Your “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.”

Thursday, September 19, 2019

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

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Successful Aging


Aging sucks because you are getting older and older each day. The only time in your life when you would like to get older is when you were a kid of three or four years of age. Now, in your golden years, time seems to fly, building up so much speed that it is no longer funny any more.

Subjective Perception

Feeling about old age is no more than a subjective perception of self. It is always the “glass is half full or half empty” attitude of looking at life. More specifically, it is how you view your own life “in the eyes of the beholder” who is yourself.

Successful Aging

Empowered by positive facts of aging, now is as good a time as any to begin your successful aging in your golden years. Make your presence in your golden years a memorable experience.

First of all, your successful aging has to come with certain consciousness, which is awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and what is within you.


Conscious of Time


According to The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2004, reaching fifty today, if you are a man, you have on average 27.5 more years; if you are a woman, you have on average 31.6 more years. You may still have time. However, in your golden years, be more conscious of the compression of time.

So relish your life all the more because your days are numbered and further weighed down with your daily routine. Just do your best, and make the most of it!

Santa Claus is always conscious of time: he needs to deliver all his presents to the children on time—that is, before Christmas.

Like Santa Claus, you must be more conscious of your time—don’t idle it away, and don’t procrastinate. Make good use of your time.


Conscious of Self


In your golden years, be more conscious of self: who you are, and what you can be. Consciously cultivate your life enjoyment, stretch your mind, expand your spirit, and invest love, compassion, and time on others around you, especially those who are less fortunate than yourself. This is how you may re-discover yourself in your golden years. Just as George Eliot, the author, says: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”  

Santa Claus has a beaming personality, always expressing his love and compassion to the needy children. Like Santa Claus, expand your personality, and the sky is the limit!


Conscious of Innovation


In the golden years, it is easy to become too philosophical in that one may be tempted to resign to fate, and thus expecting tomorrows to be only repetitions of todays and yesterdays. Although daily life xperience may be the same, your golden years should be a time of experimentation. Be innovative and creative out of the mundane in everyday life. Innovation is not just about thinking out of the box; it is about creating your own box.

Santa Claus is creative and imaginative in his choice, as well as his delivery, of presents to the children. Like Santa Claus, be creative and be out of the ordinary! Make your golden years the best time of your life!  Remember this: “Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.” Aldous Huxley

Look up to Santa Claus as your role model of successful aging. Of course, Santa is only a mythical figure: he is immune from the ravages of time, and that is why he never ages. But if you do emulate Santa Claus, you surely can slow down your own aging process, if not reverse it.

Always look at the sunny side of your golden years. There is no foolproof recipe for successful aging in the golden years. Resist the temptation to become less attached to life in your later years; instead, become more involved and you will discover your own recipe for your successful aging in your golden years.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, September 17, 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, September 16, 2019

Aging and Depression

Aging and Depression

Feeling blue occasionally is a natural part of life. But when the sadness persists and interferes with everyday life, it may be depression, a medical condition that plagues many seniors as they continue to age. As a matter of fact, depression is a serious disease itself affecting approximately 15 percent of the senior population in the United States, in particular, those in hospitals and nursing homes.

When depression occurs in late life, it may be a relapse of an earlier depression, or its onset is due to another chronic or life-threatening illness. When one is afflicted with a disease, the depression can be more serious and more difficult to deal with or recover from.

The loss of a lifelong partner or a close friend is a frequent but inevitable occurrence in later life. Although bereavement is part and parcel of life, it is another major cause of depression.

Physical disability and its accompaniment of worthlessness may also bring about depression in the golden years.

Act Like Santa, who is always cheerful, not depressed. Like Santa, you must remain cheerful and positive despite your current medical conditions or environmental problems. You must control all your negative emotions. Not controlling your negative emotions is like drinking salt water: the more you drink, the thirstier you become.

Debug depression myths

First and foremost, depression is not a normal part of growing older. It is a myth that all seniors experience some form of depression as they age. Nothing is further from the truth!

Research studies at the UCLA School of Medicine have shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy alone can actually cause chemical changes in the brain. In other words, it is a depression myth that chemical imbalance cannot be changed by thinking and behavior alone, other than by the use of medications. Unless the depression is post-traumatic, you can increase your neurotransmitters (the brain chemicals) with or without antidepressants. Therefore, it is important to train your mind to control your production of brain chemicals through positive thinking, instead of solely relying on medications.

It is also a depression myth that depression is caused entirely by chemical imbalance in the brain. Although the many symptoms of depression, such as guilt unconnected with the loss of a loved one, thoughts of suicide, difficulty in sleeping, inability to function normally, weight loss, and among others, are associated with chemical imbalance, there is no absolute scientific evidence that low levels of serotonin (a brain chemical) actually cause depression. At any rate, chemical imbalance may be the result, not necessarily, the cause of depression.

It is a depression myth that your behavior is primarily the result of environmental stress or conditioning. The truth is that people and events do not necessarily cause your moodiness, irritability, negative thinking, decreased motivation, loss of appetite, and insomnia—they are all common symptoms of depression.

It is a depression myth that you are powerless against a malfunctioning mind. The truth is that your brain is the hardware of your whole being. If you want to be what you really want to be, you must control your mind, and not letting your mind control you, making you become lethargic and unproductive. It is you who control your own thinking, and not your medications; and it is your brain that creates your own world—how you live your life, and how happy you are in your golden years. It is all in your deep limbic system (near the center of your brain). Your deep limbic system may be the culprit—the underlying cause of your depression. How is that? Your deficiency of neurotransmitters may increase metabolism or inflammation in your deep limbic system, leading to its malfunctioning. An overactive deep limbic system may make you do the following: looking back at the past, you feel regret; looking at the future, you feel anxiety; looking at the present, you feel only dissatisfaction. All these negative thoughts are known as automatic negative thoughts (ANT).

It is a myth that you can heal your deep limbic system only with antidepressants to enhance your neurotransmitters. Even if that were true, all depression medications come with a hefty price—their long-term adverse side effects that may offset the immediate benefits.

Rethink depression. Rethink any depression myth that may have been wrongly inculcated in your mind. You are what you think, and depression can be a choice—your choice, if you choose not to rethink your thinking of depression. You are responsible for your own thoughts. Create your own realty, and change your thinking mind about your depression.

Heal your deep limbic system

Without antidepressants, you can still heal your deep limbic system and enhance its functioning to increase the production of your neurotransmitters to overcome your depression.

Step 1

Understand that your thoughts are real to you. They are not imaginary, but as real as life to you alone.

Now, you have a thought in your mind. Your thought sends electrical signals to your brain. Your brain processes these signals and releases brain chemicals. You become aware of your own thinking. No matter what you think, your thoughts are real to you, and must be treated as real. The goal is to change your perception of these “real” thoughts.

Step 2

Be aware of your body’s reactions to the chemicals released by your brain as these thoughts occur. For example, if you are angry, notice how your muscles tense up and how your heart beats faster; if you are happy, notice how your body responds with a smile or a feeling of euphoria.

Train yourself to notice the differences in your deep limbic system when your thoughts are happy and when they are sad, and notice the different reactions of your body to these different thoughts.
Step 3

Think of negative thoughts as bad. Talk back to your negative thoughts whenever they occur.

Remember, your automatic negative thoughts (ANT) come to your brain involuntarily and spontaneously. But they are NOT correct, and they do not reflect the WHOLE truth.

Change your thoughts, and do not believe them. Learn how to train your mind to change your thoughts, and accordingly change your feelings. Reinforce your changed feelings by talking back to those negative thoughts.

Step 4

Do not focus on negative thoughts. Do not predict the future: you are not supposed to know your fate, and you will never know it anyway. Do not read into someone else’s mind: you have enough trouble reading your own mind, let alone that of others. Do not think with your feelings: they often “lie” to you because they are based on powerful memories from the past, which may be distorted and untrue. Do not cherish the feeling of guilt: remove from your vocabulary “could have”, “should have”, and “ought to have.” Do not label or generalize anyone or anything with words, such as “arrogant”, “dishonest” or “a liar”: judging or labeling prevents you from getting a clear picture of someone or a real situation. Do not explain someone else’s action or intention: that is, attributing any reason or explanation why things happen. Do not play the blame game: stop blaming anyone or anything because you are responsible for own your feelings, and no one else is!

The above are all common patterns of thoughts that come to you naturally simply because you permit them. They all upset your deep limbic system. Learn to talk back to them whenever they surface in your mind. That you cannot control your thoughts is a depression myth. That you must use medications to suppress your negative thoughts is another depression myth.

Banish your negative thoughts

Exercise can help you banish negative thoughts from your mind by increasing your energy output, by accelerating your metabolism, by normalizing your melatonin production to induce restful sleep; by improving your mood with more of the natural amino acid tryptophan.

Nutrition, too, can help your deep limbic system function optimally. Essentially, your deep limbic system needs fat, specifically, omega 3 fatty acids. According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, men who had the highest suicide rates had the lowest cholesterol levels. So some fats may not be too bad after all.

Your body needs proteins, which are building blocks of brain neurotransmitters. Eat more protein.

Balanced meals with complex carbohydrates, milk, meat, and eggs may boost the levels of dopaimine, serotonin, and norepinephrine—their insufficiency is implicated in the cause of depression.

According to Buddha, depression is an illness not just of the body and mind, but also of the heart. The heart or the spirit is where the key to healing lies, contrary to the depression myth that only medications and talk therapy hold the key to recovery.

If your life does not have a real purpose, the worldliness of life may become like quicksand sucking you into a spiritual vacuum, which can only be filled by depressive negative thoughts. When that happens in your golden years, you are not living but merely staying alive.

Emotions are both psychological (what we think) and biological (what we feel). Recognize the power of emotions, but not the truths they necessarily represent. Learn to manage your emotions to free yourself of depression when you grow older in your golden years.  All emotions have an “inner voice” that must be acknowledged first or it will not go away. In addition to talking back to that voice, you may have to talk to someone else, such as someone close to you, to avoid being at risk for trapped emotions, especially when you are all alone by yourself. Always cherish a positive attitude towards yourself as well as others.

According to a pioneering study at Yale University, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, seniors are more likely to recover from a disability if they have a positive attitude about aging. The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston also conducted a survey to assess the frailty of the elderly based on their weight loss, extent of exhaustion, walking speed, and grip strength. One of the findings was that there was a link between positive thinking and frailty in that those who scored high on positive thinking were significantly less likely to become frail in their senior years. Their positive thoughts included being hopeful about the future, being happy and content with life, and believing that they were just as good as other younger people.

To sum up, positive mentality means hope rather than just optimism. There is a difference between hope and optimism. With optimism, you believe that things are going to turn out for the best; optimism, however, has to be realistic and should not exclude grief, hurt, sadness, and sorrow. Hope, on the other hand, shows you a possible and realistic path to a better outcome despite all the challenges, obstacles, and problems you may encounter in your golden years. Your future is always unknown and unknowable, but it is your readiness to get new information and to use your new experience to reassess your current situation that provides a light at the end of the tunnel.

If you have already developed depression in your golden years, you don’t have to struggle with it for the rest of your life. Now is the time to wake up from your nightmare and live a life that you deserve in your golden years.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, September 15, 2019

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

Saturday, September 14, 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

Friday, September 13, 2019

Wisdom in Living

Do you always feel good about yourself?

Wellness is feeling good about self with respect to the body, the mind, and the soul. Wellness may be synonymous with happiness. 

Are you happy? What makes you happy? A successful career, satisfying relationships, good health, or material possessions? Which one, or all of those? No matter what, wellness is what makes you feel good about yourself, and what makes your life meaningful. If your life is without a purpose, and you are always drifting from here to there, you won't feel good about yourself or life in general.

Feeling good about oneself requires wisdom -- wisdom to know who you are and what you want in life. Without wisdom, you will not experience lasting well-being. Without wisdom, your living is like like chasing the wind, without any direction.

Wisdom is essential in the art of living well. It involves wisdom of the mind, the body, and the soul. They are all inter-related and inter-dependent on one another. For example, if you have satisfying relationships but your health is rapidly deteriorating, you will not feel well; or if you have a successful career but are emotionally distressed, you will not be in good spirit. Therefore, the overall wellness is contingent on the holistic wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul. To cherish and nourish this holistic wellness, your need wisdom, which holds the key to happiness and well-being of any individual.

Which is wisdom? Where does it come from?

Wellness begins with the mind first, and not the body or the soul. After all, you are what you have become by reason of your thinking. You are a summary of your thoughts, which make you who you are or what you have now become. Your past experiences and your perceptions of those experiences have "preconditioned" how you currently think. In other words, your background, and upbringing predetermine how your mind perceives your present life experiences. Given that your past exposure might not be telling you the whole truth, you, therefore, need wisdom to "empty" your mind and re-define your current mindset. That is to say, you must learn how to rethink your mind. Thinking is never easy and that is why so few people do it, according to Albert Einstein.

You are living in a physical world, and your life experiences are perceived by your body through the five senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching). But these sensations may be positively or negatively interpreted by the mind, which stores past experiences of those sensations of body in both the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. The former voluntarily accepts or rejects those sensations, while the latter involuntarily includes whatever the subconscious mind is exposed to. True wisdom is the capability of the mind to know what is real and what is unreal. 

Tao wisdom is the ancient wisdom from China that shows you how to have an empty mind first to rethink your mind in order to separate the truths from the half-truths or myths.

Tao wisdom is the essence in the art of living well, It is the profound wisdom of the ancient Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, the author of the immortal classic Tao Te Ching, one of the most translated works in world literature. The book has been popular for thousands of years due to its wisdom, which is simple but controversial, profound and yet intriguing. To fully understand it, you need to get all the essentials of Tao wisdom. Click here for more details.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Empower Your Mind to Overcome Stress

Stress originates from the mind. It is all in the mind. The intensity of stress is a perception of the mind. Stress is no more than your own perceptions of it. That is to say, it is your own attitude or personal reaction to certain events and experiences in your life. In other words, what is stress to you may not be stress to another person.

William Shakespeare once said: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” John Milton, the famous English poet, also had this to say: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” Both spoke volumes of the perceptions of stress.

Therefore, subconscious energies of the mind play a pivotal role in stress management.

Stress may come in different forms. Your experience of stress can be past, current, and future.

Past stress—also known as “residual stress”—is stress from the past that you have not overcome completely despite the passage of time.

Current stress is a current state of arousal caused by an existing situation that requires your immediate attention but that you do not enjoy addressing it.

Future stress is “anticipatory stress” or worry about what might happen in the future. Residual stress can lead to future stress, passed on from unpleasant past experiences.

Perceptions of stress are generally based on the following: the more you care and value about something, the more stress you have; the more choices and options available to you, the less stress you have; the more conscientious you are, the greater is your stress; the more enjoyment you have, the less stress you have; and the more responsibility you have, the greater is your stress.

In short, stress is all in the mind—your thinking mind. The bottom line: empower your mind to live a stress-free life as if everything is a miracle.

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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...