THE TAO OF EVERYTHING,/b>

Monday, May 25, 2020

The Sunny Side of Your Golden Years


The Sunny Side of the Golden Years

Santa Claus is a testimony of what the sunny side of golden years would be like—full of fun and adventures never experienced before. If having your birthdays is no longer appealing to you, maybe you should start looking at the sunny side of your golden years.

In your golden years, you have become older but wiser—wiser being a process of becoming more of what you have been.

In your golden year, you have become more confident due to the benefits of accumulated life experiences. You should not be experiencing any identify crisis because by now you know who you are and what you want out of your life. In addition, life has taught you not to take any rejection by anyone as personal; you have come to believe that the way people treat you is no more than a reflection of their own inadequacy and insecurity.

In your golden years, you may have by now become more proactive, instead of procrastinating, because you are fully aware that your clock is ticking. An increasing awareness of how precious time is and a desire to utilize it more effectively is self-motivation not to procrastinate any more.

In your golden years, you have become more patient and less impulsive; maybe by now you have more time to yourself. With more tolerance and less impulse, you have become more rational in your thinking as well as in your behavior.

In your golden years, after decades of pushing, striving, and struggling, you have finally cooled down and attained inner tranquility without the need to excel or to shine any more.

In your golden years, you have grown mellow. Instead of looking only at the bigger picture, you have begun to shift your focus on the little fine things in life that now afford you pleasure and satisfaction of a different kind, rather than on your quest or pursuit for success in your younger years. You have learned that it is better to take things in stride, especially the bigger ones, such as life challenges. Most importantly, you have acquired the wisdom of having no need for you to be right all the time, let alone championing your beliefs and standpoints.

In your golden years, you have more free time to develop a network of both old and new friends.  Getting involved not on a career level often broadens your horizon and extends your perceptions of life.

In your golden years, you may have become more spiritual, not necessarily being connected to a specific belief system or religion; your inner spirit is simply awakened to the people and the world around you.

In your golden years, you have learned to accept the unalterable; this acceptance teaches you to live in the now, as well as to appreciate what you still have, not what you are going to lose.

To sum up, look at your golden years as your rewards and blessings, and perceive yourself as desirable and deserving.
  

Positive Facts about Aging

 

If you are over 65, you belong to the 10 percent of the U.S. population heading towards longevity. If you are one of them, continue to forge ahead with your healthy lifestyle to remain younger and healthier for longer!

Only 5 percent of individuals over 65 are confined to an institution. Being healthier for longer assures you will not be one of them!

About 95  percent  of individuals  over 65 are still healthy without chronic health problems. If you are one of them, good for you! Continue your healthy lifestyle!

Cognitive function does not decline dramatically with age. The majority of seniors are still capable of learning new skills and acquiring new information. In general, your ability to learn new things is affected not so much by your age as by your desire to learn them. Keep up with your desire, and don’t lag behind the world of information and technology! This will keep you mentally fit for longer.

Your physical strength is maintained from your biological maturity until around age 60. But physical strength and body mass are more related to disease and health than to your number of years. Continue to exercise to maintain your muscles. Use it or lose it! Be physically active and mobile to keep you younger for longer. Also, keep your good posture, which is important not only in preventing falls and improving muscular strength, but also in maintaining your youthful image and physique.

 

A Life of Leisure

 

Santa Claus is having a life of leisure: traveling and giving presents. The golden years often become a life of leisure for many seniors: traveling and playing golf. Your leisure is what you like to do because you want to do it, you look forward to doing it, you feel good about doing it, and you simply enjoy doing it.

But your life is more than just a life of leisure. Your leisure has to satisfy your inner soul or spirit as well—it needs to give you a sense of satisfaction and achievement. Man does not live by bread alone, nor does he thrive on only personal enjoyment. Your life has to be meaningful and rewarding, such that it provides you with an incentive to go on even against all odds, to make the most and the best of what has been given to you, or maybe what is left of you. It is this incentive that makes your golden years meaningful and rewarding. Always make your life purposeful, irrespective of the different phases in you life, and savor the rewards of  all your accomplishments, no matter how insignificant they may be. If you are about to retire or have already retired, do not make your retirement only a perpetual holiday. Do something about your golden years!

Myths and Truths about Aging

 

You inevitably feel much older as you advance in years. Quite the contrary, according to a 2009 Pew Research survey, many seniors feel they are as many as 10 to19 years younger, not older, than their chronological age.

Dementia is inevitable in life. But dementia is only one of the many symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. If you don’t have the disease, you may only have senior moments, which are just momentary memory lapses. Use it or lose it. If you regularly use and exercise your brain, you will have fewer senior moments. Of course, if you do have the Alzheimer’s disease, then it is something else.

You can no longer exercise your body and mind in your 50s, 60s, and beyond.  Nothing is further from the truth than this. It is never too late to exercise, despite your aches and pains. As a matter of fact, immobility only aggravates muscle weakness and inflexibility, and thus creating a vicious circle of inactivity and pain.

If you think you are too old to give up your nicotine, think again! Research studies have indicated that most seniors are able to give up their lifelong habit of smoking in their golden years.

You can never teach an old dog new tricks. Scientists have found that the cognitive reserve in the human brain enables learning new things in the latter half of life. Whether you wish to continue to empower yourself with new knowledge in your golden years is your personal choice, and it has little to do with your mind power or your age.

Women in senior years are more likely to develop depression than men. According to National Women’s Health Resources, women in their golden years become more adventurous and more ready to look for new opportunities in life than men do. It is also a myth that depression will impair an aging body and mind. The truth of the matter is that depression is a treatable medical condition. Don’t stigmatize yourself!

Western cultures perpetuate the perception and the negative stereotypes of the elderly. Do not buy into all the negative and erroneous beliefs about growing old. If you can only remove all your negative stereotypes and myths of aging, you are well on the way to the sunny side of your golden years.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Seniors Are the Santa Claus


Seniors Are the Santa Claus

Today’s "new seniors" are so much different from their parents or grandparents in both attitude and behavior. Many of today’s older adults (regardless of their age) are quite removed from the stereotypical senior citizens of yesterday. According to U.S. News & World Report, "What is important about this generation is its difference, not only in size, but also in vitality and outlook."

“There are four stages to life: 1. As a child, you believe in Santa Claus. 2. Then, you don’t believe in Santa Claus. 3. As you age, you look like Santa Claus. 4. Finally, you “think” you are Santa Claus.” Anonymous

Golden Years and Santa Claus.

To many seniors, the meaning of “golden years” may mean doing nothing—basking in the warm sunshine on a beach, going to a teahouse every morning to have dim sum, and growing older and older until the ultimate end. To them, retirement is a predictable way of life—you just join the senior crowd, and grow old just like everyone else. 

Byr growing old is not that simple. Life is not simple, and has never been simple. Life is always unpredictable, with all the ups and downs. Living does not follow any predictable pattern, and that there is absolutely no roadmap to meet all the different life challenges. They are very much individualized. For one to survive, one needs to hold onto some basic life tools in the form of knowledge and information, as well as to make the best and the most of them in order to meet one’s many unique life challenges. Therefore, how others have solved their problems may not help you solve your own because you are walking on a life journey that is uniquely yours.

Life comes in different stages, and each stage is full of its own challenges. Growing up and growing old are two of the greatest challenges in life, because both of which require great courage to overcome uncertainties and fears of the unknown. Maybe growing up is less of a challenge compared to that of growing old, because the former has the luxury of time, while the latter has time constraint. If time is not for you, but against you, the challenge may seem even more daunting and insurmountable. In between these two major challenges, there is, of course, a host of other obstacles and problems. Life is not a bed of roses, and never meant to be one.

Living is all about struggling. The good news is that growing old is a human race in which there are no winners and no losers. No matter what, we all have to finish that race somehow, with no exception. Just do your best, and let God do the rest to help you finish your race with grace and dignity.

Many seniors wither away, like dead branches on a living tree. To many seniors, old age is growing older and getting more senile and decrepit with each day passing; it is a predictable pattern in the cycle of life. Indeed, many have seen their enthusiasm for life waning day by day. Those who live a purposeful and passionate life in their golden years, finishing strong and dying gracefully, are few and far between. How sad, and yet how true! But going through the golden years doesn’t have to be like that. Joy and aging can, surprisingly, go hand in hand, if you have the know-how. This book purports to provide you with information to help you do just that—living a joyous life in your golden years, full of meaning and purpose, just like Santa Claus.

