Wisdom from Books

    Stephen Lau
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TAO WISDOM

TAO is the ancient wisdom from China, more than 2,600 years ago. It is based on the  wisdom of Lau Tzu, the ancient sage, who wrote Tao Te Ching, the immortal classic on human wisdom,  one of the most translated books in world literature.
DISEASE-DISORDER WISDOM

With wisdom, human diseases and disorders are sometimes preventable and avoidable.

Get the wisdom to cope with any disease or disorder you may be dealing with currently.

I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease more than two decades ago. I was on steroid medications for a while until I decided to have a holistic approach to my disease.

For the past 20 years I have been 100 percent drug-free.

Get the wisdom to prevent and heal any disease or disorder you may have.

Even a cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. Empower your mind with wisdom to combat and cope with cancer.  Your cancer diagnosis may be an opportunity for personal growth and development, as well as for you to look at your own health and life with totally different perspectives.

Get wisdom on self-healing, rather than depending on your medications, which are toxic chemicals that only suppress your disease symptoms.

Self-healing comes from the inside, and not the outside.

BIBLICAL WISDOM

Biblical wisdom is for the soul. The human body, which lives in the material world, is controlled by the human mind. Both may affect  each other, positively and negatively in everyday life and living. 

The pivotal role of the soul is providing wisdom to the mind, giving it appropriate advice and even instructions.

Spiritual wisdom is not easily and readily accessible to all: it requires profound human wisdom of an individual to seek and intuit it. Without the passionate search and deep self-intuition, spiritual wisdom may remain unfathomable and unattainable to that individual.

Enhance your soul with spirituality to enable you to be in the world, but not of the world.

With spiritual wisdom, you live for life, and not just for yourself in the material world.

TAO WISDOM

The Tao of Physical Exercises

Tao is a way of life -- a way to longevity living. Tao has been practiced in China for thousands of years.

According to Lao Tzu, the wisdom of Tao is all about spontaneity.

What is spontaneity, or Tao wisdom?

In the universe, there is an all-controlling force that monitors everything. You breathe in life-giving oxygen, and breathe out life-destroying carbon dioxide. You eat, and you eliminate. You grow, mature, and die. In nature, spontaneity is evident in the change of seasons, and the cycle of day and night. Spontaneity is the natural built-in mechanism in each living organism. Spontaneity creates balance and harmony, which is the essence of Chinese health and healing, and hence longevity living. Tao wisdom embraces spontaneity in living.

The concept and perception of health and fitness in China differ from those in the West. For example, nowadays, people in the Western world focus so much on physical fitness that the gym giants will do anything to keep you huffing, puffing, and paying. Unfortunately, there is also much pumping irony: too-strenuous and over-vigorous workouts may be harmful to your physical health. According to the American Journal of Cardiology, jogging is causing many runners to drop dead from heart attacks, and many individuals have experienced heart attacks even after running on a treadmill. So, too much of what is supposed to be “good” may not be good.

Chinese health focuses much on spontaneity, and never on extremity.

Lao Tzu explained, "The softest things in the world overcome the hardest things in the world." You need not over-exert yourself in order to be physically fit. So, you do less for more -- which is the wisdom of “non-doing” according to Lao Tzu -- and not more for less.

Chinese exercises, such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong, are never vigorous. Once your breathing becomes abnormal or irregular over a long period, you lose the spontaneity of the exercise, and hence its health benefits.

Tai Chi is a self-relaxing exercise with slow and even movements coordinated with breathing and directed by a peaceful mind. Therefore, it is beneficial to both mental and physical health. Tai Chi can remove physical and spiritual ailments from your body and mind, and thereby clearing your mind and strengthening your brain. In addition, its spontaneity can promote good digestion and kidney health. Furthermore, Tai Chi exercises can help lower your blood pressure, soften your blood vessels, and regular the flow of qi (the internal vital energy) in your entire body.

Qi is internal vital energy, which is always in motion in the form of ascending, descending, entering and leaving your body's organs and systems. It nourishes not only your body by transforming food energy into blood, but also your blood by keeping it flowing. In addition, it helps maintain your body's temperature. Qi plays a vital role in Chinese health and healing.

Lao Tzu also said, "Qi is elusive and evasive, and yet it manifests itself." Accordingly, Tao manifests itself in longevity living through exercises.

Tai Chi exercises focus on correct posture, slow and spontaneous movements, and natural healthy breathing to enhance and promote the free flow of qi.

Your central nervous system is the most important system in your body: it receives vital information from outside and inside your body; it directs your body movements. Your central nervous system is healthy only if you keep your spinal column erect because vitality and blood circulation are transmitted efficiently from your lower body to your brain only when your spine is kept erect. Tai Chi exercises focus on a natural posture with an erect spine (children have naturally erect spinal columns; only adults, especially older people, have bent spinal columns).

Your digestive system is also important to your overall longevity living as it stores and supplies all nutrients for your body. Some of the characteristic movements of Tai Chi reinforce the expansion and contraction of your body in an opening and closing motion, thereby instrumental in vibrating and stimulating your stomach and intestines for a better and healthier digestive system.

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LIVING-FOR-LIFE WISDOM

Human life is meaningless unless there is a purpose in its existence.

Life purpose does not apply solely to self, such as getting an education, a career, a love relationship and a family; it also involves others.

According to John Donne, the English poet, "no man is an island" -- which means we are all connected with one another in this world.

Living for life means living not just for yourself but also for others in order to thrive in a community of care, hope, and love.

Living for life is the antidote to human pride or excessive ego-self. With humility, you may rethink your mind, renew your body, and reconnect your soul so that they align with one another for balance and harmony, so that you may be able to live in the physical world as if everything is a miracle.

Remember, your mind is the roadmap, and your soul is the compass; without their perfect alignment, your body is going nowhere, and may get lost in the physical world.

Get the wisdom to know who you really are, and why you are in this world. We are all placed in this world with a mission; find out what your true mission is in order to live for life and not to live just for yourself.

HAPPINESS WISDOM

We all want to be happy, but life is seldom full of happiness and joy. We all want to pursue our happiness, but our pursuit is often like chasing the wind, elusive, evasive, and forever unattainable.

Get the wisdom to understand the science of happiness: happiness and pleasure are not the same; both do not last, and that is the reality.

Happiness and depression are no more and no less than the perceptions of the human mind. Wisdom may help you  understand why you are happy or unhappy in this world of depression.

The word "happiness" is a term difficult to define because it is very much individualized. But genuine human happiness has to be holistic in that the body, the mind, and the soul all feel some sense of satisfaction.


Happiness is a state of mind. The mind records all your mental perceptions and your  own interpretations of those perceptions, and then stores them at the back of your subconscious mind, where they become your memories, and hence the fabrics with which you weave the "realities" of your life. In short, it is your mind that decides whether you are happy or unhappy.


LONGEVITY WISDOM

To live long requires an understanding of your longevity wisdom.

Your Creator has given you built-in body wisdom to keep you forever young and healthy.

Essentially, it is an innate awareness of not only the basic needs of your body, but also all the signs and signals by which your body warns you of what is wrong with you.

To attain longevity wisdom, you need a new level of consciousness to create  your new world in which the biochemistry of your body becomes the substance of awareness of your beliefs, emotions, and thoughts. That awareness begins with intent, which is a desire to live long; intent enhances your attention to the needs of your body. So, invoke and embrace that body wisdom in order to keep yourself disease-free.

Your body wisdom is no more than your everyday eating and living habits. Eating is a science, and living is an art -- the art of living well. They complement each other, just as the yin and the yang do. Together, they constitute longevity wisdom. Such wisdom has accumulated from counsel of the sage on calorie restriction, ancient longevity wisdom from the Orient, and also recommendations of contemporary anti-aging health experts.

You constitution is not much different from that of your ancestors thousands of years ago. Therefore, the longevity wisdom in yesteryears is still relevant to the anti-aging living today. Nowadays, anti-aging living to 100 years is no longer a rare phenomenon. The number of centenarians is forever growing. Thanks to science and accumulation of the wisdom throughout the ages, anti-aging living to 100 years and beyond is easily within your grasp.

Be wise, and be one of the centenarians, if you wish to live to 100 and beyond.

Of course, there are still many challenges and obstacles you have to overcome, such as stress, weight management, and diet, among others.

Stress creates a compulsive mind, such that you may not be living in the present. Therefore, mindfulness of the present holds the key to living long.

You eat, and you become what you eat. Contemporary diet is not beneficial to longevity, especially processed foods which deprive your body of nutrients necessary to maintain and sustain your health for longevity living.

Obesity is the enemy of longevity. Get the wisdom to manage your body weight.

The bottom line: the longer you live, the more challenges you will face. Get the wisdom to overcome or cope with them so that you may be younger and healthier for longer. 

PARENTING WISDOM

Be a wise and smart parent.

Parenting may bring you satisfaction, only if you are intentionally starting a family.

Parenting is undertaking a difficult new venture with many responsibilities, which are not only challenging but also  very unpredictable, requiring much wisdom.


Given that children create more work for those who love them, young parents, single parents, and moms may not find happiness in bringing up their children unless they have the wisdom to raise them properly, to develop their potentials, and to turn them into responsible adults.

According to some Californian psychologists,“overall, parents report happier, more satisfied, and thinking more about the meaning in life than non-parents do.”
DISEASES-DISORDER WISDOM

Your Emotions, Your Perceptions, and Your Health


Your mind is the generator of your emotions because it perceives, interprets, generalizes your thoughts, which then become your assumptions that affect how you act or react in the physical world. Your mind affects your body; as a matter of fact, there is a close connection between the body and the mind.    

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), human emotions are the major underlying causes of many diseases and disorders because Chinese physicians believe that certain body organs are related to emotional activities; for example, the heart is related to joy, the liver to anger, the spleen to obsessive thoughts, the lungs to anxiety, and the kidneys to fear. Therefore, excessive emotions disrupt the free flow of qi, the life-giving energy that flows through the body, and thus causing imbalance and disharmony that may lead to diseases and disorders.  

In addition, human behaviors -- often a byproduct of human emotions -- affect the mind, just as emotions of the mind affect the body. According to a study at Ohio State University in 2003, physical behavior, such as enhanced body language of nodding in agreement or shaking head in disagreement, may significantly affect how we think without our knowing it. According to that study, even posture, such as sitting up straight, may be conducive to remembering positive memories or thinking positively, because posture changes the production of human hormones.  

The inter-connection between the body and the mind is further evidenced by the indisputable notion that a healthy heart produces a healthy brain by pumping sufficient oxygen and nutrients to nourish the brain through its bloodstream.

Stephen Lau

Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau
LIVING-FOR-LIFE WISDOM

The Oneness of All Life


A pastor from Hong Kong was invited to give a sermon in China. A woman from the congregation asked the pastor if it was right to give money to get her son into an elite school. The pastor replied by saying: “Your son getting into that elite school would also imply depriving another child of that same opportunity you are seeking for your child.”



A year later, the pastor met the same woman, who told him that her son had got into that elite school but without using her kwanxi or connection. The pastor then said to her: “See, God is in control; if you would just let Him.”

Thinking question

If you were the woman with the money and the kwanxi, would you have done differently?

Oneness of all life

The above is an illustration of oneness of all life, which is accepting and loving others based on the mindfulness of the inter-connection between people; that is to say, no man is an island, according to the poet John Donne. This mindfulness leads to love, and then to the awareness of the presence of God or that of a Higher Being. Love is the first step towards spirituality.

The oneness of all life is one of the basic laws of Nature: that is, we are all inter-connected with one another. This universal moral principle holds the key to true and lasting freedom in living. Without that freedom, we are forever living in human bondage that inhibits further development of the wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul. Without this wellness alignment, there is no wellness wisdom.

Tao Wisdom


Always focus on your connectedness to others, instead of on your own individual desire to satisfy your ego-self. Remember, every person has a heart, and every heart has a place to love and to be loved, as well as to be connected to other hearts.

Always avail yourself of every opportunity in life to express your love and care to others. You pass through life only once, so show your love now, and not later.

“The greatest virtue of all is to be unaware of a separate self at all.
Awareness of a separate self makes us want to become valuable.
Not becoming valuable, we tend to hate the separate self.
Hating the separate self, how can we value anyone else?

Freedom from the ego-self, we are free to act without the desire to be valuable.
As a result, everything is done, and people all say: ‘It happened naturally.’”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 17)


Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau
HAPPINESS WISDOM

Success and Satisfaction


Doing may lead to success, which brings about contentment and happiness. However, if the happiness excessively satisfies and saturates the ego, the doing may easily become compromised, leading to unhappiness.

A Case in Point

Lance Armstrong
, the once-celebrated-but-now-disgraced cyclist, had won seven consecutive Tour de France titles and the Olympic bronze medal.

Armstrong’s initial success inflated his ego that led to his craving for more success, resulting in his “wrong” doing -- using performance-enhancing drugs to win all his races that ultimately brought about his downfall, and he was stripped of all his previous winning titles.

Spiritual Wisdom

The Bible says that pursuing happiness is often just “like chasing the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2: 11) This is especially true if it is pride that generates the happiness. Pride requires an object, such as an expensive car, or an action, such as winning in a game -- neither of which lasts.

Therefore, human effort does not guarantee happiness; it may only create the illusion of an environment that is conducive to only temporary happiness. To illustrate, one may work diligently in one’s career to excel and to get to the top of the profession only to find that one has a terminal illness, or has incurred a debilitating accident. For example, Steve Job, the co-founder of Apple computers, had his life cut short by pancreatic cancer at the height of his successful business career.

In addition, pride, which is all about “me, myself, and I”, is the first one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  St. Augustine of Hippo once said: “Pride is the commencement of all sins.” The sin of pride is the preoccupation with self to the exclusion of everything else, including the Creator. Pride -- its arrogance, self-centeredness, and self-exaltation in the bag and baggage of the ego-self --poisons human happiness because it is unbecoming of a believer, no matter how right is the doing in the eyes of the Creator.

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,” (Jeremiah 9: 23)

Tao Wisdom

According to Lao Tzu, “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”

Seeking success and avoiding failure are no more than pride and fear; they are only expressions of the human conditions erroneously perceived by the flawed human mind with a big ego.

“Success is avoiding failure; avoiding failure is seeking success.
Both originate from fear and pride: the source of human suffering.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 13)

Stephen Lau

Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau
RELATIONSHIP WISDOM

Love and Relationships

“Love is happy when it is able to give something. Ego is happy when it is able to take something.” Osho

“Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.” Anais Nin

“Love” is a big word in all human civilizations. For all religious disparities, love still plays an essential role in all the world’s religions. Love plays an important role in human lives and happiness, especially living in a world of conflicts and aggression.

What is the real meaning of “love”? Love involves our emotions and feelings. We all love some things and some people. Love, ironically enough, gives us both happiness and unhappiness. When the love is fulfilled, we feel happy; when the love is rejected or unrequited, we then feel pain, which becomes the unhappiness. That, unfortunately, is the reality of love.

Loving others is not that easy, and loving yourself is sometimes even more difficulty. That is also the reality of life and love.

The truth of the matter is that to truly love someone is very difficult, if not impossible, unless you love yourself first.


Self-Acceptance

In a general sense, self-esteem is the positive or negative evaluative perception of self. It is a rating of self based on a partial assessment of current and/or past traits. Many mental health professionals claim that achieving higher self-esteem is the keystone of good mental health, in particular, in avoiding unhappiness; such claims, however, are dubious at best.

Low self-esteem is self-doubt, often expressed in not asserting oneself in public or workplace, and not pushing past one’s comfort zones.

To love yourself is self-acceptance, which is accepting who and what you really are -- and not who and what you wish you were (that is, your ego-self). It should also be pointed out that “loving yourself” and “loving your ego-self” are not quite the same. The former is loving yourself for who you really are despite all your imperfections; the latter involves loving or craving to be the person you wish you were. “Loving yourself” means you can love others as well because they are not very different from you in that they, too, are as imperfect as you are. On the other hand, “loving your ego-self” means it is very difficult to love others because you want to distinguish and separate yourself from others; accordingly, others must somehow satisfy your ego first before you can love them. That explains why if you have a big ego-self, you cannot easily and readily love others.

The bottom line: if you can accept yourself as who and what you are, then it may become much easier for you to accept and love others as who and what they are.

Stephen Lau

Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau
LONGEVITY WISDOM

Calorie Restriction

Luigi Cornaro, a Venetian nobleman, was one of the most celebrated centenarians, who lived from 1464 to 1566 AD. Luigi is famous for his longevity living in relation to calorie restriction. His wisdom, expressed in his discourse when he was in his eighties and nineties, has been an inspiration for more than five centuries. His longevity wisdom was simple and down-to-earth:

Avoid overeating.

Avoid environmental stress, such as extreme heat and cold, or environmental toxins in contemporary society.

Avoid extreme fatigue, and interruption of sleep.

In his youth, Luigi had abused his health with a lifestyle of wantonness and excess, resulting in an extremely weak constitution. His recklessness and dissipation had plagued him with many physical ailments so severe that he often thought of the comfort of death.

At the age of thirty-five, he was given up by his physicians to die. After first trying various medical treatments to no avail, Luigi’s physicians prescribed a temperate lifestyle as the only way to end his suffering and preserve his fragile life. That temperate lifestyle was essentially the exercise of self-restraint or self-discipline in relation to diet and drink for calorie restriction. His physicians recommended that he eat only certain foods, and only in very small quantities -- a calorie restriction diet.

At first, Luigi did not follow that recommendation. In his own words, Luigi wrote:

" . . preferring to live as I pleased and being weary of such foods, I did not refrain from gratifying myself by eating freely of all those things which were to my taste, and being consumed, as it were, by fever, I did not hesitate to continue drinking, and in large quantities, the wines which pleased my palate. Of all this, of course, after the fashion of invalids, I never breathed a word to my physicians. . ."

Luigi’s persistent ill health finally made him succumb to his physicians’ advice. In desperation, he opted for calorie restriction on food, cutting down to 12 ounces a day of solid foods of bread, a vegetable soup with tomato, an egg yolk, and a little meat, divided into two meals, and fourteen ounces pure grape juice, also divided into two servings. When he decided to embark on that course of anti-aging temperate lifestyle with calorie restriction, he did so with great enthusiasm and determination:

". . . I entered upon my new course so heartily that I never afterward swerved from it, nor ever committed the slightest excess in any direction. . ."

Within days, not even weeks, Luigi began to see the significant difference resulting from his change in temperate lifestyle. The results were well worth the effort:

". . . and persevering in it, in less than a year -- though the fact may seem incredible to some -- I found myself entirely cured of all my complaints. . ."

Life had become a real joy for Luigi, and his later years of life were by far the best, enjoying complete freedom from pain, ailments and diseases because he simply ate only as much food as he needed to survive and no more -- a calorie restriction diet.

It was his anti-aging living that had saved his life. He lived on that minimal diet of calorie restriction from age thirty-five until eighty-five, when his relatives began to urge him to eat a little more since he was getting old and he required more physical strength. Complying with and succumbing to their well wishes and importunities, Luigi reluctantly agreed to increase his food intake from twelve to fourteen ounces.

Immediately, he became seriously ill with high fever. Eventually, Luigi had the longevity wisdom to revert to his former anti-aging living with a diet of calorie restriction. As a result, he lived in a state of unbroken health and happiness until the age of one hundred and two.

When he died, he died in an ideal natural way: he was in his rocking chair; he closed his eyes, took a nap, and did not wake up. There was no pain or suffering in his later years -- ever! His mind was as clear as a bell until the very end -- no senility, and no memory loss! Truly, Luigi was one of the most famous centenarians in history.

The key to Luigi’s ant-aging living and longevity wisdom was calorie restriction, or how much he ate:

". . . I accustomed myself to the habit of never fully satisfying my appetite, either with eating or drinking -- always leaving the table well able to take more. In this, I acted according to the proverb: 'Not to satiate one’s self with food is the science of health. . "

Essentially, moderation or temperate lifestyle is the science of anti-aging living. However, Luigi did not suggest you eat the same foods that he did, or the same calorie restriction, but only that you eat in moderation. Luigi's temperate life is easy to follow, and does not require much effort.

". . . he who leads the temperate life can never fall sick, or at least can do so only rarely; and his indisposition lasts but a very short while. For, by living temperately, he removes all the causes of illness; and, having removed these, he thereby removes the effects. So the man who lives the orderly life should have no fear of sickness; for surely he has no reason to fear an effect, the cause of which is under his own control. . ."

According to Luigi, "each person is his or her own best physician" and "the temperate lifestyle is the best medicine."

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RELATIONSHIP WISDOM

Relationship plays a pivotal part in everyday human life.

It is not easy to get along with people due to their differences in race, culture, upbringing, and belief. In many respects many think they are right, and, worse, think that they have the "right" to impose on others what they think is right.

Good human relationship begins with self-love -- which is loving yourself as who you are in spite of all your imperfections.

Recognizing all your perceived
imperfections may help you see the imperfections of others  as well, thereby instrumental in accepting them as they are.

Loving-kindness
is also critical to having good relationship with others. It enables you to be in someone else's shoes and see things from his or her own perspectives.

Meditation may also change your perspectives of many things that happens to and around you.
PAENTING WISDOM

Be A Smart Parent


Congratulations! You’ve got yourself a smart baby. Well, at least most parents tend to think that their babies are smart. No matter what you think, make your baby become smart, and smarter with each day passing. You can do that because you are a smart parent yourself.

Are you wise? Well, what is wisdom?

If you have wisdom, most probably your parents are also smart and wise. However, that does not mean that wisdom comes solely from genes. You may have wisdom because you desire to be wise; that is, you want to know more, and the more you know, the wiser you may have become.

If that be the case, then is wisdom closely related to knowledge acquisition? Well, not exactly. Wisdom is more than just being knowledgeable: it is the capability of the mind to see things as they really are, and not as what they may seem to be, or are supposed to be.

To illustrate, if you place a baby in front of a mirror, at first the baby may think that it is another baby in the mirror. But, soon enough, the baby will find out that it is just his or her own reflection in the mirror. Likewise, many of us may think that we are who we are; however, with true wisdom, we will perceive who we really are, and not who we wish we were. Wisdom helps us separate the truths from the half-truths about ourselves or just about anything. That is why the path to wisdom involves asking many probing questions about self and others. Therefore, it is important to teach and train your child to ask questions as often as possible.


Reflection

Asking questions was one of the many first things that I taught my daughter when she was a child. I remember once she asked me why her shadow was always following her. I was amazed at how observant as well as how inquisitive she was. Even now, her husband comments that she always asks questions about this and about that.

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EFFECTIVE-WRITING  WISDOM

Writing is a lifelong communication skill. To master that skill, you need wisdom to empower your mind with knowledge and information, as well as to apply it to your everyday writing, such as writing a letter, an email, a report, or any academic writing.

To learn and master a language is never easy, especially if that language is not your first language.

There are many aspects of the language that may affect your writing skill and technique.


EFFECTIVE-WRITING WISDOM

Learning the Different Types of Sentences


The simple sentence

The simple sentence is made up of a subject and a predicate (a verb, or a verb + noun/adjective/adverb/preposition etc. to complete the sentence).

e.g. The woman (subject) went (predicate) to Mexico.
            
e.g. Washington D.C. (subject) is (predicate) the capital of the United States.
              
Identifying the subject and the predicate helps you in subject-predicate agreement.

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