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The Wisdom in Forgiveness

Spiritual Wisdom

We must always forgive people their wrongs against us no matter how great the offense because God offers His forgiveness regardless of our own offenses. Therefore, we are expected to do the same, if we wish to receive His wisdom.

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
(Luke 6: 37)

Conventional Wisdom

According to the Journal of Happiness Studies, human happiness may come from the quality of the friendship or relationship experiences that promote the feeling of uniqueness in an individual.

TAO Wisdom

According to Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese sage, judging nothing, you will be happy; forgiving anything and everything, you will be happier; and loving anything and everything, you will be happiest. Not judging everyone you encounter gives you better understanding of humanity, and thus instrumental in learning new ways to love and to help others. Forgiveness is a powerful spiritual medicine that cures all negative emotions and feelings.

The Creator seems elusive amid the changes of life.
At times, He seems to have forsaken His creations.
In reality, He is simply observing the comings and goings of their follies.

Likewise, we watch the comings and goings
of our likes and dislikes, of our desires and fears.
But we do not identify with them.
With no judgment and no preference,
we see the mysteries of creation.
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 7)

Stop striving to be righteous and wise to attain salvation,
which comes not from our efforts, not from something we must earn.

Stop abiding by rules and regulations to secure fairness and justice.
Compassion and loving-kindness come naturally to us.
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 19)

True love is generosity, which is giving without expecting anything in return-a practical expression of compassion that provides lasting happiness and divine inspiration.

The Way may seem insignificant.
It is because it appears ordinary.
The Way is great beyond comparison.
If there were any comparison,
it would no longer be great.

The Way is great because of its three essentials:
compassion, humility, and faith.
With compassion, there is no fear.
With humility, there is no strife.
With faith, there is no impossibility.

Without compassion, fearlessness then becomes ruthlessness.
Without humility, efforts may become complicated and difficult.
Without faith, possibilities may become controlling and self-centering.
Compassion is the root.
Humility is the stem.
Faith is the flower. 
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 67)

Learn to let go of all grudges, the past, and live in the present as if everything is a miracle.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Be Grateful for Everything

Reconnect your soul or spirit to gratitude. If you are grateful to the Creator for what you have, you may look at the behavior of another individual with more tolerance, or even with a totally different perspective.

Blessings in life, such as the gift of life, are generally overlooked or even taken for granted. For example, if someone takes advantage of you, do not become angry immediately; instead, be grateful that you are the victim instead of being the person who victimizes others.

Gratitude enables you to develop the mindset for a positive outlook toward your soul. Smile more often. Keep complaints about people, things, and life in general only to yourself-unless voicing them will help bring about positive changes in others or in society.

Gratitude helps you see the good in others, letting you give them the benefit of the doubt. Try to remember that all people are created in the image of God. Focus on the individual as a person, rather than on the behavior or belief of that individual, which may not be appealing or pleasing to you.

Always be grateful that you have been given the opportunity to become either a teacher or a student in whatever circumstance you may find yourself in, and turn it into a miracle of life.

An illustration

At the end of 2007, John Kralik, an attorney who owned a law firm, experienced debts and disasters in both his life and career.

One day, after a walk in the mountains, Kralik became enlightened: as his 2008 New Year’s resolution, he decided to write a thank-you note a day for the rest of the year to everyone he knew.

Kralik’s  2008 “gratitude project”  had changed  his life completely. Instead of his feeling of discontent regarding his lack, and his envy of those who had what he did not have, he had learned to be grateful for his law firm, his practice, his friends, and his family, despite the many disasters and drawbacks he had previously experienced. Kralik’s gratitude began to change every aspect of his life. His relationships with his family, his friends, and his staff improved significantly; his law firm avoided bankruptcy, and turned around completely.

Gratitude is something that you get more only by giving it away more. Expression of gratitude generates happiness that overcomes the unhappy feelings of lack.

Are you grateful for what you have, and not getting what you rightly deserve?

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Control and Out of Control

Letting go is difficult because there is one thing that most of us have overlooked: the wisdom of letting go to let God.

Life is all about living-it comes with some hard work, simple integrity, and, above all, the wisdom in living. If life is all about living-not just about making and spending money-then it is not about regrets and dreams.

Regrets look back at the past; dreams look forward to the future. Unfortunately, both are not within our control. If the value of money is solely based on accumulation of wealth, or the acquisition of material things, then living indeed becomes a labyrinth of regrets and dreams-regrets over the wrong investment decisions in the past, and dreams of the great fortune yet to come in the future.
A life journey is forever paved with many challenges and losses, many of which are beyond human control because they are often sudden and unpredictable.

Physical loss, including loss of vision and mobility, both of which may affect the quality of life with respect to independent living, may make living beyond control.

Material loss may include loss of property from natural disaster, such as flooding, tornado, and wildfire, loss of place and space, such as moving from a house to an apartment or to a nursing home. Downsizing also means the loss or forced disposal of treasured possessions that many are reluctant to let go of.

Memory loss may result in a severe loss of organizational ability and the ability to plan and function, resulting in loss of independence, which is a major setback for the elderly.

Loss of loved ones due to accidents or natural causes are devastating. Spousal loss is often the most devastating in that the oneness in marriage is forever broken, resulting in isolation and loneliness.

Losses that come in many different forms often become sources of unhappiness, but losses are no more than life challenges that are beyond human control.

But living, to many, is about controlling self and others; more specifically, purposely controlling the destiny of self, as well as directly or indirectly controlling the destinies of others around. The truth of the matter is that we are only humans, and we cannot control what is controlled by God. Being finite, with only limited intelligence, we are limited in our capability to control what is beyond human control. God, who is infinite, is in absolute control of everything. Our constant desire to control is displeasing to God-an expression of our lack of trust, and our disobedience.
Humans are always given a choice: continuing to control one’s destiny, or letting go to let God control.
God has given each one of us a unique life and destiny that only we can complete it.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
(Psalm 139: 16)

However, the completion of that life and destiny in our life journey is according to His way and time, and not according to ours. In other words, it is all about what He wants for us, and not what we want for ourselves.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
Correct Breathing to Live Longer

Breathing has to do with the lungs, which serve two main functions: to get life-giving oxygen from the air into the body, and to remove toxic carbon dioxide from the body. Therefore, it is important to be conscious of a longer breathing out than a breathing in so as to maximize the removal of the toxic carbon dioxide from the lungs.

But the functioning of the lungs may have compromised due to aging or incorrect breathing over decades of misuse. Compromised breathing is often due to changes in bones and muscles of the chest and the spine: bones becoming thinner can change the shape of your ribcage, making it less capable of expanding and contracting during your breathing.

In addition; the muscles supporting your breathing and your diaphragm may also have weakened due to age, such that you have difficulty in breathing in and breathing out enough air.

Furthermore, the lung tissues near your airway may have weakened, leading to their incapability to completely open and close the airways. As a result, air that is trapped in your lungs may also prevent efficient inhaling and exhaling, thus making it harder for you to breathe.

On top of these, a weakened immune system may also make your lungs become more vulnerable to infections and less capable of recovering from your exposure to smoke and other toxic environmental particles.

To add insult to injury, as you age, your nervous system that controls your breathing may have become less functional, making your airways more sensitive to germs and infections. As you continue to increase in age, your lungs may become more vulnerable to lung infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, resulting in many health-related problems due to a lower oxygen level in your blood supply.

First and foremost, learn how to breathe correctly; many people don’t breathe right because they are not conscious of their breathing. Breathing right may help you in many ways in your everyday life and living. Remember, a healthy mind always has an easy breath, giving a relaxed body. Humans tend to focus on breathing in, to the extent that they may completely neglect what happens when they breathe out, as if it were not that important. This discrepancy between breathing in and breathing out needs to be corrected in order to create a free-flowing breath. Concentrating on breathing in may fill up the lungs with air all the time, such that the breathing becomes quicker and shorter, and thus stressing both the body and the mind. This may, ironically enough, lead to “feeling out of breath.” The wisdom of correct breathing is to empty the lungs of air completely so that it may be filled fully with air.

Diaphragm breathing

Always use your diaphragm (the diaphragm muscle separating your chest from your abdomen) to breathe, and not your lungs. Essentially, when your diaphragm goes down, you lungs fill up with air; when your diaphragm goes up, your lungs push the air out, expelling the toxic carbon dioxide. Incomplete breathing (when you use your lungs, instead of the diaphragm, to breathe in and breathe out) leads to accumulation of toxic wastes in the lungs and in other parts of your body organs and tissues. Diaphragm breathing is correct breathing to boost health and wellness of both the body and the mind.

Diaphragm breathing is the complete breath. Consciously change your breathing pattern. Use your diaphragm to breathe. Place one hand on your breastbone, feeling that it is raised, and put the other hand above your waist, feeling your diaphragm muscles moving up and down. Deep breathing with your diaphragm gives you complete breath. This is how you do your diaphragm breathing:

Sit comfortably.
Begin your slow exhalation through your nose.
Contract your abdomen to empty your lungs.
Begin your slow inhalation and simultaneously make your belly bulge out.
Continuing your slow inhalation, now, slightly contract your abdomen and simultaneously lift your chest and hold.
Continue your slow inhalation, and slowly raise your shoulders. This allows the air to enter fully into your lungs to attain the complete breath.
Retain your breath and slightly raise your shoulders for a count of 5.
Very slowly exhale the air. Your upper chest deflates first, and then your abdomen relaxes in.
Repeat the process.

Learn to slowly prolong your breath, especially your exhalation. Relax your chest and diaphragm muscles, so that you can extend your exhalation, making your breathing out slightly longer and complete. To prolong your exhalation, count “one-and-two-and-three” as you breathe in and breathe out. Make sure that they become balanced. Once you have mastered that, then try to make your breathing out a little longer than your breathing in.

The Oxygen Advantage

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau
"Anything Is Everything to You"?

In 2012, a Chinese couple from Hong Kong filed a lawsuit against an education consultant in the United States for $2 million dollars, who promised that he could-but ultimately did not-get their two sons into Harvard University. 

The couple had used “improper” but maybe still perfectly “legal” means to get their two sons into Harvard University.
Getting into an elite college or university may be everything to many students, including their parents. Some might even resort to doing anything in order to achieve that goal, which is everything to them.

Now, what is your own take on “anything is everything”?

Just like the Chinese couple who saw only their desire to get their two sons into Harvard University, but without considering that their “improper action” might also deprive the opportunity of two other students to get into Harvard University.

The example above also illustrates another basic but major human flaw-the “inflated” ego-self, which is focusing too much on “anything is everything” related to an individual’s ego-self.

We are all created to be in this world for only one purpose: to be our true self. Conventional wisdom often tells us to find our role model, pursue our life goals based on that role model. Subconsciously, we may all begin to dream that we are that role model or someone else that we are not, instead of being who we are supposed to be. That is how we may all have created an ego for ourselves; worse, we may even believe that we have to somehow gratify our ego-self in order to feel happy and contented.

The truth of the matter is that we all have an ego, and that is why we all, without any exception, have experienced unhappiness to a certain extent at some points in our lives. Unfortunately, the human ego is also the underlying cause or the main source of all human miseries and sufferings. That is to say, the human ego is the human flaw responsible for most of the problems and troubles that we are all facing in our lives. 

The reality is that we cannot get rid of our ego because it is our uniquely individual identity. Having said that, we can still somehow diminish its size, or at least not letting it get out of control and dominate us eventually. Remember, the size of your ego is directly proportionate to the degree of distortion of your thinking mind, creating the so-called “realities” in your mind, which often are biased and untrue.

Your ego is your perceived identity, which is neither a social security number nor just a face. Your identity is your inner self or your self-worth as a person that you perceive. Many people even strive to build their identities by manipulating acceptance and attention from others. Sadly, that usually does not work: your true identify should be based on how you perceive yourself, rather than on how you perceive what others may think of you. That is to say, your true identity should not be built upon your own inflated ego.

The bottom line: like a frog in a well, with only limited and imperfect vision and perception of the sky above, you may then unconsciously distort your thinking mind with your inflated ego.


For example, the Chinese couple with an inflated ego might have developed an assumptive prediction mindset that their sons going to Harvard University would lead to an excellent higher education, a successful career, followed by a good marriage, and hence living happily ever after. But, in real life, nothing could be further from the truth.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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