Wisdom from Books

<b>Wisdom from Books</b>
Stephen Lau's website to help you get the wisdom to live as if everything is a miracle!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Empower the Mind to Heal

Healing always begin with the mind first, and not the body. Empower your mind to heal any disease, in particular, depression.   

The human brain has about 15 billion cells, and you may have utilized only 10 to 15 percent of your brain power, so there is still plenty of room for enhancing your mind power. In other words, your brain has great potential power for mind healing.

You can significantly increase your brain power with practices and exercises to train your brain. Although everyone's brain differs, everyone can empower the mind, given the proper tools and training.
The mind—the consciousness of the brain—has two components: the conscious mind, and the subconscious mind.

Remember, your conscious mind makes decisions, but it is your subconscious mind directs your conscious mind. That is to say, in your conscious mind, you are fully aware of your actions and their respective consequences; in your subconscious mind, you only respond spontaneously to repetitions of words and images in the form of affirmations and visualization.

Always use positive affirmations and creative visualization to change your subconscious mind, instrumental in changing your conscious mind to begin changing your lifestyle to initiate the healing process, or to change the prognosis of your disease.

The laws of nature determine how things happen. One of the laws of nature is habitual stimulus: a certain stimulus, habitually applied time after time, may prove to produce a certain predictable result. Therefore, you can shape your thoughts into definite patterns, and act accordingly through consistency and regularity. In that way, you can control what you think in order to change your habits, that is, consciously changing your thoughts. Unlike animals following only their natural instincts, you have the capability to control your mind by manipulating your thoughts through repetitions of self-suggestions in the form of both words and visual images.

Use your subliminal messages to conduct an internal dialogue with your subconscious mind in order to achieve your personal goals in life, to enhance your well-being, and to your promote physical and spiritual wellness. In short, use subliminal messages to benefit your living for life.

A subliminal message or self-suggestion is an idea or notion that elicits a response in thought or behavior. It can derive from another person, such as a comment or criticism by that person; it can stem from an object, such as a bill requiring some action. A suggestion can, of course, come from the self in the form of self-talk or self-persuasion, such as when you are telling yourself that it is all right to eat junk food occasionally (which, incidentally, is a negative self-suggestion).

A subliminal message is an effective means to communicate with the inner or subconscious mind, which is powerful in that it not only runs the autonomic functions of your body but also controls your immune system. It can bring about a positive change in your thoughts and thinking through the production of endorphins (feel-good hormones), thereby making you feel happy; or it can induce negativity, adversely changing your general outlook of life and the self.

Life is full of choices, and a self-suggestion can indeed affect your choices, and hence the quality of your life.

For a subliminal message to be effective and powerful, however, it has to be repeated over and over again until the intention is absorbed and registered in the subconscious mind.

Subliminal messages have to be simple, relevant, and realistic. You must strongly believe in the veracity of those messages. In other words, you must be honest with yourself in believing that those subliminal messages are achievable goals in your life. Buying a lottery ticket and believing that it will ultimately change your life is not a realistic subliminal message.

Subliminal messages in the form of words have to be repeated over and over again until their powerful intentions are deeply ingrained and etched in your subconscious mind. Simplicity, consistency, and persistency are the characteristics critical to their success.

Subliminal messages in the form of powerful images and symbols are most effective and powerful when your body and mind are in a relaxed state, such as in a deep meditation, during which your mind is free from any five-sense activity.

Mental commitment is mental responsibility, without which nothing can be accomplished. In life, there is no free lunch: you must work at it in order to achieve it. Use subliminal messages to promote mental commitment to change your thinking:

I am a responsible person and I am totally committed to changing my thoughts.

I am staying committed until I reach my goal to change my thinking through daily subliminal messages.

I am committed to empowering my mind with subliminal messages in words and images.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

The Right Choice of Thoughts

According to Descartes, the great French philosopher, your mind thinks, and you create your thoughts, which are then expressed in language or words. You can choose your words, just as you can choose your thoughts.

As a simple illustration, here are some plain facts about my grandfather:

He came from China to the United States at the end of the 19th century. He studied at Cornell University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in economics. He became a successful banker, and started his own banking business in New York City. He made a great fortune, and began investing in real estate, making millions of dollars Then came the Great Depression, and he lost everything because he had to pay tax for all his real estate investments.

With an implicit presumptive mindset, my predictive thoughts with expectations could be: "If it hadn't been for the Great Depression, he might have become a real estate billionaire. He could have left my father—his only son—a  great fortune, and we would have been very rich. . . . . .How unfair that he had to pay all the land and real estate taxes that bankrupted him!"

With a different mindset, my thoughts could be: "Wealth and good fortune are unpredictable, and nothing in this material world is permanent. So, we should be grateful for whatever we presently have."

We all have a choice when we process data and information in our minds: with consciousness, we can always add or delete our own assumptions, expectations, and predictions. Again, with consciousness, we can choose to think about it, or simply reject it. For example, if my thoughts about my grandfather tend to be negative, then I could reject them whenever they pop up in my mind; on the hand, if my thoughts about my grandfather are positive, then I could  share the story of my grandfather with my friends.

The bottom line: we all have a choice about what is happening in our minds. If an unpleasant past experience pops up in  the brain, make a conscious effort to distract it by thinking about something else instead. We all have a choice.

If you just don’t die—"How should you live the rest of your life to overcome your daily problems and life challenges?" To do just that, you need the right choice of thoughts

The objective of this 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 as if everything is a miracle—if you just don’t die!

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Memory Loss in Seniors

The brain, as one of the most important body organs as well as the control center of your life and well-being, undergoes changes, resulting in memory decline. The degree of decline varies in individuals due to their differences in lifestyle and their genetic makeup. Memory loss is an impediment, but do not let it be your stumbling block in the rest of your life journey.

Senior moments

The human mind declines and memories start to wane after the age of 30 or so. As many people hit middle age, they often start to notice that their memory and mental clarity are not what they used to be. They suddenly cannot remember where they put their keys or eyeglasses just a moment ago, or an old acquaintance's name or even the name of an old band they used to love. As the brain fades, they euphemistically refer to these occurrences as “senior moments.” Senior moments are becoming increasingly annoying and even frustrating as you continue in your aging process.

Have you, too, experienced your senior moments?

Frailty of memory may be due to many factors, including brain damage, alcohol and nicotine use, constipation, and dehydration (common among seniors due to their reduced consumption of water for fear of incontinence), depression, and pharmaceutical drugs (especially those anesthetic agents, benzodiazepines, and among others).

The storage of information in the brain hinges on consciousness. First of all, you must be fully conscious of its importance before you will decide to store it. If you think it is really important, then you must put it away in a safe place where you can easily retrieve it later. Finally, when you want to retrieve it, you must know or remember where to look for it. It is all about consciousness.

In the scenario of not knowing where you have put your keys or eyeglasses, first and foremost, you must make an immediate deliberate mental note that you will need your keys or eyeglasses as soon as you take them off; then, be conscious of the place where you put them, for example, right next to your cell phone or in front of the TV; when you need to find them, you can readily recall the place where you put them.

Of course, another option is to put your keys or eyeglasses in an assigned place, where you can always find them, but that will not help you remember where you put them. In addition, it may not always be possible to put them in the same place all the time. The bottom line: learn to be conscious of any new information you want to retrieve later, and make a deliberate effort to remember where you store that information. You must always train your mind for better memory. Just practice this consciousness not just for your keys or eyeglasses but for all other things. With more practice, you will soon find that your memory has significantly improved, instead of having deteriorated further due to lack of use!

Managing memory-loss problems

Memory-loss problems may often interfere with your daily living throughout the rest of your life. The good news is that numerous conditions associated with memory impairment are treatable and even reversible, especially when the conditions causing the delirium are successfully addressed, such as deficiency in vitamin B12, autoimmune diseases, and depression. However, when these memory-loss conditions remain untreated for more than six months to a year, clinical  experience has suggested that the prognosis for full recovery of memory function may become slim and the damage to mental health may be even permanent and irreversible.

To manage your memory-loss problems, you may try mnemonic aids (use of lists and reminders) and self-cuing. Use visual cues and mental associations to “jog” your memory.

Learn to process new information step by step, and one step at a time, to allow yourself more time to get the hang of it.

Avoid prescription drugs wherever possible. Over-the-counter drugs, such as sleeping pills, and antihistamines, such as Benadryl and Tylenol PM, contain dangerous chemicals, which may cause memory loss or decline. Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants may also have adverse side effects on the brain. Avoid them as much as possible.

Go off the beaten track to break your old habits from time to time in order to stimulate your brain cells. According to Dr. Randolph B. Schiffer, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, occasionally going off the beaten track is “good for the soul.” So, every now and then, do something out of the ordinary just to stimulate your brain.
Engage in challenging endeavors, such as crossword puzzles, adult learning, or learning a musical instrument.

Reduce stress, which interferes with concentration and staying focused. Anxiety dampens your mental ability, especially your memory skills to recall stored information.

Learn to use the Chinese Tai Chi breathing to inhale memories and exhale worries. Tai Chi not only de-stresses you but also enhances your mental alertness, in particular, your memory power. Change the incorrect way you breathe to avoid breathing difficulties, which are common among the elderly. Learn the correct way to breathe for total relaxation.

Use meditation to relax your body and mind for better memory enhancement.

Apply the principle of "present-mindedness" to avoid absent-mindedness and to focus on the present moment. You just need to be aware of an action while it is taking place, and not after it has already taken place, because it will be too late by then. This “present awareness” can be applied to almost anything you do in your daily life. What you need is to practice consciousness and concentration.

Of course, the best and most effective way to manage your memory is to use it, instead of relying on cues or reminders.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 17, 2017

Dealing With A Compulsive Mind

We all have a compulsive mind, which is thinking non-stop without our conscious awareness.

Because our 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 this compulsive thinking mind is to direct it to the present moment. When our 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 our mind remain in the present moment—even though for just a short moment—we need acute awareness and deep concentration. To do that, we need constant and regular practice to focus or re-focus our mind on the present moment.

Once we can stop, at will, our mind from thinking, we have control over our thinking process, we are no longer a slave to your thoughts, and our mind becomes once again our friend, instead of our enemy. Learn to switch our mind on and off, just as we do with our computer.

Remember, we are all addicted to thinking, whether we want it or not; we must stop our thinking sometime and somehow.

Mind Training Exercises to Focus on the Present Moment

In your everyday life, you can practice mind training to focus on the present moment. Essentially, you are giving your full attention to what you are doing at that very present moment.

Focusing on the present moment makes you forget the past and the future.

To illustrate, some people like to engage in dangerous sports, such as car racing or skydiving, because they would like to obliterate thoughts of the past and the future by focusing only on the thrills of the present moment.

If your mind is fully engaged in doing something, you will not be thinking of the past or the future, just like the car racers or skydivers. It is only when you are half-engaged mentally, then your mind begins to wander, letting your subconscious mind take over.

There is a difference between the knowledge mind and the thinking mind. The former provides facts or information about something or someone; the latter provides labels, judgments and opinions. Practice mind training to focus on the present moment so as to withdraw the thinking mind from the past and the future whenever it is not needed.

For example, you can focus your mind on your breathing. Notice how you breathe in and breathe out, how your body feels during inhalation and exhalation, and how the flow and rhythm of your breaths are affecting your mind. Put some stick-on notes on your computer monitor or anywhere in your house to remind you to practice conscious breathing every now and then throughout the day. Practicing conscious breathing for 2-3 minutes every hour or so does not interrupt with your daily work; just form this good habit of mindfulness and internal focus.

For example, you can focus your mind on your walking. Pay close attention to every step, every movement of your hands and feet, your breathing, and your body sensations while you are walking. Many people do their walking while listening to their music, or worse, talking on the cell phone; they are not letting their minds focus on the present moment.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mental Problems Associated With Aging

Some elderly complain of having bugs crawling under their skin or on their faces. These are no more than hallucinations. So, why do some of the elderly suffer from hallucinations?

A hallucination does not require an external stimulus for a person to see, smell or hear things that are not present. This is an abnormal perception, and many elderly people end up suffering from hallucinations. However, hallucinations can be controlled through medications in the majority of the cases.

There are several reasons for hallucinations: they can occur due to fatigue, emotional exhaustion, insomnia, depression, cancer of the brain, head trauma, high grade fever, liver failure, lesions in the brain, or demise of a close friend or a loved one.

The most common cause for hallucinations among seniors is a health condition known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome. This syndrome is prevalent among seniors who have lost their vision.

Another cause for hallucinations in the elderly, both visual and auditory, occur in seniors who are suffering from sundowning syndrome. The symptoms of this syndrome occur late in the afternoons, evenings, and nights and are seen in seniors who have dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and psychosis, which is a loss of connection to reality. Psychotic patients are unable to tell what is real from what is imaginary. They experience delusions, which means having false beliefs about who they are or what is happening to them, and hallucinations—seeing, hearing, smelling, or tasting something that is not really there.

Neuroscientists increasingly believe that the brain needs exercise in much the same way our muscles do, and the right mental workouts can significantly improve our basic cognitive functions.  Thinking is essentially a process of making neural connections in the brain.  To a certain extent, our ability to excel in making the neural connections that drive intelligence is inherited.  However, because these connections are made through effort and practice, scientists believe that intelligence can expand and fluctuate according to mental effort.

As many people hit middle age, they often start to notice that their memory and mental clarity are not what they used to be.  They suddenly can't remember where they put the keys just a moment ago, or an old acquaintance's name, or the name of an old band they used to love.  These are just “senior moments” experienced by many as they continue to age.

Enhancing memory and attention can help you overcome many mental problems associated with aging.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 10, 2017

Asking Questions Is Mind Power

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 is wisdom of the mind to understand the self, others, as well as how and why certain things happen. Wisdom is the capability of the self to ask self-intuitive questions along the life journey.

To li The desire to live well is as old as age. Everybody desires a life that is happy and well lived.

To live well, however, one must ask questions about life; after all, life is about asking questions and finding intelligent answers to the questions asked. Living for life is never easy because it requires wisdom, which is essentially finding answers to questions about life and living. In the Bible, Jesus said: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find . . .” (Matthew 7:7) In real life, we must ask ourselves questions at all times.

Asking questions is introspection, which is a process of self-reflection, without which there is no self-awareness and hence no personal growth and development. A static life is never a life well lived. Therefore, asking questions is self-empowering wisdom—a life-skill tool necessary for the art of living well.

Why is that?

It is because the kind of questions you ask determines the kind of life you are going to live. Your questions trigger a set of mental answers, which may lead to actions or inactions, based on the choices you make from the answers you have obtained. Remember, your life is always the sum of all choices you make in the proces.

ve 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?"

Read my book “You Just Don’t Die!

The objective of this 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 as if everything is a miracle—if you just don’t die!

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 6, 2017

An Empty Mindset With Reverse Thinking

Clarity of thinking is important in the wisdom in living. You need an empty mind in order to have new perceptions, interpretations, and assumptions so that all your assumptions may have many more exceptions. The problem with many of us is that we often act and react according to our own assumptions.

Lao Tzu, the ancient sage from China, who wrote the immortal classic "Tao Te Ching" on human wisdom, says that reverse thinking is more than thinking out of the box: it is creating its own box of unconditioned thinking.

“We need a still and composed mind
to see things with greater clarity.
Because trouble begins in the mind
with small and unrelated thoughts.
So we carefully watch the mind
to stop any trouble before it begins.
Thus we put things in order
before they become out of order.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 64)

An illustration of conditioned thinking is that “extra effort” will ultimately lead to success in any human endeavor, or the conditioned mindset of “the more, the better.” There was an ancient Chinese fable about a competition in drawing, in which candidates were asked to draw a snake in detail. One of the candidates finished his drawing sooner than all the rest of the competitors. Thinking that extra effort might give him extra credit, he took it upon himself to add some detailed legs to the snake. As a result of his extra effort, he was disqualified, and lost the competition.

The contemporary culture of “more is more” and “buy more, have more” is almost on everyone’s mind. However, according to Lao Tzu's reverse mindset of “less for more,” the less effort you make, the greater chance of success you will have because extra effort is often accompanied by more stress and more problems down the road that may, ironically enough, become obstacles on your road to success.

“That essentially means:
the more effort we exert, the more failure we experience;
the more weapons we make, the more danger we encounter;
the more laws we enact, the more law-breakers we produce.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 57)

An empty mindset with reverse thinking may help you look at life very differently.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau