CAN TAO HELP YOUR DEPRESSION?
TAO is neither a religion nor a philosophy.
TAO is simply a way of life about the Way of life, that is, a general way of thinking about everything in life. It is a pathless path of humanity to live as if everything is a miracle.
TAO is the Way through anything and everything in life in order to fully experience them and live in balance and harmony. TAO is not about avoiding or getting out of anything unhappy and undesirable in everyday life, such as depression; rather, it is about going through depression by experiencing every aspect of it in order to become enlightened, if possible, with the profound human wisdom to continue living in peace and harmony in a world of depression.
TAO is looking at life not as a series of both happy and unhappy episodes, but simply as a journey of self-discovery and self-awakening to the real meaning of life existence. You are defined not by your words and thoughts, but by the ways you act and react, as well as the impact you may have on others around you. You exist not because you are simply here; you are here in this world to love and to learn how to live, as well as to help one another do the same.
TAO is formless, shapeless, and inexplicable in words; after all, it had existed long before there were even words. TAO is infinite human wisdom, which is a pathless path to the infinity and the origin of all things.
TAO is not about making your life any easier; it is about acceptance of all aspects of your humanity that need to be fully experienced, embraced, and then to be let go of in order to become wholesome at other times of your life and living-that is the essence of TAO wisdom, which is true enlightenment of the human mind.
Living in a world of depression, you might want everything your way or no way. But TAO is the Way through your depression, enabling you to understand how and why you might have your depression in the first place. It is this profound understanding of the causes of your depression that may ultimately help you get out of your depression. Given that depression is a disorder of the mind: it is all about perceptions, your perceptions that lead to your depression.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
ENLIGHTENMENT: HUMAN WISDOM ENHANCED BY SPIRITUAL WISDOM
Lao Tzu has said that the human eye can see only the manifestations of the things created by the Creator; only with spirituality or spiritual wisdom may one perceive also the mysteries of the creation, which is the wisdom of the Creator. That is to say, humans see only the things created, but not why they were created, unless they have spiritual wisdom, the access to which requires profound human wisdom.
“Every manifestation attests to the mysteries of His creation.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 5)
“Likewise, we watch the comings and goings
of our likes and dislikes, of our desires and fears.
But we do not identify with them.
With no judgment and no preference,
we see the mysteries of creation.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 7)
Unaware of true self, we tend to identify ourselves with our thoughts and feelings, and we have become what we think we are. In that way, we have become a character on a big movie screen, but that is not the person we really are, because we are just spectators, and not the persons on the big screen. We have no separate self, and therefore we should not allow the separate self to control and misguide us in our everyday life and living. We should become only the spectators of, and not the participants on, that big movie screen.
As the spectators, we no longer overdo in any undertaking, we no longer judge or choose, and we no longer expect any result of our effort-we just do what we are supposed to do, no more and no less.
“We accept all that is simple and humble.
We embrace the good fortune and the misfortune.
Thus, we become masters of every situation.
We overcome the painful and the difficult in our lives. That is why the Way seems paradoxical.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 78)
And this is especially true when God is impartial to all of us, with no exception.
“The Creator has no judgment, no preference:
He treats everything and everyone alike.
Every manifestation attests to the mysteries of His creations.
So, we, too, embrace everything and everyone with no judgment, no preference.
His grace, never depleting and forever replenishing, shows us the Way.
Judgment and preference separate us from His grace, causing attachment.
Only with His grace do we find renewal and rebirth along the Way.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 5)
With humility, we can grow in spirituality with the help of His grace.
“Living by the Spirit, we choose a simple and humble lifestyle.
We meditate to enhance our spirituality.
We love our neighbors as ourselves.
We express compassion to all.
We speak with truth and sincerity.
We live in the present moment.
We take action only when necessary.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 8)
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
WHY SOME PEOPLE ARE UNHAPPY
In this world, there are many people who are unhappy most of the time, if not all of the time. Depression is no respecter of persons. Unhappy people have some common characteristics.
They do not know who they really are. That is, they may have falsely identified themselves with something in the world they are living in, such as “I am a successful businessman” or “I am a good mother.”
Once they have created for themselves their false identities, they naturally feel the need to protect and preserve their self-created images. In doing so, they desperately want to control and protect their destinies, such as avoiding what they fear might taint their preserved identities, or repeating what they previously did in order to sustain and substantiate their identities.
As an example, a “successful businessman” might want to overwork in order to avoid in future all possible failures in his or her business, or to repeat in future all his or her past successful business endeavors.
As another example, a “good mother” might strive to control the behaviors of her children in order to control and shape them into the individuals she wants them to become to prove that she is indeed a "good mother."
In the process of protecting and sustaining that identity, stress is not only unduly created but also aggravated by all outcomes falling short of their expectations. Nowadays, many people are living just to escape their yesterday’s pains and to anticipate their tomorrow’s pleasures; unfortunately, they are on the road to more unhappiness, and not less.
The bottom line: you are who you are, and not who you would like to become.
Not letting go
The unhappy people simply refuse to let go of what they think belong permanently to them; they anticipate what they think they rightly deserve through their efforts to control or influence the outcomes of events in their lives. They are afraid of any unforeseeable change, especially death that puts an end to everything they have delusively created for themselves.
If we live according to Tao wisdom, we should have no identity crisis, because without an ego, we know who we really are, and not being someone we wish we were. If we live according to Tao wisdom we should never become depressed, because we let go of anything and everything in life -- the good as well as the bad, the pleasant as well as the unpleasant. We just embrace anything that comes along our life journey. No letting go is the underlying cause of human depression, because we neither forget nor forgive.
My Way! No Way! Tao Is the Way!
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE
When confronted with life crises and challenges, we often tend to focus on ourselves instead of giving the best of ourselves to others. Again, when we are afflicted with a disease or disorder, we focus so much on our recovery that we have lost sight of our patience, which is a human virtue that can help us through the prognosis of the disease or disorder with persistence.
Patience is a proactive virtue that requires much inner strength to face difficulties encountered in life. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, patience may enable you to bear suffering and sorrow in such a way that you do not become broken by negative thoughts such that you forsake the way of virtue. Patience lets you stay on course with your life, even when you are afflicted with a disease. If you close in on yourself when you experience tragedies, you will not be attentive to the needs of others or other things that may help your recovery. The more you are obsessed with your own problems, the more you are unpleasant to be around, and the more depressed and isolated you may become.
Patience is a virtue that may help you bear sadness in such a way that you do not deviate from the humanitarian course you are on. With patience, you learn also how to persevere.
According to John Quincy Adams, patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.
Many years ago when I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, one of the many autoimmune diseases, I not only was patient with my slow recovery (without taking toxic drugs), but also persevered in my self-healing process until all my symptoms had disappeared without the use of pharmaceutical drugs. It was a miracle for me, because according to Western medicine, there is no cure for autoimmune diseases.
Can you focus on others instead of allowing your own negative emotions to gnaw at you?
Find out how to be wise in order to be good and happy, and live your life as if everything is a miracle, read my book: Be A Better and Happier You With Tao Wisdom. The book also includes my translation of the complete text of “Tao Te Ching” an ancient Chinese classic by the famous sage, Lao Tzu, on human wisdom.
Copyright© Stephen Lau
LET GO TO RECEIVE
We all want abundance, not emptiness. We all desire abundance in education, family, relationships, profession, and wealth; nobody wants emptiness-one thing nobody wants in life. Abundance often becomes attachments in our lives. Ironically enough, we need emptiness to attain the ultimate truths of life and living, which is wisdom in living. To attain this wisdom, we need emptiness. First of all, we need an empty mind with reverse thinking to think differently, not according to conventional wisdom. Then, we need to become empty consciously, which is letting go of all attachments. Attachments are emotional distractions of the mind that prevent clarity of thinking, without which there is no access to the ultimate truths of life and living. Knowing these ultimate truths enable you to live as if everything is a miracle.
Before we can receive, we must let go first. Letting go of all attachments to the material world is the first step we must take. It is more blessed to give than to receive. But many of us don't believe in that: instead, we think we will give out or let go after we have received. Letting go is difficult because it requires the profound human wisdom of Lao Tzu.
As If Everything Is A MIRACLE
This 125-page book is about how to live your life as if everything is a miracle, instead of as if nothing is a miracle. To do just that, you need wisdom to "rethink" your mind, which may not be telling you the whole truth about your thoughts and life experiences; you need wisdom to "renew" your body, which lives in a toxic physical environment; you need spiritual wisdom to "reconnect" your soul, which is the essence of your spirituality. Most importantly, you need wisdom to "realign" your whole being because the body, the mind, and the soul are all interconnected and interdependent on one another for your well-being to live your life as if everything is a miracle. Your mind is the road map and your soul is the compass; without them, your body is going nowhere, and you will live your life as if nothing is a miracle.
Emptiness leads to enlightenment. If spiritual wisdom has to enter you and manifest itself within you, it will need empty space. With enlightenment, you will become a better and a happier person. With enlightenment, you will live a stress-free life. Learn how to overcome your stress by letting go your ego-self. No Ego No Stress!
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
TAO WISDOM IN BEING OUR TRUE SELF
“The Way to the Creator is deep-rooted.
Unmoved, it is the source of all movement.
Stable, it enables us to act without rashness.
So, whatever we do, we do not abandon our true nature.
The world around us is riddled with worries and distractions.
We remain stable, steady, and steadfast.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 26)
Given that humans are finite and limited, to understand the Creator, who is infinite and unlimited, is always impossible. Given that the world is controlled by the Creator, human attempt to control what is uncontrollable is forever futile.
Lao Tzu’s advice is paradoxical: move without moving-just like moving with the current, instead of against it. The truth of the matter is that very often we do everything according to our way, deluding ourselves into thinking that by picking and choosing this or that we can repeat what we desire in the past and expect it to be repeated in the future. Accordingly, we often over-do, and we end up unstable, unsteady, and unsteadfast.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
TAO WISDOM IN TAI CHI
Tao is a way of life-a way to longevity living. Tao has been practiced in China for thousands of years.
What is Tao wisdom? How does it affect your longevity living?
Lao Tzu, one of the greatest Chinese philosophers, was the author of “Tao Te Ching” which has become one of the most translated works in world literature, probably next to the English Bible. He was the founder of Tao, a way of living. 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.
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.
Your respiratory system is also critical to your longevity living. In Tai Chi, breathing is valued more than physical power because it uses breathing, not muscular strength, to propel the movements of your body. Western physical exercises, on the other hand, emphasize muscular strength instead of the spontaneity of breathing and natural body movements. In Tai Chi, your mind directs the qi, letting it sink down into your abdomen, where natural breathing takes place. According to Tao wisdom, you breathe through your abdomen (like babies and young children), not through your lungs. This explains why people in the West limit their breathing to the lungs; as a result, their lungs tend to enlarge as they grow older, crowding their hearts, leading to heart disease and cardiovascular problems.
Your circulatory system is connected to your respiratory system. Tai Chi enhances your deep breathing, which guides your qi to move your blood (which cannot move by itself) to different parts of your body for transporting oxygen and nutrients. By regulating the circulation, Tai Chi exercises through natural movements and deep breathing provide a healthy heart for longevity living.
Hormones in your thyroid gland are responsible for physical growth of your body. In Tai Chi, you keep your neck erect without pressure, centered without inclining to the left or to the right; you integrate the slow and smooth movements of your head and neck. These natural and spontaneous movements not only enhance the activity of your thyroid gland but also act upon your kidneys to remove wastes for body detox.
In summary, you need the spontaneity of Tao expressed in physical movements as well as in natural breathing of Tai Chi exercises to reap physical health benefits to promote longevity health and wellness.
Authentic Tai Chi--A Video Ebook: Discover the ancient Chinese exercise that improves your health, enhances your energy, and makes you young and fit.
Remember, Tai Chi is all about movements to circulate your body invisible energy called qi. Smooth circulation of qi energy ensures a healthy body. Stagnant and blocked qi energy causes all sorts of chronic disease. Tai Chi is an ancient exercise that has been practiced for thousands of years as an effective alternative healing for the body and the mind. By strengthening the immune system, Tai Chi can improve your chronic disease slowly but steadily. More importantly, it can relieve your stress and calm your nerves.
For more information on Chinese health, visit my web page: Chinese Health and Healing.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau