Health is wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul; their alignment with one another is the art of living well.
Wisdom is understanding of the self, others, and the nature of things; it is essential to living as if everything is a miracle.
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CONSCIOUSNESS OF BREATH
Life is made up of many breaths. Therefore, your consciousness of your breath is your consciousness of life, as well as of many other things in life. Consciousness of breath begins with breathing.
Consciousness of the Importance of Breath
Breathing is the most subconscious and yet the most important activity in human life. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t conscious of it.
Breath and the Bible
The Bible has made references to the importance of breath from God, which is not only life itself but also divine understanding.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
Breath and Chinese medicine
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the two most important health regulators of the human body are breath and blood flow. Optimum breathing brings oxygen to every cell in your organs and tissues; while smooth blood flow carries nutrients to nourish them. The effective and efficient functioning of breath and blood flow is conducive to the balance and harmony of the yin and the yang, which are the fundamentals of Chinese medicine.
The Chinese breath is longevity breath because it helps you not only get but also use oxygen 24 hours a day. The Chinese breath lowers your blood pressure, calms your nerves, and alleviates your body pain, if you have any. In addition, the Chinese breath improves the overall emotional health through clarity of thinking, and even detoxifies your body system through internal cleansing. The explanation is that your body organs, including the liver, spleen, kidneys, glands, and digestive valves are all connected to the diaphragm (the muscles between the lungs and the abdomen), which basically moves the air circulation within the body when you breathe in and breathe out. Without moving the diaphragm muscles, and using only the muscles of the chest, you breathe only partially and incompletely. As a strong testament to its significance, the Chinese breath focuses on correct breathing with the diaphragm; Chinese exercises, such as Tai Chi, and Qi Gong, also focus on the importance of breath.
The Chinese breath is also related to qi, which can be interpreted as the "life energy" or "life force," which flows within the human body. According to TCM theory, qi is the “vital substance” constituting the human body; it also refers to the physiological functions of organs and meridians (energy highways assessing different parts of the body and their respective organs). It should be pointed out that breath and qi are similar but not quite the same. The air that flows through the lungs at each breath has many similarities to the qi energy flowing through the meridians of the body. That goes for oxygen as well; the substance that breathing transports to the blood, and the blood distributes to all of the body-just like qi energy traveling through its many meridians.
Consciousness of Correct Breathing
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.
THE OXYGEN ADVANTAGE
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
POSITIVE LIFE ATTITUDES
The art of living well is to develop positive life attitudes for positive living. To live well for the rest of your life, you need to know how to develop your positive life attitudes.
An attitude is no more than a thought powered by words and images. In life, every thought counts because your whole being is composed of thoughts. Research studies have indicated the importance of mind power: thoughts can even turn on or turn off a particular gene responsible for a particular disease or disorder; that is to say, your thoughts impact your health, and everything else in your life.
The art of living well is to utilize mind power to develop positive life attitudes for positive living. The key to dynamic living is having positive life attitudes, which can bring about physical and mental transformation, as well as emotional and spiritual unfolding.
There are seven positive life attitudes in the art of living well:
(1) Develop a positive attitude of change. Do not resist change because everything in life is changing. You cannot stay exactly where you are, even though it may be your comfort zone. Nothing is set in stone; life offers only few absolutes. A change may be positive or negative. The key to the art of living well is to embrace any change as it comes along, instead of resisting it.
(2) Develop a positive attitude of imitating the habits and behaviors of role models. Choose the ones you admire, and learn from them.
(3) Develop a positive attitude of seeing your future self in your mind’s eye. A picture is worth a thousand words. If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. Harness the power of visualization to make it more “real” to you., and this gives you incentive to pursue your life goals.
(4) Develop a positive attitude of being in control. A positive attitude stems from an internal focus of control, which means you always act instead of reacting, and you are always the master of a situation, instead of the victim.
(5) Develop a positive attitude of doing the best you can do, and leaving the rest to God. A positive attitude focuses on the process and not the outcome of any endeavor you are undertaking.
(6) Develop a positive attitude of passion-passion for life, and enthusiasm for whatever you do, however insignificant it may seem. If you choose to do anything, however insignificant it may be, you do it well. Just as Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”
(7) Develop a positive attitude of choice. Life is full of choices in matters of work, relationships, or how you feel about yourself. You cannot control what people do to you or the circumstances you may find yourself in, but you can choose to react differently or to have different perspectives.
Developing positive life attitudes holds the key to the art of living well.
Instant Positive Attitude gives you strategies to adjust your attitude for massive success in life.
Copyright© Stephen Lau
FIX BAD MEMORY
If you think you cannot remember dates of appointments, special events and occasions, such as birthdays, where you have put your keys, the names of people you have just been introduced to, you may think you have a bad memory, or, worse, the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In truth, you may "think" you have a bad memory; it is just your mental perception. Epictetus, the famous Greek philosopher once said: "People are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them." In other words, it is just your perception of your bad memory that is bothering you.
Why do you hold this belief? It is because you are comparing the conditions of your present memory with those in the past. Has your memory really gone from bad to worse? Can it be just your subjective perception rather than a factual or scientific validation of your memory decline? More importantly, you have added more years to your life, and therefore you have more data stored in your memory, and that may explain some of your problems in retrieving the extra information stored.
Believing you have bad memory will not help your memory loss. Quite the contrary, such a belief may only add insult to injury by creating undue stress that inhibits good memory.
The process of your memory involves encoding, which is turning information you wish to remember into some sort of a code to be stored in your brain for future retrieval, Bad memory is your inability to retrieve at will the information stored in your brain. Your inability to retrieve the information is often due to your anxiety. In other words, the more you are anxious about your bad memory, the more difficult it is for you to retrieve the desired information.
The bottom line: don't even think you have a bad memory; relax your mind through diaphragm breathing and meditation to increase your mind power; most importantly, learn the techniques to improve your memory.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
LETTING GO IS THE WAY TO GO
“Letting go is emptying the mundane,
to be filled with heavenly grace.
Blessed is he who has an empty mind.
He will be filled with knowledge and wisdom from the Creator.
Blessed is he who has no attachment to worldly things.
He will be compensated with heavenly riches.
Blessed is he who has no ego-self.
He will be rewarded with humility to connect with the Creator.
Blessed is he who has no judgment of self and others.
He will find contentment and empathy in everyone.
Letting go of everything is the Way to the Creator.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 9)
“Not of the world” means letting go of all mundane matters in the physical world.
Attachment only reinforces your identification with the world, while detachment empties your mind of its invisible control and manipulation. Letting go is the beginning of humility.
With humility, comes enlightenment, and letting go becomes simple and spontaneous.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau