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!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Emptying and Changing Your Mindset

Emptying and Changing Your Mindset 

The human mindset is often programmed. As an example, a while ago, shopping for men’s tee-shirts was geared towards buying “ugly” tee-shirts for men. You would wonder why on earth people would consider buying an “ugly” tee-shirt just because they might have something to talk about. The ugly truth is that many people would indeed fall for that “programmed” mindset for the new fashion trend for men this holiday season.

It is like the computer hardware with the apparatus of a mind, body, and senses. The lens through which you see yourself, as well as others and the world around you, is the software that has been programmed by your thoughts, your past and present experiences, your own expectations as well as those of others. In other words, you and nobody else have programmed your mindset; all these years, you may have been trapped in a constricted sense of self that has prevented you from knowing and being who you really are. The power of the mind is that your thoughts can make you “think” and “believe” you are who and what you are; but nothing could be further from the truth than that. Now, you must harness your mind power to change that conditioned mindset. There is wisdom in changing your mindset so that you will know your true self, and not what you “think” who and what you now become.

Changing mindset means emptying the mind of conditioned thinking, which is a common characteristic of the contemporary human mind. There was the well-known story of a professor visiting a Zen master to get more information about Zen, an ancient Asian philosophy. The Zen master kept pouring tea into the overflowing teacup held by the professor, who had kept on talking. The moral of the story is that you must have an empty mind first before you can receive new and transformative ideas. Having an empty mind is surrendering your mind to transformation in order that you may think differently—a prerequisite for true human wisdom.

In addition to emptying the mind, you must also give your mind a meaningful break so that it can think with clarity, without which it is sometimes difficult to separate the truths from the half truths or even myths. The human brain is like a computer program, which will stop running when the computer is turned off. Meditation is training your mind to switch off your brain for a while to give your mind some rest and mental attention to sharpen your awareness of what is going on in your mind. Seeing clearly what is going on in the mind, you can then choose to ignore or to act upon what you are seeing through your mind. Meditation is the most effective way to achieve clarity of mind.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 26, 2018

A State of Mind

No More and No Less Than a State of Mind

“Happiness is a state of mind” Walt Disney

Happiness or unhappiness is no more and no less than a state of mind of an individual. It may or may not involve the five senses, although they often play a pivotal role in creating the happiness or unhappiness state of mind of an individual.

Remember, your state of mind is always different from that of others; everyone’s state of mind is uniquely different, just like the uniqueness of human fingerprints.

So, it is important to know the difference between happiness and pleasure.

Happiness is a feeling of contentment, of personal conviction that life is just as it should be; unhappiness is just the opposite feeling. But how do you gauge your own level of contentment? And what convinces you that your life is what it should be? Happiness or unhappiness, to you, is only your own state of mind—uniquely yours and yours alone.

Pleasure is having fun at a party, the excitement of new experiences, the thrill and passion of sex, or the delights of a fine meal. They are all wonderful life experiences to be cherished and cultivated by any individual, but they are only life pleasures, not human happiness.

The truth of the matter is that all our wonderful life experiences are only to be enjoyed, and then to be let go of, just as a delicious meal is to be enjoyed, savored, and then to be digested, and ultimately eliminated from the body. Therefore, any life pleasure is fleeting and must be so—if it is to continue to please again in the future.

Happiness, on the other hand, may be less fleeting and more enduring than pleasure; but, still, happiness never lasts forever because nothing in life is permanent, and every thing remains only with that very moment, whether it is happiness or pleasure.

Just remember this: Happiness and pleasure are life experiences to be enjoyed, cherished, and remembered—but they do not last forever.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, March 22, 2018

How to Empower Your Mind to Become Happier

How to Empower Your Mind to Become Happier

“Thinking is difficult; that’s why so few people do it.” Albert Einstein

Thinking is a process of self-intuition through asking relevant questions to create not only self-awareness but also self-introspection. It is the natural habit of the thinking mind to try to solve problems by asking specific questions. Solving problems with relevant questions is self-empowering the human mind to attain human wisdom because it creates the intent to learn, to discover, and then to change for the better. Without the ultimate change, life often becomes static, boring, and ultimately unhappy.

Know the importance of asking questions, and continue to ask more meaningful and relevant questions throughout your life journey; this is the only pathway to attaining true human wisdom.

Human life is complex, and living is always complicated. To truly understand what life is all about, you must distill life to one simple but difficult question: “Am I happy?”

This is a simple question, but the answer may not be as simple and straightforward as you may think. This simple question is about living your life, which is never simple; living for life may, indeed, be very complicated, especially for those who are always unhappy.

If your life is getting more complicated, you may have problems with you life and living. If, on the other hand, you never have problems with feelings of anger, fear, frustration, or you never have felt that life is meaningless, you are probably not human.

Right thinking plays a pivotal role in human happiness. If you think right, you may become happier.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 19, 2018

My Newly Published Book: The Happiness Wisdom

I have just published my book: “The Happiness Wisdom”, which is a 161-page book on human wisdom based on ancient wisdom from the East and the West, conventional wisdom, and spiritual wisdom, which may all provide guidelines for choosing the happiness ingredients for your own happiness recipe. In addition, the book also provides real examples taken from real life, illustrating how these real people perceive their realities, and thus leading to their happiness or unhappiness.

Human happiness or unhappiness is no more than a perception of the human mind, based on an individual's own life experiences. You think, and your perceptions then become your "realities"; with profound wisdom, you can change how your mind processes your perceptions. Change your mind to change your realities, and live your life as if everything is a miracle! Your life journey is uniquely yours. Make your own happiness recipe from the happiness ingredients of ancient wisdom, conventional wisdom, and spiritual wisdom. Continue your life journey with your own happiness recipe.

Click here to find out more about the book.

Click here to get your digital copy, and here to get your paperback copy.

Stephen Lau

Thursday, March 15, 2018

How Not to Lose Your Memory


Even if you continue to age, don’t lose your memory. Instead, sharpen your memory by improving your memory skills.

Memory has everything to do with your brain health. If you don't have a healthy brain, how can you have a good memory? A good memory is an ingredient of wisdom. Therefore, if you want to be wise, have a good memory, But a good memory requires good basic memory skills. So, improving memory skills goes a long way to improving memory, despite the aging process.

Good memory skills are important to having a good memory, just as a good mechanic also needs good tools. Memory skills are your tools to enhance your brain processing, which is what memory is all about. Memory involves processing of information that you already have, and capability to recall it at will. Such processing requires utilization of your senses: sighttouchsmell, or a combination of some of these senses. The capability to utilize these senses means you are not only being aware of them, but also paying attention to them. As a result, they become memory tools for you, so that you can retrieve your information later without any problem.

Music, writing, and art have to do with memory:

(1) According to some scientific research, music has the capacity to change your neuron activity. Music therapists believe that different sounds from different instruments have different impact on different body organs in the physical body. Specifically, they are capable of breaking blockages in energy flow (the Chinese call it "qi"), which courses through the meridian channels in the body to bring oxygen and nutrients to different parts of your body. Nowadays, there is "psychoacoustics" which is the study of sound on the conscious mind through the use of music. Scientists have used MP3 music and subliminal messages for hypnosis to awaken the subconscious mind to improve memory, enhance learning, heal sleep problems, increase self-confidence, just to name a feuw possibilities. Music, of course, has to do with sound. Learn to play a musical instrument to boost your brain power, concentration, and to develop motor skills.

(2) Writing is another discipline which can improve memory skills, and hence memory. Writing a journal, a diary, or even writing a blog, can boost memory power, because in writing, or rather recollecting one thought at a time and word by word, may help you with organization and logic. In addition, as you are jotting down the words, the movements of your hands (as you type or write), as well as the sight of the words in front of you will reinforce your memory. Writing is a good example of using sight to improve memory skills.

(3) Art is another field which extensively uses your extraordinary senses, such as visual in drawing, or touch in sculpture.

As you get older, your brain shrinks a bit, and that is natural. The good news is that your can recoup your losses. As a matter of fact, you have about 100 billion brain cells, and you have used up only five percent of your brain cells. Tap into them to improve your memory. Use it or lose it!

Be wise with a good memory!

Awaken Your Photographic Memory is a state-of-the-art memory system to improve your memory.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 12, 2018

To Buy Or Not to Buy

With the advancement of technology, nowadays, nearly everything is readily available on the Internet. 

Do you shop till you drop? Do you always return items because on second thoughts you don't want them after all?

To buy or not to buy is often a bone of contention between spouses, and among members of family. Why? Because to buy or not to buy involves many factors that may lead to conflicts.

Money: Is there money available to buy? Are you buying something you don’t need with the money you don’t have? Even if money is available, is it a great bargain?

Desire: The desire to want or possess something is a strong human instinct. Straightly speaking, other than the basic human needs, such as food, clothing, and lodging, most other things in life are just wants, not needs. But most of us want them anyway—that’s why consumer spending has always been the main component in the U.S. economy.

Bargain: Psychologically, many consumers fall for the hype “on sale.” But what is “on sale” may not necessarily be “a bargain.” Driven by the mindset of “a good deal”, many consumers are too willing to reach into their pockets to part with their cash.

Impulse: In America, impulsive buying is fostered by the consumer-friendly concept of “buy first and return later.” Often times, however, to return purchased items on the Internet or from a store can be a hassle.

To me, to buy or not to buy is mainly determined by the above factors. Even so, they could also be very subjective, and even controversial, because one man's meat may be another person's poison. For example, you can buy a pair of jeans at Walmart for $20, or for $100 elsewhere. Assuming that money is no object, should you buy the $20 or the $100 pair of jeans?

That brings to yet another important factor that never sees to have crossed people’s minds when debating whether to buy or not to buy something: man-hour factor.

To me, to buy a $20 or $100 pair of jeans is solely determined by the man-hour factor (which is applicable to many who are still in the workforce) If your hourly pay is, say, $20, are you willing to work 5 extra hours just to get that pair of jeans you so desire? If yes, that’s your personal choice. To buy or not to buy anything that seems costly, think about the man-hour factor; it may change your decision one way or another. 

In every aspect of life, including money spending, wisdom plays a pivotal part. Develop your own wisdom in living.

Remember, spending is a personal choice; make it a wise one.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © Stephen Lau

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Use Mind Power to Conquer Stress

Some people can conquer stress, while others cannot. Some researchers have attributed this to the psychological and physical makeup. Essentially, those who do not easily succumb to stress demonstrate not only strong commitment to themselves but also staunch belief that change is challenging but unavoidable in life. As a result, they show adaptability and flexibility, which contribute to enhanced physical and mental health. In other words, stress management is all in the mind.

Your brain is the hardware of your whole being. Your brain is responsible for your stress. It is all in your mind. You are what you think, and you become what you think. Therefore, manage your stress through you mind. You control your own thinking, and your brain creates your own world: how you live your life, and how happy you are. And you are responsible for how you feel - even the stresses in life.

This is what happens when stress occurs. You have a thought (usually a negative one) about the stressful event or situation. Your thought sends electrical signals to your brain, which releases chemicals, and you become aware of your own thinking. No matter what you think, your thought is real to you, and must be treated as real. The goal is not to discard that thought or to distract yourself from that thought, but to change your perception of that thought.

To be able to change that thought, you must be aware of your body's reactions to the chemicals released by your brain as that thought occurs. For example, notice how your muscles tense up when you are distressed.

The next step is to talk back to that negative thought. Change your thought, and do not believe it. Learn how to train your mind to change your thought, and accordingly change your feeling about that thought. Reinforce your changed feeling by talking back to that thought which gives you the stress. Always use positive affirmations.

Next time, when you are confronted by a stressful situation, think "STOP!" Take a deep breath. Do some mental reflection, such as asking yourself why you think you are distressed. Acknowledge any feeling of anxiety, and become aware of the subtle changes in your physical body. Talk back to any negative thought responsible for creating the stress. The final step is to take appropriate action. Make a list of possible solutions to the problem. If it requires tackling the problem immediately, take the action at once: procrastination only aggravates the situation. But defer taking action if you are able to deal with it more effectively later on. Relax, such as taking a deep meditation, or doing something enjoyable to calm yourself.

Use your mind to manage your daily stress. Get TAO wisdom to help you.

Stephen Lau

Copyright © 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, March 5, 2018

Understanding How the Mind Works

Understanding how the mind works may help you understand how you can control your thoughts, which create your so-called "realities" that affect all your actions and reactions, your choices and decisions in life.

The Conscious and the Subconscious Mind

The mind—the consciousness of the brain—has two components: the conscious mind, and the subconscious mind. All your experiences and perceptions of what happens in your life impacted by your five senses are stored in both your conscious mind and subconscious mind.

Unlike the conscious mind, the subconscious mind embraces indiscriminately all life experiences and perceptions of those happenings encountered in life.

Your subconscious mind is like the basement of your house where you dump all the physical possessions you have been hoarding over the years.
Your conscious mind is like the living area in your house, where you proudly display only some of the physical possessions you have chosen according to your likes and dislikes, such as a piece of antique furniture in the living room, or an original painting hanging on the wall in the dining room.

Your conscious mind filters all your thoughts—what you think is appropriate or relevant for your mental storage. In other words, your conscious mind consciously chooses what it wants to remember. Your subconscious mind, on the other hand, simply absorbs all your mental perceptions and reactions to all your experiences; it does not have the power to reason or to analyze any mental input. That is to say, it may not be able to tell the half-truths from the truths. Yet, it is your subconscious mind that controls your whole being, because your subconscious mind dominates your conscious mind.

Your conscious mind makes decisions, but it is your subconscious mind that directs and manipulates your conscious mind. If you immediately turn on the TV as soon as you get home from work, most probably it is your subconscious mind telling your conscious mind that now is the time for relaxation and for watching  television. Many people talk on the cell phone while driving -- that, too, is the subconscious mind doing the driving while the conscious mind is doing the driving. 

Controlling the Uncontrollable

Don’t let your mind control your thoughts, which may ultimately become the materials with which you create your ego-self. With your inflated ego, and not the real you or your true self, you may then have many attachments that make you reluctant to let go of. All attachments are no more than distractions of the mind from facing real challenges in life. Learn how to let go of control—especially control of what is uncontrollable. Get the wisdom to let go to let God.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Personality Development and Human Happiness

Holistic wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul has much to do with happiness, which has its origin from personality development over the years.

Sometimes we wonder why some people are always happy while others are always unhappy. Just as Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian author, said in the beginning of his novel Anna Karenina: “Happy families are alike; unhappy families are unhappy in their own ways.”

Indeed, your happiness has much to do with your personality development over your life. In other words, your own life experiences and your perceptions of those experiences not only define and shape your personality but also are uniquely yours. Therefore, it is impossible to say why some people are happy, and why others are unhappy.

 Mental happiness and body wellness are interrelated. If you are happy, your body will even heal faster. It’s just that simple.

But happiness is not easy to come by, especially when your mind is not prepared to receive it. The mind needs wisdom to create happiness thoughts to stimulate the brain cells to produce chemicals that make one happy. Genuine human happiness comes from human thoughts that are the components of human personality. Therefore,  understanding personality development may throw some light on why you are happy or unhappy.

But understanding personality development may throw some light on why you are happy or unhappy most of the time.

According to the famous psychologist Erik Erikson, your personality has evolved through several decades of changes and experiences, resulting in who and what you have now become. Therefore, profound wisdom is to understand how those changes in your life have occurred and shaped your personality, and how adapting yourself to those changes now may still benefit you in the long run. According to Erik Erikson, there are eight life stages. through which we may have gone through to become who and what we are right now. These eight psychosocial development stages are as follows:

Trust and Mistrust

 In this first stage, from birth to age one, we may  experience and develop trust or mistrust that affects how we feel about the benevolence of the world around us.

Do you always have low trust or mistrust in others?

Independence and Doubt

In the toddler stage, we begin to develop our self-trust,  which leads to independence. With self-trust, we begin to learn how to walk. In this stage, however, we may also develop self-doubt that leads to shame later in life. This may be the underlying cause of failing to take risks in later life, missing some golden opportunities to improve our lives, and thus making us feel unhappy and unfulfilled.

Are you always self-confident?

Creativity and Guilt

In preschool years, we begin to exercise our minds to acquire initiative and express creativity. The capability to express freely our initiative and creativity helps us develop the playful and positive side of our nature. Under restraint, on the other hand, we may develop guilt, lack of self-confidence, and inability to get close to others.

Are you always creative and imaginative?

Industry and Inferiority

From age five to eleven, we experience fulfillment in accomplishment or disappointment in failure. This is often a result of acquiring our society’s work ethics. We begin to believe in our abilities and feel motivated to work hard. On the other hand, if we become lazy, we develop poor work habits that may adversely affect our careers later in life.

Are you always puttering from one job to another, always procrastinating and never meeting deadlines?

Identity and Diffusion

In adolescent, we begin to explore ourselves, finding out who we are and what we want out of life. We may channel our energy into a field we love, and derive pleasure from seeing what we have accomplished. This growth in our sense of self determines whether or not we have an “identity crisis.”

Are you always in search for a purpose in life?

Intimacy and Withdrawal

In early adulthood, we develop intimacy, which is a quality of an individual, and not the couple. The ability to develop and maintain a long-term relationship is an asset. However, many of us may experience difficulty in achieving closeness with others, or even maintaining a long-lasting relationship, resulting in inner loneliness that causes us to doubt even our own remarkable accomplishments in life.

Is your life worthwhile when it comes to relationships?

Compassion and Selfishness

In middle age, we become more connected to future generations, as evidenced by being parents, mentors, and supervisors. However, we may also become self-focusing, alienating ourselves from the next generation, and thus creating the “generation gap.”

Do you spend much time focusing on your own needs, instead of those of others?

Ego and Despair

In old age, by letting go of the ego, we accept both our successes and failures, and thus have a healthy perspective on life. However, we may also look back at our own past experiences and the world in general with disdain and regret, and thus we become despaired and unhappy.

Do you think you already have a fulfilled life?

If you wish to be a happier individual, learn to let go of all your attachments, which are the sources of human unhappiness. Human wisdom may not be adequate to help you let go of your attachments in the physical world; you also need spiritual wisdom With the spiritual wisdom from the Bible, you may be able to overcome the reluctance to let go of your attachments. Let go to let God in order to live your life as if everything is a miracle.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau