A Taste of Tao Wisdom
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Wisdom in Living

Stephen Lau
According to CNN health news Learn to Live with It: Becoming Stress-Free” is enlightening.

“People the world over believe that stress comes from external sources.

One complains of a nagging wife or hysterical husband. Another finds fault with the demands of work or the exploitation of management. Someone else grumbles at summer being too hot or winter being too cold.

Everyone thus lives with the belief that factors outside themselves produce stress -- so their entire focus is on correcting the external world. Yet despite our best efforts to fix these external factors, the problems remain unsolved and our minds continue to be consumed by stress.

Pleasure or pain, joy or sorrow, peace or stress-these are not found in external objects or beings. They are found in the relationship you have with those things.

For example one person finds pleasure in smoking cigarettes. Another detests them. One man may go to his lawyer to divorce his wife while another waits, desperately wanting to marry her. A cigarette produces pleasure to one, pain to another. The same lady produces joy for one, sorrow for another.

In life, be it with business or family, relationships matter. Lack of a proper relationship leads to frustration and builds up stress. Ironically, people take utmost care to choose the "right partner," but fail to set up the "right relationship" with that person -- and lose peace and harmony in the process.

It is not whom or what you meet in life that matters but how you meet it.

Your relationship with the world is entirely dependent on the nature of your inner personality. Your inner personality comprises two things: the mind and the intellect.

The mind desires and feels. The intellect reasons, judges, and decides.

When the intellect loses control over the mind's desires, you become disturbed. Stress is the mental agitation caused by unfulfilled desires. Thus the fundamental requirement for a stress-free life is to develop a strong intellect and control desires.

Intellectual strength is distinct and different from intelligence. Intelligence is mere storage of information-knowledge acquired from external sources and educational institutions, from teachers and textbooks. Any amount of intelligence cannot, per se, develop your intellect. The intellect is developed by individual effort through exercising one's faculty of questioning and reasoning.

With the lack of development of the intellect, people fail to understand that every human being is distinct and different from another-that each is governed by his or her own singular nature.

Therefore, we should assess the nature of each human individually. But few follow this practice in life. Without making individual assessments you are not able to relate to others properly. As a result, you expect one to behave differently from one's fundamental nature.”

Wisdom from the news

The wisdom expressed in the above news is that intelligence, which is accumulation of knowledge, doesn’t help you with stress, while on the other hand, intellect, which is human wisdom, may help you coping with stress. Essentially, it means “putting yourself in someone’s shoes”-something which many of us don’t do because we always look at everything from our own perspectives because of our ego.

Stress comes from the internal, and not the external. Stress originates from the ego-self. We all have an ego-inflated to a lesser or greater degree-and therefore we “expect” things, people, and circumstances to do things our way to satisfy our ego. If they don’t meet our expectations, they become our stressors. NO EGO NO STRESS may show you how to use human wisdom to let go of your ego to live a stress-free life as if everything is a miracle. Letting go of your attachment to your ego-self is not easy; you also need the wisdom of letting go.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


News on Death: Before she started photographing death, Cathrine Ertmann had never seen a body. Viewed through her lens while standing in a morgue, it was less frightening and more of a quiet mystery to explore.

"I was amazed about how peaceful and undramatic everything looked," she said. "I got the chance to look at death without it being my own relatives, without feelings involved and it gave me a peace. The imagination of what death looks like is way worse than what I experienced."

Along with journalist Lisa Hornung, Ertmann was given access by the director for the Pathological Institute in Aarhus, Denmark, during the spring and summer of 2012 to document death and what happens to people after they die.

They also hoped the project, called "About Dying," would break the taboo about death by viewing it up close. After all, there is nothing so scary as what happens behind closed doors. But by opening up the morgue, a place where few of the living have been, the mystery lifts. Death, although harsh and sad, is a natural state.

Wisdom from the News

The news on death is illuminating; it sheds light on how we should view death-or rather life and death, which are always inter-related. Remember, life always begets death. What goes up must also come down. This is the natural cycle of everything in this world. Many people live without thinking of death or deliberately ignoring its existence, while others live but always with death on their minds-especially those elderly. Death is inevitable, but one needs not anticipate it as if it is imminent, even if one is advanced in years. Nobody knows when death may descend. Just live your life as if there is no tomorrow, and live in the now, and live as if everything is a miracle.

(CNN) -
Happiness -- you know it when you see it, but it's hard to define. You might call it a sense of well-being, of optimism or of meaningfulness in life, although those could also be treated as separate entities. But whatever happiness is, we know that we want it, and that is just somehow good.

We also know that we don't always have control over our happiness. Research suggests that genetics may play a big role in our normal level of subjective well-being, so some of us may start out at a disadvantage. On top of that, between unexpected tragedies and daily habitual stress, environmental factors can bring down mood and dry up our thirst for living.

“Being able to manage the emotional ups and downs is important for both body and mind,” said Laura Kubzansky, professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard School of Public Health."For physical health, it's not so much happiness per se, but this ability to regulate and have a sense of purpose and meaning."

Why be happy?

Many scientific studies, including some by Kubzansky, have found a connection between psychological and physical well-being.

Qualifying Loneliness

A 2012 review of more than 200 studies found a connection between positive psychological attributes, such as happiness, optimism and life satisfaction, and a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. Kubzansky and other Harvard School of Public Health researchers published these findings in the journal Psychological Bulletin. It's not as simple as "you must be happy to prevent heart attacks," of course. If you have a good sense of well-being, it's easier to maintain good habits: Exercising, eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep, researchers said. People who have an optimistic mindset may be more likely to engage in healthy behaviors because they perceive them as helpful in achieving their goals, Kubzansky said. Lower blood pressure, normal body weight and healthier blood fat profiles were also associated with a better sense of well-being in this study.

Your happiness type matters.

For now these studies can only show associations; they do not provide hard evidence of cause and effect. But some researchers speculate that positive mental states do have a direct effect on the body, perhaps by reducing damaging physical processes. For instance, another of Kubzansky's studies found that optimism is associated with lower levels of inflammation.

If what you mean by happiness is specifically "enjoyment of life," there's newer evidence to support that, too. A study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that people ages 60 and older who said they enjoyed life less were more likely to develop disability over an eight-year period. Mobility was also related to enjoyment of life. This study does not prove that physical problems are caused by less enjoyment of life, but suggests a relationship.

Wisdom from the News

True and lasting happiness has to do with the mind: how you think, and, more specifically, how you perceive your perceptions and how you process your life experiences. It is always the concept of "half glass full or half glass empty." Happiness has to do with having a blueprint of how you live your life. The Book of Life and Living provides a blueprint to live as if everything is a miracle.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Depression a “powerful” risk factor for heart disease in young women

(CNN) Depression is as powerful a risk factor for heart disease as diabetes and smoking, study author Dr. Amit Shah, a cardiologist at Emory University in Atlanta, concluded.

Shah believes there's a biological reason as to why depression harms young females’ hearts in particular. Mechanisms underlying the association of depression and heart disease could be inflammation or hormonal regulation, the study author wrote. However, the exact reasons for the link are still unclear.

“When people get depressed, they stop taking care of themselves. And when they stop taking care of themselves, they get sick," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a spokes person for the American Heart Association, who was not involved the study.

On the other hand, when sick people don’t take care of themselves, they can also become depressed.

“Which comes first is always a challenge to know,” Steinbaum said.

Previous research supports Shah’s data. A 2012 study with nearly 7,000 U.S. adults conducted by John Hopkins University concluded that women aged 17 to 39 with depression had a significantly higher risk of ischemic heart disease death.

Patients with cardiac disease risk factors such as high blood pressure or obesity usually know about their condition and get professional medical treatment. That’s not the case with depression, Shah says.

“Part of the additional hurdle is the stigma in seeking care in the first place," Shah said. He hopes his study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, will help patients overcome the stigma of depression so it doesn’t get in the way of their health.

Some people don’t even recognize that they are depressed. Steinbaum recommends asking yourself: Am I bothered by feeling down, depressed or hopeless? Do I feel little interest or pleasure in doing things I normally enjoy?

“If you answer yes to either of those questions, then you might really have a problem with depression.”

“For many people, antidepressants are very beneficial and help them get rid of the depression,” said Dr. Charles L. Raison, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona. But he says treating the depression will not make cardiac disease disappear.

Yet there is something that can reduce your depression and your heart health, Raison says: “Because you don’t know that treating one will treat the other, you want to treat both. The way to treat both is exercise.”

Wisdom from the News

The key point in the news is that many depressed individuals either do not realize they have depression or are reluctant to seek professional help due to the stigma. Depressed individuals do not take care of their health, and this may lead to heart disease, especially in young women. Exercise may help both depression and heart disease. So exercise regularly to avoid both conditions.

is that the body, the mind, and the soul are all interconnected. Therefore, it is important to take care of the mind to take care of the body; the mind also needs the help of the soul to control the body; without proper control and supervision from the mind and the soul, the body in the physical world may contaminate both the mind and the soul. Holistic wellness is a healthy body, mind, and soul in total alignment with one another.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Why Teaching Girls to Brag Is a Big Deal

NBC news “Why Teaching Girls to Brag Is a Big Deal”

Beginning at an early age, many young women are taught not to boast and brag. Now there’s a program to teach girls to do just the opposite - it wants girls and young women to trumpet their successes with their words and actions.

“We hear that it's impolite, that nice girls don't do it,” said career coach Peggy Klaus. ”What women do is that we put our heads down, we do really good work.”

”And yet when it comes to us, we don't talk about ourselves in a positive way,” she added.

Wisdom from the News

I totally disagree with career coach Peggy Klaus. Self-esteem may be a big deal in life. Without self-worth, it is almost impossible to achieve anything in life. But our self-worth comes from who we are and what we have done-and not from “bragging about” what we have not done. Nothing could be worse than giving oneself a “false” and “inflated” ego that does not exist. It could be very devastating when the disillusionment comes. As a matter of fact, we should let go the ego-self, which is the source of all human miseries and sufferings. Instead, find your true identity by asking simple but honest questions about what you want in your life, and not what others want you to become. Then set simple life goals for you to reach one by one, and one at a time.

In addition, bragging has to do with the ego-self. Let go of your ego, and you will have no stress. Read my book:

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by 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


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


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

“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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