A Taste of Tao Wisdom
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Wisdom in Living

Stephen Lau
Dualistic Existence

"With the fall of man, good cannot exist without evil.
Man is born with virtues, but grows up with vices.
Likewise, life and death complement each other.
Heaven is eternal life; hell is everlasting death.
Human existence is therefore dualistic:
it can make heaven out of hell, or hell out of heaven.
Faith and lack of faith go along with each other.
The first will be the last, and the last will be the first."
(Tao Te Ching, Chapter 2)

According to Lao Tzu, the author of Tao Te Ching, everything exists because of its opposite. Accordingly, there are the yin (the female) and the yang (the male); they coexist because they complement each other, and none can exist without the other. By the same token, what goes up, must also come down, just like life begets death, day is followed by night, and success is followed by failure. In other words, everything follows a cycle, whether you like it or not, just as the four seasons. Understanding this cycle may help you see the wisdom in living.

Dualistic existence also enables you to have better human relationships. Given that nobody is perfect and that good and evil exist side by side, you may be more ready to accept others as yourself. Self-acceptance and acceptance of others is the foundation upon which good relationships are formed. More importantly, it also enables you to see the oneness of humans -- that is, we are all inter-connected, and no man is an island.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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An Empty Mind for Everything

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.
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."
(Tao Te Ching, Chapter 3)

One of the essentials of Tao wisdom is to have an empty mind. Tao wisdom is unconventional wisdom -- which means it is different from the ordinary, and therefore may be difficult to embrace. To do this, one must have an empty mind. There was the well known story of a professor seeking a Zen master in order to know more about Zen. The professor was talking while the Zen master served him tea. The Zen master continued to pour tea into the professor's teacup even though it was already filled to the brim. The moral of the story is that if you seek new information, you must empty your mind first -- just like the professor must do the listening instead of the talking if he really wants to get knowledge about Zen from the master.

Tao wisdom focuses on not just having an empty mind, but also reverse thinking, which is thinking in the opposite direction, or not just thinking out of the box but also creating your own box of thinking. In other words, there is no blueprint of thinking for enlightenment or attaining true wisdom.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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A Taste of Tao Te Ching


"We try to be good, and do the best we can,
yet sometimes bad things happen to us.
We have no explanation for that.
We just follow the Way,
one step at a time,
accepting the good and the bad,
as essential parts of life.
We quietly respond to every situation
with neither strain nor stress."
(Tao Te Ching, Chapter 73)

The Way is Tao wisdom. The Way is a pathway to wisdom without direction. It is up to an individual to discover its direction. In other words, true human wisdom has no blueprint; it is self-intuitive discovery of the direction to take. The journey is filled with pleasant as well as unpleasant happenings. The objective is to embrace everything, including the good as well as the bad. Picking and choosing is not the way to go: it leads to stress and frustration--a source of human miseries.

The explanation is the "dualistic" existence of all things in life: death exists because of life; failure and success complement each other.

"Man is born with virtues, but grows up with vices.
Likewise, life and death complement each other.
Heaven is eternal life; hell is everlasting death.
Human existence is therefore dualistic:
it can make heaven out of hell, or hell out of heaven.
Faith and lack of faith go along with each other.
The first will be the last, and the last will be the first."
(Tao Te Ching, Chapter 2)

Wisdom in living is to learn lessons from both the good and the bad experiences, and in the process intuit the profound human wisdom, which is available to only those with an empty mindset.

"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.
With heavenly grace, we become pure and selfless.
And everything settles into its own perfect place."
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 3)

With a preconditioned mind, you will not be able to accept new and unconventional ideas, which may enable you not only to think out of the box, but also to create your own box of thinking. With wisdom, you will know that nothing is set in stone. Just as Albert Einstein once said, "Thinking is difficult, and that's why so few people do it." Wisdom comes from the mind, which has to think by asking questions, and seeking relevant answers to those questions asked. Don't vegetate yourself in front of the TV because watching most TV programs won't improve your wisdom.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a  habit.”  (Aristotle)

“God asks no man whether he will accept life. That is not the choice. You must take it. The choice is how.”   (Henry Ward Beecher)

“Being in the world, and not of it.” (Bible)

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” (Alexander Graham Bell)

"Our life is what our thoughts make it." (Marcus Aurelius)

"Those bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves." (J.M. Barrie)

“Meditation brings wisdom: lack of meditation leads to ignorance. Know well what leads your forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” (Buddha)

“Your work is to discover your work and then, with all your heart, to give yourself to it.” (Buddha)

“What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now.” (Buddha)

"The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." (Alexander Chalmers)

"The most wasted of all days is that on which one has not laughed." (Nicolas Chamfort

"If I keep a green bough in my heart the singing bird will come." (Chinese proverb)

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” (Deepak Chopra)

“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others.”   (Winston Churchill)

“To know something is to know it; not to know something is not to know it. That is knowledge.” (Confucius)

“It is not truth that makes man great,
But man that makes truth great.” (Confucius)

“Going too far is as bad as not going far enough.” (Confucius)

“A man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea.” (Joseph Conrad)

“Of all the gifts bestowed by nature on human being, heavy laugher must be close to the top.”  (Norman Cousins)

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is in the doing, not the getting--in the trying, not the triumph.” (Wynn Davis)

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” (Einstein).

“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” (Einstein)

“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.“ (Einstein)

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” (Einstein)


“It is still the best to concern yourself with eternal, for from them alone flows the spirit that can restore peace and serenity to the world of humans.” (Einstein)

“It is never too late to be what you might have been” (George Eliot)

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“We are always getting ready to live but never living.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

“Those things that hurt, instruct.”  (Benjamin Franklin)

“An open mind is the beginning of self-discovery and growth. We can't learn anything new until we can admit that we don't already know everything.”  (Erwin G. Hall)


“Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.”  (Tim Hansel)

"Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." (Nathaniel Hawthorne)

“No matter where you are in life right now, no matter who you are, no matter how old you are-it is never too late to be who you are meant to be.” (Esther & Jerry Hicks)

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.” (Napolean Hill)

"Happiness is a habit--cultivated." (Elbert Hubbard)

“The greatest power that a person possesses is the power to choose.”   (J. Martin Kohe)

"He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough." (Lao Tzu)

“No action, no regret.” (Lao Tzu)


“In Tao, you should reduce something everyday.” (Lao Tzu)

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” (Abraham Lincoln)

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." (Abraham Lincoln)

“In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits.”  (Og Mandino)

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.”  (John Homer Miller)

“The truth never becomes clear as long as we assume that each one of us, individually, is the center of the universe.”  (Thomas Merton)


“Don’t let the past steal your present.” (Cherralea Morgen)

"You're the blacksmith of your own happiness." (Norwegian proverb)

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” (B. Olatunji)

“Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them?”  (M. Scott Peck)

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”  (Jim Rohn)

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” (Jim Rohn)

"Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product." (Eleanor Roosevelt)

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” (Theodore Roosevelt)


"happiness is the key to success." (Albert  Schweitzer)

“Do what you love and the money will follow.” (Marsha Sinetar)

“I am more intelligent than others simply because I know that I am ignorant.” (Socrates)

“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”  (Robert Louis Stevenson)


“If you never assume importance, you never lose it.” (Tao Te Ching)

“It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any self-deception or illusion that a light will develop out of events by which the path to success may be recognized.” (The I-Ching)

"Mindfulness helps us to regain the paradise we thought we had lost." (Thich Nhat Hanh)


“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.” (Mark Twain)

“Those who don’t read the news are uninformed...but those who do are misinformed.” (Mark Twain)

“No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.” (Mark Twain)


“The Sage does not talk, the Talented Ones talk, and the stupid ones argue.” (Kung Tingan)

“An egg today is better than a hen tomorrow.” (author unknown)

"But the man worthwhile is the one who will smile when everything goes dead wrong." (Ella Wheeler Wilcox)
BRAIN HEALTH WISDOM

Given that 30 percent of your brain is made up of blood vessels, brain health involves keeping your brain blood vessels healthy through diet and exercise (what is good for the heart is also good for the brain). In addition, you need vitamin B12 and folic acid (yogurt, fish, and cereals). Maintain active social life (even after you have retired from work).There are 3 things you can do to activate your mind: learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, and writing (diary, journal, blog).

As you continue to age (e.g. the beginning of senility, whether you like it or not), it takes you longer to recall things, as well as longer time to process new information. Things could even get worse with time: you develop the common tip-of-the-tongue problem in remembering a common word, or a familiar name. The term is "senior moments." Mental deterioration will continue if you live long enough: for example, you don't remember directions, or recall lists, among other daily annoyances and frustrations. Poor memory is associated with old age and a deteriorating brain.

Learn different ways to improve your memory skills so as not to unduly stress yourself when you don’t remember what you want to remember. Increase your mind power and empower your brain holds the key to keeping your dementia at bay.

You may not have dementia or Alzheimer's disease if your brain is still healthy. But you do want to avoid, or at least defer, for as long as you possibly can, the occurrence of memory-lapses.

Although you may have an amazing brain, you still need to learn how to harness its power and potential.

1. Memory has to do with your senses: sight, sound, smell, and taste, and touch. They are your memory skills too, that is, tools for you to remember, store, and process information. Therefore, sharpen your senses to sharpen your mind. Protect and preserve your senses, for example, take care of your
vision health, which is critical to having good memory, because sight is an important tool for remembering, storing, and processing information. There is a saying: "A picture is worth a thousand words." You still need good vision to see that picture.

2. Avoid emotional upheavals, such as
depression or stress, which can adversely affect your brain power. Practice daily meditation to calm your nerves, and let your brain relax and rest. Meditation is a powerful tool to optimize your memory skills. Learn how to meditate. All you need is patience and consistency.

3. Avoid
pharmaceutical drugs wherever possible, especially over-the-counter ones, such as cold remedies and sleep aids. Drugs are dangerous chemicals that may damage your brain cells. Remember, brain cells, unlike other cells, do not regenerate, although you have trillions of them. Use natural herbs, which are less toxic and have fewer side effects than the chemicals of pharmaceutical drugs.

4. Good nutrition enhances brain health. The rule of thumb is: What is good for the heart is also good for the brain. Eat a diet low in animal fat to avoid clogging blood vessels in your brain.

5. Try not to do too many things too quickly at the same time. This not only creates time stress but also disorients the mind. Learn to live in the present. Most of us don't; they talk on the cell phones while driving (they are supposed to be driving, not talking about things in the future).

Your brain is one of the most valuable assets in your life. You can keep it functional for as long as you wish. If there is a will, there is a way. Make it your first priority to sharpen your mind and protect your brain health.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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Living in TAO
GENEROSITY FROM STRANGERS ON THE PLANE

There are two important principles in the wisdom of life and living:

(1)You cannot give what you do not have.

(2) You cannot receive what you do not give; the more you give, and the more you receive.

Explanation
:

If you do not have love and compassion, you cannot give love and compassion to others. If you are not generous with what you have, you cannot receive generosity from others. It is just that simple!

Illustration
:

(CNN) July 18, 2018.
Chicago teacher Kimber Bermudez was on a flight to Florida to visit her parents when a friendly passenger asked her what she does for a living.

She told him she was a teacher and how much she loved her job teaching her first graders at Carlos Fuentes Charter School.

Almost half of the students at her school have limited English skills and 87% are classified as low income. she told the man, about the close-knit community at the charter school and how it eases some of the burdens by providing free breakfast and lunch and after school programs.

The man asked for her work contact information because his company likes to make donations to schools like hers.

What Bermudez didn't realize was that others were listening. She felt a tap on her shoulder from the man sitting behind her.

"The funny part was, the man apologized to me for listening to my conversation," she said. "I realized that he had money in his hand and I didn't know what he wanted me to do with it."
He told her to "do something amazing with it." . . . . . . .

The stranger had given Bermudez $500. The man sitting across from her gave her $20 and a man in front of her gave $10. It was all of the cash they had in their wallets. They had demonstrated a gesture of generosity.

Questions for Reflection:

If you had the means or the money, would you have given $500 to the teacher, a total stranger?

If you were the teacher, would you have gone on the social media to thank the stranger for his kindness and generosity; or, worse, would you have pocketed the money yourself?

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau
THE WISDOM OF STANDING UP AND SITTING LESS

(CNN) Stand Up, Sit Less
You might want to stand up for this. A growing amount of research suggests that just standing -- even if you don't walk around -- can have health benefits.

A recent study in Australia found that participants who spent time more standing and moving in the course of a week, based on a sensitive monitor adhered to their thigh, had lower levels of blood sugar and cholesterol. The benefits were even greater, and including reductions in body-mass index and waist circumference, among those who took more steps during the day.

The researchers of the study boiled down their findings to the simple message: "Stand up, sit less, move more." The study was published last week in the European Heart Journal.

Although the research has been pretty clear that there are health benefits to not sitting, we are just starting to understand that standing alone may be a good alternative, said Dr. Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, director of preventive cardiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Lopez-Jimenez wrote an editorial that accompanied the study in the European Heart Journal.

"The reason [standing could be good] is because when we stand there are many muscles in our legs and butt and abdomen that are working to keep you standing," he said. "Whenever muscle is used, it consumes sugar and affects triglycerides," which could, in turn, lower cholesterol, Lopez-Jimenez said. Standing regularly could translate into lower diabetes and heart disease risk, he added.

Not just exercise

The current U.S. guidelines for physical activity focus on formal exercise, rather than just moving, and recommend at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise such as jogging or biking. However, research suggests that even people who exercise face increased risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes if they are otherwise sedentary.

Lopez-Jimenez thinks the lack of guidelines on sedentary behavior are "a problem because we have to start shifting the attention and consider more the idea of avoiding sitting." We need recommendations about many hours to avoid sitting, just like we have for the number of hours we should sleep, he added.

However it is hard to say exactly how to break up our non-sitting time between standing, walking and other activities because we don't know enough about their different health benefits, Lopez-Jimenez said.

In Australia, there are already specific recommendations about how much you should stand and how to do it. It is the first country to have such guidelines, Lopez-Jimenez said. In Colombia, government computers have software that pause the machines, forcing employees to take a break.

For now, Lopez-Jimenez advises his patients to engineer their lives to be less sedentary such as using a standing desk at work and taking the stairs whenever possible.

If we can manage to build more movement into our everyday activities, it might even be possible to skip the gym, although research is needed to address this possibility, Lopez-Jimenez. "If you barely sit during the day, do you really have to exercise to be healthy?" he said.

The wisdom

Asian exercises, such as yoga, tai-chi, and qigong, all emphasize the importance of standing posture-after all, man is created to stand, not to sit or lie down (he does that only when he is supposed to rest or sleep). Standing is important to health, but goodstanding posture is even more important because it affects your breathing, which plays a pivotal part in your overall wellness.

Go to my web page
Healthy Posture Resources for more information on how to have healthy posture to have correct breathing for overall wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul.


Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

WALK TO WORK

Walter Carr, a college student whose car had broken down, decided to walk to his new job as a mover the next morning. He decided to walk 20 miles from his apartment to his job.

Carr searched the route from his apartment in Homewood to the house in Pelham, and according to Google Maps, it would take eight hours on foot. As a former high school cross-country runner, he knew he could do it in less than eight hours .

Carr ate a meal of bologna and eggs at 8 p.m. and took a nap. At midnight, he woke up, grabbed his wallet, phone, a baseball and a kitchen knife to protect him from stray dogs. He began to head out into the dark, and walk to work.

“I’ve always been that person who figured things out on my own,” Carr said. “I went out walking. This is crazy but I’m actually heading to work. It’s my first day in the job.”


Around 4 a.m., after Carr had already walked 14 miles, police officers stopped him on the side of the road. The police officers, who were impressed by his dedication and determination to start his first day work, gave him a ride to his final destination.

In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Jenny Lamey, who and her husband had hired company Bellhops to assist them in their move.  

Very impressed by Carr's dedication to his work, Lamey
started a GoFundMe to raise money for Carr to get a new vehicle, and posted the Facebook message: "He is such a humble, kind-hearted person." 

The Bellhops CEO also got wind of Carr’s story, writing on Twitter: “I’m really proud to be on the same team as Walter. . . I look forward to thanking him in person.”

The CEO, who surprised Carr with a special thank-you gift -- his own Ford, told an emotional Carr, “I couldn’t think of a better way to part ways with this and put it to better use.”

The wisdom of the news: dedicationgenerosity, persistence, living in the now, reaching out to others, and believing that nothing is impossible.



Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau