<>b>Wisdom from Books

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

Monday, December 31, 2018

Let Go to Receive

We all want abundance, not emptiness. We all desire abundance in education, family, relationships, profession, and wealth; nobody wants emptiness—one thing nobody wants in life. Abundance often becomes attachments in our lives. Ironically enough, we need emptiness to attain the ultimate truths of life and living, which is wisdom in living. To attain this wisdom, we need emptiness. First of all, we need an empty mind with reverse thinking to think differently, not according to conventional wisdom. Then, we need to become empty consciously, which is letting go of all attachments. Attachments are emotional distractions of the mind that prevent  clarity of thinking, without which there is no access to the ultimate truths of life and living. Knowing these ultimate truths enable you to live as if everything is a miracle.

Before we can receive, we must let go first. Letting go of all attachments to the material world is the first step we must take. It is more blessed to give than to receive. But many of us don't believe in that: instead, we think we will give out or let go after we have received. Letting go is difficult because it requires the profound human wisdom of Lao Tzu.


AsIf Everything Is A Miracle

This 125-page book is about how to live your life as if everything is a miracle, instead of as if nothing is a miracle. To do just that, you need wisdom to "rethink" your mind, which may not be telling you the whole truth about your thoughts and life experiences; you need wisdom to "renew" your body, which lives in a toxic physical environment; you need spiritual wisdom to "reconnect" your soul, which is the essence of your spirituality. Most importantly, you need wisdom to "realign" your whole being because the body, the mind, and the soul are all interconnected and interdependent on one another for your well-being to live your life as if everything is a miracle. Your mind is the roadmap and your soul is the compass; without them, your body is going nowhere, and you will live your life as if nothing is a miracle.

Emptiness leads to enlightenment. If spiritual wisdom has to enter you and manifest itself within you, it will need empty space. With enlightenment, you will become a better, happier, and healthier you. With enlightenment, you will live a stress-free life. Learn how to overcome your stress by letting go your ego-self. No Ego No Stress!

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Why the Difficult Has Become the Popular


Why the Difficult Has Become the Popular

I have become so fascinated by Tao wisdom that I have published several books based on Tao wisdom. First of all, Tao wisdom is the wisdom of Lao Tzu, an ancient sage from China, who was the author of the immortal Chinese classic “Tao Te Ching” on human wisdom.


I remember I had to memorize a short excerpt from “Tao Te Ching” when I was about eight or nine years old. Back in those days—when I was in Hong Kong before I came to the United States—students had to learn by memory some classical Chinese poetry; it was difficult for most students because they were clueless about the meanings of the texts they had to memorize. Any excerpt from “Tao Te Ching” is especially difficult to memorize, not to mention understanding.


But it is the difficulty in understanding “Tao Te Ching” that has made this immortal Chinese classic become one of the most translated works in world literature, ranking with the Bible among of the top ten.


Let me explain why it is difficult to understand, and why it is the difficulty that has fascinated readers worldwide. 

The difficulty was "deliberate" on the part of Lao Tzu. First of all, he believed that “words” do not represent the “truths” or the “realities” in life because words simply “point” to the truths or realities, which are absolute and they had existed long before there were words. Another reason was that Lao Tzu was “forced” to put down his wisdom in words before he was allowed to leave China for Tibet. According to the legend, he was stopped at the city gate and was told that he would be allowed to leave the country only after he had put down his wisdom in words. Reluctantly and deliberately he put down his wisdom in exactly 5,000 words without any punctuation mark. Quite different from English, every Chinese word may have multiple meanings. As a result, what Lao Tzu put down in words could be interpreted in many different ways, especially without any punctuation mark to clarity the meaning. The text is therefore abstract and controversial, and this is the reason why it has fascinated many scholars worldwide.


Here is one of the many English translations of the First Chapter of the original text:

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
As nameless, it is the origin of all things;
As named, it is the mother of 10,000 things
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery of all things.
Ever desiring, one sees only their manifestations.
And the mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding.
(Chapter One, Tao Te Ching)

               

             

                  

              

         

(the original Chinese text; the punctuation marks were subsequently added by scholars)

Here is my explanation and interpretation of the original text:

Tao (or the Way) is the pathway to wisdom, which is self-intuition through self-awakening. Once it is expressed in words, it is no longer the pathway. Anything with a name immediately assumes an identity and thus becomes pre-conditioning and self-limiting—obstacles to freedom in thinking, which is the source of human wisdom.


“Like water, soft and yielding,

Yet it overcomes the hard and the rigid

Stiffness and stubbornness cause much suffering.

We all intuitively know

that flexibility and tenderness

are the way to go.

Yet our conditioned minds

tell us to go the other way.”

(Chapter 78, Tao Te Ching)


The wisdom of TAO wisdom begins with the power of intent in the mind to know and to learn more about the true “self”—after all, wisdom is about self, and about how it reacts with everyone and everything around. In the quest of wisdom, the revelation of having no ego-self is the turning point, where you may begin to embark on a different life journey with a different mission. Your “conditioned” mind thus begins the journey of “reverse thinking” which will ultimately change your life, making you a better and happier you.


TAO wisdom enables you to see the wisdom in the oneness of all life—that everything exists because of its “opposite” and that everything will ultimately become its opposite, just as youth becoming old age, and life becoming death. Spontaneity, which is following the natural laws of nature, holds the key to attaining true human wisdom to live your life as if everything is a miracle.



Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, December 24, 2018

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, December 20, 2018

Are Humans Good or Evil?

Are Humans Good or Evil?

Man is a complex and complicated being. God has created man in His image. He has given His creation the gift of freedom to choose, and yet He is in absolute control. This paradoxical nature of His creation has puzzled many since the beginning of time.

There are those who believe that man is created in God's image to serve Him; if that is truly the case, man is inherently good. However, on the other hand, there are those who believe that man is inherently bad because of the sin of Adam.

So, the burning question is: Is the nature of man inherently good or bad?

According to many Western philosophers, man from the outset is originally evil. Sigmund Freud, the famous Austrian neurologist and founding father of psychoanalysis, was of the opinion that man is innately evil and aggressive because we are violent on criminals; but that in a civilized society, the law is unable to prosecute the more subtle and smaller aggression of man, which can sometimes be just as evil.

The truth of the matter is that good and evil are only moral concepts that have coexisted since the beginning of time; humans have been categorizing different actions and feelings based on their own philosophical concepts. Good and evil are closely linked together, just like the concept of yin and yang; one cannot exist without the other, and they balance and complement each other. In other words, we are both good and bad.

Essentially, we all have the bright as well as the dark side of life. The Bible calls the dark side of human nature “sin.” None of us is exempt from sin. Life is always an inner struggle between what is perceived in an individual’s moral system as “right” and the dark opposing force inside to do just the opposite as “wrong.” The human concept of good and evil is based on the perception of the mind, which is derived from one’s unique experiences that formed the ego-self of that individual.

The bottom line: to be a “better: individual, that is, to have more good and less evil, one must let go of the ego-self and focus more on others. Admittedly, this is not easy, and that’s why you need wisdom—the wisdom to know what is real and what is unreal, to know the real self, and not the ego-self.

As If Everything Is A Miracle”: find out the wisdom in living a better, happier, and healthier life.  

Stephen Lau 

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, December 17, 2018

Wisdom to Cope with Cancer Fear


Wisdom to Cope with Cancer Fear

To be diagnosed with cancer is stressful. To cope with cancer stress, one needs wisdom--profound human wisdom.

Life is stressful, and thus many negative and unpleasant experiences are recorded in the subconscious mind as memories and thoughts of those experiences. According to James Allen, author of As A Man Thinketh, men are “makers of themselves,” and the human mind is the “master-weaver" of his future experiences; in other words, the thinking mind may make him become what he thinks.

Therefore, a toxic mind with toxic thoughts may have composed a toxic personality over the years. It begins with the ego-self, which is your self-identity—that is, who you “think” you are—based on your memories and past experiences. As a matter of fact, your whole being comes from your memories, which control your life by making you “believe” that you are really who you “think” you are.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there are seven emotions that disharmonize the body and the mind: anger, fear, fright, grief, joy, worry, and pensiveness or over-concentration. At first glance, “joy” may seem to be the only positive emotion among the seven negative ones. However, even joy may also become toxic, especially in an inflated ego. A case in point, the once-celebrated-but-now-disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs to win his races in order to sustain and protect his ego of winning. It was his self-inflated ego that led to his ultimate downfall in his career.

Toxic emotions may also easily lead to the Seven Deadly Sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Toxic thoughts from toxic emotions become toxic memories stored in the subconscious mind. Toxic memories cause the conscious mind to make toxic choices and decisions, leading to toxic behaviors, actions and reactions that further exacerbate the toxic mind.

All in all, stress is the underlying cause of many diseases, including cancer. Stress can often worsen the symptoms of cancer. Therefore, it is important to have good sleep to reduce the stress level. Sleep is vital to wellness. A gold fish deprived of sleep will remain still for a prolonged period to make up for its lack of sleep. Natural sleep holds the key to living a stress-free life. The paradox is that we cannot have natural sleep if there are too many stressors in our lives. Living in this day and age, stress is an everyday phenomenon. In contemporary living, nearly every aspect of life and living involves speed, so much so that many of us have become addicted speed, and thus become time-stressed.

Remember, the body and the mind are interconnected. If you continuously think of cancer or worry about getting cancer because of your family history, you may end up having cancer, because cancer is a disease that may be caused by many factors other than the genetic factor. As a matter of fact, cancer fear may read to many actions taken, such as the actions taken by actress Angelina Jolie to remove her breasts because of cancer threat.

A cancer diagnosis may be stressful, but use your mind to overcome cancer stress.

Get your book on cancer: Congratulations! You've Got Cancer! Get the wisdom to cope with a devastating situation, such as a cancer diagnosis.

This 132-page book is about what to do when one is diagnosed with cancer. The author is neither a doctor nor an oncologist. He is simply showing the power of the mind not only in coping with the traumatic experience of cancer but also in overcoming the disease itself. In addition, he presents detailed information on what an individual must do on the cancer journey of cure and recovery. A cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. Rather, it is an opportunity for growth and development. Harness mind power to combat cancer.


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, December 13, 2018

TAO Wisdom Is Both Simple and Complex

True wisdom is inexplicable and inexpressible. That is to say, there is no blueprint for truly profound human wisdom. As a matter of fact, Lao Tzu, the author of the famous ancient Chinese classic Tao Te Ching, recommends giving up language because the true human wisdom cannot be expressed in words: Tao, (the word derived from the title of Tao Te Ching) which means the wisdom of Lao Tzu, is nameless, goes beyond distinctions, and thus transcends any language.

According to the legend, Lao Tzu was born more than two thousands years ago with gray hair (a sign of wisdom related with age and experience). He lived in ancient China at a time of feudal warfare and constant conflict. At the city gate, riding backwards on an ox, he was “forced” to put down his brilliant ideas in writing before he was allowed to leave China for Tibet. Reluctantly, he put down his wisdom in 81 short chapters with exactly 5,000, but without any punctuation mark.

Tao wisdom in simple but profound; it is paradoxical but illuminating. It is all-embracing in that it is applicable to every aspect of life and living, even in this day and age. Tao wisdom is universal and timeless wisdom. To fully understand and internalize Tao wisdom in living, you must, first and foremost, have an open mind or an empty mindset that would be receptive to any unconventional thinking. In fact, you must not only think out of the box but, more importantly, create your own box of thinking. Your mind must not have any preconditioned ideas about anything. That is to say, you must have an empty mind for reverse thinking before you can intuit the true wisdom of Tao.

"Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one sees only the manifestations.
And the mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding."
(Tao Te Ching, Chapter One)th 

My words are easy to understand
and easy to perform,

Yet no man under heaven
knows them or practices them.”
(Tao Te Ching, Chapter 70)

According to Lao Tzu, Tao cannot be expressed or described in words, because Tao is not a concept. Tao is something that existed before there were words, before there was human speech, before there was even human thought. Tao is something that one must live and experience in order to fully appreciate and understand what it is -- and that is the true human wisdom.

The simple answer is usually better than the complex one. There is much more to it than meets the eye, so we need to look inside of ourselves to fathom the unfathomable wisdom of Tao. Paradoxically, Tao wisdom is both simple and complex. The explanation is that it is simple and easy to intuit, but difficult to put it into practice. Well, maybe the human mind is complex, and that is why an empty mind is the prerequisite to understand Tao wisdom.

Visit my websites: Wisdom in Living and Wisdom from Books.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, December 10, 2018

Abundance and Emptiness

Abundance and Emptiness

We all want abundance, not emptiness. We all desire abundance in education, family, relationships, profession, and wealth; nobody wants emptiness—one thing nobody wants in life. Abundance often becomes attachments in our lives. Ironically enough, we need emptiness to attain the ultimate truths of life and living, which is wisdom in living.

To attain this wisdom, we need emptiness. First of all, we need an empty mind with reverse thinking to think differently, not according to conventional wisdom. Then, we need to become empty consciously, which is letting go of all attachments. Attachments are emotional distractions of the mind that prevent  clarity of thinking, without which there is no access to the ultimate truths of life and living. Knowing these ultimate truths enables you to live as if everything is a miracle.

Before we can receive, we must let go first. Letting go of all attachments to the material world is the first step we must take. It is more blessed to give than to receive. But many of us don't believe in that: instead, we think we will give out or let go after we have received. Letting go is difficult because it requires the profound human wisdom of Lao Tzu.


First and foremost, you need wisdom to "rethink" your mind, which may not be telling you the whole truth about your thoughts and life experiences; you need wisdom to "renew" your body, which lives in a toxic physical environment; you need spiritual wisdom to "reconnect" your soul, which is the essence of your spirituality. Most importantly, you need wisdom to "realign" your whole being because the body, the mind, and the soul are all interconnected and interdependent on one another for your well-being to live your life as if everything is a miracle. Your mind is the road map and your soul is the compass; without them, your body is going nowhere, and you will live your life as if nothing is a miracle.

Remember, emptiness leads to enlightenment. If spiritual wisdom has to enter you and manifest itself within you, it will need some empty space. With enlightenment, you will become a better and happier you. With enlightenment, you will live a stress-free life. Learn how to overcome your stress by letting go your ego-self: No Ego No Stress!

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Everything Is Nothing

Everything Is Nothing

The Creator has created for us a world of changes: everything is changing with every moment, and nothing remains permanent. It is through changes that we transform ourselves into a better and a happier human being. Even in a difficult and challenging environment, we learn from our mistakes and wrong choices in life, and change ourselves. Transformation is educational and self-enlightening. Transformation is synonymous with impermanence, which is the essence of change.

Understanding that everything is nothing is self-enlightening. Nothing is permanent: the good as well as the bad things that happen to us are impermanent; nothing last forever. We all are aware of this universal truth. We all know that we cannot live to one hundred years and beyond, and yet we resist our aging, continuously fixing our faces and bodies to make us look younger. We may have the face of a forty-year-old but the body of the seventy-year-old,  We simply refuse to let go; we desperately and self-delusively cling on to the permanence  In other words, we wish the impermanent were the permanent. It is this wishful thinking that makes us unhappy. We were once healthy and now our health has declined, and we are unhappy. We were wronged by our enemies, and we hold on to our grudges, instead of forgiving and letting them go, and we are unhappy. Our past glories gave us the ego, which we refuse to let go, and we become depressed and unhappy.

Life is about changes, and living is about letting go of what is impermanent that we naively believe and wish that they were permanent. Remember, nothing is permanent, and every moment remains only with that very moment. Therefore, live in the present, and live your moments to their best.

Get the wisdom of Lao Tzu, the author of Tao Te Ching, the ancient classic from China about human wisdom to learn how to let go of the self-delusional mindset of permanence.

Remember, everything is nothing.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau