ANYTHING IS EVERYTHING
Living in this material world is all about struggling and surviving. The good news is that it is a human race in which there are really no real winners and losers in the end. But no matter what, we all have to finish that race somehow, with no exception. Just do your very best, and let the Creator do the rest to help you finish your own race with grace and dignity. The wisdom of your body, your mind, and your spirit may awaken and rejuvenate you along the rest of your life journey.
Living is always a discovery process. Life is a journey of self-discovery-finding who you are, why you are here, what you really need, and how you may meet your basic needs, so that you, like every one else, can fulfill some of your life goals and purposes that are exclusively designed for you. But to do just that, you need profound human wisdom and spiritual wisdom to continue that journey as if everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein once said: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.”
Indeed, life is a miracle in itself. Being alive is a miracle. Having your breaths is already a miracle. Everything in life is a miracle.
To truly believe and appreciate the miracle of life, you need the wisdom to grasp the full meaning of anything is everything, everything is nothing, and nothing is everything-they may all ultimately lead to your self-awakening, without which you will continue to live as if nothing is a miracle.
What is meant by “anything is everything”? It may have different meanings and different interpretations to different individuals.
First of all, human perceptions are subjective and individualized: they are affected not only by the five senses, but also by the unique experiences of an individual, as well as by the indelible memories of those experiences retained in the mind of that individual. Therefore, what is important to you may not be as important to others, and vice-versa. For this reason, anything could be everything to you, but not to others.
Near the end of 2016, a road rage occurred in Arkansas that ended in the tragic death of a 3-year-old child.
A woman, with her 3-year-old grandson sitting at the back of her car, stopped at a stop sign. A man in the car right behind honked her for not starting her car immediately, but the woman honked back; thus the road rage began with the man firing a gun shot at the back of the woman’s car.
Stopping too long at a stop sign, or wanting to get to a place on time might be everything to the man. Having the right to remain where she was might also be everything to the woman, so she naturally honked back.
Unfortunately, that anything-is-everything incident ended in tragedy-the death of the woman’s three-year-old grandson being shot dead while sitting at the back of her car.
In real life, anything could be everything to real people-it all depends on their respective perspectives of anything is everything.
A frog in a well
In many ways, many of us are just like a frog in a well, looking up at the limited sky above, in that we see only ourselves, and no one else, and therefore anything is everything to us. In other words, we see only our own needs and desires that have to be fulfilled and gratified no matter how, but without seeing those in others.
Just like the man in the car rage who saw only his own need to get going, but without even considering why the woman might be stalling her car at the stop sign and not moving ahead right away.
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Copyright© by Stephen Lau
The Happiness Wisdom
by Stephen Lau
Many are unhappy not because of what they have experienced throughout their life journeys, but because they don't have the human wisdom to perceive and process what they've experienced.
Happiness is a state of mind, due to the the perceptions of the human mind. Change your perceptions to change your so-called realities. Empower your mind with human wisdom -- ancient wisdom from the East and the West, conventional wisdom, and spiritual wisdom -- to think differently to have totally different perspectives of what may have made you happy or unhappy.
Looking at real examples of real people from all over the world may enlighten you, and help you live as if everything is a miracle.
Click here to get more details to see if the book is right for you.
To get your digital copy, click here; to get your paperback copy, click here.
My Way! No Way! TAO Is The Way! by Stephen Lau
This is one-of-a-kind approach to depression, a mind disorder in a world of depression.
Unlike the conventional ways of avoiding depression, such as the use of exercise as distraction,.suppressing the symptoms, such as the use of affirmations or visualizations, and up lifting the depressive moods using medications, this new approach uses the ancient TAO wisdom from China to let you fully experience anything and everything in depression.
TAO wisdom is the way through depression, instead of avoiding it. You may become enlightened and free yourself of depression forever; if not, at least you may look at your depression differently.
To find out more and to read some excerpts from the book, click here.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MONEY WISDOM
Can money cause irrational behavior?
Money can often create irrational behavior in rational people, resulting in harmful and even painful consequences in their lives.
Some examples of irrational behavior in rational people with respect to money are as follows:
Money matters so much to some people that they feel so contented and will not even ask for more, even though they may rightly deserve it.
Money matters so much to some people that they simply refuse ever to go into debt, blindly believing in the virtue of being debt-free no matter what.
Money matters so much to some people that they would allow their greed to get better of their sound financial judgment, resulting in bad investments.
Money matters so much to some people that they do not let on about the family finances, such as couples concealing bank accounts or credit card payments from each other.
Does any of the above apply to you? If yes, then money may also make you irrational?
What are the obstacles to understanding the money wisdom?
You may not attain your money wisdom if you are confronted with the following obstacles:
You spend more than you earn. Do you have several unpaid credit cards?
You buy things you do not need with the money you do not have. Take a look at your closet, your basement or your garage. Are they all full of your stuff?
You think you need more money. You save and save. Money has become nothing but only security to you. Do you always worry a lot about your money insecurity?
You want quick returns and big payoffs for your money. Do you often go to the casino or buy the lottery?
You go with the crowd when it comes to investment and spending. Do you often go shopping with a group of your dear friends?
You lie about money, because you measure yourself on the basis of money. Are you always conscious of how people perceive what you dress or where you live?
You are uncomfortable about money, or you hate money because it is the root of all evils. You never like to talk about money, do you?
To overcome the above obstacles, you must simply do exactly the opposite.
Once you can free yourself from the delusional and irrational money beliefs and habits, you will then begin to perceive how money really matters in your life, such that you will learn how to sell yourself, how to invest wisely, and how to make more money. You will be richer for life-in every way. Once you have attained your money wisdom, you will then look at money with new perspectives and you will know how to make, save, and spend your money.
Does money bring happiness?
Human existence is meaningless, if it is devoid of human happiness.
Since time immemorial, man has been searching for happiness. Many believe that human wisdom holds the key to ultimate success in the quest for happiness. Hence, the pursuit of wisdom is also as old as age.
Happiness is like a carrot-and-stick to a mule-forever unattainable: the more pain inflicted on the mule, the greater desire it shows to reach out for that unreachable carrot in front. Maybe that explains the painstaking pursuit of happiness by many. Indeed, happiness is not only abstract and intangible, but also elusive and evasive.
Happiness comes in many different forms. What happiness to one individual may not be happiness to another-just as one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Happiness is uniquely personal. In addition, even if it is attainable, happiness comes and goes, just as day and night. Furthermore, no matter what, happiness has to come to an end with the expiration of life.
It is human nature to seek happiness by any means, and human wisdom is considered the most appropriate way to attaining human happiness. During the brief lifespan, humans seek their own wisdom to help them pursue their happiness that may come to them in many different forms, such as wealth, good health, satisfying relationships, successful careers and endeavors, and among others.
Sadly, the many different forms of happiness that most people crave and pursue in their lives may not bring them true and lasting happiness.
Why not? It is because there are certain myths about true happiness.
One of the myths is that happiness is about experiences. Accordingly, many use money to buy those pleasant life experiences, such as going on a vacation, throwing a party, or buying an expensive dress. The memories of those happy life experiences in the past, as well as the thoughts of those happy moments to be repeated in the future-both are unreal: the past was gone, and the future is yet to come. So, the happiness created by those memories and thoughts in the human mind is unreal and self-delusional at best.
Another happiness myth is that most happy life experiences have to do with sensual sensations, which are based on pleasures derived from the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. But sensations can provide only sensual pleasures-such as the excitement of new experiences, the thrill and passion of sex, or the delights of a fine meal-they last only a brief moment or two, and they do not contribute to true and lasting happiness.
The truth of the matter is that all your wonderful life experiences are only to be enjoyed, and then to be let go of, just as a delicious meal is to be enjoyed, savored, and then to be digested, and ultimately eliminated from the body. So, the continuous quest for happiness is elusive and evasive, just like chasing the wind.
The truth of the matter is that happiness is but a state of mind, and that is why it is abstract, intangible, and unattainable. It is all in the mind’s eye-just as John Milton, the famous English poet, says in his masterpiece Paradise Lost:
“The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n.”
According to the Harvard Business Review, money and happiness are not positively correlated, because wealth may make people less generous and more domineering. In addition, money may not bring out the best of an individual: the more money that individual has, the more focused on self that individual may become, and so the less sensitive to the needs of people around, as well as the more likely to do all the wrong things due to the feeling of right and entitlement.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
MONEY AND THE BIBLE
Why do you need money?
Whether you believe in the Bible or not, you need money.
If you are rich, money is a game for you to get more money because you never have enough.
If you are poor, money is a battle for you to fight each day to get what you think you lack.
What does the Bible say about money?
Money is the second most powerful god. So, beware of money-or rather the love of money, which is idolatry!
The following from Proverbs (1:10-19) may give you some insight into the money wisdom expressed in the Bible:
“10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.
11 If they say, ‘Come along with us;
let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
let’s ambush some harmless soul;
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us;
we will all share the loot’-
15 my son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil,
they are swift to shed blood.
17 How useless to spread a net
where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the life of those who get it.”
Money-controlled by Satan, or rather by humans’ own evil and greed-is the second most powerful god, and has become "money-lust" for many.
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:10)
The truth of the matter is that we all need money, with no exception, and we cannot do without money. But this reality may also make money become a god if you do have a great lust for money. Remember, everything you buy with your money is only with you while you are still on this Earth; once you die, you cannot take those "things" with you into heaven, if you really believe that there is a heaven.
The writer of Ecclesiastes warns that ignoring the natural order of things-what goes up must also come down; life is forever followed by death-is the source of human miseries and sufferings.
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.’
What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.”
(Ecclesiastes, 1: 2-4)
So, why would you want to lust for money as if it were a god? After all, nothing is permanent, except in heaven.
What is the correlation of abundance and lack?
Abundance can buy you many things, almost anything and everything. But abundance can also make you as miserable as sin. Why? Because abundance often creates many physical and emotional attachments in your life, resulting in your craving for more to define who you are. Your craving is the root cause of all your miseries. So, just beware of abundance.
Abundance and lack are no more than a perception of the mind. Everything is relative, including abundance and lack. If you have gratitude for what you already have, even though it might be perceived as lack by others, you not only perceive but also make everything enough.
At the end of 2007, John Kralik, an attorney who owned a law firm, experienced debts and disasters in both his life and career.
One day, after a walk in the mountains, Kralik became enlightened: as his 2008 New Year resolution, he decided to write a thank-you note a day for the rest of the year to every one he knew.
Kralik’s 2008 “gratitude project” had changed his life completely. Instead of his feeling of discontent regarding his lack, and his envy of those who had what he did not have, he had learned to be grateful for his law firm, his practice, his friends, and his family, despite the many disasters and drawbacks he had previously experienced. Kralik’s gratitude began to change every aspect of his life. His relationships with his family, his friends, and his staff improved significantly; his law firm avoided bankruptcy, and even turned around completely.
“Always find something to be thankful for, even in the hard times.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Gratitude is biblical wisdom that you get more only by giving it away more. Your expression of gratitude generates happiness that overcomes your unhappy feelings of lack.
Copyright© Julia Smarty
MONEY, LOVE, AND AGING
How is love related to money?
What has love to do with your money?
Like many people, you may think that money makes the world go round. You might even have said: "When I’ve enough money … then I’ll be happy."
Actually it is love that makes the world go round, and not money. Everybody is chasing money and looking for ways of getting more. But without the vital ingredient of love, money will have little or no meaning.
How does love equate to your money?
The whole world out there is nothing more than a “projection” of what you feel inside. Money is energy just like you, me and everything else. You can have all the money in the world and still be as miserable as sin.
Imagine you have a lot of money, but everyone you love, all your family, nearest and dearest and every friend you have or have ever known, are suddenly dead and gone. Of course, it is just hypothetical, and it would never ever happen to you, or so you think.
The wisdom of love
If you feel gratitude for those you love and for those who love you, you will be happy.
If you appreciate what you now have, you will not feel the lack.
If you love and forgive yourself totally (only you can do that, and no one can do that for you), you will learn to let go of the past and move forward with your happiness.
The wisdom of love will give you the energy within for you to do anything and everything in every aspect of your life in order to give you happiness.
The wisdom of love and money
If you want to marry rich, do you think of love first, or the one you are going to marry?
If you are rich, does your loved one love you or your money? The rich and the wealthy, due to their ego, often do not really care.
If you are not rich, do you love an individual irrespective of the abundance or the lack of that individual?
There are no definitive answers to all of the above questions. True and genuine love is unconditional, which is loving someone with or without money, and which is priceless.
The bottom line
Money cannot buy love, and love cannot buy money-that is the reality. But love is hardly disconnected from the reality of living in the material world that involves money.
So, you must use your own core values, such as love and forgiveness, gratitude and generosity, compassion and sympathy, among others, to look at love and money, so that you will not end up only loving money, and not its wisdom.
What role does money play in aging and in longevity?
Growing older sucks, especially when you do not have a lot of money. Your perspectives of aging may have been impacted by your spending over the past decades. Money does play a pivotal role as you continue to age and retire.
No matter how much money you may now have, make the best and the most of your remaining years; turn them into the golden years of your life irrespective of your abundance or your lack. Remember, life is a task-master: it teaches you not only how to survive in any challenging circumstance but also how to live well, especially in your senior years.
The senior years are most challenging in that all seniors have to come to grips with the financial changes and challenges they may be facing. On the one hand, they may make them more appreciative of life as well as more proactive to live a meaningful and purposeful life. On the other hand, these challenges and problems may also make them want to give up on life, and thus drifting and deteriorating rapidly.
Money plays a major role in your retirement. You need money to retire, as well as to continue a similar lifestyle prior to your retirement. Even if you decide to modify or simplify your lifestyle, you still need money, and that is the truth of aging.
Yes, money plays a pivotal role in aging and in how you are going to live the rest of your life. Given the importance of money, you need to do the following:
You need to estimate the total amount of money you may need throughout the rest of your years. Remember, this amount is affected and determined by when you want to retire. That is to say, retiring at the age of 55 is not quite the same as retiring at the age of 70, because your “life expectancy” will affect your retirement savings.
You need to know your assets and your liabilities: assets are all the things you possess that have monetary value when you exchange them for cash; liabilities are the debts you owe. Your net worth is all your assets minus all your liabilities, and it changes over time because your assets, expenses, and liabilities change too. So, you must regularly review your financial situation and re-calculate your net worth annually or on a regular basis.
To live long is a desire of many. Longevity is more than just about genes. It is also about wisdom in daily life and living.
So, empower yourself with knowledge and wisdom in the art of living well in order to live better, younger, and longer.
You may associate longevity with money because money can make your world go round, money can make you happy, and money can even “buy” you good health.
But does money really bring longevity? Can money make you live longer?
Before answering those questions, you may want to look at what contributes to longevity. To live longer, you need holistic wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul. In other words, you need to feel good about your overall being.
Here are some more questions for you to reflect on: What makes you feel good about yourself? Is it abundant wealth, good health, or a satisfying love relationship?
To feel good about yourself is to live well as if everything is a miracle. To do just that, you need to know your true self-how your mind thinks, how your body acts and reacts, and how your soul supervises both your body and your mind. Longevity requires a healthy mind that controls the body living in the physical world. The inter-connection between the body and the mind may even lead to a healthy soul that oversees both the mind and the body.
So, rethink your mind, renew your body, and reconnect your soul for their complete alignment or realignment, which holds the key to your longevity. With their total balance and harmony with one another, you may have the wisdom to know how to make and spend your money, which in itself is neither good nor bad.
The bottom line
Money cannot make you live longer. The only thing that money could probably do is to enable you to have easier access to more expensive medical treatments when you fall sick. Other than that, money plays a minor role in your living longer.
Copyright© Julia Smarty
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