Prayers Are Seldom Answered

<b>Prayers Are Seldom Answered</b>
"Prayers not answered” means your “expectations not fulfilled.” The TAO wisdom explains why: your attachments to careers, money, relationships, and success “make” but also “break” you by creating your flawed ego-self that demands your “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Letting Go Attachments


The Origin of Human Attachments

All attachments originate from the ego-self.

What is an ego? Do we all have an ego-self?

An ego is an identity of any individual. Yes, we all have an ego-self, with no exception.

As soon as a baby begins his or her perceptions through the five senses, that baby begins to develop an identity, such as “this toy is mine” and “I want this.” Well, there is nothing wrong with that initial identification. However, as time passes by, the human ego may continue to expand and inflate to the extent that it may become problematic with all its attachments.

What is the ego-self?

Simply look at yourself in front of a mirror. What do you see?

self-reflection. Is it for real? Can you actually touch it? Not really; it is only a reflection of someone real—the real you in front of the mirror!

Now, do something totally different. Place a baby—if there is one immediately available—in front of the mirror. See what happens. The baby might crawl toward the baby in the mirror. Why? It is because the baby in front of the mirror might think that the baby in the mirror is another baby, and just not his or her own reflection.

Likewise, the ego-self may look real, but it is not real. To think otherwise is self-deception.

How is the ego-self formed?

Descartes, the great French philosopher, made his very famous statement: “I think, therefore I am.” Accordingly, you think and you then become what you think you are—the byproducts of all your thoughts and your own thinking.

Unfortunately, Descartes’ famous statement is only partially true: it is true that you identify yourself with all your thoughts projected into your thinking mind; but it is not true that your identities thus created by your thoughts and your own thinking truly reflect your true self. The fact of the matter is that you are not your thoughts, and your thoughts are not you. To think otherwise is a human flaw, which is no more than self-delusion or self-illusion. In other words, you are not what and who you think you really are.

Gradually, all your life experiences with their own respective messages—the pleasant as well as the unpleasant, the positive as well as the negative—are all stored at the back of your subconscious mind in the form of your assumptions, attitudes, causal concepts, and memories.

Accumulated over the years, millions and billions of such experiences and messages have become the raw materials with which you subconsciously weave the fabrics of your life, making you who and what you have now become—or so you think. In other words, they have now become your “realities” or your ego-self with its many attachments to make you believe you are what you think or wish you were.

Likewise, a baby originally does not have the ego-self (at least, not yet), and thus sees the reflected image in the mirror as another baby. But you, on the other hand, with your own ego-self, see the reflected image in the mirror as the same you, and not a different person. So, your ego-self is simply a reflection of you; what you see in the mirror is not real, just a reflection. But the problem is: you think it is the real you, and your false identity may lead to an identity crisis.

Learn how to let go of your attachments to the material world that define who you think you are, and these attachments may include your attachments to money and wealth, career and success, among others.

Stephen Lnd au
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, April 19, 2021

Are Your Perceptions Your Realities?


ARE YOUR PERCEPTIONS YOUR REALITIES?

Your mind perceives all your life experiences through your five senses: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting.

To most people, seeing is the most important perception; however, what they see may not be the absolute reality, because their visual perceptions may be conditioned by what they see, and distorted by many other factors during the processing of their perceptions. Remember, it is the intuition of your soul that really perceives your reality. The wise have known for a long time that what we know through our eyes are not the same as the intuition of the soul. If that is the case, sadly, most people rely on what they see, thinking that "seeing is believing," and thus lose themselves in external things.

As an illustration, in 1997, Richard Alexander from Indiana was convicted as a serial rapist because one of the victims and her fiancé insisted that he was the perpetrator based on what they saw with their own eyes. However, the convicted man was exonerated and released in 2001 based on new DNA science and other forensic evidence. Experts explained that a traumatic emotional experience, such as a rape, could “distort” the perception of an individual.

The truth is that your brain is composed of grey matters and neurons or nerve cells that transmit information and messages; they are the building blocks of your brain for the processing of all your perceptions. Neurons are responsible for all your behaviors in the form of perceptions, which trigger a mental process that results in an action or an emotion. If the process becomes instinctive or habitual, then the output in the form of an action or emotion is also automatic and predictable. That is how attitudes and habits are formed, including the fight-or-flight response to any dangerous situation. This automatic or spontaneous mental processing is often not “by choice.”

The fact of the matter is that this “learned” mental processing is responsible for the way you think and act, for your beliefs and emotions, for you attitudes and prejudices, as well as for your decisions or indecisions—in other words, every aspect of your life experiences.

Descartes, the great French philosopher, made his famous statement: "I think, therefore I am." That means, you think, and your thoughts then become who and what you think you are. But that may not be the real you

In many ways, the human brain is like a computer program. Your whole being is like the computer hardware with the apparatus of a mind, a body, and the five senses. The lenses, through which you see yourself, others, and the world around you as well, are the software that has been continuously programmed by your thoughts, your past and present experiences, as well as your own expectations and those of others projected into the future. In other words, you and nobody else have programmed your own present mindset. All these years, you might have been trapped in a constricted sense of self that has prevented you from knowing and being who you really are. Your “conditioned” mindset might have erroneously made you "think" and "believe" that you are who and what you are; but nothing could be further from the truth.
  


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau





Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Origin of Depression


The Origin of Depression

“Depression begins with disappointment. When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement.” Joyce Meyer

Man is inherently desirous of happiness. We all want to become happy; without happiness, human existence may have become meaningless. Therefore, we all want to avoid unhappiness, and this self-defense mechanism may then develop into addictive habit patterns that have ultimately become some of the characteristics of our individual personality, affecting how we think. In other words, to avoid unhappiness, we may subconsciously begin to "lose contact with our realities" and thus become the persons we are not supposed to be. Depression is a mental struggle against unhappiness that an individual wishes to avoid, and in the process becomes a different person—a person with ever-changing moods and temperaments.

To illustrate, a baby or toddler—even well-fed, dry, and comfortable—may cry because he or she wants happiness, which is not being separated from the parents; crying or screaming is the only self-defense mechanism against being separated and feeling unhappy. As that baby or toddler continues to grow, that normal child will ultimately learn the reality that to be separated from the parents is just a normal and necessary part and parcel of life and maturity.

However, the mental and emotional growth and maturity of that same child may not be consistent with his or her physical growth and mental maturity, and this inconsistency or disparity may subsequently lead to many mental and emotional problems later in life, such as recklessly driving a car, engaging promiscuously in sex, taking drugs or addicting to alcohol. If the mental and emotional problems are not properly and fully addressed and resolved, that same adolescent turning into a young adult may continue to develop more problems, such as compulsive gambling or shopping sprees. As that same individual continues to grow and mature, there may be many other problems that crop up along his or her life journey, including problems in career, marriage, family, health, money, and among many others. All these life problems and challenges may continue to create more behavioral patterns, which are only the manifestations of that individual's desperate struggle against the unhappiness associated with emotional, mental, and physical problems; they are just the self-defense addictive behaviors of that individual striving desperately to overcome depression. In other words, that individual simply wants to avoid un-happiness resulting from the many life problems and challenges encountered. 
  
Unattainable Happiness

"The greatest happiness is to know the source of unhappiness." Fyodor Dostoevsky

Depression is no more than a personal struggle against unattainable happiness, which is the essence of life and living. Therefore, almost everybody is always in quest of happiness. Sadly, to many, the quest for happiness is forever unreachable—just like a carrot-and-stick in front of a mule; the more pain inflicted on the mule by the stick: the more desire the mule demonstrates to reach out for the forever unattainable carrot in front. In many ways, a depressed individual is just like that mule with self-inflicted pain, which is the depression—the more unhappy that individual feels, the more depressed that individual will become, and the longer that vicious cycle of depression will continue, only plunging that depressed individual deeper into a fathomless black hole of despair and hopelessness. Depression is no more than a mental manifestation of the forever unattainable happiness that an individual strives to seek.

But why is human happiness so elusively and evasively unreachable and unattainable? The answer is, surprisingly, quite simple: happiness has to do with one’s perceptions of life experiences, and thus the thinking mind plays a pivotal role in that respect. That is to say, human happiness and the human mind are inter-related; without profound human wisdom, the pursuit of happiness is like wandering in the wilderness without a compass and a road map. Indeed, true human wisdom holds the key to opening the door to understanding true human happiness.

Given the close connection between depression and happiness, understanding true human happiness may help a depressed individual overcome his or her depression.



Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau




Saturday, April 17, 2021

How to Live to 100 and Beyond


To live to 100 and beyond, you need both wisdom and knowledge.

YOU JUST DON’T DIE!” 

This 154-page book is about how to live your life as if everything is a miracle if you just don’t die as you continue with you life journey with the many changes and challenges confronting you, including your loss of vision.

Human existence is meaningless without life purpose and human happiness. The pursuit of longevity has been going on since time immemorial. Consciousness holds the key to the success of this pursuit. Consciousness of living is wisdom of the mind to understand the self, others, as well as how and why certain things happen. Wisdom in living enables one to complete the rest of one's life journey and reaching the destination.

To live to 100 and beyond—if you just don’t die—you must ask questions about life; after all, living is about asking questions and seeking answers to the questions asked, and thereby instrumental in providing wisdom or a blueprint to continue the rest of your life journey.

The first question you should consciously ask yourself is: "How long do I wish to live?" Of course, that is only a hypothetical question because you really don’t have much of a choice—unless you would like to purposely end your life prematurely. Naturally, the answer to that question may also change over different phases in your life, depending on the quality of your life in that particular phase.

The second question you should consciously ask yourself is: "Why do I want to live long, or why not?" This question will be naturally followed by the third question: “How do I live long, or what can make me desire to live longer?”

The final question—if you just don’t die—is: "How should I live the rest of my life to overcome my daily problems and life challenges?"

The objective of this 154-page book is neither to convince you to crave longevity, nor to show you how to live to one hundred and beyond. It simply presents you with the consciousness of living the rest of your years—if you just don’t die!

Click here to get your digital copy.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © Stephen Lau P

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Happiness Wisdom


The Happiness Wisdom

The Happiness Myths

Happiness is only an abstraction, a far-fetched thought that is often elusive and evasive; it is difficult not only to define but also to understand. To further the complication, happiness often creates certain misleading myths.

The myth: the happiness sources

It is always a myth that abundant wealth, good health, and satisfying relationships—what most people crave and pursue in their lives—will bring them happiness. Abundant wealth, good health, and satisfying relationships are only the byproducts of happiness; they do not cause or bring true and lasting happiness in real life.

To illustrate, many lottery winners attest to their experiences of temporary ecstatic happiness, and nearly all winners confess that their winning has ultimately made them miserable and unhappy for various reasons. Maybe once the initial stimulus of sudden wealth and the drastic changes of lifestyle have worn off, they ultimately return to their original baseline level of happiness or unhappiness. Or, maybe, according to some experts, having too much pleasure—what is known as “eustress”—could also cause stress, just as lacking in pleasure might be stressful to the many have-nots.

The myth: the happiness effort

It is also a myth that happiness is something that can be pursued with willpower and effort. The Bible rightly says that pursuing happiness is just “like chasing the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11)

Effort does not necessarily bring happiness; it only creates the illusion of an environment that is conducive to temporary happiness. To illustrate, one may work diligently in one’s career to excel and to get to the top of the profession only to find that one has a terminal illness, or has incurred a debilitating accident. For example, Steve Job, the co-founder of Apple computers, had his life cut short by pancreatic cancer at the height of his successful business career.

Pursuing happiness may be only a fantasy fueled by temporary moments of happiness, because aging, illnesses, misfortunes, and ultimately death plague all alike; in other words, impermanence cuts short all human efforts and endeavors to bring happiness. We are all aware of the fact that impermanence is an ultimate leveler of everybody and everything, but many of us still choose to delude ourselves into thinking otherwise. Denial only fosters the myth that if there is a will there must be a way to attaining happiness, and that all it requires is the human effort to make any dream come true.

The Attributes of True Happiness

Advertising, consumerism, and the media have all mesmerized us into believing that happiness is one of the basic human rights that we are all entitled to. The truth of the matter is that true happiness is, surprisingly, simple and effortless, because it comes from within, and not from without; it is part of self, and is natural to human life and existence. It is all in the mind—that is, how we think.

If that is the case, then why is that some people are happy while others are unhappy?

There is so much truth in what Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian author, said in very beginning of his celebrated novel Anna Karenina: “Happy families are alike, and unhappy families are unhappy in their own way.” So, those who are happy and those who are unhappy must have shared some common attributes or characteristics that predispose them to happiness or unhappiness.

The unhappy people

The unhappy people may have the following common characteristics:

Identity crisis

They do not know who they really are. That is, they may have falsely identified themselves with something in the world they are living in, such as “I am a successful businessman” or “I am a good mother.”

Once they have created for themselves their false identities, they naturally feel the need to protect and preserve their self-created images. In doing so, they desperately want to control and protect their destinies, such as avoiding what they fear might taint their preserved identities, or repeating what they previously did in order to sustain and substantiate their identities.

As an example, a “successful businessman” might want to overwork in order to avoid in future all possible failures in his or her business, or to repeat in future all his or her past successful business endeavors.

As another example, a “good mother” might strive to control the behaviors of her children in order to control and shape them into the individuals she wants them to become to prove that she is indeed a "good mother."

In the process of protecting and sustaining that identity, stress is not only unduly created but also aggravated by all outcomes falling short of their expectations. Nowadays, many people are living just to escape their yesterday’s pains and to anticipate their tomorrow’s pleasures; unfortunately, they are on the road to more unhappiness, and not less.

The bottom line: you are who you are, and not who you would like to become.

Not letting go

The unhappy people simply refuse to let go of what they think belong permanently to them; they anticipate what they think they rightly deserve through their efforts to control or influence the outcomes of events in their lives. They are afraid of any unforeseeable change, especially death that puts an end to everything they have delusively created for themselves.

The happy people

The happy people are usually wise because they know not only how to live but also how to survive in a world of depression. 

Knowing the ultimate truths

The truly happy people are those who understand that the only permanent cure for unhappiness is enlightenment, which is the profound human wisdom to know who they are, and what life is all about. True happiness lies within the true self; it comes from knowing the ultimate truths about everything in life.

Living a simple life

In addition, the happy people live a simple life, which is the essence of living. They have little or no attachment because they understand that everything is impermanent and subject to change and demise. Therefore, craving for more may also imply getting more problems when things do not last.

Remember, you have to be always conscious of your thinking mind in order to better understand your perceptions and then change them so that they may become a glass half-full, and not a glass half-empty.





 Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Meaning of "Prayers Not Answered"


The Meaning of “Prayers Not Answered”

Prayers not answered” simply means “expectations not fulfilled.”

But what’re your “expectations”? And where do they come from?

You experience your own life experiences through your five senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling) as a result of the choices of your actions, inactions, and reactions in your everyday life.

Your sensations often become your own perceptions, which then form your own assumptions and predictions; for example, a good education will lead to a successful career, and bring about a happy relationship.

All your “expectations” are only the personal and the subjective perceptions of your mind. But your “expectations” are often unreal and even self-delusive.

Even what you think you see with your own eyes may not necessarily be the reality.

To illustrate, in 1997, Richard Alexander from Indiana was convicted as a serial rapist, because one of the victims and her fiancé insisted that he was the perpetrator based on what the victim and her fiancé claimed that “they saw with their own eyes.”

But the convicted man was later exonerated and subsequently released in 2001, based on the new DNA science and other forensic evidence. Experts explained that a traumatic emotional experience, such as a rape, could “distort” the perception of an individual. That explains why the woman and her fiancé “swore” that Richard Alexander was the rapist, but evidently he wasn’t.

To illustrate “unreal expectations”: Helen Keller, celebrated author, political activist, and philanthropist, was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree; she became deaf and blind at an early age of less than two.

Imagine you were Helen’s parents: would you have “darkened expectations” of the future of Helen when she suddenly became deaf and blind?

Another illustration of “unreal expectations”: Shon Robert Hopwood, a young American convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to prison, became well-known as a jailhouse lawyer. While serving time in prison, Shon started spending time in the law library, became a jailhouse lawyer for the inmates, and ultimately a very accomplished United States Supreme Court practitioner by the time he left prison in 2009. Currently, he is professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.

If you were the parents of Shon, would your own expectations of your son have fallen short after his conviction of 12 years of imprisonment?

The truth of the matter

Your perceptionswhether true or untruebecome your realities, and are then stored in your subconscious mind as your memories.

Whenever you want to make a choice or decision, it’s your subconscious mind that provides your conscious mind with your many attitudes, beliefs, and predictions—all based on your memories of your past experiences. Your thinking mind then begins to process and project them into the future as your “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Points to Remember

Perceptions may easily become distorted and unreal. So, don’t let your own perceptions become your assumptive predictions.

Expectations are in the future, and their timeline is indefinite. So, don’t jump to any conclusion yet.

The past was gone; the future is yet to come; only the present is real. So, don’t use the past to predict the future as “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Click here to get Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © Stephen Lau



Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Overcome Depression


Can TAO help your depression?

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

Letting Go Attachments

The  Origin of Human Attachments All attachments originate from the ego-self. What is an ego? Do we all have an ego-self? An ...