<>b>Wisdom from Books

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

Monday, February 27, 2017

Knowing the Basics in Life

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

Feeling Good About Oneself

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

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

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

Forming Good Life Habits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 20, 2017

Tao Wisdom Opens the Door to Biblical Wisdom

Biblical wisdom is the wisdom that comes from God. Understanding Biblical wisdom may not be easy: it requires human wisdom to seek knowledge to understand the role of man in this world, such as finding out his self-worth, as well as his role and contributions to humanity and the world he is living in.  Jesus said: "Seek and you shall find." But, without human wisdom, man may seek other things in the material world he is living in, instead of God's wisdom.

Human wisdom does not come from knowledge alone. As a matter of fact, a knowledgeable person may not necessarily be wise. Human wisdom has to do with asking questions and seeking answers from the questions asked throughout one’s life journey. Reading the Bible may not lead you anywhere unless you have an open mind with spirituality to believe. Reading Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, the immortal ancient classic from China on human wisdom, may help you have an empty mind to find your way to Biblical wisdom.

Both Tao Te Ching and the Bible are among the most translated and extensively read books in the world. There is a fundamental connection between the two books, though some critics may disagree. Tao Te Ching is about human wisdom, and the Bible is about the wisdom of God. The former was written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ and the New Testament was even conceived. Because both books are about wisdom and true wisdom is universal and timeless, often sharing some common attributes, there are similarities in the Biblical truths expressed in the Bible and the profound truths of human wisdom in Tao Te Ching.

Given that Tao Te Ching is a difficult book with its multiple paradoxes and deliberate perplexities, I have provided everyday examples to illustrate the "reverse" thinking of Lao Tzu. Without understanding the "reverse" mindset of Lao Tzu, understanding the wisdom of God in the Bible is even more difficult.


My own translation of "Tao Te Ching" is based on my belief that Lao Tzu's masterpiece is about the Creator of the universe, and that with true human wisdom man sees not only the manifestations but also the mysteries of His creation.

The book is about true human wisdom without the "conditioned" thinking of contemporary wisdom. Without the "reverse" mindset of Lao Tzu, man may have difficulties in understanding the wisdom of God expressed in the Bible.

My book is divided into four parts.

Part One is about tmy reasons for writing the book, and also why Tao Te Ching is a "must read" for anyone who seeks real human wisdom.

Part Two is my own translation of the 81 short chapters of Tao Te Ching with respect to the Bible; each chapter is followed by some selected Bible verses for further reflection on what Lao Tzu has said.

Part Three is about the essentials of Tao wisdom with detailed explanation in plain English and with everyday life examples to help the reader understand the profound wisdom of Lao Tzu.

Part Four is an explanation of how Tao wisdom may help the reader understand God's wisdom in the Bible. TAO -- the wisdom of Lao Tzu expressed in his immortal classic Tao Te Ching --  is the way to Biblical wisdom.

To get the digital copy, click here; to get the paperback, click here.

To date, I have published several books based on the wisdom expressed in Tao Te ChingBooks by Stephen Lau.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 17, 2017

Clarity of Thinking

Tao wisdom is human wisdom, and Biblical wisdom is spiritual wisdom. The art of living well in this contemporary world requires both.  But neither is easy to come by. Why? Because Tao wisdom requires an empty mind with no preconditioned thinking of conventional wisdom, while Biblical wisdom requires the suspension of disbelief. That is to say, both require clarity of thinking, which is not easy to attain, except through meditation and concentration, that is, focusing the mind on the present moment.

Your mind is incessantly alternating between the past and the future, going back and forth without consciously knowing it.

Say, if you are watching TV at the present moment, your compulsive mind is continually retrieving both conscious and subconscious thoughts and memories from the past directly or indirectly related to what you are now watching on the television screen, as well as projecting them into the future. Your mind never really stays in the present moment, although you think it does because you are watching the TV.

To illustrate, you are watching a CNN report on an accident on the freeway involving many cars due to poor visibility. A subconscious thought from your own past experience of driving under similar poor visibility immediately comes up and is projected into the future, to be stored in your subconscious mind to warn you in the future to drive more carefully if a similar situation occurs. Your body is presently watching the television screen, but your mind does not stay in the present moment. That is the reality. It is only a mental illusion that your mind is staying presently on the TV screen. Other subconscious thoughts may also occur at the back of your mind: “I am a more careful driver than those people”, “I hope that will never happen to me” or “I would not know what to do in a similar situation.” All these thoughts are stored in your subconscious mind.

Remember, you compulsive mind is thinking non-stop without your conscious awareness.

Because your mind does not voluntarily stay in the present moment, constantly shuffling back and forth between the past and the future, the only way to stop the thinking mind is to direct it to the present moment. When your mind stays in the present moment, it stops its thinking process of the past or the future—at least for the time being. To make your mind remain in the present moment—even though for just a short moment—you need acute awareness and deep concentration. To do that, you need constant and regular practice to focus or re-focus your mind on the present moment.

Once you can stop, at will, your mind from thinking, you have control over your thinking process, you are no longer a slave to your thoughts, and your mind becomes once again your friend, instead of your enemy. Learn to switch your mind on and off, just as you do with your computer.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 13, 2017

TAO Wisdom to Let Go

Letting go is the natural surrender of the human mind to any involuntary reactivity aimed at removing anything that might threaten or undermine the comfort zones in our lives . Letting go should be a natural instinct, and not a technique that one has to learn and master; it is simply a spontaneous human ability to give up all human attachments that create the unreal world.

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” Thich Nhat Hanh

It is letting go, and not holding on, that makes us strong because it overcomes the fear of the unknown and the unpredictable. Let go of yesterday to live in today as if everything is amiracle; let go of the world to have the universe.

Tao wisdom is profound human wisdom that requires self-intuition to have greater understanding of the Creator, who is in control of everything created by Him; this further understanding may be instrumental in enhancing human wisdom.

Tao wisdom begins with having an empty mind that may help you let go of all attachments to the material world.. 

"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) 

“Letting go is emptying the mundane,
to be filled with heavenly grace.

Blessed is he who has an empty mind.
He will be filled with knowledge and wisdom from the Creator.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 9)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 6, 2017

Tao Wisdom to Understand Biblical Wisdom

Why Biblical wisdom?

The Bible is the Word of God. Through the Bible, God speaks to each and every one of us, if we are willing. In other words, the wisdom expressed in the Bible is God’s divine wisdom to man.

The Authenticity of Biblical Truths

According to Guinness Book of Records, the Bible is the all-time best-selling book, as well as the most translated work in world literature. This indicates that many people do believe that the Bible is a book of absolute truths and divine wisdom from God.

The Bible is a book of wisdom based on Biblical truths that require faith to believe in the authenticity of historical manuscripts reporting those events that had already taken place.

”Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,” (Luke 3:1)

This Biblical faith is further attested to by human historical time scale: BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini—"in the year of our Lord"). Jesus Christ is a real historical figure, and His birth is a very solid historical fact reported by many historians.

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

Why Tao wisdom?

If the Bible is about God’s wisdom, then why should we read Lao Tzu’s 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?

Why Less for More?

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 failure we experience;
the more weapons we make, the more danger we encounter;
the more laws we enact, the more law-breakers we produce.”
(Lao Tzu, Chapter 57, Tao Te Ching)

“Living our lives is like frying a small fish;
we neither over-season nor over-cook it.”
(Lao Tzu, 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.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau