Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered

<b>Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered</b>
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 16, 2021

Consciousness of Living


Consciousness of living

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” Pope Paul VI 

To live well, you must always be conscious of your living.

Simplicity in Living

Consciousness of living a simple lifestyle is the key to happiness and longevity. In this day and age, living in this complex world of technology is not easy: The complexity of this world has taken a toll on the human mind, creating undue stress, as well as many emotional, mental, personal, and psychological attachments in the material world. For these reasons, profound human wisdom in living is essential to overcoming stress and letting go of all attachments. Simplicity is the first step towards detachment, which holds the key to unlocking the door to happiness. Live a simple lifestyle, deleting all the trimmings of life and living, as well as all the attachments that may have a negative impact on your mind.

Epicurus, the Greek philosopher, had this advice on how to lead a pleasant 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.

The late Robert Kennedy once said: “Sometimes I think that the only people in this country who worry more about money than the poor are the very wealthy. They worry about losing it, they worry about how it is invested, they worry about the effect it’s going to have. And as the zeroes increase, the dilemmas get bigger.” 

Can you live a simple lifestyle to help you let go of all the trimmings of life?

When you were in your younger days, you might have had many attachments to life that define who you were, such as the car you were driving, the designer dress you were wearing, or anything that defined your social status. Can you, at this point in your life, let go of all these attachments and just lead a simple life? 

Living in simplicity is living a humble life, which is emptying your toxic cravings and attachments.

“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:3)

Attachments create your ego-self that not only separates you from others but also gives you your pride, instead of humility.

“Focusing on status gives us pride, and not humility.
Hoarding worldly riches deprives us of heavenly assets.

An empty mind with no craving and no expectation helps us let go of everything.
Being in the world and not of the world, we attain heavenly grace.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 2)

But with humility, we may see who we really are, not what we wish we were, and what we really need, not what we want. Humility is self-enlightening.

“Ever humble, we see the mysteries of all things created.
Ever proud, we see only the manifestations of all things created.

Only the mysteries, and not the manifestations,
show us the Way to true wisdom.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 1)

Live a simple life, especially as you continue to age, and you just don’t die!

Simplicity gives your clarity of thinking to see the wisdom of living in the present: the past was gone; the future is yet to come, and only the present is real—a gift from the Creator, and that is why it is called “present.”

"Simplicity is clarity.
It is a blessing to learn from those
with humble simplicity.

Those with an empty mind
will learn to find the Way.

The Way reveals the secrets of the universe:
the mysteries of the realm of creation;
the manifestations of all things created.
The essence of the Way is to show us
how to live in fullness and return to our origin."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 65)

Clarity of thinking may let you have the true human wisdom to know your true nature, thereby ending your craving and hence your self-imposed suffering.

In the present moment, with clarity of mind, you may begin to see the ultimate truths of the self, others, as well as everything around you. More importantly, you may see your past follies in identifying yourself with your thoughts that have created your ego-self, your present futile efforts in striving to protect your ego-self, and your future futilities in expecting that your ego-self will all its attachments will continue to exist in the days to come.  

Living in the present is an awakening to the realities of all things. It may afford you an opportunity to look more objectively at any given situation, allowing your mind to think more clearly, to separate the truths from the self-deceptions that might have been created in your subconscious minds all along.

Focusing on the present moment liberates you from projecting your desires into the future as expectations that necessitate your over-doing to guarantee their fulfillment.

“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)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Brain Fitness to Live Longer


Brain Fitness

Exercise

Exercise boosts blood flow to your brain by promoting the development of more blood vessels and connections between brain cells. Exercise also increases the production of new brain cells for learning and remembering. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that exercise can double or even triple the number of new cells, compared with the number in animals that do not exercise. If you wish to maintain your learning and remembering skills, exercise your body.

Regular endurance exercise, such as running, swimming, or biking, can also foster new brain cell growth and preserve existing brain cells. Build your physical endurance.

Strength training, such as lifting weights or using a resistance band, not only builds muscle and strengthens bone; but also boosts brain power, improves mood, enhances concentration, and increases decision-making skills. Build your physical strength.

Your flexibility gradually declines with age. Better flexibility means more energy, improved posture, and reduced risk of injury from falls. Build your flexibility with Tai chi, yoga, and stretching exercise.

Body balance diminishes progressively as you get older. Balance training is not just about avoiding falls. Better balance will improve your overall movement and your ability to do things better throughout your life. Build your body balance by standing on one foot or walking backward.

Diet

Eating foods high in saturated fats, like red meat, butter and dairy products, are associated with the development of degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Fish is a great source of omega-3, the type of fatty acid your body cannot produce, and it is good for your brain. To get your omega-3, eat salmon, cod, haddock, tuna, halibut, and sardines. If you don’t like fish, then eat plenty of walnuts, flaxseeds, and soybeans instead.

Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, are loaded with nutrients good for the brain. Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are packed with antioxidants that slow down aging in the brain.

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are also strong antioxidants that potentially improve blood flow to the brain and reduce inflammation. Unsweetened cocoa powder is another excellent option. 

Many herbs and spices, such as turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, are packed with antioxidants that may decrease harmful inflammation in the brain. Use these  strong flavors in your cooking.

Whole grains, such as oats, barley, and quinoa, are rich in many of the B vitamins that work to reduce inflammation of the brain to prevent memory loss.

The protein and vitamins B, D and E in eggs and egg yolks may help improve memory. You can reap the benefits of these vitamins while keeping your cholesterol to a minimum by mixing whole eggs with egg whites to round out your omelet or scrambled eggs.

Music

According to some scientific research, music has the capacity and capability to change your neuron activity. Music therapists believe that the different sounds from different musical instruments have different impact on different body organs in the physical body. Scientists have used MP3 music and subliminal messages for practicing hypnosis to awaken the subconscious mind to improve memory, to enhance learning, to heal sleep problems, and to increase self-confidence, just to name a few possibilities. Music has to do with sound, which is one of the important sensory skills for maintaining good memory. In general, music listening and playing improves your concentration and brain power.

Brain reserve

Humans have “brain reserve,” which helps the human brain adapt and respond to changes and resist damage. Your brain reserve begins to develop in childhood and gets stronger as you move through adulthood. People who continue to learn, embrace new activities, and develop new skills and interests are building and improving their brain reserve. Therefore, it is important to keep on learning new things to preserve the brain reserve.

Learning

Get yourself educated. It can substantially increase your ability to fight off dementia. The same is true of working at a challenging job. So, go back to school, take classes, get a degree or an advanced degree. You are never too old to learn, and your brain will thank you in the long run.

Playing

Do crossword puzzles, play chess, mahjong, card games, or online games. These activities can stimulate the brain. Playing electronic “brain games” may help you improve your reaction time and problem-solving ability. It is important to find one that you will want to continue to play.

Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, professor of clinical psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, has recommended seven daily essential mental activities to optimize brain health and creativity.

Focusing on daily challenges helps your brain make some deep connections.
Playing creatively and joyfully helps your brain make new connections.
Connecting with nature and others daily helps your brain reinforce its relational circuitry.
Moving aerobically helps your brain strengthen its brain cells.
Reflecting internally, and focusing on sensations, feelings, thoughts, and images, help your brain integrate better.
Relaxing without any mental focus helps your brain recharge.
Sleeping restfully helps your brain consolidate and recover from the experiences of the day.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Saving Your Face


Saving Your Face


Unfortunately, the skin aging process cannot be reversed.
You can only fix your face through non-surgical procedures, such as BotoxÒ and RestylaneÒ, and other invasive surgical procedures, such as a face-lift.

BotoxÒ

BotoxÒ has been hailed as “the new fountain of youth” or the magic potion to aging.

Can BotoxÒ really save your face?

The pros of BotoxÒ are as follows:

BotoxÒ is a purified protein injected into your skin to make your muscles contract, and hence smoothing out your crows’-feet lines around your eyes.

BotoxÒ is minimally invasive, much better than invasive plastic surgery.

BotoxÒ is an instant fix: you can see the results almost immediately.

BotoxÒ gives a more natural look, except for the lines around the mouth. This is the reason why BotoxÒ is generally not applied on the smile folds because it weakens the muscle around the mouth, making your smile look “unnatural.”

BotoxÒ is a fairly safe and an ideal procedure because the botulimum (a toxic chemical) in BotoxÒ is extremely low, and there is little or no buildup of the toxin in your body (often eliminated within 24 to 48 hours—or at least according to BotoxÒ) to pose any major health risk.

BotoxÒ is relatively inexpensive, compared to other invasive procedures, such as a face-lift.

The cons of BotoxÒ are as follows:

BotoxÒ paralyzes your facial muscles, and therefore cannot fix your smile folds, making your smile seem “unnatural.”

BotoxÒ is still costly long term: the procedure has to be repeated every three to four months.

BotoxÒ is a drug with botulimum (a toxic chemical), and you may still have some concern about injecting it into your body.

Collagen injections

Besides BotoxÒ, there are other non-surgical procedures for consideration to save your face.

Collagen is a protein substance in the dermis layer of your skin, which is responsible for your skin’s elasticity. Collagen injections use bovine collagen, which is pure collagen obtainable from isolated cows, and which is clinically tested prior to injection.

Collagen injections have the following advantages:

Collagen injections make the lines on the face become less obvious and much smoother, but they do not make the lines disappear completely as BotoxÒ does.

Collagen injections are used mainly between the eyebrows and on smile folds, where BotoxÒ does not work effectively.

The disadvantages of collagen injections are as follows:

Collagen injections are not for everyone, especially if you are allergic to cows.

Collagen injections only soften your lines: they do not remove them completely. 

Fat injections

Fat injections are living grafts in which part of the fat from your own body, usually from the buttocks, stays and lives in a new environment.

Fat injections have the following advantages, compared to other non-surgical procedures:

They are more cost effective, compared to other non-surgical procedures.

The intervals between injections can be up to several months.

Fat injections may be the best option for deep smile folds, much more effective than collagen injections.

RestylaneÒ

RestylaneÒ is a clear gel injected into your skin to soften your facial contours, and to remove lines and wrinkles on your face. It is derived from a product as bio-compatible and bio-degradable as the natural hyaluronic acid, which is naturally found in your body. Hyaluronic acid, present mainly in your skin, is a substance that gives your body its structure and volume by attracting and holding on to the water in your skin. As such, it is most ideal for line and wrinkle filler.

RestylaneÒ has the following advantages over other similar products to remove wrinkles:

RestylaneÒ does not paralyze your facial muscles. It can be injected almost anywhere on your face.

RestylaneÒ eliminates any rejection risk by your body because it is naturally found in your own body.

RestylaneÒ lasts longer (up to a year) than collagen injections. It is, therefore, more cost effective in the long haul, although it costs 40 to 50 percent more than a collagen injection does.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, every year thousands of individuals opt for cosmetic procedures to save their faces, and of these individual in quest for a youthful look about 88 percent are women and 12 percent are men. However, cosmetic procedures only temporarily fix the problems of skin aging. Having a youthful look is more than just skin deep, and it never comes easy.

Just remember the following:

Your face is not you.

Your youthful look is only a part of you, and it is bound to change, no matter what. Learn how to delay, but also to accept, that inevitable change on your look.

Nobody’s face is perfect—let alone yours.

Do what you can, but do it!

Your over-concern for face image will level off at around fifties and sixties, when you would be more concerned with your health than with your youthfulness. This is the reality of life!

Make yourself look younger and healthier for longer.


Nora Wise
Copyright© by Nora Wise

Monday, September 13, 2021

TAO in Everything

 

The TAO is the profound wisdom of Lao Tzu, the ancient sage from China more than 2,600 years ago. as 

The TAO has thrived and survived thousands of years for a good reason: what was applicable in the past is still applicable in the present; what was true in the past is still true today. Another testament to this universal truth is that "Tao Te Ching"-- the only book written by Lao Tzu -- is one of the most translated books in world literature -- probably only after the Bible.

The TAO is easy to understand but most controversial. The explanation is that there is no absolute truth about human wisdom, which is all about self-intuition and self-enlightenment. That is to say, your mind is uniquely yours, and your thinking is your own thinking.


The TAO plays a pivotal role in every aspect of your life. With wisdom, you will see the TAO in everything, including the following:



The Face Aging Process


The Face Aging Process

 Face aging begins as early as in the twenties, 

The twenties

In your twenties, your fibroblasts (cells deep within the skin) are in optimum conditions, continuing to produce new collagens (proteins) and elastins (substances to give elasticity to the skin) to support your skin. Your sweat and oil glands keep your skin moist and lubricated. The blood in your tissues gives your skin a healthy glow. Even when you contract your facial muscles as you smile, the temporary folds vanish once you relax your facial muscles.

Your skin simply looks gorgeous and stunning! Continue to protect and maintain your skin before it is too late.

The late twenties

In your late twenties, superficial lines begin to appear on the forehead and at the corners of your eyes. Tiny blood vessels start to surface on your cheeks and your nose.

Your first wrinkles may appear around age 30—for some, even well before that.

The thirties

In your thirties, there is a slight drop in the renewal rate of your skin cells. The accumulation of dead skin cells makes your skin look less fresh and drier. You need to scrub your face more often to get rid of the dead skin cells.

Your fibroblasts become less active in producing collagens (proteins) to support your skin, which by now may look less resilient. Dynamic muscles due to muscle motion begin to form in the expression areas of your face. In your late thirties, the fat layer under the skin begins to thin out, creating slight hollows around your eyes, on your cheeks and your temples. Due to a lack of support of the skin, there is sagging around the eyes, on the cheeks, and along the jaw lines.

If you are a sun worshiper, you may have a crosshatched and cobble-stoned look on your face, folds at the corners of your lips, uneven skin texture, and pigmentation.

The forties

In your forties, the rate of skin aging accelerates due to the slower rate of skin cell renewal, the loss of fats, and the shrinkage of bones. In addition, gravity pulls your skin downward, lowering your eyebrows, and making the tip of your nose droop, too—thus changing the overall physical structure of your face. Such changes are gradual and almost unnoticeable to you, but maybe apparent to others. More obvious signs of aging continue to appear: bags under your lower eyelids; vertical lines between your eyebrows; and deep-set wrinkles on your forehead.

The damaging effects of photo aging from the sun have become more evident:

Formation of hyperkeratosis (raised spots of thicker skin)
Freckles becoming old spots
Skin texture turning tough and leathery
Formation of basal cells and even malignant melanoma cancer cells

The fifties

In your fifties, the physical structure of your face further diminishes due to continual loss of bone mass, elasticity, fat, moisture in your skin, as well as the gravitational pull.

Your face may assume a crinkled appearance: crosshatching on your cheeks; folds and wrinkles on your neck; deep-set lines around your mouth extending to your chin; vertical lines extending up from your lip line; drooping eyebrows and eyelids; and smaller as well as thinner lips.

The sixties

Your face may have become rectangular or trapezoid in shape.

Your cellular renewal rate has slowed down dramatically by as much as 50 percent, and your skin’s elasticity and volume reduce significantly, resulting in excess skin on your neck, your cheeks, and around your eyes and jaw lines. Now, you look undeniably old. The skin aging process will continue into your seventies, eighties, and nineties until the ultimate end.


Make yourself look younger and healthier for longer.


Nora Wise
Copyright© by Nora Wise






Sunday, September 12, 2021

Empower the Mind to Let Go to Heal

Letting go is wisdom in living. In this day and age, humans have a tendency to hold on to anything and everything they can get hold of. Just take a look at your basement: it may be cluttered with junks that you don’t have the time to sort out or to get rid of. It is human nature to attach to anything that identifies them or they can identify themselves with. Attachment can be material, such as the clothes you wear or the car you drive; it can also be mental and emotional, such as the feeling of being successful or the toxic emotion of regret and bitterness. Letting go is the key to living a happy life as if everything is a miracle.

Letting go is like breathing out, which has to be deep and complete. Learn how to breathe correctly; many people don’t breathe right because they are not conscious of their breathing. Breathe right to help you in your everyday life and living. Remember, a healthy mind always has an easy breath, giving a relaxed body. Humans tend to focus on breathing in—which is akin to holding on or refusing to let go of any attachment—to the extent that they may completely neglect what happens when they breathe out, as if it were not that important. This discrepancy needs to be corrected, in order to create a free-flowing breath. Concentrating on breathing in may fill up the lungs with air all the time, such that the breathing becomes quicker and shorter, and thus stressing both the body and the mind. This may, ironically enough, lead to “feeling out of breath.” The wisdom of correct breathing is, paradoxically, to empty the lungs of air so that it may be filled completely with air.

Stephen Lau

Copyright © by Stephen Lau

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Knowledge and Wisdom to Heal


If you or your loved ones have been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, one of the autoimmune diseases, it must have been a devastating experience, especially if the neurologist has said that there is no known cure, except using medications to control and manage the many debilitating disease symptoms associated with myasthenia gravis.

A traumatic experience may have a prolonged effect on the human mind: having overwhelming negative emotions; feeling numb and unable to experience pleasure or even pain over a long period of time. The ultimate impact is that it may affect how you think, feel, act, and react in every aspect of your daily life and living.

To heal yourself of myasthenia gravis or any illness, you must be both knowledgeable and wise.

Knowledge and Wisdom

Knowledge comes from how your mind perceives and processes any information available. Wisdom, on the other hand, is how you apply the knowledge acquired to cope with any disease and disorder you may have, as well as your everyday life and living. The important implication: being knowledgeable may not  necessarily make you wise or wiser.

The bottom line: you need both knowledge and wisdom to heal yourself of myasthenia gravis.

Given that both knowledge and wisdom come from the thinking mind, your brain is, therefore, the most important of all your body organs. With its billions of brain cells, your brain is not only most complicated but also major source of all your health issues and problems related to myasthenia gravis.

So, it is important to keep your brain healthy as much as possible in order to be capable of acquiring the knowledge and attaining the wisdom to heal your myasthenia gravis.

The Healthy Brain

This is how you may keep your brain healthy:

·      Keep yourself hydrated because 80 percent of your brain is water. Drink at least 7-8 cups of water per day.

·      Keep healthy gums, and floss your teeth regularly to prevent any gum disease.

·      Enhance and improve blood flow to your brain with your 30-minute exercise at least several times a week.

·      Eat a healthy diet: high-quality lean protein; low-glycemic and high-fiber carbohydrates; natural and not processed foods.

·      Avoid inflammation and the formation of free radicals in your body.

·      Avoid sugar and sugary drinks, including all sodas and diet sodas.

·      Quit smoking, and limit your alcohol consumption to no more than 5 glasses per week.

·      Manage your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

·      Maintain healthy levels of nutrients, e.g. vitamin D and omega-3s.

·      Maintain healthy hormones of the thyroid and the testosterone.

·      Promote good mental health, and avoid anxiety and depression.

·      De-stress yourself with correct breathing and daily meditation.

·      Get quality sleep of at least 7-8 hours a night without the help of medication.

·      Develop meaning and purpose in your life.

In addition to having a healthy brain, you must learn how to empower your thinking mind to seek and acquire the knowledge to heal your myasthenia gravis.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau


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