Thursday, December 1, 2022

Why You Should 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

The TAO in Anything and Everything

 


The Bible says wisdom is everything. "Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding." (Proverbs 3:13) 

Without wisdom, there is no understanding. 

But why is understanding important?

Without understanding, anything and everything in life may seem paradoxical and inexplicable. It is this mindset that may make many people "not living in reality" -- in their minds they only see "unfairness" and "inequality." This distorted mindset may even lead many to committing crimes and violence: "Why shouldn't I rob them who've the money that I don't have?" or "They too have broken the law, so why shouldn't I do the same?"

Biblical wisdom is about "accountability" to God, which will give you spiritual "understanding." But if you are not a believer, that "understanding" may be irrelevant to you.

Having said that, human wisdom is indispensable in contemporary living. Human wisdom is not the same as acquisition of knowledge; human wisdom is the application of what you feel and understand to your everyday life and living. So, being knowledgeable does not necessarily mean being wise.

The TAO is the profound wisdom of Lao Tzu, an ancient sage from China more than 2,600 years ago. The TAO has survived and thrived for thousands of years for a good reason: it is applicable to anything and everything in contemporary daily life. The TAO shows you all the hows and the whys of anything and everything happening in your life, including the following: growing up, receiving education, earning a living, making money, getting married, starting a family, raising children, staying healthy, growing old, and dying.

The TAO helps you confront all your daily challenges, and live in balance and harmony.

TAO in Anything and Everything

Stephen Lau

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Paradoxes of Life

The Paradoxes of Life

A paradox is a statement with two totally opposite meanings that may seem contradictory to each other and yet together they not only are true but also make sense.

Believing in God in itself has many paradoxes: the Creator becomes a creature; the Infinite becomes finite; the Eternal One enters into time; and death is the way to life. These are some of the paradoxes expressed in the Bible.

The presence of God is one of the many paradoxes of life. Indeed, sometimes we see God’s love, mercy, and justice, but there are also times we see only His indifference, condemnation, and even injustice. In fact, there are many times we are prone to asking the pivotal question: “Where is God?”

So, how do we explain this enigma and the paradox of God’s presence in human lives?

The reality is that God does not change. God is always and will forever be who He is: God is constant and present. It is only humans’ perceptions of God that constantly change under many different circumstances.
 
Believing in God is a tall order because we are living in a world not only of paradoxes but also of changes.

The paradox of two-in-one person

You are a two-in-one person. As a matter of fact, we all are, to a certain extent.

There are two persons living inside you: one is your ego-self; the other is your spirit. They co-exist: your ego-self is living in the physical or material world, while your spirit is living in a totally different environment with a different dimension. There is constant and continual contact and interaction between these two personalities.

Your ego-self is assertive, and even aggressive, always telling you that you are separate from everyone else. Your ego-self wants more of everything, not only to define who you are but also to separate you from others. Your ego-self is judgmental, not only self-evaluating but also assessing others through comparison and contrast with yourself. Your ego-self is constantly shifting and shuffling back and forth between the past and the future, instrumental in improving the ego-self in the past, as well as in enhancing the ego-self expected in the future. 

Your spirit is the other person living inside you. Your spirit, on the other hand, is gentle and submissive in nature, always nudging you to do what is right and to avoid doing what is wrong.

The paradox is that both your ego-self and your spirit co-exist, and that each strives to dominate and influence the other.

The classic illustration of the two-in-one person is Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the story, both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have a dark side within them, where evil is always lurking underneath to surface anytime. In the end, it turns out that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are actually one and the same person. 

Given that the ego-self and the spirit co-exist and that one can never totally get rid of the other, the reality is that the more control the ego-self has over the spirit, the more difficult it is to understand God’s presence, not to mention to attain His wisdom. To unravel the paradox of two-in-one person, let go of the ego-self, or at least diminish its control over the spirit, so as to feel more the presence of God in order to seek His wisdom.

The paradox of understanding

One of the reasons for the paradox of God’s presence is rationalization. Man is a rational being, and understanding is vital to believing.

According to St. Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo (354-430 A.D.), in life there are certain things we do not believe unless we understand them, and there are also other things that we do not understand unless we believe them first. According to St. Augustine, faith is not opposed to understanding, nor is it independent of understanding. His famous statement “faith seeking understanding” is an act of believing first, without which unbelief closes the door to further understanding. In other words, believe first, and understanding will follow. St. Anselm of Canterbury, a well-known Christian philosopher and theologian of the eleventh century, also echoed St. Augustine’s statement in his famous motto “I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand.”

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
(Hebrews 11:3)

The reality is that man has only limited power of understanding. Therefore, let go of any pre-conceived concept or rationalization in order to appreciate the presence of God, thereby opening the door to further understanding the mystery of His presence.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau




Sunday, November 27, 2022

Consciousness of Living


Consciousness of living

“Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.” Pope Paul VI 

To live well, you must always be conscious of your living.

Simplicity in Living

Consciousness of living a simple lifestyle is the key to happiness and longevity. In this day and age, living in this complex world of technology is not easy: The complexity of this world has taken a toll on the human mind, creating undue stress, as well as many emotional, mental, personal, and psychological attachments in the material world. For these reasons, profound human wisdom in living is essential to overcoming stress and letting go of all attachments. Simplicity is the first step towards detachment, which holds the key to unlocking the door to happiness. Live a simple lifestyle, deleting all the trimmings of life and living, as well as all the attachments that may have a negative impact on your mind.

Epicurus, the Greek philosopher, had this advice on how to lead a pleasant life: avoiding luxuries, and living simply. The explanation is that luxurious living may make you into a “needy” person whose happiness always depends on things that are impermanent and easily lost.

The late Robert Kennedy once said: “Sometimes I think that the only people in this country who worry more about money than the poor are the very wealthy. They worry about losing it, they worry about how it is invested, they worry about the effect it’s going to have. And as the zeroes increase, the dilemmas get bigger.” 

Can you live a simple lifestyle to help you let go of all the trimmings of life?

When you were in your younger days, you might have had many attachments to life that define who you were, such as the car you were driving, the designer dress you were wearing, or anything that defined your social status. Can you, at this point in your life, let go of all these attachments and just lead a simple life? 

Living in simplicity is living a humble life, which is emptying your toxic cravings and attachments.

“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” (Ephesians 2:3)

Attachments create your ego-self that not only separates you from others but also gives you your pride, instead of humility.

“Focusing on status gives us pride, and not humility.
Hoarding worldly riches deprives us of heavenly assets.

An empty mind with no craving and no expectation helps us let go of everything.
Being in the world and not of the world, we attain heavenly grace.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 2)

But with humility, we may see who we really are, not what we wish we were, and what we really need, not what we want. Humility is self-enlightening.

“Ever humble, we see the mysteries of all things created.
Ever proud, we see only the manifestations of all things created.

Only the mysteries, and not the manifestations,
show us the Way to true wisdom.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 1)

Live a simple life, especially as you continue to age, and you just don’t die!

Simplicity gives your clarity of thinking to see the wisdom of living in the present: the past was gone; the future is yet to come, and only the present is real—a gift from the Creator, and that is why it is called “present.”

"Simplicity is clarity.
It is a blessing to learn from those
with humble simplicity.

Those with an empty mind
will learn to find the Way.

The Way reveals the secrets of the universe:
the mysteries of the realm of creation;
the manifestations of all things created.
The essence of the Way is to show us
how to live in fullness and return to our origin."
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 65)

Clarity of thinking may let you have the true human wisdom to know your true nature, thereby ending your craving and hence your self-imposed suffering.

In the present moment, with clarity of mind, you may begin to see the ultimate truths of the self, others, as well as everything around you. More importantly, you may see your past follies in identifying yourself with your thoughts that have created your ego-self, your present futile efforts in striving to protect your ego-self, and your future futilities in expecting that your ego-self will all its attachments will continue to exist in the days to come.  

Living in the present is an awakening to the realities of all things. It may afford you an opportunity to look more objectively at any given situation, allowing your mind to think more clearly, to separate the truths from the self-deceptions that might have been created in your subconscious minds all along.

Focusing on the present moment liberates you from projecting your desires into the future as expectations that necessitate your over-doing to guarantee their fulfillment.

“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)

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, November 26, 2022

What Is True Wisdom?


“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” -- Albert Einstein


“Follow your instincts. That's where true wisdom manifests itself.” -- Oprah Winfrey

True wisdom is much more than knowledge or intelligence. It has much to do with the processing of information by the thinking mind. It requires much clarity and concentration of the thinking mind to see things as they really are, and not as what they are supposed to be. Accordingly, being knowledgeable may suggest smartness but not necessarily true wisdom of an individual. After all, humans are all limited in their capacity and capability to acquire knowledge, which is often unlimited. Therefore, to use what is limited for the unlimited is irrational. True wisdom, on the other hand, is empowering the thinking, which is potentially unlimited, to apply the limited knowledge acquired to understand the true nature of the self, of others, and of the world around.
True wisdom is innate and inside each and every one of us, but you just have to look inside you, just as Eckhart Tolle says in the beginning of his book The Power of Now:

“A beggar has been sitting by the side of a road for over thirty years. One day a stranger walked by. ‘Spare some change?’ mumbled the beggar, mechanically holding out his old baseball cap. ‘I have nothing to give you,’ said the stranger. Then he asked: ‘What’s that you are sitting on?’ ‘Nothing,’ replied the beggar. ‘Just an old box. I have been sitting on it for as long as I can remember.’ ‘Ever looked inside?’ asked the stranger. ‘No,’ said the beggar. ‘What’s the point? There’s nothing in there.’ ‘Have a look inside,’ insisted the stranger. The beggar managed to prey open the lid. With astonishment, disbelief, and elation, he saw that the box was filled with gold.”

Look inside! True wisdom is already inside you, but you just have to look!
Yes, looking inside is the key to understanding true human wisdom. When you look within yourself, you may become awakened and even enlightened.

THE POWER OF NOW

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Friday, November 25, 2022

Adultery in Marriage

 



 

INFIDELITY IN MARRIAGE

 Tiger Woods, one of the world’s most famous and wealthiest golfers, was caught with his dark secrets of infidelities and lies in 2009. At first, he vehemently denied and even concealed them. But, eventually, he was more forthcoming and apologetic to his fans and his family at several press conferences:

 "I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. . . I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. . . I was unfaithful, I had affairs and I cheated. What I did was unacceptable. I hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation and kids all around the world who admired me."

 But Tiger Woods’ serial adultery and cheating made it difficult for his wife to accept his sincerity and true repentance. They were divorced in 2010.

 Maybe in one of his statements to the public, Tiger Woods was telling the truth of adultery:

 “I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled, and thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them.”

 Tiger Woods was awakened to the reality of accountability. With fame and money, he thought he could get away with anything. That was his self-awakening, but it came with a hefty price—a stain on his legacy.

The reality

 The purpose of a married couple is to glorify God in everything they say, do, or accomplish, and to be an expression of sacrificial love, grace, mercy, and justice to everyone—especially to each other and their children.

Biblical Adulteries

King David’s adulteries

In spite of his efforts in seeking God’s wisdom, King David also demonstrated his darker side of the sin of lust.

One night, King David saw Bathsheba, the wife of one of King David’s generals, bathing on the rooftop. Succumbing to his own sin of lust, King David sent for Bathsheba, and committed adultery with her. To gratify his lust, King David even purposely sent the general to the war front to have him killed so that he could marry the general’s widow.

King David eventually married Bathsheba. Although penitent for his sins, God punished King David, and their firstborn son died. 

King Solomon’s adulteries

King Solomon, the second son of King David, despite his profound human wisdom, violated God’s standards of sexual purity. His decision to disobey God and marry foreign women with their different gods led to his own idolatry. As a punishment for his sins, God divided Israel, and Solomon suffered bitterness and emptiness at the end of his life.

The difference between King David and King Solomon is that King David always lived in the presence of the Lord. So, King David always turned back to God with remorse and repentance, while King Solomon only distanced himself from God with no contrition and remorse.

So, living in the presence of the Lord always reminds you of your own accountability to Him, without which you will do anything and everything, thinking that you can get away with it.

The reality

Always live in the presence of the Shepherd. Always let the Shepherd guide you in the green pastures. Always let the Shepherd overcome your enemies of pride, lust, and deceit. Always let the Shepherd use His rod and staff not only to protect you but also to restrain and discipline you. Always let the Lord be your Shepherd throughout your marriage journey.

Adultery is a conscious and deliberate act to do just the opposite of what a marriage commitment requires. Adultery is prevalent because it has become the new “norm.” According to many, adultery is just a sin, not a crime, and everybody commits sins of some sort anyway. But adultery is a sin directly against God, who creates the marriage, joining the two as one. So, committing adultery is lack of accountability to God, and is unforgivable without judgment and repentance.

Getting Married to Make You Happy?

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

God and 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

Why You Should 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 ...