The 7 Deadly Sins and the TAO

<b>The 7 Deadly Sins and the TAO</b>
Use the TAO wisdom to overcome the 7 Deadly Sins, and live in reality, instead of in fancy and fantasy.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Living for Life


THE TAO OF LIVING FOR LIFE

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.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 2)

We all have dualistic existence with our true self, and our ego-self. The true self is often pure and simple, but the ego-self is always tainted and complicated, leading to sin and evil. There is a constant conflict between the two—one forever trying to dominate and overcome the other. 

Humility, without the ego, is the only Way to go. But the Way is never easy, because we are all imperfect.

Imperfection, however, is a gift of life: knowing that nobody is perfect may enable you to understand that you should always accept others as they are, because you, too, like everybody else, are imperfect.

Likewise, the life journey is a bed of roses but always with some thorns. So, just embrace all your daily life problems and challenges, and learn some valuable life lessons from them.

The TAO of daily living: everything is impermanent; at the end, all pains and pleasures ultimately become nothing.

In the Heart of Every Being

“Each and every being in the universe
is an expression of the Creator.
We are all shaped and perfected by Him.
Therefore, we should honor the Creator
and delight in His eternal presence,
not because we are commanded,
but because it is our own nature.

The Creator gives birth to all beings,
nourishes and cherishes them,
instructs, comforts, and matures them,
and then returns them to their origin.

The Creator gives us life,
but does not claim to own us.
He is always acting on our behalf,
but expects nothing in return.
He is guiding us along the Way,
but does not control where we turn.
His presence is deep within us,
in the very nature of our being.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 51)
                                                            
We are made into who we are with a mission and a purpose in this world.

Your role in this world is to find out your mission and passion, and then pursue them accordingly.

The problem is that in your pursuit you may follow your way, rather than the Way of the Creator.

Another problem is: how do you know what is your way or the Way?

With humility, you may begin to let go, giving way to emptiness, to be filled with the wisdom of the Creator.

Remember, the Creator always gives you the freedom to choose.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Living in Balance and Harmony


The TAO of Living in Balance and Harmony

The mind needs balance and harmony both to control the body and to seek guidance from the soul, which supervises the mind.

Balance and harmony in the soul is alignment and connection for self-healing of the body.

Alignment and realignment

The body, the mind, and the soul work together as a system of life energy for healing. The free flow or stagnation of this life-giving energy is dependent on the balance and harmony of the body, the mind, and the soul at each and every moment. It is this moment-to-moment alignment in the body, the mind, and the soul, as well as their alignment with one another, that creates your unique state of self-healing and self-help, which is a miracle in itself.

What is your current state of self-healing and self-help?

If you are living your life as if nothing is a miracle, most probably your body, mind, and soul are in misalignment with one another. You might feel your body is not healing, your mind is strangled with sadness and doomed to despair, and you life has little or no meaning, without a goal or purpose. On the other hand, if your current state of being is one of joy, hope, and purpose, you are living as if everything is a miracle because your body, mind, and soul are not only inter-connected, but also in perfect balance and harmony with one another.

Alignment or realignment is inter-connection of the body, the mind, and the soul to achieve balance and harmony for self-healing and self-help.

The miracle of self-healing is manifested in the spiritual wisdom of the soul that guides and inspires the mind, which controls the body living in the physical world.

Connection and reconnection

According to entropy, one of the laws of physics, anything left to itself will ultimately disintegrate, and fall apart.

According to John Donne, the famous English poet, “no man is an island, and every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

Essentially, everything in the universe is somehow and somewhat connected, just as man is connected with one another in a subtle way. The miracle of this connection is to provide balance and harmony to guarantee their existence and co-existence, that is, their alignment with one another.

Focusing on others rather than just on yourself illuminates your soul to see its necessity to express your empathy, generosity, gratitude, and loving-kindness to others. But the challenge not to do that is as great as your innate desire to seek spirituality. Therefore, simplicity in living may enhance your spirituality and increase your strength to overcome the challenge to seek spiritual wisdom.

With spiritual wisdom, you may believe in the miracle of self-healing. You will then see that all happenings in your life are somehow “connected” for an unfathomable and unimaginable purpose, and that you can turn any bad situation into an opportunity for self-healing and self-help. Believe in the miracle that you are connected with everyone you meet in your life, and that everyone can be either your teacher or your student. In other words, there is much for you to learn from any circumstance, as well as from one another. This is the miracle of alignment and connection.

The TAO

According to the TAO, not living in balance and harmony is not living for life:

“When there is abundance, there is lacking.
When there is craving, there is discontentment.
Striving for power to control and influence
every aspect of our lives
is the source of our suffering.

Obsessed with getting and keeping,
many of us never really live before we die.

Following the Way,
we must learn to let go.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 75)

Letting go is adapting and adjusting any imbalance and disharmony in your everyday life and living:

“Following the Way is like bending a bow:
one end is pulled up;
the other end is pulled down.
Excess and deficiency are balanced.

According to wisdom of the Way:
we reduce when there is excess;
we increase when there is deficiency.
Balance is thus created.

According to common wisdom:
we increase excess and deplete deficiency.
Imbalance is thus created.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 77)

But, given that there are too many attachments in life, letting go is not easy and it requires profound human wisdom:

“Stilling our thoughts,
our needs become few.
Following our thoughts,
our distractions become more,
and thus living in chaos.

Enlightenment is our true nature.
Meditation helps us find the origin,
and thus ending our suffering.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 52)

Attachments to the world are only distractions that lead to detours, causing imbalance and disharmony along the journey:

“The Way is easy,
yet people prefer distracting detours.
Beware when things are out of balance.
Remain centered within the Creator.
                
Distractions are many,
in the form of riches and luxuries.
They allure us from the Way.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 53)

No-stress living is the way to attaining balance and harmony:

“So, we no longer argue with those who are cynical.
We stop looking for their approval.
We cease taking offense at their unbelief.
We just sow the seeds along the Way,
letting the Creator reap the harvest.

To be loved or rejected,
to gain or to lose,
to be approved or disapproved,
no longer matters to us,
when we know who we are
and who the Creator is.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 56)

According to the TAO, living in balance and harmony is all about “spontaneity" which is the understanding of the nature of all things.  

According to the TAO, spontaneity is “doing without over-doing”—which essentially means “doing without consciously anticipating the outcome.”

In the universe, there is an all-controlling force that monitors everything. You breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. You eat and you eliminate. You grow, mature, and die. Spontaneity is the natural built-in mechanism in each living organism. Spontaneity creates balance and harmony, expressed in the Yin and the Yang (the female and the male). Spontaneity is the ultimate understanding of the natural cycle of all things that are beyond human control: what goes up must also come down; success is followed by failure; life forever begets death:

“The Creator creates one.
One creates two.
Two creates three.
Three creates a myriad of things.

All have their original unity
in the duality of the Yin and the Yang,
the opposite life forces that harmonize.
We experience this harmonious process
in the rising and falling of our breaths.

People naturally avoid loss and seek gain.
But with all things along the Way,
there is no need to pick and choose.
There is no gain without loss.
There is no abundance without lack.
We do not know how and when
one gives way to the other.

So, we just remain in the center of things,
trusting the Creator, instead of ourselves.
This is the essence of the Way.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 42)

With spontaneity, we become babies again, living in perfect balance and harmony with everyone and everything:

“If we are in harmony with the Creator,
we are like newborn babies,
in natural harmony with all.
Our bones are soft, and our muscles are weak,
but our grip is strong and powerful.
Not knowing about sex,
we manifest sexual arousal.
Crying all day long,
we lose not our voice.
With constancy and harmony,
we accomplish all daily tasks
without growing tired.
                        
In natural harmony with the Creator,
we let all things come and go,
exerting no effort, showing no desire,
and expecting no result.
Natural harmony is experienced
only in the present moment,
when we see the natural laws of the Creator.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 55)

According to the TAO, living in the present moment is living in balance and harmony:

“We act without over-action.
We manage without interference.
We enjoy without attachment.

Effrontery is just
an opportunity for loving-kindness.
Great accomplishments are only
a combination of small steps.
Difficult tasks are no more than
a series of easy steps.

Therefore, we focus on the present moment,
doing what needs to be done,
without straining and stressing.

To end our suffering,
we focus on the present moment,
instead of our expected result.
So, we follow the natural laws of things.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 63)

Most importantly, spontaneity shows us the wisdom of the impermanence of all things—that is, nothing lasts despite all human efforts to make them continue:

“Strong winds come and go.
So do torrential rains.
Even heaven and earth cannot make them last forever.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 23)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

God and Your Marriage

 



ACCOUNTABILITY IN MARRIAGE TO GOD

Lack of accountability to God for what you’ve been doing to your marriage and your marriage partner is one of the reasons why divorce is rampant these days.

You’re living in a world in which injustice and vengeance are rampant. Living in the midst of this storm of unfairness may cause you unhappiness and even your own lack of faith in God.

But seeing the lack of accountability in others should, on the contrary, enhance your own accountability not only in your marriage but also in your everyday living. God is forever just and will bring judgment and justice to all—at His own timeline.

An illustration

In 1984, Archbishop Valerian Trifa was deported from the United States after being accused of being a Nazi supporter, who not only had incited attacks on Jews, but also was responsible for executing many Jews in World War II.

After World War II, the former Nazi supporter came to the United States as a refugee immigrant. He assumed the name of Valerian Trifa, and he was ordained as a priest of the Rumanian church soon after his arrival in the United States. He rose quickly to the rank of bishop and then archbishop, who lived in comfort in a 25-room farmhouse on a 200-acre estate maintained by his church.

Then, a dentist, who was a Nazi survivor, recognized the Archbishop as the Nazi supporter. The case against the Archbishop was reported in the media, and then pursued for more than a decade long by some survivors of the Nazi, Jewish organizations, journalists, as well as by the Justice Department of the United States. Their joint efforts helped focus public attention on those Nazi war criminals who were living in the United States.

At first, the Archbishop vehemently denied his former identity, despite some handwriting experts had confirmed that his handwriting was identical with that in some of the execution orders he had carried out while he was a Nazi supporter. As luck would have it, with the advancement of forensic science, some experts could incredibly still retrieve some DNA from those execution orders with the Archbishop’s own saliva on them. That was his undoing, and his final judgment.

In 1982, the Archbishop was ultimately ordered to leave the United States. But he had spent two years trying to find a country that would give him refuge. In 1984, Portugal admitted him, and he finally settled in Estoril, where he died at the age of 72 of a heart attack.

So, believe that God is merciful, but also a just God, who’ll judge injustice and any wrongdoing according to His own timeframe.

So, living in the presence of God is showing your accountability to every aspect of your married life. So, be faithful to your marriage partner to receive the blessings of God in your marriage.


Getting Married to Make You Happy?


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, May 27, 2024

Why You Have Your "Freedom" Not to Choose "Fondling"

FONDLING

What is fondling? It is your desire to do repeatedly something that you are fond of to the extent that your mind just cannot stop your action. In other words, your fondling is your addiction and bondage.

DRINKING

Alcohol drinking is common among teenagers; about 40 percent of high school teens drink alcohol due to social acceptance of drinking and the belief that alcohol can lower anxiety.

Alcohol is an intoxicating ingredient produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches found in drinks. Beer has 5 percent of alcohol; wine, made of grapes, has 12 percent of alcohol; liquor, such as gin, vodka, and whiskey, has about 40 percent of alcohol.

But alcohol has its many dangerous side effects. It slows down the brain functions, leading to slurred speech, lack of coordination between the body and the mind, unconsciousness, and temporary loss of memory. In addition to brain and nerve damage, there are many health issues of the heart and the liver related to alcohol drinking.

Social drinking may lead to binge drinking, which is drinking several times within 2 hours. Drinking only beer may progress to drinking wine or even liquor. The truth is that no amount of alcohol is safe or risk-free, and alcohol drinking is a progressive disorder that often leads to alcohol addiction and drug abuse over the long haul.

Freedom

As a teenager, you have the freedom to choose or not to choose social drinking as a platform for your interactions with others.

Not choosing it gives you the freedom to use other platforms for your communication with others, such as actively involved through traditional sports, afterschool clubs, and social excursions. Social media may or may not be an ideal alternative.

If you choose to start drinking beer, you must have the freedom to say “no” and not be pressured by others to start drinking wine or liquor.

Bondage

Alcohol addiction will put you in the bondage of alcohol withdrawal symptoms—anxious, confused, depressed, fatigued, and shaking while not drinking alcohol.

Another bondage of alcohol addiction is the shackle of drug abuse. Alcohol is very reactive with many drugs and medications in that it can magnify or negate the medicinal effects on an individual with alcohol addiction while taking those medications. So, drugs can be abusive and destructive to an alcohol addict.

The way to turn bondage into freedom is to stop consuming alcohol. It is never easy without medical and professional help. But you have the freedom to free yourself from that bondage.

 SMOKING

Smoking cigarette must be avoided because it contains nicotine, which damages the brain, leading to many health issues of the brain, the heart, and the liver later in life. Your brain, which continues to grow and develop up to around age 25, can be damaged by nicotine. The damage initially affects your learning with lack of attention and mood swings. Nicotine withdrawal—stopping smoking with symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, and physical fatigue—often puts you back to smoking.

Nicotine is an addictive drug that initially gives you excitement to “free” you from boredom and anxiety. Many teenagers begin smoking cigarette out of curiosity, as well as having observed many celebrities smoking on screen in old movies or even their family members. 

Now, it is not even “cool” to do e-cigarette or vaping with its appealing flavors because they also contain nicotine

Freedom

You have the freedom of choice to smoke or not to smoke.

If you are already a smoker, you still have the freedom to quit smoking or continue to smoke.

But your freedom to smoke will inevitably put you in bondage.

Bondage

Your bondage to all the physical, emotional, and mental damages of smoking may be lifelong.

The only way to turn the bondage into freedom is to quit smoking. That requires physical, mental, and spiritual efforts and perseverance.

CALMING

In your transition phase, many addictions, other than drinking and smoking, may crop up as your mind continues to grow and expand.

Addictions are distractions from focusing on other more important things in life. These distractions can temporarily calm you down, but they do not solve your problems. Addictions to calming yourself can come in many different forms, including some of the following:

Eating: Foods give pleasures to the tongue. Over-indulgence in eating leads to obesity and other eating disorders.

Gambling: Winning satisfies the mental craving for success and self-confidence. Compulsive gambling is the source of many financial problems later in life.

Games: Video games can create “gaming disorder” with social anxiety, lack of motivation in life, and interpersonal conflicts in everyday life.

Networking: Internet obsession may lead you astray by directing to many platforms of misinformation and wrongdoings.

Freedom

You have the freedom to eat, to play video games, to go online, and to do just about anything in your daily life.

But you have only 24 hours a day, just like everybody else. So, you must learn how to manage your time and not giving yourself time stress. Good time management involves setting precedence and priority over anything and everything you need to do.

Living is about doing—doing what needs to be done, but not over-doing, which may, paradoxically, lead to non-doing.

In your transition phase from adolescent to young adult, your knowledge is essential to your doing. However, you must also understand the fact that knowledge is infinite, and your capability to acquire your knowledge is only limited. Your true wisdom is to apply your “limited” knowledge to see how it works in your everyday life and living—that is, knowing what to do and doing what you know.

So, spending too much time on anything is not the way to go.

Bondage

Not knowing that “excess leads to depletion” is your vulnerability to bondage.

To free yourself from being trapped to any bondage, remember the golden mean: “more for less” and “less for more.”

FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how to free yourself from your bondage to the flesh that gives you the "freedom" to make the wrong choices and decisions in your everyday life.

 Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

YOUR LIVING BY FAITH

This is your living by faith. Living in this contemporary world is challenging and difficult. Why? Because there's too much information, disinformation, and misinformation, and thus you're easily led astray. Worse, you're living in your flesh--which means your thinking mind is controlled by your physical desires.

According to Albert Einstein, thinking is everything in everyday life and living, but people seldom do it. In other words, your human wisdom is inadequate and incomplete. So, you need your spiritual wisdom to help you in your everyday life choices and decision. But believing in God is a tall order. The journey of faith is long and winding with many obstacles, detours, and sidetracks. 

But once you've your faith, your living by faith will help you in your actions and inactions, as well as in your choices and decision, in your everyday life and living.

Your Living By Faith

Power and Wealth

 The Chinese Proverbs

"Look not for the donkey you are sitting on." Dao Yuan

"So you want to rule the world? That is like climbing a tree to look for fish. It is impossible." Mencius

Living in this world is all about control, which comes from power and wealth. Control means you can make people do what you want them to do for you. But people want to do what "they" want to do, and not what "you" want them to do. So it's like "climbing a tree to look for fish." 

Wealth is getting "more and much more." You may already have the wealth--like riding a donkey and looking for another donkey.  Even though what you already have may not be too much for you, at least learn to count your blessing, instead of your greed for more.

No matter what, power and wealth can never satisfy you because "nothing lasts" and everything will become nothing, no matter you're riding a donkey or climbing a tree.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

 

Sunday, May 26, 2024

No FREEDOM Only BONDAGE

Human freedom of choice is often held hostage by its bondage to the flesh, where your corrupted body dwells and the origin of the desires and wants of your thinking mind that ultimately change the freedom of your choice.

No matter how soft or strong your bondage may be, one bondage always leads to another. The more bondages you have, the greater their control on the freedom of your choices and decisions, and the more wrong things you will subsequently do.

An illustration of one bondage leading to another and yet another

On July 4, 2022, a 25-year-old Black man in Akron, Ohio, was shot 60 times by 8 policemen. The news was widely reported in the media because the victim was a Black man and the police had presumably used “excess force” to gun him down.

The victim, who had no criminal record, was initially stopped at a routine traffic stop.

Maybe “racial injustice” and “excessive use of force by police” told the victim’s mind that he had the “freedom” to get away. So, he chose to get away. His “freedom” tied him to the “bondage” of “getting away.”

Driving away his car and being chased by the police put him in another mental situation that gave him the “freedom” to choose to fire his gun to “stop the police chase.” His freedom of choice only reinforced his bondage to “getting away.”

After stopping his car at some point, the bondage of “getting away” told his thinking mind that he had the freedom to “flee on foot” and so he did.

While running, his bondage told his thinking mind that he had the freedom to turn around to do whatever he chose and decided to do. But he was shot dead.

The above tragedy could have been avoided if the victim had not taken his “freedom” to “get away” in the first place, which led to his bondage that distorted his thinking mind with another freedom of wrong decision leading to another and yet another bondage that finally tied him to his own death.

The "freedom" of choice of actions and decisions is controlled and manipulated by the human mind which lives in the flesh. Probably, that's what happened in the victim's mind: "I'm a Black, and the police don't like me. The police always use excessive force. I've my freedom to get away as soon as possible."

FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how to free yourself from your bondage to the flesh that gives you the "freedom" to make the wrong choices and decisions in your everyday life.

 Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau