Saturday, August 17, 2019

Which Personality Do You Belong to?


Which Personality Do You Belong to?

Your ego-self, which is formed by your thoughts, often become your attachments. Too many attachments to your ego-self may become problematic, leading to depression.

The Unhappy Personality

There are those who are forever unhappy due to an unhappy childhood, an unfulfilled adult life, and many unhappy life experiences throughout their life journey. They have made indelible imprints on their minds, making them see only the problems, instead of the potentials ahead of them. They do not want to live, but they just do not die. Not wanting or knowing how to purposely end their lives, they just drift on, or simply live a reckless life in hope of an early demise.

They have suffered and gone through too much in their lives. They do not know how to cope with their life problems and how to deal with their life challenges. They have despaired and become helpless, and depression is their only escape from the realities they strive to avoid. They are forever the unhappy ones because unhappiness has become their brain chemicals.

The Neither-Happy-Nor-Unhappy Personality

There are those who have always been only spectators, instead of participants, of life; they are forever sitting on the sidelines of life, observing others and never thinking that they could be a part of it. They always believe that life is not worth taking chances because their minds have been filled with many assumptions that they are not competent enough to get involved. Inactivity and passivity play a major role in their lives. They may not like their current situations, but they do not know how and where to start to change them. Even if they have the know-how, they do not want to do it, or unless someone else would do it for them. Life is too much for them; they just stay back and stay put, not taking any chance or exerting any effort, while they try to get by with whatever they have. They never see the need to take the initiative to create a better life for themselves.

If they just do not die, they just carry on with their lives with different episodes of high and low, always wondering why they do not have what they wish they had, or why others are always having what they are not having.

The To-Be-Happy Personality

There are those who are always in quest of happiness. They have the problematic mindset of “better” and “more” in their endless quest for careers, relationships, and material comforts that have become the sole objectives of their personal happiness. Their to-be-happiness just keeps them always wanting “better” and “more” in order to feel happy or happier.

The Happy Personality

There are those who have the wisdom to understand that true happiness requires both action and effort, that happiness is only a moment-to-moment feeling, and that happiness never lasts.Indeed, happiness is feeling good about oneself, and it requires one to take some actions in order to feel good about oneself. It should be pointed out that elated feelings, such as happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment, are not the natural and normal resting states of the human mind; therefore, one must take a deliberate action in order to achieve and activate those innate mental states. The only explanation is that our ancestors in the Stone Age did not naturally or instinctively feel comfortable, secure, and satisfied with their status quo. They certainly did not pass those genes on to us. They had to fight to survive; by the same token, we all must make a conscious effort to take some actions in order to feel good, happy, and satisfied.

Remember, true human happiness is a process, a way of living, involving some actions to change the consciousness of thinking. It is no more than the ability to experience joy when good things happen; the ability to feel satisfaction when goals are achieved; the ability to cope with problems, the ability to adapt to changes, and the ability to give meaning and purpose to life.

The conclusion


In general, the above four different happiness mindsets are responsible for the creation of different personalities. Not only the characteristics of one type of mindset may overlap those of another, but also one type of mindset may become another; it is all in the consciousness of an individual’s thinking mind.

         

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Friday, August 16, 2019

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 fiancĂ© 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





Thursday, August 15, 2019

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




Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Real Meaning of TAO


THE REAL MEANING OF 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



Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Embracing All


Embracing All

The TAO recommends embracing allincluding everyone and everything that one encounters on one’s life journeyinstead of choosing this and picking that. The fact that humans pick this and avoid that is based on their past experiences and projecting those experiences into future as their expectations.
         
"Good fortune and misfortune are all in one.
Seeking one and rejecting the other,
we become completely confused.
Striving for goodness and righteousness,
we become evil and wicked."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 58)

Embracing everyone and everything is beneficial because it holds the key to awakening, which is the ultimate understanding of the TAO.

“We act without over-doing.
We manage without interference.
We enjoy without attachment. . . .
Therefore, we focus on the present moment,
doing what needs to be done,
without straining and stressing.

To end our suffering,
we focus on the present moment,
instead of our expected result.
So, we follow the natural laws of things.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 63)

The TAO, however, does not imply that there is no free will or freedom of choice.

“Fame or self, which is dearer?
Self or wealth, which is greater?
Gain or loss, which is more painful?
                                  
Accumulating or letting go, which causes more sufferings?
Looking for status and security, we who find only sufferings.
Knowing our true nature, we find joy and peace.
With nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to us.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 44)

Embracing helps you let go of all your attachments to life, especially those you think define who you are.

“Everything that happens to us is beneficial.
Everything that we experience is instructional.
Everyone that we meet, good or bad, becomes our teacher or student.

We learn from both the good and the bad.
So, stop picking and choosing.
Everything is a manifestation of the mysteries of creation."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 27)

Attachments and Detachments

Attachment is no more than a safety blanket to overcome fear—fear of change and of the unknown from that change. To cope with that fear, all attachments become distractions.

Attachment is basically your emotional dependence on things and people that define your identity, around which you wrap your so called “happiness” and even your survival. Attachment is holding on to anything that you are unwilling to let go of, whether it is something good or bad, positive or negative.

All human attachments are the raw materials with which one both consciously and subconsciously creates one’s identity through a period of confusion and uncertainty that inevitably leads to the identity crisis. Without human attachment, there will be no identity crisis.

“The Way is easy,
     yet people prefer distracting detours.
Beware when things are out of balance.
Remain centered within the Creator.

Distractions are many,
in the form of riches and luxuries.
They allure us from the Way.
Accumulations are like extortions of the poor.
They bring only disasters and sufferings.
Do not deviate from the Way.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 53)

Detachment from the ego-self is the only way to go.




Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, August 12, 2019

How to Avoid a Dysfunctional Mind


The Awakening and Letting 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 ego-self. 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 ego-self.

According to the TAO, the wisdom of Lao Tzu, the ancient sage from China, it is the letting go, and not the 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 a miracle; let go of the world to have the universe. That is the only path to awakening of the mind.

Lao Tzu believes that the entire universe with everything in it flows with a mysterious force that not only controls but also maintains the natural order of all things. That ultimate reality is nondescript and paradoxical; all humans can know is that it is not only within and outside them, but also everywhere and nowhere.

“The Way to the Creator existed
before the universe was created.
Its essence is formless and unchanging.
It is present wherever we turn,
providing compassion to all beings.
It comes from the Creator of the universe,
who has no name.
To identify him, call him the Creator.
He can also be called the Great Mystery,
from whom we come, in whom we live, and to whom we return.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 25)

Accordingly, Lao Tzu’s emphasis is on being, rather than on doing.

This is how the human mind may have become distorted, delusional, and dysfunctional:

·       In the beginning, man did not know things existed, and so he had perfect knowledge.

·       Later, he found out things existed, but made no distinctions between them.

·       Then, he began to make some distinctions, but expressed no judgment about right and wrong.

·       Now, he makes his own judgments of right and wrong, and that leads to his own preferences of likes and dislikes, and thus creating his desires and expectations—the sources of his sufferings. In short, the human mind is like an unbridled horse: it makes judgments, making what does not exist, exist, and what does exist, does not exist. In the process, illusions and self-deceptions are created, and they become the attachments or substances of the ego-self.



Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Control and Over-Doing

CONTROL AND OVER-DOING

Controlling external events is futility because control is but an illusion based on expected results projected by the thinking mind into the future. Concentration on controlling makes it difficult to concentrate on doing the right things to make you live longer.

The TAO, which is the wisdom of Lao Tzu, the ancient sage from China, looks upon the world as something to be accepted, and that involves invoking the profound but paradoxical wisdom of “action through inaction”—which is action based on acceptance of nature or the natural turn of events in life.

“Whenever we try to control,
we separate ourselves from our true nature.
Man proposes; the Creator disposes.
Life is sacred: it flows exactly as it should.
Trusting in the Creator, we return to our breathing,
natural and spontaneous, without conscious control.

In the same manner:
sometimes we have more,
sometimes we have less;
sometimes we exert ourselves,
sometimes we pull back;
sometimes we succeed,
sometimes we fail.

Trusting in the Creator, we see the comings and goings of things,
but without straining and striving to control them.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 29)

According to the TAO, everything in life must follow a natural cycle, whether we like it or not, and that we must be patient because nothing is within our control, especially our destinies.

”That which shrinks
must first expand.
That which fails,
must first be strong.
That which is cast down
must first be raised.
Before receiving, there must be giving.
This is called perception of the nature of things.
Soft and weak overcome hard and strong.
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 36)

Spontaneity is the essence of the natural cycle. What goes up must eventually come down; life begets death; day is followed by night—just like the cycle of the four seasons.

"Allowing things to come and go,
following their natural laws,
we gain everything.
Straining and striving,
we lose everything."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 48)

Intuition of spontaneity is an understanding of the impermanence of all things: nothing lasts no matter how we strive to keep the impermanent permanent, and everything remains only with that very present moment.

"Strong winds come and go.
So do torrential rains.
Even heaven and earth cannot make them last forever."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te  Ching, chapter 23)

The bottom line: do what needs to be done, but without over-doing, which causes stress in everyday life and living.



Stephen Lau                             
Copyright© by Stephen Lau



Saturday, August 10, 2019

A Simple Lifestyle


Living longer means you may live to a ripe old age, if you just don’t die. Is this really a blessing? Well, that depends on your state of mind, which is essentially your own perception of your life experiences. As aging continues, everything in your life begins to disintegrate and disappear, whether you like it or not. The reality is that you must learn to let go of everything. Take the example of Ann Russell Miller.

Ann Russell Miller was a celebrated socialite from San Francisco, also known as Sister Mary Joseph, She, who had ten children and nineteen grandchildren, had grown up in luxury and privilege, and had been living a life of incredible wealth. Instead of shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, and decorating herself with jewelry from Tiffany, she suddenly and surprisingly decided to give up everything, and became a nun devoted to living in poverty for the rest of her life.

That unbelievable event happened more than two decades ago, and was then widely reported in the media across the country. Why did she make such a drastic and incredible change in her life? She said she had a calling, a true vocation that was hard to understand for the general public, even for the close members of her family.

Ann Russell Miller just wanted to live a simple lifestyle, deleting all the trimmings of life and living, as well as all the attachments that she wanted to let go ot.

Do you have a lot of attachments to the material world you are living in right now? Take a look at your garage and basement. If they are packed full and loaded with many disposables, then probably you still have many attachments you are unwilling to let go of. Attachments are clutters that bring memories you are unwilling to let go of—memories that are reminiscent of your past accomplishments.

If you wish to be happy in your golden years, just live a simple lifestyle.  

Epicurus, the famous Greek philosopher, had this advice on how to lead a happy life: avoiding luxuries, and living simply. The explanation is that luxurious living may make you into a “needy” person whose happiness always depends on things that are impermanent and easily lost. When they are lost —because nothing is permanent—you naturally become unhappy and even depressed.

Stephen Lau      
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Which Personality Do You Belong to?

Which Personality Do You Belong to? Your ego-self, which is formed by your thoughts, often become your attachments. Too many attachmen...