<>b>Wisdom from Books

<>b>Wisdom from Books
Stephen Lau's website on getting your wisdom from books.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The TAO of Living Longer


This 145-page book is about TAO, the wisdom of Lao Tzu, the ancient sage from China more than 2,600 years ago, who authored the immortal classic Tao Te Ching on human wisdom. 

His unique and controversial wisdom shows you how to think. It is your thinking mind that may make you live longer. Continue and go through the rest of your life journey with self-awakening to the realities of your true self, of others around you, and of the world you are living in. Look at anything and everything through the lens of the TAO.

According to the TAO, the end of anything is always the beginning of something else; the material world you are living in is forever filled with these cycles of beginnings and endings. Get the profound wisdom to intuit these cycles of balance and harmony so that you may continue the rest of your life journey and live as if everything is a miracle.

Here is the outline of the book:

INTRODUCTION

ONE: THE QUESTIONS AND THE ANSWERS

TWO: THE THINKING MIND

The Composition of the Thinking Mind
The Thinking Process
The Conscious Mind and the Subconscious Mind
The Power of the Thinking Mind
The Role of the Thinking Mind

THREE: THE WISDOM

The Ancient Wisdom
The Eastern Wisdom
The Conventional Wisdom
The Spiritual Wisdom
The Essence of True Wisdom

FOUR: THE TAO

Tao Te Ching
Empty Mind and Reverse Thinking
The Mind and the Now
Humility and the Ego
No Judgment and No Separation
No Picking and No Choosing
No Expectation and No Over-Doing
Control and Spontaneity
Embracing and Letting Go
Attachments and Detachments
The Awakening and the Manifestation

FIVE: YOUR JOURNEY OF LIVING LONGER

The Step of Intent and Desire
The Step of Unlearning and Relearning
The Step of Body Awareness and Mind Focus
The Step of Being and Becoming
The Step of Actions and Inactions
The Step of Recovery and Rejuvenation
The Step of Patience and Perseverance
The Step of Accepting and Embracing
The Step of Confronting Changes and Challenges
The Step of Returning and Awakening

APPENDIX A: THE MEDITATION
APPENDIX B: THE BODY CHEMISTRY
APPENDIX C: THE FAST

Click here to get your copy.

Stephen Lau


Saturday, July 13, 2019

The TAO and Money


Tao Wisdom and Money

Money does not bring happiness.  

As an illustration, Barbara Woolworth Hutton was one of the wealthiest women in the world. She endured a childhood marked by the early loss of her mother at age five and the neglect of her father, setting the stage for a life of difficulty forming relationships. Married and divorced seven times, she acquired grand foreign titles but was maliciously treated and often exploited by several of her husbands. While publicly she was much envied for her possessions, her beauty and her apparent life of leisure, privately she remained deeply insecure, often taking refuge in drink, drugs, and playboys.

Her son died in a plane crash in 1972, at the age of 36, leaving her devastated. Dying of a heart attack at age 66, at her death, the formerly wealthy Hutton was on the verge of bankruptcy as a result of exploitation, as well as her compulsive generosity and spendthrift ways.

What does TAO wisdom say about money?

According to TAO, money is neither positive nor negative; it is all in the human mind.

But how you make your money and how you spend your money may turn money into something either positive or negative.

To increase your wealth in a positive way, focus on doing what needs to be done, and no more. On the other hand, the more you do to make money, the less focused you become, and the greater are your expectations of the outcome. That may ultimately create not only undue stress but also internal disharmony in your life, turning money into something negative.

Increasing your wealth, however, does not necessarily mean spending your money proportionately. That is to say, an individual making more money does not have to buy a much bigger house than what that individual actually needs. To illustrate, Warren Buffet, the billionaire, has set an excellent example: he is still living in his $31,500 home he bought some decades ago.

Another classic example is Ann Russell Miller, a celebrated socialite from San Francisco, also known as Sister Mary Joseph, She, who had ten children and nineteen grandchildren, had grown up in luxury and privilege, and had been living a life of incredible wealth. Instead of shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue she used to do for decades—she suddenly decided to give up everything, and became a nun devoted to living in poverty for the rest of her life. That unbelievable event happened more than two decades ago: one day she held a celebrity party in which she announced her incredible decision, and her announcement was widely reported in the media across the United States. Why did she make such an incredible decision to drastically change her lifestyle? She said she her had a calling, a true vocation that was hard to understand for the general public, and even for the close members of her family.

Excessively increasing one’s wants often leads to unduly inflating one’s ego as well, and thus creating many negative attachments that are often packed in one’s own bag and baggage.

NO EGO NO STRESS

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Paradoxical TAO Wisdom

The Paradoxical TAO Wisdom

The Tao wisdom of Tao Te Ching is paradoxical and even contradictory: it requires the reversal of the common or conventional thinking process in order to truly appreciate and comprehend what Lao Tzu was saying.

To illustrate, according to Tao wisdom, we think with our hearts and only feel with our minds, while in conventional wisdom, we use our minds to think, to reason, and to judge by using our common logic. In Tao, we let the mind do its natural function of feeling and observing, instead of thinking. More specifically, the main function of the human mind is to observe the thoughts in the thinking mind but without any judgment or interference. The Chinese for “I think” is literally “my heart thinks.” (我心想) For centuries, the Chinese have been inculcated with the concept that the heart, and not the mind, is responsible for the ultimate thinking process. However, that is not to contradict the Western concept that the mind thinks. In Tao wisdom, however, “thinking with the heart” figuratively means consciously slowing down the thinking mind, and thereby letting the mind observe the rambling thoughts, instead of having the mind being controlled and overwhelmed by those distracting thoughts. Simply put, the mind mainly feels and observes; it does little thinking and judging in deference to the heart.

To further illustrate the above point, the human mind is like a car, just an instrument of the human brain. The driver is the heart that controls the steering. The car only observes and feels, just as the body does through its five senses. The car does not control its speed or its direction, but the driver does. It is, therefore, important that the car does not exceed the speed limit, because if it goes too fast, it cannot properly observe the surrounding environment with its details, and thus endangering the driver. Similarly, it is also important for the human mind to purposely slow down, so that the individual or the driver can see clearly where he or she is going. Tao wisdom focuses on slowing down the thinking mind, letting it become only the non-judgmental observer so that the heart can make the intelligent choices and decisions in life. According to Lao Tzu, true wisdom is total mental awareness—awareness of what is happening around us, awareness of the nature of things; true wisdom is not based on any human concept, let alone the pre-conditioning of the human mind. That is the reason why it cannot be expressed in words; it has to be experienced and self-intuited by each and every individual. There is no blueprint for all.

Indeed, the Tao wisdom expressed in Tao Te Ching is filled with many paradoxes and contradictory expressions, for example:

 “The more we look, the less we see.
The more we hear, the less we listen.
The more we crave, the crazier we become.”
(Chapter 12, Tao Te Ching)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Let Go to Let God

We all have our individual attachments, such as emotional attachments and material attachments, to the physical world we are living in. Attachments are synonymous with control. 

Every day we face many life problems. Where do our problems come from? They come from the human mind, which creates our own individual problems. Instead of solving our own problems, which are often insoluble, we sometimes even strive to solve the problems of others around us, deluding ourselves into believing that solving the problems of others will somehow solve those of our own. This is control. We try to control others, instead of letting go of our control. 

Control is basic human instinct. Out of fear of the unknown, our ancestors living as early as in the Stone Age strove to control their environment in order to survive, and thus developing the fight-or-flight human instinct. But if we could let go of our control, we would be able to live a life of peace and harmony. Remember, control—just like power, money, possessions—define who we are, or satisfies our ego-self. We want to “control” how people think of us by driving a certain car, or living in a certain neighborhood. All our attachments are the substances with which we form our ego-self.

Letting go of our attachments—such as control, power, careers, money, and relationships, among others--to the physical world we are living in is not easy. Letting go has to do with human wisdom. The human mind has great potentials. To empower and fully utilize its potentials, human wisdom is a prerequisite. We need human wisdom to overcome our reluctance to let go. Therefore, have the human wisdom to understand that nothing is permanent, and that nothing lasts. More importantly, we must let go before we can receive. Finally, God is in control, no matter how reluctant we are to let go of our attachments. 

