Sunday, July 29, 2018

Mia Tomikawa on Mater Ryuho Okawa's Art of Building Inner Strength to Overcome Life’s Difficulties - The Strong Mind

In this interview, Mia Tomikawa of Happy Science talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about Master Ryuho Okawa’s book,The Strong Mind: The Art of Building the Inner Strength to Overcome Life’s Difficulties.

“You already have inner strength within you, and all you have to do is to cultivate it; and it starts with believing that you can take control of your own life.” ~Mia Tomikawa

Master Okawa wrote the book to encourage everyone to get through the inevitable crises that pop up in people’s lives by cultivating a mind strong enough to manage these. Mia mentions that there are life crises that take place in particular in the decades of one’s life - in childhood, for example, there’s the family squabble or crisis; in one’s twenties, there’s the job crisis and in one’s eighties,there’s the coming to terms with destiny. Master Okawa notes that our minds and our souls are things which will last beyond death, and cultivating a strong mind enables one to handle the challenges that life throws one’s way. Mia also notes that, in Japanese, the word “mind” actually encompasses the mind, the heart and the soul, which are a person’s total being.

According to Master Okawa, who bases this structure on Eastern philosophy, there are three stages of growth for all human beings:

  1. Becoming a sharp, intelligent and capable person, which manifests when one is young.
  2. Becoming dynamic, which is necessary to become a leader who can work with and guide others.
  3. Becoming calmer and more profound, which is necessary for one’s old age.

To create a strong mind, one needs to believe and have faith in oneself, first off. This requires having faith that new paths will open up as one lives, and becoming more courageous and being forgiving are two ways by which one can cultivate a strong mind. Forgiving is a way to let go of resentment and hurt, for the grudge that one holds against another will torment one within, and thus weaken one. Taking responsibility for one’s life is another key to creating a strong mind, as blaming others or events for one’s lack of happiness removes one’s capability to be happy.

The fear of failure and making mistakes is ever present, and this is due to one’s desire to protect oneself or one’s ego. Overcoming this fear requires a change in mindset, where one sees the failures and challenges of life as lessons given and situations to be learned from, rather than the “bad” thing that these are commonly made out to be. Master Okawa notes Thomas Edison as an example of someone who never saw failures or mistakes but instead saw opportunities to learn from, and this is the perspective necessary to create a strong mind. Not having challenges in one’s life means that one will never grow or find true happiness, as growth enables that.

Parenting is important where giving a child the foundations necessary to create a strong mind are concerned. Parents need to enable and educate children to feel responsible for their own lives to create a sense of duty and responsibility, and Mia notes that kids in the United States are more responsible and independent when compared to kids in Japan. She notes that, in Japan, the parents make all the decisions sometimes to the point of spoiling them, so that they don’t take responsibility for themselves.

One’s accomplishments can create a bias against others, where one judges others by one’s own strong points. Master Okawa notes that people need to be more accepting of others who might seem weak from one’s point of view, as those others have their own gifts to bring. Praising others is part of having a strong mind, particularly as doing so enables others to become present to their own capabilities and to connect with one. This is, admittedly, hard to do where people who have hurt someone is concerned, but in the long run, according to Master Okawa, this will create a connection between the people concerned. This is not easy to do, where people who are hurtful are concerned, and Mia points out that practicing this is a process much like working out in the gym, where one’s muscles hurt the first few times but become stronger and more capable over time.

Purchase on Amazon: The Strong Mind: The Art of Building the Inner Strength to Overcome Life’s Difficulties by Master Ryuho Okawa

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Erica Garza & Her True Story of Getting Off from Sex and Porn Addiction

In this interview, Erica Garza talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, Getting Off: One Woman's Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction.


“Shame was the driving force in the way my addiction manifested.” ~Erica Garza

Erica decided to write Getting Off for several reasons, one of which was her using writing as a way to deal with difficult emotions and gain perspective on her life. It was because of this that she felt most at home with the Hoffman process (which is a seven-day retreat where writing is one of the methods involved) to help her come to terms with her own sexual addiction, and the seed of the book was an essay she wrote on the topic. Writing the essay was challenging for her, and after she posted it online, she received a lot of emails from people who felt isolated, alone and ashamed with their own sexual addictions. The responses encouraged her to write more and the result was book she eventually authored.

Erica grew up in a Catholic environment, and her family environment was one of love and support. She began the road to sex addiction when, at the age of twelve, she was diagnosed with scoliosis and needed to wear a back brace for two years. She accordingly felt very self-conscious, insecure and anxious about herself and her body, and had, by then, began masturbating and exploring pornography. She then began using masturbation and pornography as a way to get get a break from the insecure and scary thoughts and feelings that were her normal experience, noting that, when she was focused on achieving orgasm, that was the only thing she would think about.

Sex became an escapist crutch for Erica to lean on as she grew older, and her leaning on that crutch was enhanced by the growing presence and ease of availability of pornography on the Internet. Having sex with men also added to this crutch, and even then Erica used sex to help hide her emotions and self away from others, as she found connection and friendship to be challenging; and this made her lonely. This desire to shield her emotions was also what led her to sabotaging any relationships where she felt she was getting emotionally close to a man, so she could maintain her emotional distance.

Erica points out that women, just like men, can be sex addicts and watch and view the same kind of pornographic material that men look at, and a lot of her emails bear this out. Where conversation is concerned, however, women don’t speak publicly about this issue, which only adds to the layer of shame which sexually addicted women already feel. She points out that being told by others that something which one is experiencing “doesn’t exist” results in that person shutting down, and that this resulting isolation, silence and shame only fuels addictions even more, whereas bringing these issues out in a safe and supportive space results in healing.

Erica notes how sex addiction, and the drivers for this, vary from person to person, and the best indicator is to ask oneself the questions:

  • Am I using sex as a way to escape from problems in my life?
  • Am I using sex in a destructive way?
  • Am I putting myself into situations where I feel I’m not in control?

Erica also notes that, in her case, the kind of porn she watched was the extreme kind where she felt bad, disgusted and ashamed. Where relationships with men were concerned, she gravitated towards those where she felt used and unkindly treated, which she notes reflected the way she treated others. Somewhat ironically, Erica admits that she needed to feel turned off, bad and abused in order to feel the adrenaline rush of a sexual experience.

Isolation was a big result of her sex addiction on herself, which fed into her feelings of shame, worthlessness and self-loathing. Erica admits that the people around her, family included, most likely felt neglected, as she felt that they weren’t worth her time. She notes that other people can most relate to her experience of being lost and stuck in the kind of negative feelings she experienced.

Erica did not hit “rock bottom,” which is a common wake-up call for those addicted to drugs and alcohol, as she gradually realized her sexual addiction over time. That said, she finally realized what was going on after she deliberately sabotaged a relationship and also realized that she would be turning thirty soon, and she then decided to do things differently, which led her to her trip to Bali, where she began figuring things out.

Breaking her sexual addiction required Erica to break the patterns which enabled these, and one of the things which helped her do so was to create boundaries where she could still be sexually exploratory in a way that didn’t hurt those whom she loved. For her, moving on from becoming a sex addict was all about finding moderation and balance, as well as dealing with the feelings of shame and unworthiness that drove her sexual addiction in the first place. Telling the truth, for Erica, is the most powerful way to come to terms with her sexual addiction.

Erica notes that pornography isn’t the cause of sex addiction, noting that, if pornography didn’t exist, people would go to some other source of titillation, like strip clubs and peep shows. She also notes that, even if pornography didn’t exist, she would still have felt the same feelings and desires that had led her to becoming a sex addict.

To those in a similar situation that she was in, Erica recommends that they find someone to talk to, one who can listen from a space of non-judgement. Erica also strongly recommends that they go to a Twelve Steps meeting, where they can meet with like-minded people and talk about their concerns in a safe environment. She also notes that, for some people, a single method, e.g., just Twelve Steps or just yoga or just meditation, might not work, and that a combination of such methods may be needed to reclaim balance in their lives.

Purchase from Amazon: Getting Off: One Woman's Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction by Erica Garza

Tan Liu on The Ponzi Factor as the Simple Truth behind Investment Profits

In this interview, Tan Liu talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, The Ponzi Factor: The Simple Truth About Investment Profits.

“I want people to understand how this game really works.” ~Tan Liu

The Ponzi Factor was initially written out of anger in 2009, after Tan worked at a hedge fund where he realized that finance involves a lot of “tricky accounting,” where profits can be realized on paper without actually making these. He also learned of another company which ran a Ponzi scheme similar to Bernie Madoff’s, except it was legally done. This kind of scheme, Tan realized, involves all synthetic financial instruments, such as credit swaps and the stock market, as these actually have no real-world value. He decided to focus on the stock market to keep to a coherent subject matter, and while pointing out the Ponzi scheme nature of the stock market was easy, he needed to devote a lot of time addressing the side issues related to stocks which, he points out, are all hypothetical arguments.

Tan points out that “financial theory” is an unprovable idea, and that the arguments set forward by the academe to support these are unfounded and unproven hypotheses. He gives the example of a company’s stock equity value being equivalent to:

Price x The Number of Stocks a Company Has

and gives the example of Google, which has 348 million Class C stocks (wherein the stock owners have no voting rights and receive no dividends; and these stocks comprise half of their market capital - effectively, half of all their stocks) and which, based on an increase of $100 on a trade of 1.5 million stocks, increased its financial equity value by some $80 billion without needing to do anything or exert any effort to increase its profitability, as this increase would be applied to all of its stocks. Tan also points out that Google does not back the value of their stock and doesn’t issue dividends, which was the original way by which stocks earned money for their owners.

Tan remarks that, prior to the 1900s, stock was an instrument by which the person who owned that stock owned part of a company. That owner earned money from the dividends paid out on the stock, and the company tied in the value of the stock and any dividends paid out to how profitable the company was. The stock owner also had another, secondary way of making money from stocks, and that was by selling those he owned at a price higher than what he bought them, which is called capital gains. Capital gains, on the other hand, are presently the primary method by which people can, supposedly, make money on stocks, and Tan remarks that, with this method, stock prices move only when money comes in from another investor, thus creating a system where money is only shuffled amongst investors, rather than created through profits generated; and this is what makes it a gambling system and a de facto Ponzi scheme.

Tan notes that companies buying back stocks is very rare, and points out that such buybacks, where companies buy back stocks and thus take these off the trading floor, are scams of their own. He cites, as an example, a Google buy-back of 5 million shares in 2016 when, in that same year, their stocks available for trade increased by 3 million shares, indicating that, if Google did indeed, buy 5 million shares back, they also somehow released 8 million new shares for trading.

At present, Tan points out that there is no relationship between stocks and company profitability, citing Tesla, which issued 74 million shares in the past 7 years. During that time, its stock value rose from $20 to $380, while the company lost $4.7 billion, which indicates a disjunct between a company’s profitability and stock price, as a company’s stock value is supposed to rise if it turns a good profit and drop when it loses money. This behavior, Tan notes, is possible only with a Ponzi type scheme in play, one which is clearly observable and factual.

Tan remarks that, from an investment viewpoint, cryptocurrencies aren’t much different from stocks, in that these are as much gambling instruments as stocks presently are. There are many different kinds of cryptocurrencies, and the type which is most analogous to stocks are the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), which are essentially tokens issued by companies to people with a promise that that person, at a future time, can redeem a company’s goods and services in the future. This makes ICOs somewhat more legitimate than other cryptocurrencies.

Tan remarks that academic institutions which teach finance are one of the major driving forces behind the present way stocks are being viewed and handled, and notes that his reaction to what is being taught is usually one of incredulous laughter. Academic institutions, according to Tan, teach unproven material which disconnects stocks from the money a company actually makes. He notes that academics have a vested interest in continuing to push their theories, as all of these would become meaningless in light of fact.

Tan points out the fallacy that a stock owner can “just sell my stock tomorrow,” as the money available to buy out sold stocks just doesn’t exist. He remarks that the total value of the stock market in the United States is $30 trillion, but that the most lenient measure of money supply in the United States is around $13 trillion, most of which is used in things other than stocks, such as infrastructure development and defense spending; and of this, only $1.6 trillion is actual, hard money in circulation. Thus, the value of a person’s stock isn’t effectively “cash in hand,” and that they actually hold $0, as they parted with their money, which is something tangible, can be possessed and can be handled, whereas the value of a stock portfolio is an intangible idea.

Tan recommends that stocks should be classified as gambling instruments, and to ground and connect stocks to company profits, Tan recommends that companies be required, by law, to pay reasonable dividends to all of their shareholders, rather than dividends just for compliance. For startup companies who choose to raise capital by issuing stocks, Tan recommends that the stocks of these companies not be traded until the companies themselves make enough money so they can issue reasonable dividends.

To would-be investors, Tan recommends investing in more solid assets, such as real estate, or investing in stocks that actually pay dividends.

Purchase from Amazon: The Ponzi Factor: The Simple Truth About Investment Profits by Tan Liu