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Chapter 5, A Spiritual Student of the Sages. Part 2
Eager to expand his knowledge of the workings of the mind, body and soul, and to attain self-mastery, Julian spent literally every waking moment under the tutelage of Yogi Raman. The sage became more like a father to Julian than a teacher, though they were separated in age by only a few years. It was clear that this man had the accumulated wisdom of many lifetimes and, most happily, he was willing to share it with Julian.
Beginning before dawn, Yogi Raman would sit with his enthusiastic student and fill his mind with insights on the meaning of life and little-known techniques that he had mastered for living with greater vitality, creativity and fulfillment. He taught Julian ancient principles which he said anyone could use to live longer, stay younger and grow far happier. Julian also learned how the twin disciplines of personal mastery and self-responsibility would keep him from returning to the chaos of crisis that had characterized his life in the West. As the weeks slipped into months, he came to understand the treasure-trove of potential sleeping within his own mind, waiting to be awakened and used for higher purposes. Sometimes the teacher and his student would simply sit and watch the blazing Indian sun rising from the deep green meadows far below. Sometimes they would rest in quiet meditation, savoring the gifts that silence brings. Sometimes they would walk through the pine forest, discussing points of philosophy and enjoying the pleasures of each other’s company.
Julian said that the first indications of his personal expansion came after only three weeks in Sivana. He started noticing the beauty in the most ordinary of things. Whether it was the marvel of a starry night or the enchantment of a spider’s web after it had rained, Julian absorbed it all. He also said that his new lifestyle and the new habits associated with it started to have a profound effect on his inner world. Within a month of applying the principles and techniques of the sages, he told me that he had begun to cultivate the deep sense of peace and inner serenity that had eluded him in all the years he had lived in the West. He became more joyful and spontaneous, growing more energetic and creative with each passing day.
Physical vitality and spiritual strength followed the changes in Julian’s attitude. His once overweight frame grew strong and lean while the sickly pallor which had characterized his face was replaced by a splendid shimmer of health. He actually felt as if he could do anything, be anything and unlock the infinite potential that he learned was inside every one of us. He started to cherish life and to see the divinity in every aspect of it. The ancient system of this mystical band of monks had started to work its miracles.
After pausing as if to express disbelief at his own tale, Julian grew philosophical. “I’ve realized something very important, John. The world, and that includes my inner world, is a very special place. I’ve also come to see that success on the outside means nothing unless you also have success within. There is a huge difference between well-being and being well-off. When I was a hotshot lawyer, I used to snicker at all those people who worked at improving their inner and outer lives. ‘Get a life!’ I thought. But I have learned that self-mastery and the consistent care of one’s mind, body and soul are essential to finding one’s highest self and living the life of one’s dreams. How can you care for others if you cannot even care for yourself? How can you do good if you don’t even feel good? I can’t love you if I cannot love myself,” he offered.
Suddenly Julian grew flustered and slightly uneasy. “I’ve never opened my heart to anyone like this before. I apologize for this, John. It is just that I experienced such a catharsis up in those mountains, such a spiritual awakening to the powers of the universe, that I feel others need to know what I know.”
Noticing that it was getting late, Julian quickly told me he would take his leave and bid me adieu.
“You can’t leave now, Julian. I’m really pumped to hear the wisdom you learned in the Himalayas and the message you promised your teachers you would bring back to the West. You can’t leave me in suspense — you know I can’t stand it.”
“I’ll be back, rest assured, my friend. You know me, once I start telling a good story I just can’t stop. But you have your work to do, and I have some private matters that need to be taken care of.”
“Just tell me one thing then. Will the methods you learned in Sivana work for me?”
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears,” came the swift reply. “You, along with so many others in our society, are ready for the wisdom I now have the privilege of holding. Every one of us should know the philosophy of the sages. Every one of us can benefit by it. Every one of us must know of the perfection that is their natural state. I promise I will share their ancient knowledge with you. Have patience. I will meet you again tomorrow night, this time at your house. Then I’ll tell you all that you need to know to put far more living into your life. Is that fair?”
“Yeah, I guess if I’ve done without it all these years, waiting another twenty-four hours won’t kill me,” I responded with disappointment.
And with that, the master litigator turned enlightened yogi of the East was gone, leaving me with a mind full of unanswered questions and unfinished thoughts.
As I sat in my office quietly, I realized how small our world really was. I thought about the vast pool of knowledge that I had not even begun to dip my fingers into. I thought about how it might feel to regain my own zest for living, and about the curiosity I had had when I was younger. I would love to feel more alive and to bring unbridled energy to my days. Maybe I too would leave the legal profession. Maybe there was a higher calling for me as well? With these weighty considerations on my mind, I turned out the lights, locked the door to my office and walked out into the thick heat of another summer’s night.
Chapter 6, The Wisdom of Personal Change. Part 1
I am an artist at living — my work of art is my life.
True to his word, Julian showed up at my home the next evening. At about 7:15 p.m., I heard four quick knocks on the front door of my house, a Cape Cod design with awful pink shutters that my wife believed made our house look like something out of Architectural Digest. Julian himself looked strikingly different than he had the day before. He still embodied radiant health and exuded a wonderful sense of calm. It was what he was wearing that made me a little uncomfortable.
Adorning his obviously supple body was a long red robe topped by an ornately embroidered blue hood. And though it was another sticky night in July, the hood covered his head.
“Greetings my friend,” Julian offered enthusiastically.
“Don’t look so alarmed, what did you expect me to wear — Armani?”
We both started to laugh, softly at first. Soon our giggles had turned to guffaws. Julian certainly had not lost that wicked sense of humor that had kept me entertained so long ago.
As we relaxed in my cluttered but comfortable living room, I couldn’t help but notice the ornate necklace of wooden prayer beads dangling from his neck.
“What are those? They’re really beautiful.”
“More about these later,” he said, rubbing some of the beads with his thumb and index finger. “We have much to talk about tonight.”
“Let’s get started. I could hardly get anything done at work today I was so excited about our meeting.”
Hearing his cue, Julian immediately started to reveal more about his personal transformation and the ease with which it was effected. He told me of the ancient techniques he had learned for mind control and for erasing the habit of worry that was consuming so many in our complex society. He spoke of the wisdom that Yogi Raman and the other monks had shared for living a more purposeful and rewarding life. And he spoke of a series of methods to unleash the wellspring of youthfulness and energy he said every one of us has slumbering deep inside of us.
Though the conviction with which he spoke was clear, I began to grow skeptical. Was I the victim of some prank? After all, this Harvard-trained lawyer was once widely known within the firm for his practical jokes. As well, his story was nothing less than fantastic. Think about it: one of this country’s best known trial lawyers throws in the towel, sells all his worldly goods and treks off to India on a spiritual odyssey, only to return as a wise prophet from the Himalayas. This could not be real.
“C’mon Julian. Stop pulling my leg. This whole story is starting to smack of one of your gags. I’ll bet you rented that robe from the costume shop across the street from my office,” I suggested, breaking into my best fear grin.
Julian was quick to respond, as if my disbelief was something he had expected. “In court, how do you prove your case?”
“I offer persuasive evidence.”
“Right. Look at the evidence that I have offered you. Look at my smooth, lineless face. Look at my physique. Can’t you sense the abundance of energy I have? Look at my peacefulness. Surely you can see that I have changed?”
He had a point. This was a man who, only a few years ago, had looked decades older.
“You didn’t go to a plastic surgeon did you?”
“No,” he smiled. “They only focus on the outer person. I needed to be healed from within. My unbalanced, chaotic lifestyle left me in great distress. It was much more than a heart attack that I suffered. It was a rupture of my inner core.”
“But your story, it’s so . . . mysterious and unusual.”
Julian remained calm and patient in the face of my persistence. Spotting the pot of tea I had left on the table next to him, he started to pour into my waiting cup. He poured until the cup was full—but then he kept on pouring! Tea started to trickle down the sides of the cup and into the saucer, then onto my wife’s prized Persian rug. At first I watched silently. Then I couldn’t take it any more.
“Julian, what are you doing? My cup is overflowing. No matter how hard you try, no more will go in!” I yelled impatiently.
He looked at me for a long moment. “Please don’t take this the wrong way. I really respect you, John. I always have. However, just like this cup, you seem to be full of your own ideas. And how can any more go in… until you first empty your cup?”
I was struck by the truth of his words. He was right. My many years in the conservative legal world, doing the same things every day with the same people who thought the same thoughts every day had filled my cup to the brim. My wife Jenny was always telling me that we should be meeting new people and exploring new things. “I wish you were just a little more adventurous, John,” she would say.
I couldn’t remember the last time I had read a book that didn’t deal with law. The profession was my life. I began to realize that the sterile world I had grown accustomed to had dulled my creativity and limited my vision.
“Okay. I see your point,” I admitted. “Perhaps all my years as a trial lawyer have made me a hardened skeptic. From the minute I saw you in my office yesterday, something deep inside me told me that your transformation was genuine, and that there was some sort of lesson in it for me. Maybe I just didn’t want to believe it.”
“John, tonight is the first night of your new life. I simply ask that you think deeply about the wisdom and strategies that I will share with you and apply them with conviction for a period of one month. Embrace the methods with a deep trust in their effectiveness. There is a reason why they have survived for thousands of years — they work.”
“One month seems like a long time.”
“Six hundred and seventy-two hours of inner work to profoundly improve every waking moment of the rest of your life is quite a bargain, don’t you think? Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.”
“It is only when you have mastered the art of loving yourself that you can truly love others. It’s only when you have opened your own heart that you can touch the hearts of others. When you feel centered and alive, you are in a much better position to be a better person.”