“The only things we can keep are the things we freely give to God. What we try to keep for ourselves is just what we are sure to lose.” C.S. Lewis 

Get the TAO wisdom of let go of all material attachments in the physical world. 

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

The Wisdom of Letting Go

Living in the physical world creates many material, emotional, and mental attachments that have created our thoughts, and thus the so-called “realities” of our lives. The art of living well is to let go of all these attachments—after all, everything is impermanent.


Letting go is the way to go! Let go to let God! Live your life in perfect harmony with self and others!

To get your copy, click here

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Believe to Understand


Believe to Understand



According to St. Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo (354-430 A.D.), in life there are certain things we do not believe unless we understand them, and there are other things that we do not understand unless we believe them. To St. Augustine, faith is not opposed to understanding, nor is it independent of understanding. His famous “faith seeking understanding” is an act of believing first, without which unbelief closes the door to further understanding.

St. Anselm of Canterbury, a well-known Christian philosopher and theologian of the eleventh century, echoed St. Augustine’s statement in his famous motto “I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand.”

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11: 3)

Accordingly, to begin the spiritual journey of seeking God’s wisdom, we must, first and foremost, have faith seeking knowledge to understand God.

How Tao Wisdom May Help

According to Lao Tzu, the ancient sage from China, the mysteries of the universe are indefinable and inexpressible. The human mind is meant to see only the manifestations of the things created, but not the mysteries of God’s creations.

“As one, it is unbroken thread with neither a beginning nor an end.
It returns to nothingness: invisible, inaudible, and intangible.
It is the indefinable, the intangible, and the unimaginable.
Stand before it, and there is no beginning.
Follow it, and there is no end.
Only by its grace can we discover how things have been and will be.
This is the essence of the Creator: invisible, inaudible, and intangible.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 14)

To Lao Tzu, seeing is not believing, but believing is the beginning of seeing.

“The more we look, the less we see.
The more we hear, the less we listen.
The more we crave, the crazier we become.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 12)

“When a wise man hears of the Creator,
he immediately begins to do some soul-searching.
When an average man hears of the Creator,
he half believes him, and half doubts him.
When a foolish man hears of the Creator,
he laughs out loud.
If he did not laugh,
there would be no Creator.”
(Chapter 41, Tao Te Ching)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau 

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Friday, April 12, 2019

The Invisible and the Intangible


The Invisible and the Intangible

“The spokes and the hub are the visible parts of a wheel.
Clay is the visible material of a pot, which is useful because it contains.
Walls, doors, and windows are visible parts of a house.

We always look for the visible and the tangible without.
But what really matters is the invisible and the intangible within.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 11)

According to Lao Tzu, true human wisdom comes from within and not from without. Therefore, we should always look inside of ourselves to ask self-intuitive questions of who we are, what we need, not what we want, and why we need them. The outward appearance may be deceptive, leading us astray.

Even the Bible tells us that we should look for what is inside, and not the appearance.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16: 7)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, April 8, 2019

Controlling and Letting Go

Controlling and Letting Go

Thanks to our artists, we all pretend well; but deep down the layer of pretense is the awareness of the underlying reality. To suppress that reality, we turn to controlling, which is a subconscious way to enhance the reality of our expectations in life.

Most of us are controlling to some extent. Thanks to our culture, underlying every one of us is the inherent belief that we should be in control of everything around us at all times. The American culture advocates control for self-independence and survival.

What exactly is controlling? Why makes people want to control others as well as their own destinies?

Controlling is a coward way of running away from everyday problems; it is a futile attempt to avoid everyday stress. Essentially, it is a direct or subtle way of exerting influence over others so that we may have power over the turns 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, including ourselves.

Reflective Thought

Control and discipline may look similar but they are different.

Case in Point

We can discipline our children so that they may do the right things without getting into trouble. But many of us still want to “control” them even when they have turned adults; we may want to steer them away from the difficult paths we had trotted ourselves when we were young. That, in reality, is controlling. We can give them advice, but imposing anything on them is deemed as exerting control. “It’s for their own good!” is no more than an excuse to control.

Reflective Thought

Not controlling means willingness in letting go of one’s expectations in life.

Case in Point

The Biblical story of the parable of the prodigal son is a good illustration of what is NOT controlling. (Luke 15: 11-32) In the story, a man had two sons, and the younger son asked for his fortune; the father gave it to him, and he spent it recklessly on women  and gambling. When he was out of money and the land was struck by a famine, he returned home to his father, who welcomed him back with open arms. To many, the story highlights God's forgiveness of repentant sinners. But the story also illustrates the power of letting go and not controlling. 

THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING explains in simple language with common everyday examples to illustrate the essence of Tao wisdom and how it may integrate with conventional wisdom to live a life of your choice.

 THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING is the wisdom in the art of living well.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Depression and Wisdom


Are You Depressed?

Depression begins in the mind, affecting the emotions and feelings of an individual, with some of the most common symptoms, including the following:

Lethargy and loss of appetite

A depressed individual begins to feel lethargy and listlessness without any apparent reason. The mind simply refuses to function, causing physical tiredness and even loss of appetite.

Involuntary tendency to weep

Many depressed individuals get the sudden "weeps"—a tale-telling sign of the beginning of depression.

Irritability and hostility

A depressed individual, who is often passive or inactive, may express irritability towards someone who wishes to activate that individual physically or mentally.
A depressed individual may also initially express hostility directed towards someone who has rejected or insulted him or her, before turning that hostility inward at himself or herself.

Sadness and hopelessness

The most common symptom of depression, of course, is feeling sadness and hopelessness that may drag over a long period of time. The almost worldwide symptom of all depressed people is withdrawal from others, including the loved ones due to their loss of affection for self and others.

Points to Remember

We are all depressed, with no exception; just do not deny or stigmatize depression.

We are living in a world of depression that can make us unhappy in many different ways, and we are all vulnerable.

Depression is always an inner struggle against unhappiness and insecurity; it is a deliberate and  desperate but futile attempt to lose contact with the realities of life. Depression is no more than a mental escape from the inescapable.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

An Empty Mind to Understand

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

Friday, March 29, 2019

The Wisdom of Anything Is Everything

The Wisdom of Anything Is Everything

Awareness of your own responsibility for humanity may enable you to rein in your temper and inhibit your anger. Better understanding of humanity lets you acknowledge the destructive forces of anger, and thereby instrumental in reducing their strength. Your short temper can benefit from Tao wisdom, which shows you the importance and necessity of embracing all—the easy and the difficult, as well as the pleasant and the unpleasant. In life, difficult and unpleasant experiences not only train but also enhance you mental stability to control your temper, which often undermines your compassion for others. Tao wisdom teaches you not to pick and choose but to embrace anything and everything in life because any situation in life can make you become either a teacher or a student. Life is about anything and everything that you can learn from, and this is where true wisdom comes from.

Understanding that anything is everything may also make you see things very differently. People and things do not exist independently. When there is long, there has to be short; they do not exist simply because of their own nature. Everything in life is not only relative but also related. Viewing any life situation—whether it is good or bad—with this profound human wisdom may help you see that anything is everything, In other words, any life situation is not under its own power but depends on many present causes and conditions, as well as many past causes and conditions; otherwise it could not have come into being. With this perspective, you can see much more of the whole picture, and thus you can see the reality of the situation.

For instance, in economics, if you just go after profit, you may end up with corruption. Failure to look at the whole picture that anything is everything means your failure to see the reality of everything in life. Failure to see the reality means your outlook becomes distorted and exaggerated, and thus leading to inappropriate actions or reactions. To illustrate, if a person or an event causes anger and hatred, the ugliness of anger and hatred is often exaggerated when the whole picture of the reality is not seen. An unreal mental projection of the exaggerated ugliness of anger and hatred may result in disproportionate actions or reactions that result in unhappiness.

Always look at self and others from the whole perspective that anything is everything, and you may become a better and happier you.


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau