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.

Friday, July 1, 2022

The Importance of Money Wisdom


You are living in a world wanting wisdom. The majority of people experience the lack and not the abundance, while only a small number of people feel both the affluence and the wealth. Surviving and navigating in this world of money disparity require profound wisdom—the perspectives of human wisdom, Biblical wisdom, and the TAO wisdom from ancient China.

So, always ask yourself many questions regarding your money wisdom, given that money always plays a pivotal role in this world of both abundance and lack.

Charles Proteus Steinmetz, a German-born American mathematician and electrical engineer, once said: “There are no foolish questions and no one becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.”

So, continue your life journey asking yourself many self-intuitive questions with respect to your money wisdom. The spirit of wisdom demands you to ask as many questions as possible on how you view the world today based on your past and present life experiences. Your money wisdom is your individual need to think more about your money. Do not bury your head in the sand! Just be wise on all your money matters!

Asking-questions-and-seeking-answers may give you your money wisdom. Your own life experiences are often responsible for your judgmental attitudes, your bias prejudices, and your assumptive presumptions—they may prevent you from knowing your real self, as well as from separating the truths from the half-truths or the myths about your money wisdom.

The truth of the matter is that your money wisdom is all based on your own perceptions and interpretations of your life experiences. That is why your money wisdom is uniquely yours.

Your money journey in this world is forever filled with missteps and detours, irrespective of your abundance or lack. Even if it may seem to be a bed of roses to you because of your abundance, it is always filled with some thorns. So, you need your spiritual wisdom to give you hope and guidance on your money journey.

To attain that spiritual wisdom, you need your faith—which is your trust and obedience to your Creator. According to Saint Augustine, faith is to believe in what you do not see, and you will then see what you believe. So, if you believe in your money wisdom, you will then see your security in every aspect of your life, whether you have abundance or lack..

To apply your money wisdom in the material world you are living in, you need the wisdom of the TAO—which is the humility to detach yourself from all attachments that you think define who you are. With no ego, you may then become self-enlightened: perceiving the “nothingness” of all things, as well as self-intuiting your “connectedness” to anything and everyone in the world. So, you are in balance and harmony with anyone and everyone, and you are no longer at war within yourself with your fear of insecurity—that is ultimately your money wisdom.

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NORA WISE
Copyright © Nora Wise






Thursday, June 30, 2022

Control


CONTROL

Obedience and trust

What is obedience or disobedience to God?

An example of disobedience is lining up for hours to get your Power Ball.

What if it is God who wants you to win the lottery?

Well, in the first place, God did not create the Power Ball. It is your own choice and decision to go and get the lottery ticket; it has everything to do with your own greed and vanity.

Buying a lottery ticket is one of the many attachments to money and wealth. You may want to change God’s mind about what He has destined for you. Remember, if God wants you to be super rich, He would have given you all the tools in the form of God-inspired life passions.

Changing God’s mind for what He has already destined for you is disobedience. Obedience to God is graciously accepting and embracing any adversity and calamity in life so that you may learn lessons from them, thereby enhancing your spiritual wisdom to continue your pathway of trust and obedience.

“Teach us to number our days,
   that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
(Psalm 90:12)

What is trust in God?

Trust in God means believing in the veracity of His Word.

“so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
  It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
  and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
(Isaiah 53: 11)

Letting God Is letting go of your control
                 
God is in absolute control of everything.

 “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth.’”
(Psalm 46:10)

Throughout ages, miracles have happened around the world—a testament to the indisputable fact that God is always in control of anything and everything, despite humans’ resistance to letting go of their futile endeavors to control their own destinies.

There was the story of Norbert Gennep, born in AD 1080, who came from a wealthy and influential family in Germany, with ties to the imperial court. At that time in history, it was not uncommon for those seeking political advancement to also acquire ecclesiastical offices. So, Norbert had himself ordained a Sub-deacon and became a Canon, although he had no real piety or religious inclination; his ultimate motive was to indulge himself in worldly luxuries and pleasures. 

Then, one day in AD 1112, while riding on horseback, he was struck by a fierce lightning, thrown from his horse, and remained unconscious for a while. On waking up, Norbert was completely transformed, and asked: “Lord, what do you want me to do?” He heard God’s voice, saying: “Turn away from evil, and do good.” Obediently, he gave up everything he ever owned, became a priest, preached the Gospel, and lived the simple life of a wandering preacher in barefoot. Norbert eventually became the Archbishop of Magdeburg in Germany, and was subsequently made a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church.

You do not have to be struck by lightning and thrown off the horseback before you would let go of your attachments to the material world, as well as your futile attempt to control your destiny. God can work miracles in your life if you are obedient, and if it is His will.

The origin of control

Control is basic human instinct. Humans are inherently controlling. Out of fear and insecurity, our ancestors living as early as in the Stone Age strove to control their environment in order to survive, and thus developing their fight-or-flight instinct.

Since time immemorial, control has evolved, and most of us are controlling to a certain extent. We, as parents, control our children’s destinies by striving to steer them clear of the wrong pathways we might have previously treaded ourselves. Our cultures tell us that we should be in control of everything around us at all times, including our futures and destinies. Controlling, to many of us, is synonymous with independence and power.

The irony of control

Stress in everyday life and living may make you want to control everyone and everything around you in order to de-stress yourself. Ironically enough, in the process of controlling stress, you may also have inadvertently created a vicious cycle of stress-generating-more-stress.

The anticipation of stress puts you on an alert system, producing stress hormones. Then You may have to make some choices—choosing this and avoiding that. Choosing in itself is stressful, especially when picking the wrong choices, leading to regret and disappointment. In addition, your expectation of the anticipated result may further intensify the stress, often making you do more than what is necessary to guarantee the expected result. Over-doing is stressful.

The irony is that controlling stress may only lead to getting more stress.

The different ways of control

Control may come in many different forms in life, and we are all susceptible to some forms of control.

Given that control is basic human instinct, we all spontaneously want to control how people perceive us.

If you ask a child “How old are you?”, the child may answer: “Five years and four months”, while also extending his or her four fingers to highlight the “four months.” The child wants to control your perception of him or her—that he or she is “four months” older than other five-year-old kids.

If you ask a teenager the same question, that teenager may answer: “I am fifteen”—implying that “I’m nearly old enough to drive soon.”

If you ask someone in the late twenties or early thirties the same question, that individual may answer quite differently: “I won’t tell you; just guess!”—that individual may want to control your perception of his or her real age in relation to his or her appearance.

If you ask an elderly person the same question, that person may be more willing to let you know his or her real age by saying: “I’ve just turned eighty.” That individual is, in fact, also controlling your perception: “See, I’m eighty, but I look much younger—probably like a sixty-year-old, don’t I?”

To a more or less degree, we all want to control how people think of us. Do you like to wear loose-fitting clothing to hide your belly fat? Do you use heavy makeup to mask your facial lines? Do you dye your hair to make you look younger? Control is about the perception of the ego-self by others.

In addition to controlling how people perceive us, we may also want to control how people act and react toward us by using emotions, such as anger, fear, and guilt, among other negative emotions. Furthermore, we may also want to control the circumstances we are living in, thereby controlling what is happening to and around us.

The bottom line: we are all controlling to a certain extent due to our attachments to different things in life that we think may define who and what we perceive ourselves to be.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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, June 28, 2022

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, June 27, 2022

Teaching Children About Sex

 



TEACHING CHILDREN ABOUT SEX

Sex is “a big deal,” especially in a marriage.

Surprisingly, some couples may have more sexual intimacy after several years of marriage. The explanation is that by then they may have much reduced level of stress: better financial environment; children growing up; less worry about conceiving a child. In short, sex can even get better as years go by in a good and healthy marriage.

However, some couples may also cease their sexual intimacy due to: childbirth; pursuing a career; midlife crisis; an out-of-marriage affair. That, unfortunately, is also the reality.

Living together without love or physical intimacy is “living separate lives”—it may also be due to pornography, which is addictive, pervasive, and destructive to the addicts and their respective relationships.

So, it‘s important for parents to educate their children about sex. But how?

Like building the foundation of a pyramid, teach them about the values of life and living, which are usually dignityhonor, and respect for self and others.

Growing up and getting married isn’t just about self or just two people: it’s about human relations—how you relate to others around you. For example, in a marriage it isn’t just about the relationship between you and your spouse; it also involves your children or stepchildren, the in-laws, and the friends. So, learn to develop good relationships, and teach your children to do likewise as they grow up. 

Relationships are related to emotions, both positive and negative ones. Teach your children to control and manage their emotions and temper tantrums, which will play a pivotal in their subsequent life choices and decisions.

All of the above will define and shape your children’s perceptions and understanding of the meaning and the importance of sexual intimacy when they grow up into adolescents and young adults.

The reality

Remember, just do your best, and let God do the rest. You can teach your children about sexual intimacy, but you just can’t control what they feel and experience in their lives. Controlling only generates resistance and distancing. This applies not only to your children, but also to your spouse. You can share with them what you believe in, but you just can’t make them believe what you believe in. That’s the reality.

Getting Married to Make You Happy?

Stephen Lau