Thursday, May 23, 2019

The TAO of the Basics in Life and Living


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

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Non-Judgmental

Watch But Judge Not

“The Creator has no judgment, no preference:
He treats everything and everyone alike.
Every manifestation attests to the mysteries of His creation.

So, we, too, embrace everything and everyone with no judgment, no preference.
His grace, never depleting and forever replenishing, shows us the Way.
Judgment and preference separate us from His grace, causing attachment.
Only with His grace do we find renewal and rebirth along the Way.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 5)

To pursue the wisdom of the Creator, you must think like Him.

He has no judgment; He is fair to all.

So, why should you judge others? Nobody is perfect, including you.

To think like the Creator, be all inclusive and all embracive.

“The Creator seems elusive amid the changes of life.
At times, He seems to have forsaken His creations.
In reality, He is simply observing the comings and goings of their follies.

Likewise, we watch the comings and goings
of our likes and dislikes, of our desires and fears.
But we do not identify with them.
With no judgment and no preference,
we see the mysteries of creation.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 7)
         
We are living in a world of war and violence.

How could the Creator permit such evil to persist? Has the Creator forsaken those who are just and righteous?

If you choose to ask the Creator the above questions, maybe you should also ask yourself the same questions.

The bottom line: never ever judge; injustice in the physical world is one of the many mysteries to be resolved by the Creator, and not be you, because you are in the world but not of the world.

Stephen Lau        
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
                            

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The TAO of 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, May 20, 2019

Control and Out of Control


The art of living well is letting go of control and understanding what is out of control.

Letting go is difficult because there is one thing that most of us have overlooked: the wisdom of letting go to let God.

Life is all about living—it comes with some hard work, simple integrity, and, above all, the wisdom in living. If life is all about living—not just about making and spending money—then it is not about regrets and dreams.

Regrets look back at the past; dreams look forward to the future. Unfortunately, both are not within our control. If the value of money is solely based on accumulation of wealth, or the acquisition of material things, then living indeed becomes a labyrinth of regrets and dreams—regrets over the wrong investment decisions in the past, and dreams of the great fortune yet to come in the future.

A life journey is forever paved with many challenges and losses, many of which are beyond human control because they are often sudden and unpredictable.

Physical loss, including loss of vision and mobility, both of which may affect the quality of life with respect to independent living, may make living beyond control.

Material loss may include loss of property from natural disaster, such as flooding, tornado, and wildfire, loss of place and space, such as moving from a house to an apartment or to a nursing home. Downsizing also means the loss or forced disposal of treasured possessions that many are reluctant to let go of.

Memory loss may result in a severe loss of organizational ability and the ability to plan and function, resulting in loss of independence, which is a major setback for the elderly.

Loss of loved ones due to accidents or natural causes are devastating. Spousal loss is often the most devastating in that the oneness in marriage is forever broken, resulting in isolation and loneliness.

Losses that come in many different forms often become sources of unhappiness, but losses are no more than life challenges that are beyond human control.

But living, to many, is about controlling self and others; more specifically, purposely controlling the destiny of self, as well as directly or indirectly controlling the destinies of others around. The truth of the matter is that we are only humans, and we cannot control what is controlled by God. Being finite, with only limited intelligence, we are limited in our capability to control what is beyond human control. God, who is infinite, is in absolute control of everything. Our constant desire to control is displeasing to God—an expression of our lack of trust, and our disobedience.

Humans are always given a choice: continuing to control one’s destiny, or letting go to let God control. God has given each one of us a unique life and destiny that only we can complete it.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
(Psalm 139: 16)

However, the completion of that life and destiny in our life journey is according to His way and time, and not according to ours. In other words, it is all about what He wants for us, and not what we want for ourselves.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Saturday, May 18, 2019

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

What Is the TAO?

TAO is neither a religion nor a philosophy.
TAO is simply a way of life about the Way of life, that is, a general way of thinking about everything in life. It is a pathless path of humanity to live as if everything is a miracle.
TAO is the Way through anything and everything in life in order to fully experience them and live in balance and harmony. TAO is not about avoiding or getting out of anything unhappy and undesirable in everyday life, such as depression; rather, it is about going through depression by experiencing every aspect of it in order to become enlightened, if possible, with the profound human wisdom to continue living in peace and harmony in a world of depression.
TAO is looking at life not as a series of both happy and unhappy episodes, but simply as a journey of self-discovery and self-awakening to the real meaning of life existence. You are defined not by your words and thoughts, but by the ways you act and react, as well as the impact you may have on others around you. You exist not because you are simply here; you are here in this world to love and to learn how to live, as well as to help one another do the same.
TAO is formless, shapeless, and inexplicable in words; after all, it had existed long before there were even words. TAO is infinite human wisdom, which is a pathless path to the infinity and the origin of all things.
TAO is not about making your life any easier; it is about acceptance of all aspects of your humanity that need to be fully experienced, embraced, and then to be let go of in order to become wholesome at other times of your life and living—that is the essence of TAO wisdom, which is true enlightenment of the human mind.
Living in a world of depression, you might want every-thing your way or no way. But TAO is the Way through your depression, enabling you to understand how and why you might have your depression in the first place.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, May 17, 2019

Empty Mind and Reverse Thinking


The TAO is the absolute truth that can withstand time; what was true in the past is also true today. To fathom the TAO, you must begin with your own mind, which controls your thinking process and hence creating your own thoughts of thinking.
The TAO begins with having an empty mind, which is more than just “thinking out of the box”: it is also 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) 

Without an empty mind, an individual may think that he or she is already knowledgeable, and therefore lacks the desire to seek more knowledge by asking more questions, and thus ending up being less knowledgeable.
Reverse thinking is turning your mind around: instead of accepting or following what your mind says, you think in the opposite direction by asking self-probing questions of how and why your mind has come to give you that thought of thinking in the first place.
Simplicity is the first step toward detachment, which holds the key to unlocking the door to an empty mind with reverse thinking. Live a simple lifestyle, deleting all the trimmings of life and living that may block and obstruct your thinking mind. Letting go of everything that you may erroneously believe are important to you in your life is reverse thinking.

“Simplicity is clarity.
It is a blessing to learn from those
with humble simplicity.
Those with an empty mind
will learn how to find the Way.
The Way reveals the secrets of the universe:
the mysteries of the realm of creation;
the manifestations of all things created.
The essence of the Way is to show us
how to live in fullness and return to our origin.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 65)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau