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.
WISDOM FROM BOOKS
IMPERFECTIONS OF LIFE
Life is always imperfect, and living is always a bed of roses with some thorns. We are imperfect human beings living in an imperfect world. As such, the art of living involves the wisdom of knowing who you really are, and how things happen and work in your life. Without this profound understanding, you will forever be haunted by the awareness of the darker side of life.
The Bible calls the darker side of human nature “sin.” None of us is exempt from sin. Life is always an inner struggle between what is perceived in an individual’s moral system as “right” and the dark opposing force inside to do just the opposite. To make matters worse, most of us are really quite good at self-deception. Either we deceive ourselves into thinking that the dark opposing force does not exist in ourselves, or we simply inflate our own personal virtues to overshadow the dark force within us.
Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous Scottish novelist, calls this darker side of human nature the duality of man. In his famous story of “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” he presents Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as both having a dark side within them, where evil is lurking to surface anytime. Both of them hide their evil away, pretending it never exists. In the end, it turns out that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are actually one and the same person.
If the darker of life is deemed as something “evil” as depicted by Robert Louis Stevenson, it may immediately lead to self-denial and downright rejection. The darker side is ideally described as a “not-so-good” quality, or just human flaws and weaknesses that we see in others as well as in ourselves. Whatever the definition may be, the darker of life, ironically enough, makes life wholesome, without which life is incomplete and unreal-at best, a self-delusion. Human darkness is part and parcel of human existence. Denying its existence only leads to more pain, regret, and resignation. But understanding the dualistic human nature offers a way to return to wholeness, which is an important ingredient in the art of living well.
Get the blueprint of life and living to live your life as if everything is a miracle.
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau
BE BETTER, HAPPIER, AND WISER
Living in this chaotic material world has much to do with order, which is a basic principle of the universe, without which chaos develops. To live well, you need to get your life in order; that is, you must align yourself with the principles of the universe. The first and foremost principle of the universe is alignment with the Creator of the universe. Once you have that alignment, you get faith that gives you spiritual strength.
Research studies have shown that people with a religious belief tend to get sick less often and get better faster than those with much less religious faith. Dr. Herbert Benson (Harvard Medical School) attributes this to the faith factor in his book Beyond the Relaxation.
Faith gives you peace of mind, which plays a pivotal role in longevity because peace of mind is the antidote to stress that often shortens life. To live longer, you need to de-stress yourself. But life is never easy, and living in this modern world is always challenging and stressful.
To have faith in God is another aspect of living that may eliminate much stress in everyday life. However, living for a Christian; just like any other non-believer, you face the same challenge along your life journey. The only difference is that with faith you may transcend the limitations and losses that inevitably come with old age, as well as the difficulties and disappointments encountered in everyday life struggle. “All things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are called according to His purpose.” Your life becomes purposeful, and living, despite its many setbacks, has a divine goal. Faith may help you overcome the many tragedies that may come with life and old age.
If you have faith, you live longer. The reason is simple: you take better care of your body because: your body is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
If you have faith, you most probably belong to a church, and you may enjoy fellowship with other like-minded believers. Fellowship plays a pivotal role in alleviating loneliness, which is a serious problem among the elderly. Albert Einstein had to say about loneliness: “It’s strange to be known universally, and yet to be so lonely. St. Augustine wrote in his classic work The Confessions of St. Augustine, “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find peace in You.”
If you are a believer, most probably you also actively involved in church activities after your retirement. Involvement with people with all ages holds the key to successful aging because you express your compassion and loving-kindness to others. By doing so, you also develop empathy, which is experiencing the feelings and emotions of others; in the process; you learn to appreciate what you have, and make the most of what you have left to help others.
TAO The Way to Biblical Wisdom: This book is about using human wisdom to understand God’s wisdom so that you may live in this material world as if everything is a miracle.
The Book of Life and Living shows you the blueprint of living in this material world based on the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu (an ancient sage from China), conventional wisdom, and spiritual wisdom, so that you may become better, happier, and wiser.
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau
SEEK NOT IMMORTALITY
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the final destination we all share.” Steve Job
“As no one has power over the wind to contain it,
so no one has power over the time of their death.
As no one is discharged in time of war,
so wickedness will not release those who practice it.” (Ecclesiastes 8: 8)
We all exist in this world. For the believers, their existence is a result of the Creator’s unfathomable plan for them; for the non-believers, their existence comes from their parents. No matter who we are, we don’t have much of a choice, except to continue to exist. According to a 2013 report of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly one in five American adults (43.8 millions) had some form of mental illness. Surprisingly, not too many of those who were depressed would want to commit suicide or end their lives prematurely; they just wanted to continue to live a life maybe that was different from what they were currently living. In other words, irrespective of our mental conditions or current situations, the majority of us would still want to continue to exist in this world-maybe just wishing we could continue living our lives in a happier and more contented way for a little longer.
The Unrealistic Quest
In ancient times, many individuals were in quest of immortality, especially those in power. For example, Qin Shi Huang (259 BC - 210 BC), the First Emperor of China, had made many futile attempts to discover and access legendary sources of immortality during his relatively short lifespan. Another example, the ancient pharaohs of Egypt might not have been on a quest for immortality because they earnestly believed that they were already immortal; nevertheless, they had spent an enormous amount of resources into retarding the decay of their physical bodies, as well as into building spectacular pyramids and grand tombs in which they could preserve their wealth and riches for their immortality.
The Realistic Realities
Nowadays, we all know the reality that all humans are mortal and that death is as inevitable as day becoming night.
“Is there anything we can do about our mortality?” This might be the question that many of us would like to ask ourselves.
First of all, man’s perceptions of mortality always change with age and time. If you ask a young adult if he or she would want to live long, probably the answer is “I don’t know” or “I just don’t want to grow too old and decrepit, like my grand-parents.” The young adult’s perspective of mortality also explains why many of the younger generation are living a reckless lifestyle as if there is no tomorrow.
Naturally, their perception of mortality would change over the years as they grow older with a family of children, or if they have a successful career with all the trimmings of a luxurious lifestyle that they would like to continue. A longer lifespan would then become an extension of their own legacy or continuation of their enjoyment of the fruits of their own accomplishments. The inscription on the tombstone of Bruce Lee (???), the Hollywood actor, reads: “The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.” That says much about the hope of many to extend beyond the grave.
As aging continues, the fear of death or the unknown might also dawn on humans, driving some of the elderly into craving a longer lifespan in order to delay and defer the inevitable.
Indeed, many people may have different perspectives of their own mortality, depending on their upbringing, the life experiences they have gone though, their religious beliefs, as well as the meanings of death and dying to them. As a result of the differences, some may focus too much on death to the extent of creating death anxiety, while others may deliberately deny the existence of death, just like the ostrich burying its head in the sand.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the life expectancy of Americans has significantly increased from 47 to almost 80. How long do you wish to live, if you just don’t die? And what would you do with your life, if you just don’t die?
It is futile to seek immortality. The bottom line: Make the best and the most of what you have left, live in the present, and live as if everything is a miracle.
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau
TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE
What is reading?
A simple definition of “reading” at the early stages of a child would be the recognition and understanding of simple words and sentences. Even at these early stages, it includes more than the ability to recognize and pronounce words on a printed page. Reading is the ability to get or interpret meanings from symbols that represent objects, actions or qualities. Basically, reading is a process of decoding.
Why is reading so important?
The ability to read holds the key to intelligence as it unlocks the door to a vast realm of human knowledge. There is, in fact, a very close connection between reading ability and intelligence, since children learn mostly by reading. In addition, the skill of reading, once acquired, will be used and enjoyed all their lives, just like swimming or cycling.
Therefore, reading is a human skill fundamental to academic and intellectual progress, and the failure of schools to teach all children to read efficiently has become an acute problem in education, especially in the United States. Illiteracy in America is still growing at an alarming rate. In fact, according to the National Adult Literacy Survey, about 42 million adult Americans cannot read, and another 50 million people whose reading skill is so poor that they can hardly be qualified as literates.
Unfortunately, the grim statistics have not changed much over the years despite the commendable efforts of schools. Illiteracy continues to be a critical problem, demanding enormous resources from local, state, and federal taxes, while arguments about how to teach children to read continue to rage within the education research community, on Capitol Hill, in business, and in the classroom.
Teaching children to read, however, should begin at home, and parents should be their first teachers.
Take the 29 Steps to Teach Your Smart Kid to Read.
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau
THE WISDOM OF LETTING GO
The pursuit of human happiness is forever elusive and evasive. Why? It requires human wisdom to ask the right questions, and spiritual wisdom to seek self-enlightening answers to the questions asked throughout our life journey.
Human wisdom comes from the mind: an empty mindset with reverse thinking; mindfulness living in the present with no expectation and no picking; and spontaneity with understanding of the natural cycle of all things, that is, what goes up must also come down. The ancient Tao wisdom from China may enhance human wisdom.
With human wisdom, one may see the wisdom of letting go of all attachments in the material world. Attachments are the raw materials with which we often create the self-delusive realities of the ego-self. Letting go of the ego and all its attachments may let us see the true nature of everything: who we really are, not who we wish we were, and what we really need, not what we desire.
The ego is the human flaw that not only undermines the natural human wisdom but also distorts the lens through which we see the world around us. Therefore, we need spiritual wisdom to complement the inadequate human wisdom, to guide the soul on our life journey. Spiritual wisdom can only be attained through trust and obedience to the Creator, which is letting go to let God.
The above is what this book is all about.
If this book is right for you, you can get it from AMAZON. Click here for the digital copy and here for the paperback edition.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau