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!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Be Your True Self, Not Your Ego-Self

One of your life goals should be: Being who you are meant to be, not who you want to become. Why? Because being who you are meant to be holds the key to happiness and contentment, which is what living is all about. To achieve this goal, you need the help of your mind.

Your mind is powerful in that it controls how you think, what you do, and what you may become. Descartes, the great French philosopher, once said: "I think, therefore I am." You think, and your thoughts may ultimately turn you into the person you have become. Therefore, thinking can be dangerous; it may lead you astray through the wrong thinking process.

Your thoughts mostly come from your life experiences --  what you are exposed to. Your culture and your upbringing may tell you that you must have dreams and aspirations, and that you must go after a role model in order to succeed in life. These thoughts may involuntarily inflate your ego-self, transforming you into someone else you want to become. But that may not be your true self that you are meant to be.

The danger of an ego-self is that once it is inflated, you might want to protect it at all costs; doing extra work, more than what is necessary, even to the extent of breaking the law -- a case in point is the disgraced cyclist Armstrong, who used performance-enhancing drugs to win all his races. An ego-self is the embodiment of human pride, which is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and hence the source of all human miseries. The ego-self, once it is formed, is very difficult to deflate, because it involves great courage and willpower to let it go.

But how do you know who you are meant to be? Or, more specifically, how do you avoid being who you want to become?

Mindfulness is the answer. Then, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is acute awareness of what is happening to you and around you; mindfulness is focusing on others, rather on yourself; mindfulness is living in the present, and not letting your mind being haunted by unpleasant memories in the past, or projecting your pleasant past experiences into future expectations.

To enhance your mindfulness, practice meditation, which not only quiets a compulsive mind, but also enables your mind to internalize to find out what are the ultimate truths in life. Meditation enhances your awareness and compassion.

Read my book The Book of Life and Living to get more information on ancient wisdom and contemporary wisdom to be your true self.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © by Stephen Lau

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Zen Mindset

Nowadays, the human mind is often too preoccupied with thoughts and worries about career, money, children, relationships, health, and social responsibilities -- that is how many of us have developed a compulsive mind that never stops its thinking process.

There is one solution to stop the compulsive mind: the Zen mindset.

What is the Zen mindset? It is the mind focusing on the way of Zen.

Then, what is Zen?

Zen is a way of life. It is a misconception that Zen is a religious belief. Zen is a philosophical approach to living a life of peace and harmony, totally free from stress. In spite of having its origin from Buddha, Zen is not the foundation of Buddhism. The word “Zen” is Japanese, but it derives from the Chinese, meaning “meditation.” It is an Oriental mental practice for self-enlightenment. More specifically, Zen is a transcendental mental state that affects the overall physical and mental being of an individual, and therefore relaxes the body and the mind to enhance body-mind connection, which plays a pivotal role in the art of living well.

Zen is knowing intuitively—that is, naturally knowing the ultimate truth of living. According to Plato, the great philosopher, life is a process of “forgetting” with episodes of experiences and happenings that make you “forget” the ultimate truth of living, which you are supposed to know intuitively. In other words, as we continue to live in the contemporary world, it is easy for us to "forget" who we are, and in the process "forget" how to live. The Zen mindset is to bring us back to the ultimate truth. The way of Zen is to re-discover that inherent wisdom of knowing the eternal truth that may have eluded so many of us in the process of stressful living. Essentially, Zen living is “self-awakening” to the real meaning of living; once we understand that ultimate truth, we will be liberated from the shackles of memories of the past and worries of the future, and thus instrumental in enabling us to live in the present. Many of us are not living in the present; a case in point, texting or talking on the phone while walking or driving is not living in the present, which is supposedly to be walking or diving.  

With the Zen mindset, life becomes simple, and life is never a problem. If life becomes a problem, it is because we have created the problem for ourselves. If there is no problem, then we don't need a solution. Unfortunately, many of us have projected the problem into the future in the mind's eye, and then we start anticipating the problem with solutions. In the process, we pick and choose, resulting in wrong choices that lead to anxiety, frustration, disappointment, and regret, among others that become our problems. Fixing a non-existing problem in life is only creating more problems for ourselves.

Learn how to live in the present and relax by acquiring the Zen mindset, which is the wisdom in neither avoiding problems in life, nor seeking solutions to problems that may not even have existed in the first place.

The following Zen poem may help you to understand better the Zen mindset:

"The perfect Way is without difficulty.
Save that it avoids picking and choosing.
Only when you stop liking and disliking
Will all be clearly understood.
A split hair's difference
And heaven and earth are set apart.
If you want to get the plain truth,
Be not concerned with right and wrong.
The conflict between right and wrong
Is the sickness of the mind."
from an old Zen poem

Start Zen: Learn the healing art of Zen meditation. Free yourself from the thoughts and emotions that are holding you back in your life. Dramatically improve the quality of your life by enhancing the quality of your mind.

Read my book: The Book of Life and Living. It is a blueprint for living a stress-free life through an integration of the ancient wisdom of Tao, the contemporary wisdom, and Biblical wisdom.

Visit my website: Wisdom in Living.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © by Stephen Lau