Life is always a discovery process, even more so in the golden years. It is a journey of self-discovery—finding what you need, and finding ways to meet your needs, so that you can fulfill some of your life goals even in your golden years. Continue your aging with joy, finishing the last journey with grace and dignity. No matter how bumpy and hurtful this journey may become, make your golden years a time to laugh, rather than a time to weep and worry.

Michelangelo, the famous Italian painter and sculptor, once commented on his own aging: “Since life was such a pleasure, death coming from the same great source cannot displease us.” Maybe that is how you should view your own golden years ahead of you—a time for joy.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Saturday, May 23, 2020

How I Look At Life Problems


Looking at Life Problems

How I deal with my complaints

In my daily life, I try to catch myself complaining about anything, such as the weather—whether I am making a comment or just thinking a thought about the weather. By not complaining, I try to avoid putting my mind in a state of unconsciousness that creates negative energy and denial of the present moment. When I am complaining, I am in fact saying: “I cannot accept what is, and I am a victim of the present situation.” Understandably, in the present moment, we all have only three options in any situation that we are complaining about: get away from the situation; change the situation;  and accept the situation as it is.

If I want to take any action—whether it is getting away or changing the situation—I try my best to remove any negativity first and foremost.

If it is my decision to take no action, I honestly ask myself if it is fear that stands in my way of taking any action: I tell myself that any action is often better than no action. Staying in the present moment does the mental trick of controlling my thoughts:  focusing my mind on the present moment, and looking objectively at the fear that may be holding me back from taking any action, without letting fear get into my subconscious mind to create any negativity.

If, after much deliberation, I still decide to take no action, then I accept it fully and consciously, with no regret and no “should have” or “might have” because the whole episode now belongs to the past and is no longer real for me. It is important for me not to experience any inner conflict, resistance, or negativity in the mental process of deciding to take no action.

How I deal with stress

Stress is inevitable in contemporary living. My wife sometimes complains that I stress her, and my spontaneous reply is: “If I don’t stress you, something or somebody would stress you. Just learn to cope with it!” Yes, everybody has to cope with stress, and not to deal with the stressor.

When I was working on a book, it was easy for me to focus too much on the future and forget about the present. My mind seemed to be preoccupied with getting to the future, that is, finishing a certain chapter or the completion of a book, such that I easily forgot about the present. Then I began to realize that my stress was due to my “being here” but “wanting to be there.” With that realization, I have learned to re-focus more on the present, and less on the future. As a matter of fact, I have stopped creating timelines for my writing. In the writing process, sometimes I don’t like what I have written (what is known as a writer’s bad days) but I try to enjoy the writing process, rather than looking at what I have written and what I don’t like about. By focusing on the present, instead of on the finished product in the future, I have learned to enjoy my writing and the writing process, and I am able to revise what I previously did not like. So, the key is doing something totally focused on the present moment.

Awareness and concentration are important ingredients in mental clarity and relaxation to de-stress the mind.

How I deal with the past

In my life, I have made many mistakes, which have changed my life—maybe for the worse, or maybe not. Who knows? And who cares?

I never let the past take up my attention. I do not let my thinking process create any anger, guilt, pride, regret, resentment, or self-pity. Like everybody else, I do have these negative feelings and emotions, but they do not last long. I believe that if I allow these thoughts of mine to control me, I would look much older than my calendar age, and, worse, create a false sense of self.

To reminisce what was good in the past would intensify a desire to repeat such an experience in the future, and thus creating an insatiable longing that may never be fulfilled. To recall what was unpleasant in the past would generate feelings of remorse and unhappiness. What is the use? I just let bygones be bygones. In my mind, there is no ”what if.”

How I deal with failures

The path of living is strewn with failures, big and small. But they should not become stumbling blocks in life journey.  Like everybody else, I have met my failures:

I look upon my failures with positive attributes: a lesson of humility to show my own limitation and inadequacy; a lesson that I may never get what I want in life; a lesson to strengthen my character as a human being; a lesson to learn about perseverance and survival from failures.

If I had succeeded in those endeavors in the past, I would have embarked on a totally different life journey heading toward a totally different direction. Would I really have been better off or worse off? Who knows, and who cares? I never ponder on the “might have” or the “would have” scenarios.

How I look at death

I am now closer to the end rather than the beginning. That is to say, the thought of death has become more and more real with each day passing. I have come to believe that most elderly people have similar experience.

If I could ask but one question about the future, it would be: “How am I going to die?” and not “When am I going to die?”

I wouldn’t want to know about the when. To me, time is not a big factor. My desire to know the “how” is just out of plain curiosity. Anyway, they are just hypothetical questions without any answer.

In life, we all ask many different questions, some of which are practical, some hypothetical, and some without an answer. To many, living is a search for an answer to many of the unanswerable questions in life.

So, stop looking for an answer to every question asked, but continue to ask, and just live if there were no tomorrow.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, May 22, 2020

Life Purpose


Looking at Life Purpose

Life must have a purpose, or, more specifically, an external as well as an internal purpose.

External Purpose

In life setting, a purpose is important, but not so important that it drives you crazy in pursuing it or giving it up altogether. As a matter of fact, there is an external purpose that only sets you a direction for the destination of your life. In that direction, there are many different signposts guiding you along the way. Arriving at one signpost simply means that you have accomplished one task; missing that signpost means that you are still on the right path but simply taking maybe a detour or just longer time because of misdirection or getting lost on the way.

Internal Purpose

Your internal purpose is more important: it has nothing to do with arriving at your destination, but to do with the quality of your consciousness—what you are doing along the way.

That Jesus said: “gain the world and lose your soul” probably said everything there is to say about the internal purpose of life for an individual.

External purpose can never give lasting fulfillment in life due to its transience and impermanence, but internal purpose, because of its unique quality of being in the present moment, may give us inner joy and a sense of fulfillment. That is how you should feel about your internal life purpose.

No matter what you do in your life, just do your very best and do it well, no matter how insignificant they may be.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” Martin Luther King Jr.                                    

Always tell yourself to try doing everything as if God had called upon you at that particular moment to do it. Of course, admittedly, it is not always that easy, given that the mind may be troubled by the ego-self, by invasive and unwanted thoughts from the past or by projections of those thoughts into the future. But having the mindset with the right intention is already a first step or breakthrough for you.

Always understand that you have three options in whatever you have been called to do: do it; not to do it; and do it while enjoying the present moment of doing. So, just do what you have to do, whether you like it or not, just as Michelangelo painted—who, believing that his talent was in sculpture and not in painting, was at first unwilling to do the fresco, which turned out to be one of his greatest masterpieces.

The bottom line: Do what you may not like to do, and  learn to like what you have to do.

Sometimes you may like to ask this question: “What about tomorrow?”

Well, you cannot speak for tomorrow. Tomorrow hasn’t come yet. After all, tomorrow is another day, just as Scarlet O’Hara said in Gone with the Wind. 

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau



Thursday, May 21, 2020

Living Life Wisdom


Living Life Wisdom

Live your life according to your inner intuitive spirit, and not according to the have-to-do philosophy of contemporary world. There is no such a thing as have-to-do, neither is there a must-follow recipe for living. That having said, to live well, you must get to do a lot, much more than you would like to do, but do without over-doing.

To live well, you must be the creator of your own life. Be creative. A creative approach to transformative life is empowering: it enables you to ask soul-searching and mind-stimulating questions to get a better understanding of your problems and pains in your life. Living is a path of self-discovery—discovering your own false judgments about the world you are living in. These false judgments of yours have been made through years of self-seeking that, ironically enough, has created the self-deceptions and illusions responsible for the problems and difficulties in your life.

According to the TAO, the ancient wisdom from China, based on the ancient sage, Lao Tzu, who was the author of the immortal classic TAO TE CHING on human wisdom.

According to Lao Tzu, this is how the human mind has become distorted and dysfunctional:

In the beginning, man did not know things existed, and so he had perfect knowledge.

Later, he found out things existed, but made no distinctions between them.

Then, he began to make some distinctions, but expressed no judgment about right and wrong.

Now, he makes judgments of right and wrong, and that leads to his own preferences of likes and dislikes, which then create his desires and expectations—the sources of his suffering. In short, the human mind is like an unbridled horse: it makes judgments, making what does not exist, exist, and what does exist, does not exist. In the process, illusions and self-deceptions are created, and they become the substances of the ego-self.

The only solution is to change the way you think through your mind. If you can change the way you see the world, your life will be totally different. Remember, the TAO mind is not the human mind. The human mind is concerned with worldly things and worldly life, forever making false distinctions and discriminations based on human desires to seek pleasures and to avoid pains. The TAO mind is a perfect mirror that reflects everything perfectly, but it does not hold on to anything at all, because what it sees in the mirror is just a reflection, an image of something intangible, unreachable, and therefore unreal. Use your mind like a mirror: it reflects what you see, but does not retain it, and therefore you learn to let go of everything that you see because it is unreal. That is the true wisdom in the art of living well.

A TAO mind, however, does not stop you from living a proactive life but your activities should fit into the natural patterns of the universe, and therefore need to be completely detached and disinterested, and not ego-driven.

Remember, life is but a mirror of yourself and how you live your life..

The bottom line: There is no recipe for living. If there were, it would just serve to put together the ingredients of both ancient and conventional wisdom, to be enhanced and complemented by spiritual wisdom.

True wisdom has no form and no concept; it has to be experienced and internalized in order to intuit its essence to cope with challenges and problems in life.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Spiritual Wellness to Live Longer

Spiritual Wellness

As opposed to materiality, spirituality is always invisible, immeasurable, but present and lasting. It is like the wind—it is invisible and yet palpable. It provides guidance, direction, and understanding to the mind. Spirituality takes the form of love, joy, and peace, and it is often expressed in human actions and behaviors. Materiality, on the other hand, is always visible, measurable, and transient. Humans need both spirituality and materiality: the former to understand the self, and the latter to understand the world and the universe around the self. Spirituality not only inspires the mind but also energizes the body—it is a body-mind-spirit connection necessary for the total wellness of an individual.

The pivotal role of spirituality

Your whole being is composed of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. Your body—the physical—is controlled by your mind—the  mental—which is supervised by your soul—the spiritual. Your spirituality oversees your whole being. Nothing transforms you as much as changing from a mundane to a spiritual attitude towards all your everyday problems.

Living in the physical world is challenging in itself. The challenges often turn themselves into toxins that infest the body as well as the mind. A mind is supposed to control the body, but an infested mind loses much of its control over the body, and thus letting the body do whatever it wants to do, and thus poisoning both the body and the mind. The role of the soul is to provide the mind with instructions and inspirations on how to take care of the body. But the toxins of the mind can also poison the soul, and thus not only stunting the growth of spirituality but also disconnecting the mind from its spiritual source.

There are often times when the mind is at a loss, confused, and helpless, and that is when the soul can be its inspiration and its awakening agent, provided the mind is willing to seek the help of the soul.

Letting go to attain wellness of the soul

Material attachment is a toxic thought that connects material things to the ego of an individual in the physical world. It is the reluctance of that individual to let go of material things that define who that individual thinks he or she is. Attachment to the ego-self and its related material things is the source of human woes, which impact the body and the mind, and ultimately contaminate the soul.

Bottom line: Let go of your ego-self (the gravitational center of attachment). At some point in your life, you have to let go of all your material things because they do not last, and neither do they define who you are. Letting go is the pathway to spiritual wellness.

In addition, emotional attachment is also a toxic thought that is a stumbling block to attaining spiritual wellness. For example, bitterness is a common and rampant toxic thought that batters the mind and bruises the soul. Bitterness cherishes anger, which often turns itself into rage, seeking revenge. Bitterness ultimately devastates the soul.

The bottom line: Do not justify your bitterness. The hurt never justifies the bitterness. Any desire for justice (making it personal) stains and blemishes the soul. Just let go of any attachment to bitterness.

”Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:14-15)

Envy is another attachment that tarnishes the soul. Envy is tantamount to rejecting your own blessings because you are counting the blessings of others rather than yours. Envy is about comparing yourself with others. In life, it is important to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you believe in your Creator? One of the obstacles to believing in yourself is comparing yourself with others. You are who you are; don't try to be someone else that you are not. Envy leads to craving: "wanting more and more" (greed) or "wanting more for less" (taking unfair advantage of others).

The bottom line: Be grateful for what you have; rejoice with those who have more. Let go of attachment to envy.

Fear is a debilitating toxic thought for the toxic soul. This toxic thought is manifested in many forms, such as fear of an outcome (disappointment), fear of loss (refusal to let go), fear of the future (lack of self-belief, or faith in the Creator), and fear of rejection (non-acceptance by others).

Jesus said: "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (Matthew 6:27)

"Without faith it is impossible to please God." (Hebrews 11:6)

The bottom line: Let go of "what-ifs" from your mind; nobody knows the future anyway.

Strengthening spirituality

Spirituality is the wisdom to believe—believe in doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. Many people are spiritual, even though they may not have a religion; they still believe that there is a Higher Being who is in control of the universe and what is happening around, such as the sun always comes out in the east. They are spiritual when they have a heart that feels for themselves as well as for others.

But how does one become more spiritual?

Your soul is your spirituality. Use your consciousness to strengthen your inherent spirituality: be aware of your body-mind-soul connection. Always seek spiritual wisdom.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

Simplify your life. Clear away all the physical clutters in your life as the first step towards freeing yourself from your material and mundane attachments. Material things do not define who you are. Once you have let go of the physical clutters in your living environment, you may then get to know more about yourself, especially your needs and values, instead of your desires and wants. Remember, needs and wants are not the same; your wants often create toxic desires and their accompanying toxic emotions, resulting in your attachments.

Learn to look within yourself for answers to your life problems: you will become more self-reliant and self-sufficient. Find your inner voice: what you love to do, and what touches your heart and your soul. Your inner self knows the truth when you hear it. Nobody knows you better than yourself—just as there is no better physician than yourself, who know what is best for your body. This intuitive wisdom is self-healing, which gives you a healthier body and mind to nourish your soul. Consciously improve your everyday attitudes and feelings, not just about yourself, but also towards others around you. Each and every moment in your day-to-day interactions with people may provide an opportunity for you to become more spiritual, if you consciously avail yourself of that opportunity to see miracles in your life. Using Mother Teresa’s example, begin by conveying warmth to someone who least expects it, and this generous gesture of compassion is a strong testament to your innate spirituality. It is your spiritual thinking that causes your personality and daily interactions with others to become an expression of your soul: your daily actions speak you mind. A healthy mind is full of spirituality.

Feed your mind with positive thoughts to avoid any distorted thinking that may disenfranchise your soul. Consistently replenish your soul with spiritual feelings, such as unconditional love, generosity, gratitude, and forgiveness, among others. Love melts your resistance to change for the better; without love, you simply continue to perpetuate that you resist, such as resisting to letting go. Generosity is freely giving your time and effort to others, as well as to yourself; it is paying others forward without any selfish interest or expectation. Gratitude will not make you compare your current state of health or wealth with that of others; gratitude is a great attitude in overcoming toxic thoughts of envy and greed that you may still attach to at the back of your mind. Forgiveness is a necessary requirement for health and healing of the mind and the soul; forgive yourself as well as others for all the mistakes done by you, or by others to you—mistakes are necessary for the learning process in life and the empowerment of the soul. Never look back in anger. Just let go of the past.

Spirituality, at a deeper level, means a desire to have a personal relationship with your Creator. Learn to pray. Prayers work by altering your brain chemistry. Like anti-depressant drugs, prayers can help you build up the feeling-good brain chemicals, such as serotonin. Prayers restore your hope, strength, and even health.

With the desire to believe, comes the awareness of your inner longings, as wells as your consciousness of an inner voice speaking to you—the growth and development of spirituality. Then, you must persist and persevere in your search and pursuit of spirituality, such as daily prayers and acts of right mindedness. Finally, further down the road, life crises and daily problems along your life journey may, surprisingly, further awaken you to your own innate spirituality.


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

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