<>b>Wisdom from Books

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

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Wisdom of Now

One of the attributes of true human wisdom is its focus on the now or the present moment. Why is the present instant so important? Because it is the total sum of what has happened to you up to that very instant; it  is all your life experiences up until now. Fighting against the now is tantamount to fighting against everything that happened to you in the past. True human wisdom is living in the present, instead of combating the past, or looking into the future. 

Living in the present is not easy. It requires profound human wisdom—the wisdom of Tao, or the wisdom of Lao Tzu that was expressed in his book Tao Te Ching, the immortal classic which has been extensively translated worldwide.

To truly understand and fully appreciate Tao wisdom, mindfulness is indispensable. What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is acute awareness of the present moment; specifically, what is happening in the now. In this day and age, there are too many distractions that prevent us from focusing on the present moment. For example, when we are eating, we are frequently distracted by many things around us, such as the cell phone, the radio, or the television, among others. Mindfulness means we should be focusing on what we are doing right now—that is, eating. Mindfulness requires deliberate practice. Focusing on our breaths is an excellent way to practice mindfulness. We can be mindful of our inhalation and exhalation, noticing how the air fills up our lungs as we breathe in and how our diaphragms deflate as we breathe out. Mindfulness of our breaths trains our minds to concentrate, and thus instrumental in making our minds stay in the present moment.

We are not living in the present if we focus too much on speed. Focusing on speed means we are constantly projecting our thoughts onto what is going to happen to us next. One of the reasons why many of us subconsciously crave speed in our lives is that hurry numbs our senses. To illustrate, when we slow down, we may easily succumb to fear and doubt about what we are going to do, so we conveniently and subconsciously choose addiction to speed to numb ourselves in order to avoid anything unpleasant: we just don't want to give ourselves the present moment to worry about the future.

But the present moment is the only reality in life: the past was gone, and the future is yet to come. The good news is that we can all receive the gift of the present moment to live our lives as if everything is a miracle. The wisdom in living is to live in the present moment.

Learn to appreciate and receive the gift of the present moment is To do that, practice the following:

(1)  Indulge yourself in silence. Silence is a way of slowing down and stopping yourself as well as your thoughts. For centuries, sages worldwide have used meditation, which is conscious stillness of the mind, for inspiration and enlightenment. Once the thinking mind remains at the present moment, it begins to slow down, and sees the reality of everything with greater clarity and deeper insight. Therefore, to slow down, embrace silence deliberately. Do not be afraid of silence. Many people are afraid of quietude or complete silence because they have become so used to sounds and noises, which symbolize motion and speed. Even if you do not meditate, spend some time everyday to sit in silence, without turning on the music or the television. Enjoy your silence to help you be mindful of the present moment. 

(2)  Concentration is another way to receive the gift of the present moment. Because of our addiction to speed, many of us do not pay full attention to what we are doing at the present moment, especially when we think what we are doing is irrelevant or unimportant. The classic example is talking on the cell phone while driving; the conscious mind is talking, while the subconscious mind is driving. Engaging your full attention on doing your daily chores is also good practice of focusing the mind on the present moment. Try to concentrate on what you are doing, instead of doing something else to distract yourself from the mundane task. Say, when you doing your dishes, focus your full attention on the foam and the running water, instead of listening to the radio or watching the television; you will be surprised that your mind becomes very relaxed because it stays in the present moment. 

(3) Good listening also facilitates your receipt of the gift of the present moment. Again, very often many of us are hearing, without listening, because our minds are somewhere else. Learn to listen to relay, listen to communicate, and learn to listen to the sound of silence. Next time, when someone is speaking to you, try to focus your attention on the eyes, the lips of that person, thereby helping your mind stay in the present moment; in that way, you are listening, not just hearing; you are also learning to speak more deliberately and carefully.

Living in the present moment slows down your pace of life, and thus relieves yourself of time-stress, which is detrimental to physical and mental health. Once you have overcome your addiction to speed, you will have a new perspective of how you should live your life, and that is the beginning of wisdom in living.

To find out more about Tao wisdom, read my most book Be A Better And Happier You With Tao Wisdom. The wisdom of Tao begins with the power of intent in your mind to know and to learn more about your true “self.” Human wisdom begins with knowing the self: understand how and why it reacts with everyone and everything around. According to Lao Tzu, the absence of the ego-self is the turning point, where you may begin to embark on a different life journey with a different mission. Your “pre-conditioned” mind thus begins the journey of “reverse thinking” which will ultimately transform your life, making you become a better and happier individual.

Part One of my book explains the prerequisites of human wisdom. Without true human wisdom, it is almost impossible to perceive the innate human goodness in self, as well as in others. Human goodness leads to the attributes of genuine human happiness.

Part Two is the complete translation of the 81 short chapters of Lao Tzu's "Tao Te Ching" in simple English for readers to understand the complex and controversial wisdom of “Tao Te Ching.”

Part Three highlights the essentials of Tao wisdom, and shows how it can be applied to contemporary living so that you may live as if everything is a miracle to be a better and happier you.

To download the digital copy of Be A Better And Healthier You With Tao Wisdom, click here; to get the paperback edition, click here.

All in all, living in the now gives you clarity of mind, which is awareness or mindfulness, and that holds the key to understanding the ultimate truths of self, of others, and of things -- which is the essence of human wisdom.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Friday, January 20, 2017

TAO Wisdom in Aging

There is much wisdom in aging. Wisdom may not make you live longer, but it may make you live better as you age. Aging is difficult to define, but you will know it when you see it or experience it yourself. In brief, aging is a steady decline in health, which is instrumental in shortening lifespan; and the aging process is the duration during which such changes occur. Aging occurs throughout most of lifespan. Such a process is an accumulation of changes, which may be subtle or even drastic, that progressively lead to disease, degeneration, and, ultimately, death.

Whether you like it or not, your biological clock is ticking, and this will happen to various systems in your body: your heart will pump less blood, with your arteries becoming stiffer and less flexible, resulting in high blood pressure; with less oxygen and nutrients from the heart, your lungs will become less efficient in distributing oxygen to different organs and membranes of your body; your brain size will gradually reduce by approximately 10 percent between the age of 30 and 70, often resulting in loss of short-term memory; your bone mass will reduce, making it more brittle and fragile; your body size will shrink with your loss of muscle mass.

Wisdom may slow down your biological clock, although your mortality has been pre-programmed into your biological organisms and you body cells by your genes. Yes, you can still slow down the speed of aging—if you have wisdom to live your life. Tao wisdom may play a pivotal role in how you age, as well as the speed of your aging process.

Tao wisdom—the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu, the author of the Chinese classic “Tao Te Ching” on human wisdom—may show you how to live a stress-free life with no expectation, no over-doing, focusing on the present moment, instead of the past or the future. More importantly, Tao wisdom helps you let go of control of the self, others, as well as the world around; what goes up must also come down, and everything follows a natural cycle.

Living with Tao wisdom is anti-aging. Live your life as if everything is a miracle.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Noble Truths and the Noble Paths

TAO has always been considered the Way. But the Way to what? TAO has no destination, because it is eternal and infinite. TAO is the Way neither to avoid or to get out of something, nor to get or accomplish something. TAO is the Way through anything and everything in life. TAO is inexplicable and inexpressible in words. TAO is the profound human wisdom that has to be self-intuited.

The following may shed some light on TAO wisdom:

The Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths are the backbone of the Buddha’s teachings that may help you understand TAO better.

The First Noble Truth is about human suffering.

The Second Noble Truth is about ignorance—not knowing why there is suffering.

The Third Noble Truth is about the healing process of human suffering, which involves giving up the desire that causes the suffering.

The Fourth Noble Truth is about embodying the reality of suffering in your everyday life.

The Noble Paths

Right view: keep your perceptions from becoming cloudy.

Right thinking: develop a road map for right view.

Right speech: be aware of suffering caused by unmindful speech.

Right action: do everything in mindfulness: actions cause reactions.

Right livelihood: be concerned about how you earn your way through the world.

Right diligence: use consciousness to foster wholesomeness in your mind.

Right mindfulness: be fully present to the moment

Right concentration: cultivate over time full awareness of being present to self, world, and others.

Meditation 

Meditation is the way to understanding all of the above. It is not about striving to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss, or even tranquility of mind. It is not even about making you become a better person. Meditation is about creating a temporary state of mind, in which you clearly see your own self-deceptions, your hidden hopes and fears. Meditation makes you completely break away from how your mind ‘normally’ operates through a brief state of mind that frees you of all cares and concerns. Meditation gives you brief moments of acute awareness and deep discernment of what is real and what is pseudo-real.

Meditation quiets your mind; in your everyday life, consciousness is seldom, if ever, quiet. Therefore, it puts you on a journey of self-discovery and discovery of the true nature of existence. Through this discovery, you are able to communicate with the external or universal concept of God. This is how medication can bring about psychological and spiritual healing.

Meditation allows you to observe yourself without judgment; it is observation without struggling with right or wrong.

Meditation can be achieved through laborious training with perseverance, patience, and practice—just like training a puppy to sit.

Acceptance of suffering: To deny suffering is ignorance. Refusal to acknowledge and face pain only keeps you trapped in your own pain.

Courage to confront the truth of human suffering: It is easier to avoid suffering by denial than to face it. But feeling the pain is necessary for healing. Learn how to be fearless instead of fearful.

Enlightenment: The opposite of truth is illusion. Enlightenment is awakening to the need to be fearless to embrace the truth in order to dispel the self-illusions that perpetuate the suffering.

Compassion: Compassion and life are interrelated through suffering. Meditation can heal the mind, but not the heart, unless there is compassion. Only with compassion can one become a complete human being.

Attachments: Desires and the reluctance to relinquish the desires are obstacles to enlightenment. They not only cause human sufferings but also perpetuate them.

Letting go: Understanding the impermanence of all things enables the letting go of attachments, and hence the attainment of enlightenment. 

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tao Wisdom Is Profound Human Wisdom

Health has much to do with human happiness. If you are unhappy, it is difficult to be healthy; after all, there is much interconnection between the body and the mind. But true human happiness has much to do with the mind — how you perceive your life experiences — and that also has much to do with Tao wisdom.

Tao wisdom is the way of thinking based on the teachings of Lao Tzu, an ancient sage from China. According to Lao Tzu, true human wisdom comes from a composed or a quiet mind that focuses its attention on the present moment. But this is not what a contemporary mind is, far from it.

According to a CNN report on multitasking:

“(CNN) Our brains on multitasking aren’t nearly as good as we think they are. Let’s say you’re working on an activity over here, on the right side of the brain, and suddenly you’re trying to multitask another activity, like talking on the phone.

You’re not actually doing both activities at the same time, in fact, you’re now diverting your attention from one part of your brain to another part of your brain. That takes time, resources, that takes brain cells.

What happens on the other side of the brain is that you’re starting a brand new activity, so in fact you’re probably slower and not nearly as good at doing both activities at the same time.”
The bottom line: multitasking does not increase your mind power. Quite the contrary, multitasking can damage your brain cells. How? When you are multitasking, you are directly or indirectly creating undue stress for yourself, and stress causes hormonal dysfunction that impairs neurotransmitters in your brain. To enhance your mind power, do just the opposite — focusing your mind on the present, instead of projecting it into the future (which is what multitasking is all about).  Presence of mind gives clarity and relaxation to enhance your mind power.

Multitasking is certainly not the art of living well. Read my book THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING.

This 200-page book is full of wisdom based on my extensive research and personal experience. In this book, you will learn the following:

(1) Eliminating unproductive thoughts, and overcoming chaotic struggles in your inner world and outer life to enhance health and performance, master stress, and deepen appreciation of life.

(2) Understanding the essentials of contemporary wisdom and ancient wisdom to help you contemplate and internalize their respective meanings and values in your daily life

(3) Harnessing mind power to operate your mind to integrate the acquired knowledge into your daily activities.

THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING is the wisdom in the art of living well. Clarity of mind and living in the present holds the key to happiness, which is an important ingredient in a healthy mind and body.


Stephen Lau

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tso Wisdom and Conventional Wisdom

Wisdom is ultimate truth. As such, what was true thousands of years ago should also be true nowadays; that is, true wisdom is immortal.
Wisdom is different from knowledge in that the latter is relevant information acquired, while the former is the interpretation and application of knowledge assimilated and internalized through a variety of life experiences.
Life is limited, but knowledge is unlimited. Using what is limited to seek out the unlimited is unwise. Yet many people seek knowledge in a futile attempt to accumulate wisdom.
Conventional wisdom is “conventional” in the sense that the majority of people have already accepted it as the norm, with the implication that others should follow suit—something like a blueprint.
However, if you wish to live an extraordinary life, you are going to have to think for yourself, do the unimaginable, and create your own definition of the reality for living--that is, living with your own wisdom, and not necessarily following the conventional wisdom or that of someone else.
The Book of Life and Living
This 190-page on wisdom in living is based on the ancient Tao wisdom from China, the conventional wisdom, and the spiritual wisdom of the Bible.
Life is short, so make the best and the most out of it now! To do just that, you must know who you are and what life is all about. Most importantly, you must have the wisdom to live your life to the fullest.

Living your life is a learning process. Real learning, however, is not just the acquisition of knowledge. True wisdom is the ability to penetrate deeply into the meaning behind superficial knowledge, to integrate related thoughts, facts, and experiences into a structural framework that reveals a deeper, more synthesized meaning than what an ordinary person perceives.

Wisdom is internal; it comes from the inner self. Focusing on so-called goals in life, many of us lose our true selves in the pursuit of our dreams. If you are one of them, you must re-direct your life. If you wish to re-discover your “new” self, or never want to go back to your “old” life, The Book of Life and Living is right for you.

Now is as good a time as any to live your life on your own terms, instead of someone else’s terms. Now is the time not just to think out of the box, but to create your own box of reverse thinking. The Book of Life and Living was written just for that specific purpose to inspire you with the wisdom in living, based on the conventional wisdom, the ancient wisdom of Tao, and the spiritual wisdom of the Bible. Have an empty mind, and rethink your mind!

Albert Einstein once said: “A human being is part of the whole called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts, and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison . . . . ”

One of the objectives of The Book of Life and Living is to free yourself from the self-imprisonment of self-delusions created by your self-consciousness, as pointed out by Albert Einstein. This book not only explains in simple terms and plain language how you may unconsciously create your self-limiting thoughts that prevent you from truly understanding who you really are and what you really want from life, but also shows you how to create a substantially new manner of thinking through the integration of both the conventional and the unconventional ancient wisdom.

Click here to get the digital version, and here to get the paperback edition.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau