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Chapter 11, Your Most Precious Commodity. Part 2
“You must be ruthless with your time. Learn to say no. Having the courage to say no to the little things in life will give you the power to say yes to the big things. Shut the door to your office when you need a few hours to work on that big case. Remember what I told you. Don’t pick up the phone every time it rings. It is there for your convenience, not the convenience of others. Ironically, people will respect you more when they see that you are a person who values his time. They will realize that your time is precious and they will value it.”
“What about procrastination? All too often I keep putting off the things that I don’t like doing and instead find myself sifting through junk mail or flipping through legal magazines. Maybe I’m just killing time?”
‘”Killing time’ is an apt metaphor. True, it is human nature to do things that feel good and avoid the things that feel bad. But as I said earlier, the most productive people in this world have cultivated the habit of doing the things that less productive people don’t like doing, even though they too might not like doing them.”
I stopped and thought deeply about the principle I had just heard. Perhaps procrastination was not my problem. Maybe my life had simply become too complex. Julian sensed my concern.
“Yogi Raman told me that those who are masters of their time live simple lives. A hurried, frenzied pace is not what nature intended. While he firmly believed that lasting happiness could be reached only by those who were effective and set definite aims for themselves, living a life rich with accomplishment and contribution did not have to come through the sacrifice of peace of mind. This is what I found so fascinating about the wisdom I was hearing. It allowed me to be productive and yet fulfill my spiritual longings.”
I started to open myself even more to Julian. “You have always been honest and forthright with me so I will be the same with you. I don’t want to give up my practice and my house and my car to be happier and more satisfied. I like my toys and the material things I have earned. They are my rewards for all the hours I have worked over the years since we first met. But I feel empty — I really do. I told you about my dreams when I was in law school. There is so much more I could do with my life. You know I’m almost forty and I have never been to the Grand Canyon or the Eiffel Tower. I’ve never walked in a desert or canoed across a still lake on a gorgeous summer’s day. I have never once taken off my socks and shoes and walked barefoot through a park, listening to the kids laugh and the dogs bark. I can’t even remember the last time I took a long, quiet walk by myself after a snowfall just to hear the sounds and to enjoy the sensations.”
“Then simplify your life.” Julian suggested sympathetically. “Apply the ancient Ritual of Simplicity to every aspect of your world. By doing so, you are bound to have more time to savor these glorious wonders. One of the most tragic things that any one of us can do is to put off living. Too many people are dreaming of some magical rose garden on the horizon rather than enjoying the one growing in our back yards. What a tragedy.”
“That I will leave to your own imagination. I have shared many of the strategies I learned from the sages with you. They will work wonders if you have the courage to apply them. Oh, that reminds me of another thing that I do to make sure my life stays calm and simple.”
“I love to have a quick nap in the afternoon. I find it keeps me energetic, refreshed and youthful. I guess you could say that I need my beauty sleep.” Julian laughed.
“Beauty has never been one of your strong points.”
“A sense of humor has always been one of yours, and for this I commend you. Always remember the power of laughter. Like music, it is a wonderful tonic for life’s stresses and strains. I think Yogi Raman said it best when he said, “Laughter opens your heart and soothes your soul. No one should ever take life so seriously that they forget to laugh at themselves.”
Julian had one final thought to share on the subject of time. “Perhaps most importantly, John, stop acting like you have five hundred years to live. When Divea brought that little hourglass to me she offered some advice that I will never forget.”
“What did she say?”
“She told me that the best time to plant a tree was forty years ago. The second best time is today. Don’t waste even one minute of your day. Develop a deathbed mentality.”
“I beg your pardon?” I asked, struck by the graphic term Julian had employed. “What’s a deathbed mentality?”
“It is a new way of looking at your life, a more empowering paradigm if you will, one that reminds you that today could be your last, so savor it to the fullest.”
“Sounds kind of morbid, if you ask me. It makes me think about death.”
“Actually, it’s a philosophy about life. When you adopt a deathbed mentality you live every day as if it was your last. Imagine waking up every day and asking yourself the simple question: ‘What would I do today if it was my last?’ Then think about how you would treat your family, your colleagues and even those who you don’t know. Think about how productive and excited you would be to live every moment to the maximum. The deathbed question alone has the power to change your life. It will energize your days and bring a rush of zest and spirit to all that you do. You will start focusing on all the meaningful things that you have been putting off, and stop squandering time on all those petty things that have dragged you down into the quagmire of crisis and chaos.”
Julian continued. “Push yourself to do more and to experience more. Harness your energy to start expanding your dreams. Yes, expand your dreams. Don’t accept a life of mediocrity when you hold such infinite potential within the fortress of your mind. Dare to tap into your greatness. This is your birthright!”
“Here’s more. There is a simple remedy to break the spell of frustration that plagues so many people.”
“My cup is still empty,” I said softly.
“Act as if failure is impossible, and your success will be assured.
Wipe out every thought of not achieving your objectives, whether they are material or spiritual. Be brave, and set no limits on the workings of your imagination. Never be a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future. You will never be the same.”
As the city started to awaken, and the morning grew into full bloom, my ageless friend started to show the first signs of weariness after a night spent sharing his knowledge with an eager student. I had been astonished by Julian’s stamina, his boundless energy and his endless enthusiasm. He not only talked his talk — he walked his walk.
“We are moving to the end of Yogi Raman’s magical fable and approaching the time when I must leave you,” he said gently. “I have much to do and many more people to meet.”
“Are you going to tell your partners that you have returned home?” I asked, my curiosity getting the better of me.
“Probably not,” Julian replied. “I am so different from the Julian Mantle they knew. I don’t think the same thoughts, I don’t wear the same clothes, I don’t do the same things. I am a fundamentally changed person. They wouldn’t recognize me.”
“You really are a new man,” I agreed, chuckling inwardly as I pictured this mystical monk adorned in the traditional robes of Sivana stepping into the striking red Ferrari of his former life. “A new being is probably even more accurate.”
“I don’t see the distinction,” I confessed.
“There is an ancient saying in India: ‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.’ I now understand my role in the universe. I see what I am. I’m no longer in the world. The world is in me.”
“I’m going to have to chew on that one for a while,” I said in total honesty, not quite comprehending what Julian was talking about.
“Sure. I understand, my friend. A time will come when you are clear on what I am saying. If you follow the principles I have revealed to you and apply the techniques I have offered, you will surely advance along the path of enlightenment. “You will come to master the art of personal government. You will see your life for what it really is: a small blip on the canvas of eternity. And you will come to see clearly who you are and the ultimate purpose of your life.”
“To serve, of course. No matter how big a house you have or how slick a car you drive, the only thing you can take with you at the end of your life is your conscience. Listen to your conscience. Let it guide you. It knows what is right. It will tell you that your calling in life is ultimately selfless service to others in some form or another. This is what my personal odyssey has taught me. Now, I have so many others to see, serve and heal. My mission is to spread the ancient wisdom of the Sages of Sivana to all those who need to hear it. This is my purpose.”
The fire of knowledge had kindled Julian’s spirit — this was obvious, even to an unenlightened soul such as myself. He was so passionate, so committed and so fervent about what he was saying that it was reflected even in his physical dimension. His transformation from a frail old litigator to a vital, young Adonis was not brought about by a simple change in his diet and a daily dose of some quick-fix exercise plan. No, it was a far deeper panacea that Julian had stumbled upon high in those majestic mountains. He had found the secret that people through the ages have been searching for. It was more than the secret of youth, fulfillment or even happiness. Julian had discovered the secret of the Self.
Respect Your Time
Time is your most precious commodity and it is non-renewable
Focus on your priorities and maintain balance
Simplify your life
The Ancient Rule of 20
Have the Courage to Say “NO”
The Deathbed Mentality
Time slips through our hands like grains of sand, never to return again. Those who use time wisely from an early age are rewarded with rich, productive and satisfying lives.
Chapter 12, The Ultimate Purpose of Life. Part 1
Everything that lives, lives not alone, not for itself
“The Sages of Sivana were not only the most youthful people I have ever met,” observed Julian, “they were also, without a doubt, the kindest.”
“Yogi Raman told me that when he was a child, as he waited for sleep, his father would step softly into his rose-covered hut and ask him what good deeds he had performed through the course of that day. Believe it or not, if he said that he hadn’t done any, his father would request that he get up and perform some act of kindness and selfless service before he was permitted to go to sleep.”
Julian went on. “One of the most essential of all of the virtues for enlightened living that I can share with you, John, is this one: when all is said and done, no matter what you have achieved, no matter how many summer homes you own, no matter how many cars sit in your driveway, the quality of your life will come down to the quality of your contribution.”