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, June 28, 2018

Right Thinking for Right Living

Right Thinking for Right Living

Right living  involves the alignment and coordination of the body, the mind, and the soul of an individual, thereby instrumental in enhancing that individual's wisdom in living as if everything is a miracle.

If you want right living for happiness, you must also have right thinking; they go hand in hand, and you can't do one without the other. Right thinking involves your mind, which controls the your body, and ultimately impacts your soul. In other words, right thinking needs wisdom.

Unfortunately, wisdom is never formally taught in school; education may increase only your knowledge and skills, but not necessarily makes you wise or wiser. Therefore, to have the right thinking for right living, you need to have the wisdom to know how life works and how wisdom functions in life. Wisdom comes from the mind, or, more specifically, how the mind thinks. It is the human mind that makes the body and the soul—the being of an individual.

Right thinking brings about right living. Unfortunately, right thinking is not automatic, and is never easy. That is why Albert Einstein said: “Thinking is difficult, and that’s why so people do it.” In addition, to change the thinking mind is often difficult too. Right thinking involves empowering your mind through your higher self—the place where your mind operates and your thoughts originate from.

Develop the right thinking process. Right thinking always produces right results, just as good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results. It is wrong to assume that in real life sometimes the bad people may prosper, while the good ones may suffer. Examples attesting to this wrong assumption simply fail to recognize that the bad people may sometimes still have good traits in their thinking that bring about their prosperity despite their badness, while the good people may also have faulty thinking that is responsible for their own suffering and bad results. Remember, nobody is perfect. That said, we still have to strive to think right.

How do you begin right thinking for right living for happiness?

Right thinking begins with an empty mind.

"An empty mind with no craving and no expectation helps us let go.
Being in the world and not of the world, we attain heavenly grace.
With heavenly grace, we become pure and selfless.
And everything settles into its own perfect place."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 3)

The above is taken from the translation of the famous ancient Chinese classic Tao Te Ching.

An empty mindset precludes any preconceived concepts and ideas that may affect right thinking.

In addition, right thinking also involves mental attention, which is concentration and deep awareness of what is happening around.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, June 25, 2018

Mortality Perceptions

Mortality Perceptions

At some point in life we all think about death and dying. We all know the reality that all humans are mortal and that death is as inevitable as day becoming night.

“Is there anything we can do about our mortality?” This may be a question that many of us would like to ask ourselves.

First of all, man’s perceptions of mortality always change with age and time. If you ask a young adult if he or she would want to live long, probably the answer is “I don’t know” or “I just don’t want to grow too old and decrepit, like my grand-parents.”

Their perspective of mortality also explains why many of them are living a reckless lifestyle “as if there is no tomorrow” for them.

Naturally, their perception of mortality would change over the years as they grow older with a family of children, or if they have a successful career with all the trimmings of a luxurious lifestyle that they would like to continue. A longer lifespan would then become an extension of their own legacy or continuation of their enjoyment of the fruits of their own accomplishments. The inscription on the tombstone of Bruc
e Lee(李小龍), the Hollywood star, reads: “The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.” That says much about the hope of many to extend beyond the grave.

As aging continues, the fear of death or the unknown may also dawn on humans, driving some of the elderly into craving a longer lifespan to delay and defer the inevitable.

Indeed, many people may have different perspectives of their own mortality, depending on their upbringing, the life experiences they have gone though, their religious beliefs, as well as the meanings of death and dying to them. As a result of the differences, some may focus too much on death to the extent of creating death anxiety, while others may deliberately deny the existence of death, just like the ostrich burying its head in the sand.

There are some questions we should all consider:

Why do you or why don't you want to live longer? Should your or should you not think about death? How do you prepare yourself, or live your life -- if you just don't die?

Don't just bury your head in the sand by not thinking about the above questions? Remember, wisdom comes from asking questions and seeking answers to the questions asked. With wisdom, you'll know how to live the rest of your life, irrespective of your current conditions.

Go to my site: wisdom in loiving.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A Difficult Decision

Recently, a reader asked me if I still had my myasthenia gravis (an autoimmune disease) symptoms and if I were still taking my steroid medications. I still have some of my disease symptoms, but they are relatively mild. At times, my muscles may not be as firm as I wish they were; the only way to overcome muscle weakness is to exercise more, not less. I have stopped my medications for over a decade; mind you, I used to take about 10 medications to deal with my myasthenia gravis symptoms, as well as to address the side effects from those medications, such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and loss of bone density, among others.

Now, I am completely drug free. That brings to the question: should one stop taking steroid medications to treat their myasthenia gravis symptoms?  To be honest with you, what works for me may not necessarily work for you; everyone's body constitution is different.   

In the past two decades or so, many have sought medical treatments for their “incurable” diseases, using herbs, detoxification, homeopathy, vitamins, and minerals. This holistic non-drug approach to disease control and elimination has come to be known as alternative medicine.

Nowadays, medical universities in the United States as well as in other parts of the world are offering alternative medicine courses and complementary medicine programs, while research studies on plant nutrients and vitamins and minerals are being conducted in university laboratories and clinical settings. They are strong testaments to the effectiveness of alternative disease treatments.

Indeed, in this day and age, many people are becoming frustrated with conventional medicine’s drugs, and the cut-and-burn approaches to disease. However, if you wish to seek an alternative approach to drug therapies, you should first educate yourself by reading books and other relevant materials. It is critically important to empower yourself with knowledge before you make any medical decision. But the decision should be totally yours, because nobody knows better than yourself the health conditions of own your body.

Understandably, it is a difficult decision to make. But life is full of decision-making. You have to consider how severe are your disease symptoms, and how determined you are to become drug free. To free yourself of medications, you need time and perseverance. It doesn't happen overnight; you have to wean yourself out of the medications slowly and gradually. It took me several months to stop all my medications. In addition, you need internal cleansing to provide a self-healing environment for your body through regular fasting.

I hope my book My Myasthenia Gravis will provide some useful tips to help you with your autoimmune disease.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, June 18, 2018

Cancer and Personality

The personality of an individual is no more than a byproduct of that individual's thoughts. In other words, that individual has become what that individual thinks he or she is—a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Studies have shown a close correlation between cancer and personality, that is, the mind.

According to the Chicago Study on cancer, chronic depression plays a pivotal role in the development of cancer. The research findings indicated that the ability to express anger and the fighting spirit against cancer can significantly affect the outcome of the disease. As a further testament, cancer patients who are determined to conduct their own therapy treatments (although this is not what their doctors want) are most likely to get better.

Other cancer studies also indicated that even cancer denial is an effective cancer-coping mechanism in some cancer patients.

In short, your personality, developed and determined by your mind, is critical to the prognosis of your cancer, and hence its ultimate recovery.

Cancer and the Body and the Mind

According to best-selling author Wayne Dyer, “the positive effect of kindness on the immune system and on the increased production of serotonin in the brain has been proved on research studies.” In other words, the mind does have a positive impact on the functioning of the immune system, and hence your combat against cancer.

According to Alastair J. Cunningham, Ph.D. of the Ontario Cancer Institute, cancer patients who had worked the hardest at transforming themselves psychologically in their fight against cancer lived at least three times longer than what their doctors had predicted. Therefore, it makes sense that those cancer patients who have fought the hardest psychologically live the longest. Unfortunately, not too many cancer patients will do just that—fighting their cancers with all their might; many of them simply give up half way, and give in to cancer.

There is often a close connection between the body and the mind. The body affects the mind as much as the mind affects the body; it may be a case of the chicken-and-the-egg.

The Physical Effect of the Mind

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is a study of how the mind can affect the immune system. There is increasing scientific evidence that the immune system learns to recognize cancer cells and therefore has the potential to destroy them before they become lethal; that may explain the spontaneous remission of established malignant cancers in some cancer patients.

Chronic stress is one of the major factors contributing to the development of cancer because under duress, the nervous system secrets the hormone cortisol that weakens or suppresses the immune system.
Although the exact mechanism by which emotions and depression may affect the development and prognosis of cancer is relatively unknown, evidently the mind can positively or negatively alter the beginning and outcome of cancer.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Empathy Beyond Sympathy

To be able to accept others, you must be a good if not a better person. A good person has the quality not only of sympathy but also of empathy.

What's the difference between empathy and sympathy? When watching the reported news that nearly 80 refugees were found dead inside a truck on a Austrian highway, what did you feel? Some feel nothing or numbed, because they are often inundated with these tragic news that they no longer have any emotion or feeling left. Some may show some sympathy by saying something like "Oh my God! I feel sorry for them!" and then switch to another channel. If you happen to have experienced the traumas of a refugee yourself -- the anxiety, desperation, fear, and hunger -- your emotional reaction to the news would be somewhat different -- one of empathy, much more intense than sympathy. Empathy is whatand how you feel for an individual because you have had that similar experience before; sympathy is simply your feeling towards someone in a sad or tragic situation. One generally does not feel empathy unless one has been in the same shoes.

That said, empathy can be cultivated and nurtured. 


Dalai Lama, the  spiritual leader of Tibet, once said that every time he walks into a room full of people of different nationality, culture, religious background, he tries to connect with them through compassion and loving-kindness, which are acts of empathy. In other words, they are deliberate acts of connecting with others, irrespective of their culture, sex, race, or beliefs because no man is an island, and we are all somehow and somewhat inter-connected with one another. We see the good and the bad in others as well as in ourselves. More importantly, we see why and how we all behave differently in different situations.

Remember, we are all imperfect, no matter how we think of ourselves. Therefore, we should always express empathy beyond sympathy towards others.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, June 11, 2018

How to Believe in Yourself

Diane Sawyer once said: “Whatever you want in life, other people are going to want it too. Believe in yourself enough to accept the idea that you have an equal right to it.”

But believing in yourself is easier said than done

When you were young, you believed in anything and everything—even in the fairies. However, as you grew older, you became more skeptical, and you might have even stopped believing in yourself. But it is important that you believe in yourself, especially as you continue to age. Believing in yourself holds the key to successful aging.

Believing in yourself is confidence in your own ability, knowing what you have to do to win or simply to get what you want in life.
Believing in yourself is one of the first steps to success.in doing anything that becomes the substance of your confidence. To have confidence, you must set goals, and achieving your goals helps you build more confidence.

The only stumbling block to believing in yourself is your inability to achieve: some of your goals at some points in your life. This stumbling block may create negativity in the form of victimization. In other words, you may find you are a victim of circumstances; this may also lead to bitterness, despair, or even anger.

Setting goals and having expectations are not the same. According to the ancient wisdom of Tao, (Tao is The Way, which is the profound wisdom of Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese) expectations often become the stumbling blocks to accomplishing your goals. Why?  The explanation, according to Lao Tzu, is that .the greater the expectations, the more efforts you will exert, and the more stressed you become—ironically enough that may lead to failure in achieving your goals. What Lao Tzu would recommend is “doing what needs to be done” but no more and no less, and with “no expectation”.

There was the story of a drawing competition in which candidates were asked to draw a snake. One candidate finished his drawing well ahead of others. Thinking that he would get extra credit, he added a few beautiful legs to the snake he had drawn. As a result, he became disqualified in the competition. The moral of the story is that enough is enough, and more than enough may not be good.

Believing in yourself—with “no over-doing” and “no expectation”—holds the key to setting your goals and accomplishing some of them despite some drawbacks to build up your confidence, which is necessary for success in doing anything in your life.

Stephen Lau

Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Meditation to Heal

During the mysterious disappearance of Flight 370 of Malaysia Airline jet in March 2014, Malaysia Airlines offered to fly K.S. Narendran to Kuala Lumpur because his wife, Chandrika Sharma, was one of the 239 people aboard the passenger jet

But Narendran declined. He didn't see any point to leaving India when there was no information. He preferred to stay at home in the south Indian city of Chennai, surrounded by his family and friends.

We all have our different ways of coping with grief and tragedy. Others who had relatives on Flight 370 have publicly expressed their anger and frustration as the days marched on with few clues about what happened to Flight 370. For example, two mothers wailed at a press briefing room in Kuala Lumpur; their grief echoed around the world on television sets and on the Internet

Narendran said he has drawn strength from his recent experience with an ancient technique of meditation in India that enabled him to see things as they really are, and not as they appear to be.

According to Narendran, meditation has taught him the essential message of transience and impermanence, letting him see everything in perspective. More importantly, meditation allows him to practice being in the "present," however difficult it may be. In coping with grief and tragedy, it is important to know how to manage "the menace of an overworked imagination”

Generally, there are different stages for an individual to go through with the pains of grief and bereavement: denial; anger; bargain; depression; acceptance. At first one may look at the grief with disbelief; may become angry with the thought of “why me?”; may even bargain with a Higher Power to reverse the situation; may become depressed; and finally may have to accept the reality of grief and tragedy.

Narendran chose to use meditation to cope with his grief and tragedy. There is much wisdom in that choice and decision. Meditation not only relaxes the mind, but also enables the individual to stay in the present moment, and thus seeing things as they really are. That explains why Narendran seems very composed despite the tragedy of losing his wife. Meditation has been used since time memorial to heal the body, the mind, and the soul.

Life is never a bed of roses. Even if it is, there are thorns, and somehow we all have to live with them. Given that everything is this world is impermanent, grief and sorrow is inevitable. But don’t let your grief and tragedy make you live as if nothing is a miracle. Protracted grief and sorrow may lead to depression and negative thoughts that may haunt you for the rest of your life. Use your mind through mediation to help you cope with grief and tragedy that may come your way on your life journey.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Chinese Breath and the Thinking Mind

The Chinese breath is the longevity breath. For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has expressed the importance of breathing; Chinese exercise, such as Tai Chi, also focus on the benefits of breathing right,

Why is breathing so important? It is because without breath, we die in minutes. Sadly, many of us are unaware of this because breathing is so natural, so spontaneous that we simply take it for granted.

Breath is the gift of life. Once we become aware of our breath, we will become aware of many other things in life, such as our heath, our diet, our thinking, we will begin to make changes in our lives, such as giving up smoking and drinking. But to make lifestyle changes is easier said than done because we are living in a toxic environment that contaminates the body and the mind. Every day we are bombarded with hypes by the multi-media and modern technology; they become toxic thoughts in our minds. We become controlled by them, such that our thinking minds have become dysfunctional. Unfortunately, what we think become our realities, just as the French philosopher Descartes’ famous statement: “I think; therefore, I am.” The thinking mind is important because it controls not only how we think, but also how we make our everyday decisions that have a long-term impact on our health, and hence our longevity.

But how is breath related to the thinking mind?

First of all, correct breathing is critical to our health. Babies breathe naturally. But as we grow up and older, our breaths change for the worse, and not for the better. Correct breathing affects your posture, which also affects your physique, including your physical health. Correct breathing means you breathe in sufficient oxygen and breathe out as much as possible all the toxic fumes and carbon dioxide from your body. Breathing is a natural rejuvenation and detoxification process. Unfortunately, most of us have incomplete or compromised breathing, leading to shortness of breath and accumulation of toxins inside the body. To have correct breathing (which means the breathing out should be longer than the breathing in) and complete breath (which means we use our diaphragm—the muscle between the lungs and the tummy—to push air and fill up the upper lungs), we must be aware of our breath—the longevity breath.

Awareness of breath also implies quieting the mind. A quiet mind—when you are totally aware of how your breathe in and breathe out, how the air goes in and out of your nostrils, how your diaphragm muscles move up and down—momentarily stops your compulsive mind from thinking. In other words, a quiet mind trains your thoughts– according to St. Theresa of Avila, the mind is like an unbridled horse wandering where it wlll, and your role is to train your horse, and gently bring it back to the right course. Awareness of breath does just that: letting your mind separate the truths from the half-truths or the myths.

Be aware of your breath and you will live not only longer but also healthier and wiser.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018  by Stephen Lau