Stephen Lau's website to help you get the wisdom to live as if everything is a miracle.

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Blessing in Disguise

To be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, such as myasthenia gravis, may be a devastating experience, but that's not the end of the world!

More than two decades ago, I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I began changing my lifestyle, doing research and publishing books on heath and wellness. The bottom line: don't let yourself get depressed.

Depression is a mental disorder that affects not only the mind with its multiple moods, but also the overall wellness of the  body as well as the whole being of an individual. Depression is an inner struggle striving to escape from the harsh realities of life.

“Depression has been called the world's number one public health problem. In fact, depression is so widespread it is considered the common cold of psychiatric disturbances. But there is a grim difference between depression and a cold. Depression can kill you.“ David D. Burns

We all have a depressive mind because we are all living in a world of depression. The only difference is that our depression may all differ in intensity: slight, serious, or severe. The truth of the matter is that each and every one of us is depressed, without any exception, because we all experience our depressive episodes at some points during our lifespan, and it is very normal. However, many of us prefer to deny or ignore our emotional dysfunction due to the stigma that is often associated with depression.

In modern age, Sir Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, underwent serious bouts of depression during his country's national crisis in World War II. The fact is that depression is no respecter of persons—even for those with very high I.Q., such as the Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway who committed suicide just as his father did with the comment “I’ll probably go the same way.” Indeed, many of us are vulnerable to this genetic mental disorder.

Sadly, depression is currently increasing at an alarming rate because the world we are now living in is getting more challenging, more complex, and more complicated each day passingit has now become a world of depression.
The only way out of depression is not to avoid it, but, ironically enough, to experience and embrace it in order to become enlightened. We are living in a world of depression: we see unhappy things happen to us, as well as to the people d around us. Many of us strive to distract ourselves from these but without much success. The only way out is  to experience and embrace them with an empty mindset—the mindset of Lao Tzu, the author of Tao Te Ching, an ancient classic on human wisdom.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Stress and Myasthenia Gravis

Stress has become a serious health issue with each passing day. Nearly everyone is suffering from some kind of stress every day, whether it is the short-term stress that triggers the body to reach heightened awareness and preparation for action—what is known as the “fight-or-flight” response—or the devastating long-term chronic stress. Stress is one of the underlying causes of myasthenia gravis, an  autoimmune disease, affecting millions of people.

There are many factors that may directly or indirectly cause stress in everyday human existence, and they are as follows:

Emotional Factors

Anger, bitterness, disappointment, and envy are some of the human emotions that often lead to anxiety, distress, and even depression. 

Environmental and Eventful Factors

A dangerous environment, such as walking alone in the dark or in an unsafe neighborhood, can be stressful.

A work environment with racial discrimination or sexual harassment can be stressful too. According to the American Institute of Stress, up to one million employees’ absence per day are stress related. In addition, work environment may create stress due to feeling unproductive, inability to concentrate on work, unrealistic and unreasonable demands from employers or co-workers.

Stressful life events may also lead to elevated stress levels. Special life events—whether they are positive or negative—can be stressful, such as getting married or planning a wedding, graduation, starting a new job, buying a home, or even going on a vacation.

Financial Factors

Finance is one of the main stress factors in contemporary life and living due to rampant unemployment, not having enough money to make both ends meet, debt from credit cards or reckless over-spending, bankruptcy, and home foreclosure, among other financial problems.

Health Factors

The American Academy of Family Physicians once estimated that two-thirds of all family doctor visits are stress related.

Health problems can be triggered by alcohol, sugar, and tobacco addiction. Chronic health problems, such as autoimmune diseases, cancers and heart-related health issues, are particularly stressful after diagnoses and during treatments..

Relationship Factors

Relationships are often a source of emotional and psychological problems, such as break-up in a love relationship, separation and divorce, dealing with teenager problems, and coping with aging parents.

William Shakespeare once said: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” John Milton, the famous English poet, also had this to say: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” Both spoke volumes of the perceptions of stress.

The bottom line: stress comes from your mind, or, more specifically, your ego-self. Therefore no ego, no stress.

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Holistic Body Mind and Soul Healing

A myasthenia gravis diagnosis may adversely affect the wellness not just of the body, but also of the mind, and the soul -- in other words, the overall wellness of that individual. It all begins with the mind: how the mind perceives, and creates the reality of the disease, its symptoms, and prognosis. 

Mind wellness

Overall wellness starts with the intent of the mind to be well, to heal, and to stay well.

How well you are living your life right now is based on your past and present life experiences, as well as your projections of those experiences into the future. In other words, your thoughts of those experiences with their respective future projections become the raw materials and resources with which you are going to weave the fabric of your life.

Therefore, to live well, you have to know how to think right, and then act accordingly. That's not easy, and that's why Albert Einstein once said, "Thinking is hard; that's why so few do it."
Learn to empower your mind with knowledge and wisdom and live your life to the best you can.

Body wellness

Body wellness is more than just an absence of illness or ache and pain.

Body wellness means the body is capable of detecting signs and symptoms, as well as deciphering messages, from different organs and tissue of the body, giving warnings of any imminent disorder and disease.

The body is connected with the mind in the form of biochemical reactions in the body and nerve impulses in the brain. This invisible communication is responsible for the alignment or misalignment of the flow of energy between the body and the mind, and hence their overall wellness. The body is a product of both the mind and the soul.
There is much to know and learn about body wellness, just as Hippocrates, the father of medicine, once said: "The life so short, the craft so long to learn."

Learn the craft and get the wisdom!

Soul wellness

The mind controls the body, and the soul oversees the mind and the body.

Wellness wisdom connects the body with the mind and the soul for optimum state of being.

The soul specifically connects the mind to a greater intellect that has the infinite power to connect with everyone and everything in the world.

The body, the mind, and the soul work as a system of energy. The state of being is the overall feeling of health and wellness. This state of being is dependent on the intricate connection of the body, the mind, and the soul.

Soul wellness plays a pivotal role in guiding and directing behaviors and actions in the physical form.

Cherish and nourish your soul. The mind is the map, the soul is the compass; without both, the body goes nowhere.

To cure your myasthenia gravis, you must have body-mind-soul connection  order to live as if everything is a miracle, despite your disease symptoms.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 15, 2019

Let Go of Human Attachments

All human attachments are the raw materials with which one both consciously and subconsciously creates one’s identity through a period of confusion and uncertainty that inevitably leads to the identity crisis. Without human attachment, there will be no identity crisis, no stress, and ultimately no human suffering.

In the course of human life, diseases are as inevitable as death. You may want to attach to the good old days when you were strong and healthy, and refuse to let go of the current adversity, such as being diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. Adversity and the good-old-days attachments stem from the ego-self, which simply refuses to let go.

But letting go of all human attachments is the way to go. It begins with letting go of the ego that generates all the attachments in the first place.

Letting go is the natural surrender of the human mind to any involuntary reactivity aimed at removing anything that might threaten or undermine the ego-self. Letting go should be a natural instinct, and not a technique that one has to learn and master; it is simply a spontaneous human ability to give up all human attachments that create the unreal ego-self.

It is letting go, and not holding on, that makes us strong because it overcomes the fear of the unknown and the unpredictable. Let go of yesterday to live in today as if everything is a miracle; let go of the world to have the universe.

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.” Thich Nhat Hanh

An autoimmune disease diagnosis is not the end of the world; it might be a blessing in disguise—helping you change your lifestyle to live a better life in order to become a better you.

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Be Happy No Matter What

To be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease is a devastating experience when the doctor told you that there is no known cure, only management of the disease symptoms. But from my own experience, having an autoimmune disease is not the end of the world. Always look at the brighter side of life, and not its darkness. In fact, happiness may play a pivotal role in the prognosis of your autoimmune disease.

What is happiness? It is difficult to define because happiness is but a state of mind. It has everything to do with your perception—how you look at everything in your life, including your health and current circumstances. More specifically, it has to do with your thinking mind: how you thinkDescartes, the great French philosopher, once said: “I think, therefore I am.” In other words, you are the sum of your thoughts. But your thoughts are not you; you just “think” you are who you are. Your mind may be deceiving you by telling you everything but the truth. True human wisdom means you must know your true self.

The human brain is like a computer program. Your whole being is like the computer hardware with the apparatus of a mind, body, and senses. The lens through which you see yourself, as well as others and the world around, is the software that has been programmed by your thoughts, your past and present experiences, your own expectations as well as those of others. That is to say, you may have subconsciously programmed your mind all these years with your memories, perceptions, and thoughts such that you may have become trapped in a constricted sense of self that has prevented you from knowing and being who you really are. Now, you must harness your wisdom to change that conditioned thinking. 

Tao wisdom enables you to see the wisdom in the oneness of all life—that everything exists because of its “opposite” and that everything will ultimately become its opposite, just as youth becoming old age, and life becoming death. Spontaneity, which is following the natural laws of nature, holds the key to attaining true human wisdom to live your life as if everything is a miracle, even though you may have an autoimmune disease.

Happiness holds the key to recuperation from your autoimmune disease. Remember, all autoimmune diseases have to do with stress, which is often a byproduct of unhappiness. Happiness changes the way you look at your life, the way you make your life choices and decisions that may positively or negatively impact your disease over the long haul. Be a better and happier you through Tao wisdom.

Stephen Lau

Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Just Like Watching A Suspense Movie

A Myasthenia Gravis Diagnosis Is Just Like Watching A Suspense Movie

Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, such as myasthenia gravis, is just like watching a suspense movie, full of unpredictable twists and turns: you don’t know how it would end until maybe the very end; otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth watching. Don’t turn your head away, and don’t cover your eyes with your hands. Just keep on watching and even enjoying the movie!

Life might not have been fair to you with happenings that might have been beyond your control. No matter what, life is not meant to be a punishment for you. If you just don’t die, you will have the wisdom to live it through.

“Life begets death; one is inseparable from the other.
One is form; the other is formless.
Each gives way to the other.
One third of people focus on life, ignoring death.
One third of people focus on death, ignoring life.
One third of people think of neither, just drifting along.
They all suffer in the end.

Trusting the Creator, we have no illusion about life and death.
Holding nothing back from life, we are ready for death,
just as a man ready for sleep after a good day’s work.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 50)

“Abiding in the Creator, we do not fear death.
Following the conditioned mind, we fear everything.
Fear is a futile attempt to control things and people.

Death is a natural destination of the Way.
Unnatural fear of death does more harm than good.
It is like trying to use intricate tools of a master craftsman:
we end up hurting ourselves.”
(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 74)

Even if you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, you  just have to go on living;  the wisdom in living the rest of your life is no more than . . . watching a suspense movie. Explore all the options of treatment; focus your mind, with the intent of healing, on what you should do next. Remember, the mind and the body are interconnected: which means all negative emotions will have a negative impact on the body, and thus obstacles to recovery and recuperation.

Stephen Lau     
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

How Yoga May Help Myasthenia Gravis

How Yoga May Help Myasthenia Gravis

Firstly, practice the different types of yoga for myasthenia gravis like Pranayama (breath control) is very effective in the treatment. Abnormalities in breathing are usually the cause in most disorders which is why yoga can be very helpful.

Other forms of yoga for myasthenia gravis are Kundalini yoga and Lyengar yoga which are very useful alternative therapy methods. These forms of yoga also help in dealing with various other neuromuscular disorders. Yoga for myasthenia gravis also includes the practice of meditation which is very beneficial..

Terrible weakness of the body muscles caused by myasthenia gravis which is a highly impairing autoimmune condition can be greatly eased with the help of yoga. Pranayama is highly recommended for the treatment of myasthenia gravis.

Mild physical training can also be of benefit for patients with myasthenia gravis as physical and bodily movement in simple exercises can develop some form of improvement in the overall muscle strength in the patient. A gradual advance to moderate exercise and advanced yoga may also improve and enhance the immunity of the patient. However, meditation alone holds the key in treating myasthenia gravis

In addition to exercise and meditation, you will also need to alter your lifestyle and eating habits in order to treat the condition.  Asparagus is an excellent food and should be a part of your daily diet as some herbalists are of the belief that it contains some components resembling steroids to control myasthenia gravis.  Also, have plenty of sprouts and whole meal bread and yoghurt along with a diet of high fiber foods, fresh fruits and vegetables.  Foods rich in vitamin A, vitamin B6, Vitamin C and Vitamin E are also important nutrients for the treatment of myasthenia gravis.

Finally, take ashwagandha, which is a powerful immunomodulator, as well as a good antioxidant. It improves the strength of the weak muscles associated with myasthenia gravis.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Monday, February 11, 2019

Live A Simple Lifestyle

Living a simple lifestyle is the key to stress relief to help symptoms of myasthenia gravis..

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.” 

The bottom line: live a simple stress-free lifestyle to help you let go of all the trimmings of life.  A stress-free lifestyle goes a long way to helping your myasthenia gravis symptoms.

A classic example is Ann Russell Miller, a celebrated socialite from San Francisco, also known as Sister Mary Joseph, She, who had ten children and nineteen grand-children, had grown up in luxury and privilege, and had been living a life of incredible wealth. Instead of shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, and decorating herself with jewelry from Tiffany, she suddenly decided to give up everything, and became a nun devoted to living in poverty for the rest of her life. That unbelievable event happened more than two decades ago, and was then widely reported in the media across the country. Why did she make such a drastic and incredible change in her life? She said she had a calling, a true vocation that was hard to understand for the general public, even for the close members of her family.

This 154-page book is about how to live your life as if everything is a miracle if you just don’t die as you continue with you life journey with the many changes and challenges confronting you, including your loss of vision.

Human existence is meaningless without life purpose and human happiness. The pursuit of longevity has been going on since time immemorial. Consciousness holds the key to the success of this pursuit. Consciousness of living is wisdom of the mind to understand the self, others, as well as how and why certain things happen. Wisdom in living enables one to complete the rest of one's life journey and reaching the destination.

To live to 100 and beyond—if you just don’t die—you must ask questions about life; after all, living is about asking questions and seeking answers to the questions asked, and thereby instrumental in providing wisdom or a blueprint to continue the rest of your life journey.

The objective of this 154-page book is neither to convince you to crave longevity, nor to show you how to live to one hundred and beyond. It simply presents you with the consciousness of living the rest of your years—if you just don’t die!

Click here to get your digital copy.

Stephen Lau
Copyright © Stephen Lau

Sunday, February 10, 2019

No Cure for Autoimmune Diseases?

No Cure for Autoimmune Diseases?

According to the medical community, there is no known cure for myasthenia gravis, or any autoimmune disease, for that matter. That is not surprising, given the complexity of autoimmunity and the approach of conventional medicine to disease treatment. Western medicine uses pharmaceutical drugs to deal with the various symptoms of different types of autoimmune diseases by suppressing the overactive immune system. But an autoimmune disease involves not just the mind, but also many different organs of the body—in fact, the whole body or the personality of the individual afflicted with an autoimmune disease.

Myasthenia gravis can be so varied and different in each individual that treatment also becomes so highly individualized according to the severity of the disorder, age, sex, as well as the degree of functional impairment. The need for medication may even vary considerably from day to day in response to emotional stress, infections, and even the hot weather.
Mestinon, Regonol, and Prostigmin are the most commonly used oral medications to treat muscle weakness without affecting the underlying disease that causes it. Therefore, these drugs are often given in conjunction with other treatments. All these drugs have different side effects: narrowing of the muscle of the iris in the eye, causing the pupil to become smaller; increased nasal and bronchial secretions, as well as increased saliva and urination; loose stools, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps; and urinary tract infections, among many other undesirable side effects.

Other possible treatment may include thymectomy, which is the removal of the thymus to increase the frequency of myasthenia gravis remission.

Corticosteroid drugs, such as prednisone, are given to reduce antibodies, as well as to prepare for thymectomy. Patients may become temporarily weaker after taking prednisone, while others may have significant improvement in disease symptoms.

Immunosuppressant drugs, such as imuran, may also be used to suppress the activity of the immune system. The effects of these drugs are slow (over a year), and symptoms may recur once the drug is discontinued.

Plasma exchange, which involves an exchange of the plasma (blood) with another healthy individual, is a temporary treatment to increase muscle strength prior to surgery, or to treat temporarily severe symptoms and conditions.

According to Western medicine, steroid medications, such as corticosteroid drugs, are medically necessary to treat many conditions and diseases, including lupus, multiple sclerosis, and myasthenia graves. But steroid medications have major effects on the metabolism of calcium and bone, which may lead to severe bone loss, osteoporosis, and bone fractures. As a matter of fact, high dosage of steroid medications can cause rapid bone loss, up to as much as 15 percent per year. If you are on steroids, you are more than twice as likely to have a fracture on the spine or the ribs as compared to a person not taking steroids. 

In addition, there are even different rates of bone loss among individuals on corticosteroids. Bone loss occurs most rapidly in the first six months after starting oral steroid medications. After 12 months of chronic steroid use, there is a slower rate of bone loss. Fracture risk generally increases as the daily doses of steroid medications increase, although not all patients who take steroid medications experience bone loss.

Other adverse side effects of steroid medications are elevation of blood pressure, weight gain, decreased resistance to infection, indigestion, thinning of skin, and potential development of cataracts and glaucoma.

Four factors should be carefully considered prior to the use of steroids, especially if your myasthenia gravis is related only to ocular muscles:

Can steroids improve or eradicate your autoimmune disease symptoms?

Are there other safer forms of therapy to treat your myasthenia gravis?

Does the severity of the symptoms warrant the risk of steroid adverse effects?

Do steroids reduce the chance of a relapse of your autoimmune disease?

It stands to reason that the high risk of taking pharmaceutical drugs to treat only the symptoms without producing a lasting cure may not warrant the continuation of the medications over a long period.

Therefore, have second thoughts about continuing your medications indefinitely. Instead, believe in the miracle of self-healing

As previously mentioned, Albert Einstein once said: “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Believing that you can cure your myasthenia gravis is living your life as if everything is a miracle. Yes, self-healing of myasthenia gravis is a miracle of life. Even Western doctors are taught in medical schools that illnesses are self-limiting—that is to say, we can get better on our own. If that is the case, then self-healing is not a myth, but a reality—and a miracle at that.

Therefore, no cure for autoimmune diseases is only a myth, and not a reality. However, the cure does not come from pharmaceutical drugs.

The bottom line: Set your goal to ultimately stop all medications. It may take weeks, months, or even years, but that should be your ultimate goal in your health pursuit to overcome your autoimmune disease.

Do not stop all your medications right away; that is not safe.
Talk to your doctor first about all your concerns. Express your wish to reduce your medications slowly and gradually.

If your doctor does not agree to your suggestion, look for another naturopathic doctor. Seek second or even third opinion if necessary.

No matter what, make it your ultimate objective to stop all medications eventually.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Friday, February 8, 2019

Eye Relaxation to De-Stress

Eye palming to relax the Eye

This unique eye-relaxation exercise uses your healing hands to direct energy to your eyes, as well as to rest your optic nerve and relax your entire nervous system.

Unlike sleep, which is unconscious and passive relaxation, palming is conscious and active relaxation. Therefore, palming is one of the best exercises for eye relaxation.

Practice palming at least for 10 to 30 minutes per session for three or more sessions daily to completely relax your eyes. Even at work, you can palm your eyes for 2 minutes, if possible, to relieve your eyestrain from the computer.

Sit comfortably with your elbows resting on a table in front of you—preferably in a darkened room, such as a bathroom without any window.

Rub your palms together to generate some warmth.

Place your palms over your eyes, without touching them, while resting them on the boney ridge surrounding your eyes with the heels of your hands on your cheekbones. Your eyes should be gently

Relax your mind, and breathe deeply through your nose, not your mouth. The slower your breathing is, the more relaxed your mind becomes.
Feel your abdomen and back expand and contract as you inhale and exhale, respectively.

Visualize complete darkness to relax your mind.

Feel your neck and shoulders expand and contract as your deep and slow breathing continues.

Visualize every part of your body—hands, fingers, toes, knees, and thighs—expand and contract with your inhalation and exhalation.
Practice eye palming whenever you feel fatigue in your eyes. It is impossible to palm for too long or for too much; some palm for hours to reap the benefits of both relaxation and meditation. If you feel any resistance to palming, it may probably be due to your subconscious resistance to relaxation. If you become more relaxed, you will see complete blackness. However, it is all right if you do not see complete blackness; just continue with your daily palming exercise.

Remember, we are living in a stressful world, and many of us simply cannot relax, even if we very much would like to. Attesting to the inability to relax, many of us easily and often stare without blinking—and, worse, without being aware of it. As a result, our vision slowly and gradually deteriorates over the years. 

Do not let a day pass by without palming your eyes.

The “8” eye exercise

Do the following “8” eye exercise as often as required to relax your eye muscles as well to increase their flexibility.

Sit comfortably in a relaxed posture.

Consciously breathe in and breathe out through your nose until you attain a natural rhythm.

Imagine the figure “8” in the distance.

Let your eyes trace along the imaginary figure without moving your head.

First, trace it in one direction, and then in the opposite direction.

You can modify the exercise by imagining other alphabets and figures. The objective of this exercise, in addition to promoting relaxation and flexibility, is to train your eyes to consciously shift when focusing on an object in the distance.

The Taoist squeeze-and-open eye exercise

This ancient Chinese exercise developed by Taoist monks thousands of years ago increases blood circulation to the eyes, prevents watery eyes, and alkalizes the eyes to detoxify the liver. It removes eyestrain and soothes eye-muscle tension.

Inhale slowly, while squeezing your eyes tightly for 10 seconds.

Then, slowly exhale your breath, making the sh-h-h-h-h sound, while opening your eyes wide.

Repeat as many times and as often as required to cleanse the eyes and the liver.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau