The new way of life
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ANYTHING, EVERYTHING, AND NOTHING
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.
ANYTHING IS EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING IS NOTHING! NOTHING IS EVERYTHING!
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
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.
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.
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.
The above example also illustrates another basic but major human flaw-the “inflated” ego-self, which is focusing too much on “anything is everything” related to an individual’s ego-self.
We are all created to be in this world for only one purpose: to be our true self. Conventional wisdom often tells us to find our role model, pursue our life goals based on that role model. Subconsciously, we may all begin to dream that we are that role model or someone else that we are not, instead of being who we are supposed to be. That is how we may all have created an ego for ourselves; worse, we may even believe that we have to somehow gratify our ego-self in order to feel happy and contented.
The truth of the matter is that we all have an ego, and that is why we all, without any exception, have experienced unhappiness to a certain extent at some points in our lives. Unfortunately, the human ego is also the underlying cause or the main source of all human miseries and sufferings. That is to say, the human ego is the human flaw responsible for most of the problems and troubles that we are all facing in our lives.
The reality is that we cannot get rid of our ego because it is our uniquely individual identity. Having said that, we can still somehow diminish its size, or at least not letting it get out of control and dominate us eventually. Remember, the size of your ego is directly proportionate to the degree of distortion of your thinking mind, creating the so-called “realities” in your mind, which often are biased and untrue.
Your ego is your perceived identity, which is neither a social security number nor just a face. Your identity is your inner self or your self-worth as a person that you perceive. Many people even strive to build their identities by manipulating acceptance and attention from others. Sadly, that usually does not work: your true identify should be based on how you perceive yourself, rather than on how you perceive what others may think of you. That is to say, your true identity should not be built upon your own inflated ego.
The bottom line: like a frog in a well, with only limited and imperfect vision and perception of the sky above, you may then unconsciously distort your thinking mind with your inflated ego.
To be the frog that jumps out of the well to see anything and everything totally different, you need both human wisdom and spiritual wisdom.
THE WISDOM OF LETTING GO
NO EGO NO STRESS
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
CONSCIOUSNESS OF BREATH
“You have a choice. Live or die. Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be.” Chuck Palahniuk
Life is made up of many breaths. Therefore, your consciousness of your breath is your consciousness of life, as well as of many other things in life. Consciousness of breath begins with breathing.
Consciousness of the Importance of Breath
Are you constantly conscious of your breath-your breathing in and breathing out? Most people aren’t.
Breathing is the most subconscious and yet the most important activity in human life. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t conscious of it.
Breath and the Bible
The Bible has made references to the importance of breath from God, which is not only life itself but also divine understanding.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
“In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?” (Job: 12:10)
“But there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.” (Job 32:8)
Breath and Chinese medicine
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the two most important health regulators of the human body are breath and blood flow. Optimum breathing brings oxygen to every cell in your organs and tissues; while smooth blood flow carries nutrients to nourish them. The effective and efficient functioning of breath and blood flow is conducive to the balance and harmony of the yin and the yang, which are the fundamentals of Chinese medicine.
The Chinese breath is longevity breath because it helps you not only get but also use oxygen 24 hours a day. The Chinese breath lowers your blood pressure, calms your nerves, and alleviates your body pain, if you have any. In addition, the Chinese breath improves the overall emotional health through clarity of thinking, and even detoxifies your body system through internal cleansing. The explanation is that your body organs, including the liver, spleen, kidneys, glands, and digestive valves are all connected to the diaphragm (the muscles between the lungs and the abdomen), which basically moves the air circulation within the body when you breathe in and breathe out. Without moving the diaphragm muscles, and using only the muscles of the chest, you breathe only partially and incompletely. As a strong testament to its significance, the Chinese breath focuses on correct breathing with the diaphragm; Chinese exercises, such as Tai Chi, and Qi Gong, also focus on the importance of breath.
The Chinese breath is also related to qi, which can be interpreted as the "life energy" or "life force," which flows within the human body. According to TCM theory, qi is the “vital substance” constituting the human body; it also refers to the physiological functions of organs and meridians (energy highways assessing different parts of the body and their respective organs). It should be pointed out that breath and qi are similar but not quite the same. The air that flows through the lungs at each breath has many similarities to the qi energy flowing through the meridians of the body. That goes for oxygen as well; the substance that breathing transports to the blood, and the blood distributes to all of the body-just like qi energy traveling through its many meridians.
Consciousness of Correct Breathing
Breathing has to do with the lungs, which serve two main functions: to get life-giving oxygen from the air into the body, and to remove toxic carbon dioxide from the body. Therefore, it is important to be conscious of a longer breathing out than a breathing in so as to maximize the removal of the toxic carbon dioxide from the lungs.
But the functioning of the lungs may have compromised due to aging or incorrect breathing over decades of misuse. Compromised breathing is often due to changes in bones and muscles of the chest and the spine: bones becoming thinner can change the shape of your ribcage, making it less capable of expanding and contracting during your breathing.
In addition; the muscles supporting your breathing and your diaphragm may also have weakened due to age, such that you have difficulty in breathing in and breathing out enough air.
Furthermore, the lung tissues near your airway may have weakened, leading to their incapability to completely open and close the airways. As a result, air that is trapped in your lungs may also prevent efficient inhaling and exhaling, thus making it harder for you to breathe. On top of these, a weakened immune system may also make your lungs become more vulnerable to infections and less capable of recovering from your exposure to smoke and other toxic environmental particles.
To add insult to injury, as you age, your nervous system that controls your breathing may have become less functional, making your airways more sensitive to germs and infections. As you continue to increase in age, your lungs may become more vulnerable to lung infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, resulting in many health-related problems due to a lower oxygen level in your blood supply.
First and foremost, learn how to breathe correctly; many people don’t breathe right because they are not conscious of their breathing. Breathing right may help you in many ways in your everyday life and living. Remember, a healthy mind always has an easy breath, giving a relaxed body. Humans tend to focus on breathing in, to the extent that they may completely neglect what happens when they breathe out, as if it were not that important. This discrepancy between breathing in and breathing out needs to be corrected in order to create a free-flowing breath. Concentrating on breathing in may fill up the lungs with air all the time, such that the breathing becomes quicker and shorter, and thus stressing both the body and the mind. This may, ironically enough, lead to “feeling out of breath.”
The wisdom of correct breathing is to empty the lungs of air completely so that it may be filled fully with air.
THE OXYGEN ADVANTAGE
Copyright© by Stephen Lau