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Chapter 6, The Wisdom of Personal Change. Part 2
“What can I expect to happen in those six hundred and seventy-two hours that comprise one month?” I asked earnestly.
“You will experience changes within the workings of your mind, body and even your soul that will astonish you. You will have more energy, enthusiasm and inner harmony than you have had in, perhaps, your entire life. People will actually begin telling you that you look younger and happier. A lasting sense of well-being and balance will swiftly return to your life. These are just some of the benefits of the Sivanan System.”
“All of what you will hear tonight is designed to improve your life, not just personally and professionally but spiritually as well. The advice of the sages is just as current today as it was five thousand years ago. It will not only enrich your inner world, it will enhance your outer world and make you far more effective in all that you do. This wisdom is truly the most potent force I have ever encountered. It is straightforward, practical and has been tested in the laboratory of life for centuries. Most importantly, it will work for anyone. But before I share this knowledge with you, I must ask you for a promise.”
I knew there would be strings attached. “There are no free lunches,” my loving mother used to say.
“Once you see the power of the strategies and skills shown to me by the Sages of Sivana and observe the dramatic results they will bring to your life, you must make it your mission to pass this wisdom on to others who will benefit from this knowledge. This is all that I ask of you. By agreeing to this, you will help me fulfill my own pact with Yogi Raman.”
I agreed without reservation, Julian began to teach me the system he had come to consider as sacred. While the techniques that Julian had mastered during his stay were varied, at the heart of the Sivanan System were seven basic virtues, seven fundamental principles which embodied the keys to selfleadership, personal responsibility and spiritual enlightenment.
Julian told me that Yogi Raman was the first to share the seven virtues with him after a few months in Sivana. On a clear night, when all the others had drifted off into deep slumber, Raman knocked softly on the door of Julian’s hut. In the voice of a gentle guide, he spoke his mind: “I have observed you closely for many days now Julian. I believe that you are a decent man who deeply desires to fill his life with all that is good. Since you have arrived you have opened yourself up to our traditions and embraced them as your own. You have learned a number of our daily habits, and have seen their many salutary effects. You have been respectful of our ways. Our people have lived this simple, peaceful life through countless ages and our methods are known to but a few. The world needs to hear our philosophy on enlightened living. Tonight, on the eve of your third month in Sivana, I will begin to share the inner workings of our system with you, not only for your benefit but for the benefit of all those in your part of the world. I will sit with you daily as I sat with my son when he was a child. Sadly, he passed on a few years ago. His time had come and I do not question his exit. I enjoyed our time together and cherish the memories. I now see you as my son and I feel grateful that all I have learned over many years of silent contemplation will live on within you.”
I looked at Julian and noticed that his eyes were now shut, as if he were transporting himself back to this fairy-tale land that had showered the blessing of knowledge on him.
“Yogi Raman told me that the seven virtues for a life overflowing with inner peace, joy and a wealth of spiritual gifts were contained within a mystical fable, this fable was the essence of it all. He asked me to shut my eyes as I have now done, here on the floor of your living room. He then told me to picture the following scene in my mind’s eye:
You are sitting in the middle of a magnificent, lush, green garden. This garden is filled with the most spectacular flowers you have ever seen. The environment is supremely tranquil and silent. Savor the sensual delights of this garden and feel as if you have all the time in the world to enjoy this natural oasis. As you look around you see that in the center of this magical garden stands a towering, red lighthouse, six stories high. Suddenly, the silence of the garden is disturbed by a loud creaking as the door at the base of the lighthouse opens. Out stumbles a nine-foot-tall, nine-hundred-pound Japanese sumo wrestler who casually wanders into the center of the garden.
“It gets better,” chuckled Julian. “The Japanese sumo wrestler is naked! Well, actually he is not totally naked. He has a pink wire cable covering his private parts.”
As this sumo wrestler starts to move around the garden, he finds a shiny gold stopwatch which someone had left behind many years earlier. He slips it on, and falls to the ground with an enormous thud. The sumo wrestler is rendered unconscious and lies there, silent and still. Just when you think he has taken his last breath, the wrestler awakens, perhaps stirred by the fragrance of some fresh yellow roses blooming nearby. Energized, the wrestler jumps swiftly to his feet and intuitively looks to his left. He is startled at what he sees. Through the bushes at the very edge of the garden he observes a long winding path covered by millions of sparkling diamonds. Something seems to instruct the wrestler to take the path, and to his credit, he does. This path leads him down the road of everlasting joy and eternal bliss.
After hearing this strange tale high atop the Himalayas, seated next to a monk who had seen the torchlight of enlightenment first-hand, Julian told me that he was disappointed. Quite simply, he said that he thought he was going to hear something earth-shattering, knowledge that would stir him to action, perhaps even move him to tears. Instead, all he heard was a silly story about a sumo wrestler and a lighthouse.
Yogi Raman detected his dismay. “Never overlook the power of simplicity,” Julian was told.
“This story may not be the sophisticated discourse that you expected,” said the sage, “but there is a universe of sensibility in its message and a purity in its purpose. From the day you arrived, I have thought long and hard as to how I would share our knowledge with you. At first I considered giving you a series of lectures over a period of months but realized that this traditional approach was ill-suited to the magical nature of the wisdom you are about to receive. I then thought of asking all of my brothers and sisters to spend a little time with you every day tutoring you in our philosophy. However, this too was not the most effective way for you to learn what it is we have to tell. After great deliberation, I finally arrived at what I thought was a very creative yet highly effective way to share the entire system of Sivana with its seven virtues… and that is this mystical fable.”
The sage added: “At first it might seem to be frivolous and perhaps even childish. But I assure you that every element of the fable embodies a timeless principle for radiant living and has great depth of meaning. The garden, the lighthouse, the sumo wrestler, the pink wire cable, the stopwatch, the roses and the winding path of diamonds are symbols of the seven timeless virtues for an enlightened life. I can also assure you that if you remember this little story and the fundamental truths that it represents, you will carry within you all that you need to know to raise your life to its highest level. You will have all the information and strategies you will need to profoundly influence the quality of your life and the lives of all those you touch. And when you apply this wisdom on a daily basis, you will change — mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Please write this story deep into your mind and carry it within your heart. It will only make a dramatic difference if you embrace it without reservation.”
“Luckily John,” said Julian, “I did embrace it. Carl Jung once said that ‘your vision will become clear only when you can look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.’ On that very special night, I looked deep into my heart and awakened to the secrets of the ages for enriching the mind, cultivating the body and nourishing the soul. It is now my turn to share them with you.”
Chapter 7, A Most Extraordinary Garden. Part 1
Most people live — whether physically, intellectually or morally — in a very restricted circle of their potential being. We all have reservoirs of life to draw upon of which we do not dream.
“In the fable, the garden is a symbol for the mind,” said Julian. “If you care for your mind, if you nurture it and if you cultivate it just like a fertile, rich garden, it will blossom far beyond your expectations. But if you let the weeds take root, lasting peace of mind and deep inner harmony will always elude you.
“John, let me ask you a simple question. If I went into your backyard where you have that garden you used to tell me so much about and threw toxic waste over all your prized petunias, you wouldn’t be thrilled, would you?”
“As a matter of fact, most good gardeners guard their gardens like proud soldiers and make certain that no contamination ever enters. Yet look at the toxic waste that most people put into the fertile garden of their minds every single day: the worries and anxieties, the fretting about the past, the brooding over the future and those self-created fears that wreak havoc within your inner world. In the native language of the Sages of Sivana, which has existed for thousands of years, the written character for worry is strikingly similar to the character symbolizing a funeral pyre. Yogi Raman told me that this was no mere coincidence. Worry drains the mind of much of its power and, sooner or later, it injures the soul.”
“To live life to the fullest, you must stand guard at the gate of your garden and let only the very best information enter. You truly cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought — not even one. The most joyful, dynamic and contented people of this world are no different from you or me in terms of their makeup. We are all flesh and bones. We all come from the same universal source. However, the ones who do more than just exist, the ones who fan the flames of their human potential and truly savor the magical dance of life do different things than those whose lives are ordinary. Foremost amongst the things that they do is adopt a positive paradigm about their world and all that is in it.”
Julian added: “The sages taught me that on an average day the average person runs about sixty thousand thoughts through his mind. What really amazed me though, was that ninety-five percent of those thoughts were the same as the ones you thought the day before!”
“Are you serious?” I asked.
“Very. This is the tyranny of impoverished thinking. Those people who think the same thoughts every day, most of them negative, have fallen into bad mental habits. Rather than focusing on all the good in their lives and thinking of ways to make things even better, they are captives of their pasts. Some of them worry about failed relationships or financial problems. Others fret over their less-than-perfect childhoods. Still others brood over more trifling matters: the way a store clerk might have treated them or the comment of a co-worker that smacked of ill-will. Those who run their minds in this fashion are allowing worry to rob them of their life force. They are blocking the enormous potential of their minds to work magic and deliver into their lives all that they want, emotionally, physically and, yes, even spiritually. These people never realize that mind management is the essence of life management.
“The way you think stems from habit, pure and simple,” Julian continued with conviction. “Most people just don’t realize the enormous power of their minds. I have learned that even the best-conditioned thinkers are using only 1/100th of a percent of their mental reserves. In Sivana, the sages dared to explore the untapped potential of their mental capacity on a regular basis. And the results were astounding. Yogi Raman, through regular and disciplined practice, had conditioned his mind so that he was able to slow down his heartbeat at will. He had even trained himself to go for weeks without sleep. While I would never suggest that these should be goals for you to aspire to, I do suggest that you start to see your mind for what it is — nature’s greatest gift.”