traits. Many mental health professionals claim that achieving higher self-esteem is the keystone of good mental health, in particular, in avoiding depression; such claims, however, are dubious at best.

Low self-esteem is self-doubt, often expressed in not asserting oneself in public or workplace, and not pushing past one’s comfort zones.

To love yourself is self-acceptance, which is accepting who and what you really are—and not who and what you wish you were (that is, your ego-self). It should also be pointed out that “loving yourself” and “loving your ego-self” are not quite the same. The former is loving yourself for who you really are despite all your imperfections; the latter involves loving or craving to be the person you wish you were. “Loving yourself” means you can love others as well because they are not very different from you in that they, too, are as imperfect as you are. On the other hand, “loving your ego-self” means it is very difficult to love others because you want to distinguish and separate yourself from others; accordingly, others must somehow satisfy your ego first before you can love them. That explains why if you have a big ego-self, you cannot easily and readily love others.

The bottom line: if you can accept yourself as who and what you are, then it may become much easier for you to accept and love others as who and what they are.

Oneness of all life

Accepting and loving others implies having mindfulness of the inter-connection between people; that is to say, no man is an island, according to the poet John Donne. This mindfulness leads to love, and then to the awareness of the presence of God or that of a Higher Being. Love is the first step towards spirituality.

The oneness of all life is one of the basic laws of Nature: that is, we are all inter-connected with one another. This universal moral principle holds the key to true and lasting freedom in living. Without that freedom, we are forever living in human bondage that inhibits further development of the wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul. Without this wellness alignment, there is no wellness wisdom.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Relationship between Tao Wisdom and Biblical Wisdom


Human wisdom is always imperfect. Lao Tzu never presumes that the Way is superior to common wisdom, or even close to godly wisdom; he simply points out the inadequacy of human wisdom, and it is up to each individual to deal with his or her own inadequacy. Tao is about knowing self through internalization. Awareness of the self in relation to people and circumstances around us holds the key to understanding who we are and what our roles are in the universe.

Reading the Bible is the only pathway to seeking God’s wisdom. Reading Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching may facilitate the understanding and application of God’s wisdom in everyday life and living. There is no short cut to seeking Biblical wisdom.
Unfortunately, many Christians do not read the Bible—at least not on a daily basis—and, therefore, do not experience much spiritual growth in their faith. Many non-believers have tried to read the Bible, but without much success in acquiring the wisdom for their conversion and salvation. Worst, many people have never read the Bible; they simply show aversion, prejudice, or skepticism towards the wisdom expressed in the Bible.

Lao Tzu says that true wisdom may be unappealing to many.

“The truth is unpleasant to the ear.
What is pleasant to the ear is not the truth.
Likewise, true wisdom is unpopular;
what is popular is not true wisdom.”
(Chapter 81, Tao Te Ching)

Reading the ancient Chinese classic Tao Te Ching may change our conditioned thinking: accumulation of knowledge does not necessarily make us wise; true wisdom comes from our own assimilation and internalization of the knowledge acquired and accumulated. Understanding this may help us seek the wisdom above and beyond human wisdom, which is Biblical wisdom.

“So, follow the Way.
Stop striving to change ourselves: we are naturally changing.
Stop striving to be good: we are naturally good.
Stop striving to get rich: we are naturally abundant.
Stop striving to control destiny: life is naturally living itself.”
(Chapter 57, Tao Te Ching)

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, June 18, 2018

Tao Wisdom and Cholesterol


"Lowering Stress, Lowering Cholesterol
                 
Many cardiologists say stress is an under-recognized factor contributing to high cholesterol.

Mr. Edginton heeded the doctor’s advice. Now 69 years old, Mr. Edginton is down to one teaching job and some scaled-down responsibilities in professional organizations. His level of so-called bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL), has dropped to 62 milligrams per deciliter from 121 mg/dL in 2012. (The latest cholesterol-treatment guidelines, from 2013, no longer set specific targets; his doctor says 50 to 70 is reasonable for Mr. Edginton, who had two previous heart attacks.

Of all the factors contributing to high cholesterol, many cardiologists say one often goes unmentioned in advice for patients: stress. Yet chronic stress from a tough job, a strained relationship or other anxiety-producing situations can play a role—along with poor diet, smoking and lack of exercise—in causing lipid concentrations to rise, they say. Cholesterol deposited by LDL can accumulate in the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis, which can reduce blood flow.

“Stress will make your cholesterol go up,” says Stephen Kopecky, a preventive cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who is treating Mr. Edginton. “Without a doubt, that has been under-recognized.”

Understanding the effect of stress on cholesterol is becoming more important as people’s lives increasingly are crammed with obligations, and digital technology makes switching off harder than ever, cardiologists say. Nearly 28 percent of U.S. adults age 20 and older either have high total cholesterol or are on cholesterol-lowering drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC defined high cholesterol as 240 mg/dL and above.

As millions of Americans tackle high cholesterol, experts say one of the most significant risk factors — stress — is often overlooked.

Christopher Edginton was taking medication and trying to improve his diet when his cholesterol shot up anyway four years ago.

His doctor suggested a new approach. 'He said you’ve got to get rid of some things you’re doing, some of the stresses in your life.'”"

Nothing could be further from the truth than what was reported in the CNN news above. Stress is an enemy of holistic living, which involves alignment of the body, the mind, and the soul.

Firstly, stress is the underlying cause of many human diseases and disorders. Apart from elevating cholesterol, stress restricts the flow of life energy within the whole body system; this life-giving energy flow is responsible for the transmission of oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body to maintain its overall optimum health.

Secondly, stress is an attack on the mind, which is directly and indirectly connected with the body. Anxiety and depression often result from stress.

The imbalance of the body and the mind may create many health issues and problems that lead to the dependence on medications -- another enemy of holistic living.

Exercise and other natural therapies, such as meditation, may target the after-effects of stress; they, however, do not deal with the causes of stress. The stressors in everyday living come from the ego-self -- or, more specifically, from the attachments that create the ego-self. Let go of attachments to career money, and relationship, among other things in the material world. Letting go of the ego-self is the way to go -- the only way to get rid of stress.

Having said that, letting go is difficult, if not impossible, without Tao wisdom, the wisdom of Lao Tzu, the ancient sage from China more than two thousands years ago.

No ego, no stressstress relief based on Tao wisdom.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Two-in-One


 You are two-in-one. In fact, we all are, to a certain extent.

There are two persons inside you: one is your ego-self; the other is your spirit. Your ego-self and your spirit co-exist; one is living in the physical or material world, while the other is living in a totally different environment. There is continuous interaction between the two until one dominates over the other.

Your ego-self tells you that you are separate from everyone else. Your ego-self wants more of everything not only to define who you are but also to separate you from others. Your ego-self is forever judgmental -- not only self-evaluating, but also assessing others through comparison and contrast. As a result, your ego-self is always shifting and shuffling between the past and the future -- how to better the old ego-self in the past, and visualize the new ego-self in the future. 

Your spirit is the built-in conscience that can tell you what is right and wrong, as well as what is good and evil. 

The classic illustration of the two-in-one is Robert Louis Stevenson's famous story of the dark side and the bright side of human nature -- the duality of man. In his famous story of "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," he presented Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde both as having a dark side within them, where evil is always lurking underneath to surface anytime. Both of them hide their evil away, pretending that it never exists. In the end, it turns out that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are actually one and the same person.

In a way, we all have Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde inside us because we are two-in-one. Our ego  and spirit co-exist. So, how do we let one control, if not overcome, the other so that we can be a better and happier person? Click here for more details.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau