Sunday, June 30, 2024

Life Purpose

Looking at Life Purpose

Life must have a purpose, or, more specifically, an external as well as an internal purpose.

External Purpose

In life setting, a purpose is important, but not so important that it drives you crazy in pursuing it or giving it up altogether. As a matter of fact, there is an external purpose that only sets you a direction for the destination of your life. In that direction, there are many different signposts guiding you along the way. Arriving at one signpost simply means that you have accomplished one task; missing that signpost means that you are still on the right path but simply taking maybe a detour or just longer time because of misdirection or getting lost on the way.

Internal Purpose

Your internal purpose is more important: it has nothing to do with arriving at your destination, but to do with the quality of your consciousness—what you are doing along the way.

That Jesus said: “gain the world and lose your soul” probably said everything there is to say about the internal purpose of life for an individual.

External purpose can never give lasting fulfillment in life due to its transience and impermanence, but internal purpose, because of its unique quality of being in the present moment, may give us inner joy and a sense of fulfillment. That is how you should feel about your internal life purpose.

No matter what you do in your life, just do your very best and do it well, no matter how insignificant they may be.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’” Martin Luther King Jr.                                    

Always tell yourself to try doing everything as if God had called upon you at that particular moment to do it. Of course, admittedly, it is not always that easy, given that the mind may be troubled by the ego-self, by invasive and unwanted thoughts from the past or by projections of those thoughts into the future. But having the mindset with the right intention is already a first step or breakthrough for you.

Always understand that you have three options in whatever you have been called to do: do it; not to do it; and do it while enjoying the present moment of doing. So, just do what you have to do, whether you like it or not, just as Michelangelo painted—who, believing that his talent was in sculpture and not in painting, was at first unwilling to do the fresco, which turned out to be one of his greatest masterpieces.

The bottom line: Do what you may not like to do, and  learn to like what you have to do.

Sometimes you may like to ask this question: “What about tomorrow?”

Well, you cannot speak for tomorrow. Tomorrow hasn’t come yet. After all, tomorrow is another day, just as Scarlet O’Hara said in Gone with the Wind. 

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Why Angry With Parents

 Conflicts and misinterpretations often lead to anger with parents, resulting in the development of future relationships with a lack of love and trust.  Conflicts with biological parents, stepparents, foster and adoptive parents may vary in intensity, and even change drastically due to the separation and divorce of parents. In addition, bad parental relationships may worsen due to the following:


·       The birth of a new baby demanding more parental attention.

·       Financial problems, such as unemployment.

·       Development of anxiety and depression in both parents and children.

·       Experiences of abuse and bullying at home, at school or elsewhere.

·       Drug and alcohol use.


     Children, while growing up into preteens and teenagers, often become more independent and more responsible, with their own perspectives and preferences in every aspect of their lives. Their mental and emotional changes are the foundations of their disagreements with their parents, including their time management, their doings, and non-doings, as well as their obedience and disobedience to their parents’ demands.


Irrational anger


     On November 21, 2022, a 10-year-old boy shot and killed his mother by mistake. He allegedly claimed he took the gun from his mother’s bedroom down to the basement, where his mother was doing her laundry. The boy initially claimed that he was twirling the gun around his fingers when it went off and “accidentally” killed his mother.

     But, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the boy later confessed that he carried out the heinous act out of his anger after his mother refused to buy him a VR headset. Members of his family further revealed the 10-year-old boy’s many previous episodes of erratic anger and rage issues, such as setting fire at home and causing explosion when his demands were rejected by his mother.

     Even while being interrogated by the FBI, the boy surprisingly asked if the VR headset that he ordered from Amazon the day after killing his mother had arrived or not.


The Bottom Line


     So, as a parent, you need to improve your relationships with your children by doing the following:


·       Spending more quality time with more one-on-one interactions with your children as they grow up.

·       Finding the right time to address any issue, instead of responding to it right away.

·       Listening to complaints without any interruption.

·       Acknowledging their needs and wants, and explaining to them the differences between needs and wants.

·       Connecting or reconnecting them with warmth, such as hugging.

·       Being willing and open to any compromise.

·       Teaching them about love, compassion, forgiveness, and empathy.

·       Helping them set their own life goals, and not what you want them to do.

Angry No More: A new book on how to control and eradicate your anger.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Friday, June 28, 2024

Overcome Negative Emotions




Anxiety, fear, fright, and worry are all negative emotions that are the underlying causes of depression.


All negative emotions, in excess, may lead to depression. For example, if people over praise you, your ego may become inflated; and you may then subconsciously develop fear—fear of not getting more praise, or fear of not living up to the praise. Conversely, if people criticize you, you may also develop distress to overcome the disgrace from the criticism.


Of all human emotions, worry is perhaps the least useful and serves no purpose at all, except causing unnecessary anxiety and developing a depressive mood. The problem with worry is that it focuses on an imaginary future.


According to Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese sage, who was the author of the famous Tao Te Ching, the ancient classic on human wisdom, “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”


Seeking success and avoiding failure are no more than pride and fear; they are only expressions of the human conditions erroneously perceived by the human mind.


“Success is avoiding failure; avoiding failure is seeking success.

Both originate from fear and pride: the source of human suffering.”

(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 13)


According to Tao wisdom, everything follows the natural order of things; that is, everything is in its proper place and will work out the way it is supposed to work out, irrespective of your worrying and regardless of your deliberate interference to make things happen the way you want them to happen.


Remember, worrying will never change the outcome. According to Lao Tzu, if you water your dreams with worry and fear, you will produce weeds; if you water your dreams with optimism and solutions, you will cultivate growth and success. Remember, you manifest not what you want but what you are and what you think.


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Thursday, June 27, 2024

The Contrived and the Natural


“The Creator has no wish to be powerful; and thus he is truly powerful. The ordinary man craves to be powerful; and thus he never has enough power.

The Creator does nothing, yet nothing is left undone.

The ordinary man is always doing things, yet there are always many more to be done.

With the grace of the Creator, we experience natural goodness.

Natural goodness requires no effort, no expectation of reward or recognition.

Contrived goodness requires great effort, with little or no accomplishment.

Compassion and loving-kindness seek nothing in return.

Fairness and justice demand results, with expectation of correct behavior.

Natural goodness comes from within, which is our essence, and not from without, which is only our appearance.

When we are separate from our true nature, we experience no natural goodness, no compassion and no loving-kindness.

Our goodness then becomes contrived, demanding fairness and justice, focusing on appearance and superficiality.”

(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 38)

 The Wisdom in Living for Life

Control and manipulation, fairness and justice, prestige and power, reward and recognition—they may all distort your perception of the realities of all things. They may seem to be what they are not.

So, do not seek them.

Being your true nature, you may see things as what they really are, and not as what you wish they were or should be.

FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage" to live according to your true nature.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Attachments in Life



We all have attachments in life. Letting go is the readiness and willingness to let go of all attachments in life. The following are some of the most common attachments:


Attachment to the ego-self


Attachment to the ego-self is the most difficult to let go of, given that conventional wisdom focuses so much on “self,” such as the emphasis on the importance of “self-esteem,” that we become not only “self-conscious” but also “self-centered.”


Attachment to material things


The mind identifies with material possessions to create the ego-self. Many of us identify ourselves with a certain social status when we belong to a certain social group or drive a certain luxury car.


Thinking questions


Why am I driving a Mercedes?

Is it really better than a Toyota?


Attachment to time


Many of us think that time is precious, and wish that we had more than 24 hours a day. We no longer have the time to appreciate the beauty of nature, because we have become overwhelmed by our daily problems and the time needed to solve them. Indeed, many of us are forever time-stressed.


Attachment to time means the reluctance to live in the present moment. Unfortunately, the present moment is the only reality in life, and the only moment during which one can objectively validate past thoughts and future projections that continuously filter through the subconscious mind, enticing it to form identities—which become the components of the ego-self.


According to the wisdom of the TAO, attachments are the sources of human pain and suffering.


“Fame or self: Which matters more?

Self or wealth: Which is more precious?

Gain or loss: Which is more painful?

He who is attached to things will suffer much.

He who saves will suffer heavy loss.

A contented man is never disappointed.

He who knows when to stop does not find himself in trouble.

He will stay forever safe.”

(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 44)


Attachments to the material world are the sources of human miseries and unhappiness, because they seldom become realities and they generate only desire and control that ultimately create a vicious circle of miseries and unhappiness.


FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage" to live according to your needs and not your wants, which often become your attachments.


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Freedom of Gratitude



Reconnect your soul or spirit to gratitude. If you are grateful to the Creator for what you have, you may look at the behavior of another individual with more tolerance, or even with a totally different perspective.


Blessings in life, such as the gift of life, are generally overlooked or even taken for granted. For example, if someone takes advantage of you, do not become angry immediately; instead, be grateful that you are the victim instead of being the person who victimizes others.


Gratitude enables you to develop the mindset for a positive outlook toward your soul. Smile more often. Keep complaints about people, things, and life in general only to yourself—unless voicing them will help bring about positive changes in others or in society.


Gratitude helps you see the good in others, letting you give them the benefit of the doubt. Try to remember that all people are created in the image of God. Focus on the individual as a person, rather than on the behavior or belief of that individual, which may not be appealing or pleasing to you.


Always be grateful that you have been given the opportunity to become either a teacher or a student in whatever circumstance you may find yourself in, and turn it into a miracle of life.


An illustration


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’s resolution, he decided to write a thank-you note a day for the rest of the year to everyone 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 turned around completely.


Gratitude is something that you get more only by giving it away more. Expression of gratitude generates happiness that overcomes the unhappy feelings of lack.


Are you grateful for what you have, and not getting what you rightly deserve?

You have your "freedom" to choose your gratitude instead of your complaint of lack.


FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage"  if you follow the Holy Spirit, who is your Helper in your everyday choices and decisions.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The TAO of Living Longer



The word “TAO” in Chinese originally meant “road.” Later, it came to mean “way” and hence “The Way.” The TAO is “The Way” of looking at the world with a certain attitude of mind, which is totally different from that of the West, and that is why it is so intriguing and fascinating, as evidenced by the fact that Tao Te Ching, the book of the TAO by Lao Tzu, is one of the most translated books in the world. The wisdom of the TAO has to be self-intuited, rather than explained in words.


Given that the TAO has to be self-intuited, the TAO is uniquely personal and subjective: what is the TAO to you may not be the TAO to others; just as the saying goes, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.”


You need the TAO to provide you with some self-awakening inspiration for your self-reflection and self-discovery on the rest of your life journey; without that self-intuition, you may continue to exist for other people, and not for yourself. Now is the time to start putting yourself on the right path with the right mindset toward awakening your TAO of living longer.


It is your thinking mind that may make you live longer. Continue and go through the rest of your life journey with self-awakening to the realities of your true self, of others around you, and of the world you are living in. Look at anything and everything through the lens of the TAO.


According to the TAO, the end of anything is always the beginning of something else; the material world you are living in is forever filled with these cycles of beginnings and endings. Get the profound wisdom to intuit these cycles of balance and harmony so that you may continue the rest of your life journey and live as if everything is a miracle.

The Tao of Living Longer

FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage" to live longer. Yes, you have your freedom of choices and decisions to live to 100 and beyond

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau



Why "Prayers Not Answered"?

The Meaning of “Prayers Not Answered”

Prayers not answered” simply means “expectations not fulfilled.”

But what’re your “expectations”? And where do they come from?

You experience your own life experiences through your five senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling) as a result of the choices of your actions, inactions, and reactions in your everyday life.

Your sensations often become your own perceptions, which then form your own assumptions and predictions; for example, a good education will lead to a successful career, and bring about a happy relationship.

All your “expectations” are only the personal and the subjective perceptions of your mind. But your “expectations” are often unreal and even self-delusive.

Even what you think you see with your own eyes may not necessarily be the reality.

To illustrate, in 1997, Richard Alexander from Indiana was convicted as a serial rapist, because one of the victims and her fiancé insisted that he was the perpetrator based on what the victim and her fiancé claimed that “they saw with their own eyes.”

But the convicted man was later exonerated and subsequently released in 2001, based on the new DNA science and other forensic evidence. Experts explained that a traumatic emotional experience, such as a rape, could “distort” the perception of an individual. That explains why the woman and her fiancé “swore” that Richard Alexander was the rapist, but evidently he wasn’t.

To illustrate “unreal expectations”: Helen Keller, celebrated author, political activist, and philanthropist, was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree; she became deaf and blind at an early age of less than two.

Imagine you were Helen’s parents: would you have “darkened expectations” of the future of Helen when she suddenly became deaf and blind?

Another illustration of “unreal expectations”: Shon Robert Hopwood, a young American convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to prison, became well-known as a jailhouse lawyer. While serving time in prison, Shon started spending time in the law library, became a jailhouse lawyer for the inmates, and ultimately a very accomplished United States Supreme Court practitioner by the time he left prison in 2009. Then, he became the professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.

If you were the parents of Shon, would your own expectations of your son have fallen short after his conviction of 12 years of imprisonment?

The truth of the matter

Your perceptionswhether true or untruebecome your realities, and are then stored in your subconscious mind as your memories.

Whenever you want to make a choice or decision, it’s your subconscious mind that provides your conscious mind with your many attitudes, beliefs, and predictions—all based on your memories of your past experiences. Your thinking mind then begins to process and project them into the future as your “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Points to Remember

Perceptions may easily become distorted and unreal. So, don’t let your own perceptions become your assumptive predictions.

Expectations are in the future, and their timeline is indefinite. So, don’t jump to any conclusion yet.

The past was gone; the future is yet to come; only the present is real. So, don’t use the past to predict the future as “expectations to be fulfilled.”

Click here to get Why Prayers Are Seldom Answered.

FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have "freedom" and not "bondage" in your everyday choices and decisions. 

Stephen Lau
Copyright © Stephen Lau

Monday, June 24, 2024

Dealing with Grief


1) Denial

In the first of the five stages of grief, we deny that our loved ones are gone. Soon after the death of our friend, our grieving takes the form of refusing to believe that our friend is actually dead. We use denial as a defense mechanism, defending ourselves from the change that death and bereavement represents. In the first of the stages of grief, we try to escape the reality of our friend’s death. This is the mind's way of shielding us from the other painful emotions associated with grief. 

2) Anger

In this stage, we are filled with anger over the death of our loved ones. Part of the steps of grief is searching for the source of our grief. We look for a cause to this tragedy, and we look for who or what is to blame. All of the books on grief and grieving cannot answer the nagging question: “Why me?” We cope with grief by blaming ourselves or others for the loss of our friend.

3) Bargaining

In the third of the grief stages, we try to bargain with God or with a higher power about reversing what has happened to us. We beg God (or fate) for second chances, using "What if?" and "If only" sort of pleas. Perhaps if I choose to devote my life to charitable causes, God will somehow undo the death of my loved one. The steps of grief have a way of driving people to ask the big questions in life; that happens during the bargaining stage of grieving. And that's where comes in: we hope to provide a safe place as you answer the difficult questions that your grief raises. Find out more below.

4) Depression

In this step, we feel the tremendous weight of our loved one’s death. We continue our bereavement by sinking into depression and the realization that our friend is really gone. During the fourth of the stages in grief, sadness, regret, fear, and sorrow well up in us. This stage is the darkest of the five stages of grief.

5) Acceptance

In this step, we finally begin to come to terms with the death of our friend. At the last of the stages of grief, we become aware that it’s going to be OK, that we will survive the loss of our loved one. In this phase of grieving, comfort sets in, and we realize that life will go on.

Finally, it’s important to note that a mourner may go through these stages in a different order, return to a given stage, and stay in a stage for a long time. These grief stages are a guide—not a rule. They encapsulate most of the broad emotions that a person goes through after a loss. 

FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage"  if you follow the Holy Spirit, who is your Helper in dealing with your everyday challenges and problems.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Happiness Personality


Holistic wellness of the body, the mind, and the soul has much to do with happiness, which has its origin from personality development over the years.

Sometimes we wonder why some people are always happy while others are always unhappy. Just as Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian author, said in the beginning of his novel Anna Karenina: “Happy families are alike; unhappy families are unhappy in their own ways.”

Indeed, your happiness has much to do with your personality development over your life. In other words, your own life experiences and your perceptions of those experiences not only define and shape your personality but also are uniquely yours. Therefore, it is impossible to say why some people are happy, and why others are unhappy.

Mental happiness and body wellness are interrelated. If you are happy, your body will even heal faster. It’s just that simple.

But happiness is not easy to come by, especially when your mind is not prepared to receive it. The mind needs wisdom to create happiness thoughts to stimulate the brain cells to produce chemicals that make one happy. Genuine human happiness comes from human thoughts that are the components of human personality. Therefore, understanding personality development may throw some light on why you are happy or unhappy.

But understanding personality development may throw some light on why you are happy or unhappy most of the time.

According to the famous psychologist Erik Erikson, your personality has evolved through several decades of changes and experiences, resulting in who and what you have now become. Therefore, profound human wisdom is to understand how those changes in your life have occurred and shaped your personality, and how adapting yourself to those changes now may still benefit you in the long run. According to Erik Erikson, there are eight life stages. through which we may have gone through to become who and what we are right now. These eight psychosocial development stages are as follows:

Trust and Mistrust

In this first stage, from birth to age one, we may experience and develop trust or mistrust that affects how we feel about the benevolence of the world around us.

Do you always have low trust or mistrust in others?

Independence and Doubt

In the toddler stage, we begin to develop our self-trust,  which leads to independence. With self-trust, we begin to learn how to walk. In this stage, however, we may also develop self-doubt that leads to shame later in life. This may be the underlying cause of failing to take risks in later life, missing some golden opportunities to improve our lives, and thus making us feel unhappy and unfulfilled.

Are you always self-confident?

Creativity and Guilt

In preschool years, we begin to exercise our minds to acquire initiative and express creativity. The capability to express freely our initiative and creativity helps us develop the playful and positive side of our nature. Under restraint, on the other hand, we may develop guilt, lack of self-confidence, and inability to get close to others.

Are you always creative and imaginative?

Industry and Inferiority

From age five to eleven, we experience fulfillment in accomplishment or disappointment in failure. This is often a result of acquiring our society’s work ethics. We begin to believe in our abilities and feel motivated to work hard. On the other hand, if we become lazy, we develop poor work habits that may adversely affect our careers later in life.

Are you always puttering from one job to another, always procrastinating and never meeting deadlines?

Identity and Diffusion

In adolescent, we begin to explore ourselves, finding out who we are and what we want out of life. We may channel our energy into a field we love, and derive pleasure from seeing what we have accomplished. This growth in our sense of self determines whether or not we have an “identity crisis.”

Are you always in search for a purpose in life?

Intimacy and Withdrawal

In early adulthood, we develop intimacy, which is a quality of an individual, and not the couple. The ability to develop and maintain a long-term relationship is an asset. However, many of us may experience difficulty in achieving closeness with others, or even maintaining a long-lasting relationship, resulting in inner loneliness that causes us to doubt even our own remarkable accomplishments in life.

Is your life worthwhile when it comes to relationships?

Compassion and Selfishness

In middle age, we become more connected to future generations, as evidenced by being parents, mentors, and supervisors. However, we may also become self-focusing, alienating ourselves from the next generation, and thus creating the “generation gap.”

Do you spend much time focusing on your own needs, instead of those of others?

Ego and Despair

In old age, by letting go of the ego, we accept both our successes and failures, and thus have a healthy perspective on life. However, we may also look back at our own past experiences and the world in general with disdain and regret, and thus we become despaired and unhappy.

Do you think you already have a fulfilled life?

If you wish to be a happier individual, learn to let go of all your attachments, which are the sources of human unhappiness. Human wisdom may not be adequate to help you let go of your attachments in the physical world; you also need spiritual wisdom With the spiritual wisdom from the Bible, you may be able to overcome the reluctance to let go of your attachments. Let go to let God in order to live your life 


FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage" in your everyday choices and decisions that give you your happiness personality.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Injustice and Spiritual Wisdom



We are living in a world in which injustice and vengeance are rampant. Many of us are in the midst of this storm of unfairness that causes our unhappiness and even makes us choose the wrong choices and decisions, resulting in our wrongdoings.


A Case in Point


In 1984, Archbishop Valerian Trifa was deported from the United States after being accused 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 Nazi supporter came to the United States as a refugee immigrant. He assumed the name of Valerian Trifa, and 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 archbishop, and lived in comfort in a 25-room farmhouse on a 200-acre estate maintained by his church.


Later on, a dentist, who was a Nazi survivor, recognized the Archbishop as the Nazi supporter. The case against him was then pursued for more than a decade by survivors of the Nazi years, Jewish organizations, journalists, and the Justice Department of the United States. Their efforts helped focus public attention on Nazi war criminals who were living in the United States.


At first, the Archbishop vehemently denied his former identity, despite some handwriting experts confirming 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. That was his undoing, and his final judgment.


The Archbishop was ultimately ordered to leave the United States in 1982, but spent two years trying to find a country that would give him refuge. Portugal admitted him in 1984, and he finally settled in Estoril, where he died at the age of 72 of a heart attack.


Spiritual Wisdom


Do not avenge yourself; instead, leave it to the wrath of God, which is a repayment to man for something man has done wrong. Do not carry with you anger, bitterness, resentment, and revenge—they only make you unhappy.


Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the Lord,
 and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

(Psalm 37: 1-4)

Bottom line: Be happy and not depressed because there is so much injustice around.


FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how you can have your "freedom" and not your "bondage"  if you follow the Holy Spirit, who is your Helper in your everyday choices and decisions.


Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Adaptability and Resilience

  Embracing Life Changes Life is forever changing. A static life is not worth living. Ironically enough, many people resist any change in th...