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Friday, August 24, 2018

The TAO of No Judgment and No Preference


No Judgmen, and No Preference

“The Creator has no judgment, no preference:
He treats everything and everyone alike.
Every manifestation attests to the mysteries of his creation.
So, we, too, embrace everything and everyone with no judgment, no preference.
His grace, never depleting and forever replenishing, shows us the Way.
Judgment and preference separate us from his grace, causing attachment.
Only with his grace do we find renewal and rebirth along the Way.”
(Lao Tzu,Tao Te Ching, Chaper 5)

The above is taken from Lao Tzu's immortal classic Tao Te Ching, one of the most translated books in world literature. Lao Tzu was an ancient sage from China, who lived several hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Lao Tzu's profound wisdom is known as Tao wisdom, or simply Tao (also known as the Way).

We all have a physical body, living in a physical world often filled with toxic desires. Do not let the body become toxic too. In the physical world, our bodies with their five senses (seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, and touching) are constantly exposed to sensual sensations around us that may create desires in our bodies. For example, when we see something that pleases the eye, such as an expensive Rolex gold watch, we become desirous of it. That perception can be voluntarily rejected by the conscious mind, but it may be imprinted involuntarily on the subconscious mind, which, unfortunately, controls and directs the conscious mind. So, if the conscious mind does not even voluntarily reject the perception, it may become a toxic desire. Ideally, the mind should control the body, but if the body controls the mind, that is, letting the toxic desire get out of control, the mind will do just anything and everything—even to the extent of breaking the law—to gratify that desire of the body. That’s how toxic desires in a toxic body come into being.

In addition, we all have both a conscious and subconscious mind that process and interpret our physical sensations, leading to thoughts that may be positive or negative, depending on our mental input. The mind plays a pivotal role in changing negative thoughts into toxic desires in a toxic body.

Our conscious minds voluntarily control our mental input (that is, what we want to remember and what we want to forget); but our subconscious minds involuntarily absorb all physical sensations we are exposed to.  The subconscious mind is the master mind behind all actions that the conscious mind takes; therefore, it is important to have the wisdom to understand better how the subconscious mind works in order to have better control of the conscious mind, lest the subconscious mind create toxic desires in a toxic body.

Remember, the toxic mind is often created by human judgment and preference. Many of us have a tendency to judge others (the Bible says "Thou shalt not judge."); judgment may create a toxic mind. By the same token, many of us tend to pick and choose -- picking what we like, and choosing what we think may bring success, while rejecting what we don't like and avoiding what we think may cause failure. The wisdom is to "embrace" everything that happens in our lives, because we can learn from both the good as well as the bad. Live in the present moment, and stop being judgmental. 

Read my book: The Complete Tao Te HYPERLINK "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E76JP1C"ChingHYPERLINK "https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E76JP1C" in Plain English to learn more about Tao wisdom to let go of all attachments that may prevent you from living   as if everything is a miracle.

Stephen Laus
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The TAO of the Art of Living Well

Life is short, so make the best of it now! To live the best of your life, you must know who you are and what life is all about. Most importantly, you must have the wisdom to live your life to the fullest.

Living your life is a learning process. Real learning, however, is not just the acquisition of knowledge. True wisdom is the ability to penetrate deeply into the meaning behind superficial knowledge, to integrate related thoughts, facts, and experiences into a structural framework that reveals a deeper, more synthesized meaning than what an ordinary person perceives. Wisdom is internal; it comes from the inner self.

Focusing on so-called goals in life, many of us lose our true selves in the pursuit of our dreams. If you are one of them, you must re-direct your life. If you wish to re-discover your "new" self, or never want to go back to your "old" life, THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING is right for you.

Now is as good a time as any to live your life on your own terms, instead of someone else's terms. Now is the time not just to think out of the box, but to create your own box. THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING was written just for that specific purpose to inspire you with the wisdom in living, based on conventional wisdom, ancient wisdom, and spiritual wisdom.

Albert Einstein once said: "A human being is part of the whole called by us 'universe,' a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts, and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison . . . . "

One of the objectives of THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING is to free yourself from the self-imprisonment of self-delusions created by your self-consciousness, as pointed out by Albert Einstein. This book not only explains in simple terms and plain language how you may unconsciously create your self-limiting thoughts that prevent you from truly understanding who you are and what you really want from life, but also shows you how to create a substantially new manner of thinking through the integration of both conventional and ancient wisdom.

In particular, this book is about the art of living well through understanding and embracing the wisdom of Tao—the wisdom of Lao Tzu succinctly expressed in TAO TE CHING, one of the most translated works in world literature. However, Tao wisdom is simple but difficult to understand. THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING explains in simple language with common everyday examples to illustrate the essence of Tao wisdom and how it may integrate with conventional wisdom to live a life of your choice.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The TAO of the Basics in Life and Living


 The TAO of the Basics in Life and Living

In addition to the basic human need for food, clothing, and shelter, there are some basics in life, which are fundamental to the art of living well.

Feeling Good About Oneself

In life, there are generally three things that most people want and desire: abundant wealth; good health; happy relationships.

Indeed, they become the life goals of many. Success in their pursuit of these goals makes them feel good about themselves, not to mention satisfying their basic need to feel self-important.

Ask yourself these questions: What are the things you desire most in your life? Why are they important to you?

Forming Good Life Habits

Living is about processing experiences in life. Living life to the fullest is contingent on how you process your experiences, which are the consequences of your choices in life, rather than due to your circumstances. Good life choices stem from good life habits. Your habits, good or bad, control you more than anything else does, in particular, your thinking mind. Given that your life is the sum of your thoughts, forming good life habits is critical because you tend to become a slave to your habits, once they are formed.

Ask yourself this question: What are some of the life habits that you must form in order to help you process your experiences in life?

Good life habits include: living in the present moment; developing body and mind awareness; embracing right conduct and positive thinking.

According to Aristotle, we are what we repeatedly do; therefore, excellence is also a habit that can be cultivated.

Being Who You Are

If you wish to create a better life for yourself, you must do it all by yourself; after all, it is your life and you must live it yourself. In other words, it is all up to you.

Be yourself: who you are, and not who you want to become. Being who you are means you must stop blaming others, who have nothing to do with who you are or what you have become for that matter.

Remember, no one else is to blame for your experiences, which are uniquely and totally yours.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The TAO of Clarity of Mind


The TAO of Clarity of Mind

Tao wisdom is human wisdom, and Biblical wisdom is spiritual wisdom. The art of living well in this contemporary world requires both.  But neither is easy to come by. Why? Because Tao wisdom requires an empty mind with no preconditioned thinking of conventional wisdom, while Biblical wisdom requires the suspension of disbelief. That is to say, both require clarity of thinking, which is not easy to attain, except through meditation and concentration, that is, focusing the mind on the present moment.

Your mind is incessantly alternating between the past and the future, going back and forth without consciously knowing it.

Say, if you are watching TV at the present moment, your compulsive mind is continually retrieving both conscious and subconscious thoughts and memories from the past directly or indirectly related to what you are now watching on the television screen, as well as projecting them into the future. Your mind never really stays in the present moment, although you think it does because you are watching the TV.

To illustrate, you are watching a CNN report on an accident on the freeway involving many cars due to poor visibility. A subconscious thought from your own past experience of driving under similar poor visibility immediately comes up and is projected into the future, to be stored in your subconscious mind to warn you in the future to drive more carefully if a similar situation occurs. Your body is presently watching the television screen, but your mind does not stay in the present moment. That is the reality. It is only a mental illusion that your mind is staying presently on the TV screen. Other subconscious thoughts may also occur at the back of your mind: “I am a more careful driver than those people”, “I hope that will never happen to me” or “I would not know what to do in a similar situation.” All these thoughts are stored in your subconscious mind.

Remember, you compulsive mind is thinking non-stop without your conscious awareness.

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

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

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The TAO of Aging


The TAO of Aging

There is much wisdom in aging. Wisdom may not make you live longer, but it may make you live better as you age. Aging is difficult to define, but you will know it when you see it or experience it yourself. In brief, aging is a steady decline in health, which is instrumental in shortening lifespan; and the aging process is the duration during which such changes occur. Aging occurs throughout most of lifespan. Such a process is an accumulation of changes, which may be subtle or even drastic, that progressively lead to disease, degeneration, and, ultimately, death.

Whether you like it or not, your biological clock is ticking, and this will happen to various systems in your body: your heart will pump less blood, with your arteries becoming stiffer and less flexible, resulting in high blood pressure; with less oxygen and nutrients from the heart, your lungs will become less efficient in distributing oxygen to different organs and membranes of your body; your brain size will gradually reduce by approximately 10 percent between the age of 30 and 70, often resulting in loss of short-term memory; your bone mass will reduce, making it more brittle and fragile; your body size will shrink with your loss of muscle mass.

Wisdom may slow down your biological clock, although your mortality has been pre-programmed into your biological organisms and you body cells by your genes. Yes, you can still slow down the speed of aging—if you have wisdom to live your life. Tao wisdom may play a pivotal role in how you age, as well as the speed of your aging process.

Tao wisdom—the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu, the author of the Chinese classic “Tao Te Ching” on human wisdom—may show you how to live a stress-free life with no expectation, no over-doing, focusing on the present moment, instead of the past or the future. More importantly, Tao wisdom helps you let go of control of the self, others, as well as the world around; what goes up must also come down, and everything follows a natural cycle.

Living with Tao wisdom is anti-aging. Live your life as if everything is a miracle.


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The TAO of Money

Growing older sucks, especially when you don't have a lot of money. Your aging and longevity may be impacted by your spending, which has to do with the value of money, which plays a pivotal role as you continue to age. 

No matter how much money you have, make the best and the most of your remaining years; turn them into the golden years of your life in spite of any financial difficulty you may be facing, Remember, life is a task-master: it teaches you not only how to survive in any challenging circumstance but also how to live well, especially in your golden years.

The senior years are most challenging in that all seniors have to come to grips with the changes and challenges they may be facing. On the one hand, they may make them more appreciative of life as well as more proactive to live a meaningful and purposeful life; on the other hand, these challenges and problems may also make them want to give up on life, and thus drifting and deteriorating rapidly.

Money plays a major role in your retirement. You need money to retire, as well as to continue a similar lifestyle that you lead while you are working. Even if you decide to modify or simplify your lifestyle, you still need money.

Yes, money plays a pivotal role in aging and longevity, as well as how you are going to live the rest of your life. Given the importance of money, you need to know what money is all about.

With that goal in mind, you need to estimate the amount of money you need throughout the rest of your years. The amount is also influenced by when you want to retire. That is, retiring at the age of 55 is not the same as retiring at the age of 70, because life expectancy affects your retirement savings. You need to know your assets and liabilities: assets are the things you possess that have value when you exchange them for cash; liabilities are the debts you owe. Your net worth is all your assets minus all your liabilities, and it changes over time because your assets, expenses, and liabilities change too. Therefore, you need to review your financial situation and re-calculate your net worth annually or on a regular basis.

Your aging and longevity are impacted by your spending, which has to do with the value of money, which plays a pivotal role as you continue to age. 

In the past, people could enjoy the blessings of life without spending real money. Nowadays, to many people, enjoyment of life requires money — and lots of it! According to Buddha, craving or desire for material things is the source of all human miseries. Jesus also has this to say about money: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven.” (Luke 18:25)

So, what is the value of money? More importantly, what does money mean to you? Your perceptions of the value of money determine two of the most important things in the rest of your life: how you are going to live the rest of your life; how you are going to spend your money

The value of money should be based on your core values in life, such as integrity, which has little to do with money, and which is an important value that our Creator has bestowed on each one of us. Essentially, integrity is the value of what life has to offer, not the value of things purchased with money. Your core values affect your attitudes towards how you are going to live the rest of your life, irrespective of how much money you have.

The bottom line: spend money wisely according to your needs, and not your wants; be grateful for what you have, and be generous to those who are less fortunate than you age.

The Wisdom of Letting Go shows you how to let go of your attachments to the material world and live happily in your golden years. Also, You Just Don't Die! may provide a blueprint for living the rest of your life, if you just don't die, whether you have or do not have money.

The bottom line: Money may not make you happy; it's all in your mind. Look at some real life examples from The Happiness Wisdom.

Stephen Lauttom
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The TAO of a Happy Marriage


The TAO of a Good Marriage

The rate of divorce is skyrocketing in the United States, and the U.S. Census estimates about half of marriages end in divorce.  According to relationship experts, the number of long-term relationships heading towards separation is now becoming more frequent with a longer life span and a growing acceptability of divorce by society. What some experts are saying is that people divorce because they have a longer lifespan, and that divorce is no longer a social taboo.

The following is taken from my book THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING; it explains the pivotal role of spiritual wisdom in the success and survival of a marriage:

Marital relationships are complex and difficult.  due to the complexity and difficulty of interpersonal relationships.

To illustrate, when you take your marriage vows, you solemnly promise to love and care for your spouse “for better or for worse.” But that is a tall order in a marriage. Your marriage partner owes you a debt (or so you think!) if he or she falls short of your expectations. As a result, you become angry and resentful. Without God’s saving grace, you only see yourself as unforgiven and unacceptable to God; in turn, you become unforgiving and unaccepting towards your spouse. The outcome may be a divorce or, at best, an unhappy marriage.

Reflective Thought
Relationships are difficult and unpredictable: many prefer to wet their feet first before they jump into a marriage.

Case in Point

According to a recent study by the University of Denver, about 70 percent of couples co-habit before getting married.

Nowadays, many are afraid of getting married because they do not have sufficient faith either in themselves or in God.

Faith in marriage and living in faith hold the key to a successful marriage.

Not Knowing Self

Self-esteem is an important factor in a healthy love relationship. You must believe that you are “good enough” for your partner. True self-esteem stems from who you are, and not from what you do. If self-esteem were based on success, then many would indeed have low self-esteem because they would not be able to overcome the many hurdles of failures in their lives.

From the Christian point of view, self-esteem comes from the fact that you are made in the image of God.


“and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the one Who created him.” Colossians 3:10

Therefore, God loves you, and you are as good as you can be.

From the TAO's point of view,  self-esteem means loving yourself completely for who you are, irrespective of what you like or dislike about yourself—or else you cannot love another person wholeheartedly. According to TAO wisdom, if you cannot accept something unpleasant or incomplete in yourself, you cannot accept something that you think is unpleasant or incomplete in another person. It is just that simple! If you reject that person, you are in fact rejecting a part of yourself that you do not like. In a love relationship, you often begin to “mask” what you do not like about yourself, hiding it from the person you love. You are afraid of opening yourself completely, and accepting yourself just as who you really are. If you don't take off that “mask” of yours, you will only make that love relationship difficult to last.

Lack of self-esteem leads to fear of rejection—fear that the love relationship may not last. Subconsciously, you “anticipate” the inevitable rejection, picking fights and testing the other person constantly in fits of anger and jealousy, even though deep down you want the love relationship to last. Ironically enough, it may eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Reflective Thought

True love always risks rejection.

Case in Point

When God created men, He hoped for a loving relationship. However, love is only real if it is unconditional and freely offered. Accordingly, God made human beings capable of both loving and choosing. Living in faith, you can then love and choose in spite of your innate fear of rejection. 

Not Trusting in Spiritual Wisdom

Any relationship—whether it is the relationship with your family, with your co-workers, or just anyone you just met—is not easy, because it involves people. However, through the spiritual wisdom of grace, all things are possible. Jesus said: “With people, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Marriage, for example, is not a short-term option: it is for life. Nowadays, many people are afraid to get married. Trusting in spiritual wisdom means taking the first step, just as Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” If you really love someone, take that first step to get married, and put your trust in spiritual wisdom to guide you along the way.

But understanding the spiritual wisdom, without work, is not enough. You need to embrace it and put it into practice.

“You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” James 2:24

Living in faith is a tall order because you need work, which is marriage commitment. Marriage is a contract, requiring you to honor it “for better or for worse,” which is the commitment in a happy marriage.

Marriage commitment means marriage life is never plain sailing: there will be storms along the voyage.

“And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” Mark 4:39-40

Marriage commitment means you listen to God's voices for answers to your marriage problems. God always wants to talk to you.

“My sheep hears my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27

If you are His sheep, He will point the way ahead of you.

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

Marriage commitment means you humbly surrender yourself to God. You acknowledge your own weaknesses and problems in your marriage; instead of going your own willful way to deal with them, you choose the spiritual wisdom that is innate in each and every one of us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

When you have humbly surrendered yourself, God will speak, and you will hear His voice—which is the spiritual wisdom. You will not hear your own voice, or that of the devil.
Marriage commitment means you make yourself and your partner spiritual through worship, prayer, the Word of God, and service to others in His name. Above all, you make yourself open to forgiveness, and cherish togetherness through acceptance and respect for each other.

So, take the leap of faith to marry someone who is prepared to walk with you in this journey of spiritual wisdom. Remember, God gives each of us the capability to love and to choose. Your choice should not be based on physical appearance: all that glitters is not gold.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau