Part 2 the garden represents the fertile garden of your mind, a garden that is filled with delightful treasures and boundless riches. I have also spoken of the lighthouse and how it represents the power of goals and the importance of discovering your calling in life. You will recall that as the fable continues, the door of the lighthouse slowly opens and out walks a nine-foot-tall, nine-hundred-pound Japanese sumo wrestler. a philosophy called kaizen. This Japanese word means constant and never-ending improvement. And it’s the personal trademark of every man and woman who is living a soaring, fully awakened existence. success on the outside begins with success on the inside. If you really want to improve your outer world, whether this means your health, your relationships or your finances, you must first improve your inner world. The most effective way to do this is through the practice of continuous selfimprovement. Self-mastery is the DNA of life mastery. In our society, we all too often label the ignorant as weak. However, those who express their lack of knowledge and seek instruction find the path to enlightenment before anyone else. Your questions are honest and show me that you are open to fresh ideas. Change is the most powerful force in our society today. Most people fear it, the wise embrace it. Zen tradition speaks of a beginner’s mind: those who keep their minds open to new concepts — those whose cups are always empty — will always move to higher levels of achievement and fulfillment. Never be reluctant to ask even the most basic of questions. Questions are the most effective method of eliciting knowledge. When you have cultivated a deep sense of faith in your abilities and an indomitable spirit, nothing can stop you from succeeding in all your pursuits and living with great rewards. erasing worry habit would give the peace of mind and deep happiness the importance of building strength of character, developing mental toughness and living with courage. He told me that these three attributes would lead one not only to a virtuous life but to a life filled with achievement, satisfaction and inner peace. Courage was a quality everyone could cultivate and one that would pay huge dividends over the long run. Courage allows you to run your own race. Courage allows you to do whatever you want to do because you know that it is right. Courage gives you the self-control to persist where others have failed. Ultimately, the degree of courage you live with determines the amount of fulfillment you receive. ‘mind, body and soul’ : trilogy of your human endowments. “pain was a great teacher.” ‘The only limits on your life are those that you set yourself.’ When you dare to get out of your circle of comfort and explore the unknown, you start to liberate your true human potential. This is the first step towards self-mastery and mastery over every other circumstance in your life. “You practice the art of kaizen by pushing yourself daily. Work hard to improve your mind and body. Nourish your spirit. Do the things you fear. Start to live with unbridled energy and limitless enthusiasm. Watch the sun rise. Dance in a rain shower. Be the person you dream of being. Do the things you have always wanted to do but didn’t because you tricked yourself into believing that you were too young, too old, too rich or too poor. Prepare to live a soaring, fully alive life. In the East they say that luck favors the prepared mind. I believe that life favors the prepared mind.” Identify the things that are holding you back. Are you scared of speaking or do you have trouble in your relationships? Do you lack a positive attitude or do you need more energy? Make a written inventory of your weaknesses. Satisfied people are far more thoughtful than others. Take the time to reflect on what it is that might be keeping you from the life you really want and know deep down you can have. Once you have identified what your weaknesses are, the next step is to face them head on and attack your fears. If you fear public speaking, sign up to give twenty speeches. If you fear starting a new business or getting out of a dissatisfying relationship, muster every ounce of your inner resolve and do it. This might be the first taste of real freedom that you have experienced in years. Fear is nothing more than a mental monster you have created, a negative stream of consciousness. when you conquer your fears, you conquer your life.” Fear is a conditioned response: a life-sucking habit that can easily consume your energy, creativity and spirit if you are not careful. When fear rears its ugly head, beat it down quickly. The best way to do that is to do the thing you fear. Understand the anatomy of fear. It is your own creation. Like any other creation, it is just as easy to tear it down as it is to erect it. Methodically search for and then destroy every fear that has secretly slid into the fortress of your mind. This alone will give you enormous confidence, happiness and peace of mind. When you erase fear from your mind, you start to look younger and your health becomes more vibrant. what sets highly actualized people apart from those who never live inspired lives is that they do those things that less developed people don’t like doing—even though they might not like doing them either. *** One night a father was relaxing with his newspaper after a long day at the office. His son, who wanted to play, kept on pestering him. Finally, fed up, the father ripped out a picture of the globe that was in the paper and tore it into a hundred tiny pieces. ‘Here son, go ahead and try to put this back together.’ he said, hoping that this would keep the little boy busy long enough for him to finish reading his paper. To his amazement, his son returned after only one minute with the globe perfectly back together. When the startled father asked how he achieved this feat, the son smiled gently and replied ‘Dad, on the other side of the globe there was a picture of a person, and once I got the person together, the world was okay. **** Doing what you love, whether this means giving up the work you are presently doing to become an actor or spending less time on those things that are less important to make time for those things that are more meaningful, requires a great deal of courage. It requires you to step out of your comfort zone. And change is always a little uncomfortable at first. It is also more than a little risky. Having said this, this is the surest way to design a more joyful life.” Once you master your mind, body and character, happiness and abundance will flow into your life almost magically. what does the nine-foot-tall, nine-hundred-pound Japanese sumo wrestler symbolize in Yogi Raman’s fable?” “Our hefty friend will be your constant reminder of the power of kaizen, the Japanese word for constant self-expansion and progress.” taking time out from your hectic schedule for self-improvement and personal enrichment will dramatically improve your effectiveness once you get back into it. “The Ten Rituals of Radiant Living.” 1. ensuring that your daily schedule includes a mandatory period of peace.” Solitude and quiet connects you to your creative source and releases the limitless intelligence of the Universe. You see, John, the mind is like a lake. In our chaotic world, most people’s minds are not still. We are full of inner turbulence. However, by simply taking the time to be still and quiet every day, the lake of the mind becomes as smooth as a plate of glass. This inner quietness brings with it a wealth of benefits including a deep sense of well-being, inner peace and boundless energy. You will even sleep better and enjoy a renewed feeling of balance in your day-to-day activities.” commune with nature daily Being with nature also allows you to tune in to the infinite wisdom of your highest self. This self-knowledge will move you into the uncharted dimensions of your personal power. Ritual of Physicality.” “It’s about the power of physical care Third Ritual of Radiant Living,” live foods are those which are created through the natural interaction of the sun, air, soil and water The fourth ritual is known as the Ritual of Abundant Knowledge. It centers around the whole notion of lifelong learning and expanding your knowledge base for the good of yourself and all those around you.” Read regularly. Reading for thirty minutes a day will do wonders for you. remember, some books are meant to be tasted, some books are meant to be chewed and, finally, some books are meant to be swallowed whole Benjamin Franklin My Experiments with truth – Gandhi Siddartha – hermann Hesse Marcus Aurelius Seneca Think and Grow Rich – Napolean Hill Ritual of Abundant Knowledge is all about reading and exploring the wealth of information Fifth Ritual of Radiant Living?” “It is the Ritual of Personal Reflection. The sages were firm believers in the power of inner contemplation. By taking the time to get to know yourself, you will connect to a dimension of your being that you never knew you had.” consider all of his actions and whether they were positive and constructive or whether they were of the negative sort, in need of repair. By clearly knowing what he was doing wrong in his days, he could take immediate steps to improve and advance along the path of self-mastery ‘Happiness comes through good judgment, good judgment comes through experience, and experience comes through bad judgment.’ Ritual of Personal Reflection is all about. Figure out what is right and what is wrong in your days and in your life. Then set about making immediate improvements Sixth Ritual for Radiant Living: the Ritual of Early Awakening. You will always feel a little discomfort when you are installing a new habit. Sunlight will release your vitality and restore your emotional and physical vibrancy the quality and not the quantity of sleep that is important. It is better to have six hours of uninterrupted deep sleep than even ten hours of disturbed sleep. The whole idea is to provide your body with rest so that its natural processes can repair and restore the thoughts you think and the actions you take in the first ten minutes after you wake up have a very marked effect on the rest of your day. Laughing is medicine for the soul. Even if you don’t feel like it, look in the mirror and laugh for a couple of minutes. You can’t help but feel fantastic. William James said, ‘We don’t laugh because we are happy. We are happy because we laugh.’ Shortly after you have awakened, go into your sanctuary of silence. Get still and focused. Then ask yourself this question: ‘What would I do today if today was my last?’ The key is to really get into the meaning of this question. Mentally list all the things you would do, the people you would call and the moments you would savor. Envision yourself doing these things with great energy. Visualize how you would treat your family and your friends. Even picture how you would treat total strangers if today was your last day on the planet. As I told you earlier, when you live every day as if it was your last, your life will take on a magical quality. seventh of the Rituals of Radiant Living: the Ritual of Music. The eighth ritual is the Ritual of the Spoken Word. The sages had a series of mantras which they would recite morning, noon and night. They told me that this practice was immensely effective in keeping them focused, strong and happy In Sanskrit, ‘man’ means ‘mind’ and ‘tra’ means ‘freeing.’ So a mantra is a phrase which is designed to free the mind. Words affect the mind in a pronounced way. Whether they are spoken or written, they are powerful influences. While what you say to others is important, even more important is what you say to yourself Ninth Ritual of Radiant Living quite nicely. This is the Ritual of a Congruent Character. It is sort of an off-shoot of the self-image concept we were just talking about. Simply stated, this ritual requires you to take daily, incremental action to build your character. Strengthening your character affects the way you see yourself and the actions you take. The actions you take come together to form your habits and, this is important, your habits lead you to your destiny. ‘You sow a thought, you reap an action. Reap an action, you sow a habit. Sow a habit, you reap a character. Sow a character, you reap your destiny.’ industry, compassion, humility, patience, honesty and courage. When all your actions are congruent and aligned with these principles, you will feel a deep sense of inner harmony and peace. Living this way will inevitably lead you to spiritual success. This is because you will be doing what is right. You will be acting in a way that is in accordance with the laws of nature and the laws of the universe. This is when you will start to tap into the energy of another dimension, call it a higher power if you will. This is also when your life will move from the ordinary into the realm of the extraordinary and you begin to sense the sacredness of your being. It is the first step to lifelong enlightenment. Ritual of Simplicity. This ritual requires you to live a simple life. ‘one must never live in the thick of thin things. Focus only on your priorities, those activities which are truly meaningful. Your life will be uncluttered, rewarding and exceptionally peaceful when you have the courage to advance confidently in the direction of your dreams, you begin to draw upon the power of the universe. life gives you what you ask of it. It is always listening.” “Failure is not having the courage to try, nothing more and nothing less. The only thing standing between most people and their dreams is the fear of failure. Yet failure is essential to success in any endeavor. Failure tests us and allows us to grow. It offers us lessons and guides us along the path of enlightenment. The teachers of the East say that every arrow that hits the bull’s eye is the result of one hundred misses. It is a fundamental Law of Nature to profit through loss. Never fear failure. Failure is your friend.” “The universe favors the brave. When you resolve, once and for all, to lift your life to its highest level, the strength of your soul will guide you. believe that everyone’s destiny was laid out for them at birth. This path always leads to a magical place filled with magnificent treasures. It was up to each individual to develop the courage to walk this way. There is a story he shared with me that I would like to pass on to you. Once, in ancient India, there was an evil giant who owned a magnificent castle overlooking the sea. As the giant had been away for many years fighting in wars, the children of the nearby village used to come into the giant’s beautiful garden and play with great delight. One day, the giant returned and threw all of the young children out of his garden. ‘Never return here!’ he yelled as he slammed the huge oak door in disgust. He then erected a huge marble wall around the garden to keep the children out. “Winter came with bitter cold which is native to the northernmost parts of the Indian subcontinent, and the giant wished the warmth would soon return. Spring visited the village which lay below the giant’s castle, but the icy claws of winter refused to leave his garden. Then, one day, the giant finally smelled the fragrances of Spring and felt the radiance of the sun through his windows. “Spring has finally returned!” he cried, running out into the garden. But the giant was unprepared for the sight which greeted him. The children of the village had somehow managed to climb over the castle wall and were playing in the garden. It was because of their presence that the garden had been transformed from a wintry wasteland into a lush place filled with roses, daffodils and orchids. All the children laughed and giggled with joy, but one. From the corner of his eye, the giant spotted a little boy who was much smaller than all the other children. Tears ran from his eyes as he did not have the strength to climb the wall into the garden. The giant felt sad for this boy and, for the first time in his life, regretted his evil ways. ‘I will help this child,’ he said, running towards him. When all the other children saw the giant coming, they ran from the garden, fearing for their lives. But the tiny little boy stood his ground. ‘I will slay the giant,’ he stammered. ‘I will defend our playground.’ “As the giant approached the child, he opened his arms. ‘I am a friend,’ he said. ‘I have come to help you over the wall and into the garden. This will be your garden now.'” The little boy, now a hero amongst the children, rejoiced in happiness and gave the giant the golden necklace which he had always worn around his neck. ‘This is my lucky charm,’ he said. ‘I want you to have it.’ “From that day on, the children played with the giant in his wonderful garden. But the brave little boy whom the giant loved the most never did return. As time went on, the giant grew ill and frail. The children continued to play in the garden but the giant no longer had the strength to keep them company. In those quiet days, it was the little boy who the giant thought of the most. “One day, in the midst of a particularly bitter winter, the giant glanced out his window and saw a truly miraculous sight: though most of the garden was covered in snow, at the center of the garden there stood a magnificent rosebush overflowing with spectacularly colored flowers. Next to the roses stood the little boy who the giant loved. The boy was smiling sweetly. The giant danced with delight and rushed outside to embrace the child. ‘Where have you been all these years, my young friend? I’ve missed you with all my heart.’ “The boy was thoughtful in his response. ‘Many years ago you lifted me over the wall into your magical garden. Now, I have come to take you into mine.’ Later that day, when the children came to visit the giant they found him lying lifeless on the ground. From head to toe, he was covered by a thousand beautiful roses. “Always be brave, John, like that little boy. Stand your ground and follow your dreams. They will lead you to your destiny. Follow your destiny, it will lead you into the wonders of the universe. And always follow the wonders of the universe, for they will lead you to a special garden filled with roses.” Practice Kaizen • Self-Mastery is the DNA of life mastery • Success on the outside begins within • Enlightenment comes through the consistent cultivation of your mind, body and soul • Do the Things You Fear • The 10 Ancient Rituals for Radiant Living The Universe favors the brave. When you resolve to lift your life to its highest level, the strength of your soul will guide you to a magical place with magnificent treasures. The Symbol The Virtue The Wisdom The Techniques Quotable Quote The Power of Discipline Sure I am that this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strengths; that its pangs and toils are not beyond my endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us. Winston Churchill Julian I had learned of the garden within my mind, a storehouse of power and potential. Through the symbol of the lighthouse, I had learned of the over-riding importance of a definite purpose in life and the effectiveness of goal-setting. By the example of the nine-foot-tall, nine-hundred-pound Japanese sumo wrestler, I had received instruction on the timeless concept of kaizen and the bountiful benefits that self-mastery would bring The pink wire cable will serve to remind you of the power of self-control and discipline in building a richer, happier and more enlightened life Through the steel of discipline, you will forge a character rich with courage and peace. Through the virtue of Will, you are destined to rise to life’s highest ideal and live within a heavenly mansion filled with all that is good, joyful and vital. Without them, you are lost like a mariner without a compass, one who eventually sinks with his ship. Don’t race against others. Race against yourself why do so many people worry and focus on all the negative information in our world?” “Because they have not learned the art of self-control and disciplined thinking. Most people I have spoken to have no idea that they have the power to control every single thought they think every second of every minute of every day. They believe that thoughts just happen and have never realized that if you don’t take the time to start controlling your thoughts, they will control you The thousand-mile journey begins by taking that first step Live with Discipline • Discipline is built by consistently performing small acts of courage • The more you nurture the embryo of self-discipline, the more it will mature • Willpower is the essential virtue of a fully actualized life • Mantras / Creative Envisioning • The Vow of Silence Wage war against the weaker thoughts that have crept into the palace of your mind. They will see that they are unwanted and leave like unwelcome visitors. stopwatch of the fable story tells By the time most people figure out what they really want and how to go about attaining it, it’s usually too late. That saying, ‘If youth only knew, if age only could,” is so true. The garden keeps me focused on inspiring thoughts, the lighthouse reminds me that the purpose of life is a life of purpose, the sumo wrestler keeps me centered on continuous self-discovery, while the pink wire cable links me to the wonders of will power. A “Each and every one of them understood the importance of time. They each had developed what I call a ‘time consciousness.’ You see, I learned that time slips through our hands like grains of sand, never to return. Those who use time wisely from an early age are rewarded with rich, productive and satisfying lives. Those who have never been exposed to the principle that ‘time mastery is life mastery’ will never realize their enormous human potential. Time is the great leveller. Whether we are privileged or disadvantaged, whether we live in Texas or Tokyo, we all have been allotted days with only twenty-four hours. What separates those who build exceptional lives from the ‘also rans’ is the way they use this time Busiest people are having lot of time because productive people are highly efficient with their time — they must be in order to survive. Being an excellent time manager doesn’t mean that you must become a workaholic. On the contrary, time mastery allows you more time to do the things you love to do, the things that are truly meaningful to you. Time mastery leads to life mastery. Guard time well. Remember, it’s a non-renewable resource. The most meaningful things in your life should never be sacrificed to those that are the least meaningful. And remember, failing to plan is planning to fail. By writing down not only your appointments with others but also those all-important appointments with yourself to read, relax or write a love letter to your wife, you will be far more productive with your time. Never forget that time spent enriching your non-work hours is never a waste. It makes you tremendously efficient during your working hours. Stop living your life in compartments and understand once and for all that all you do forms one indivisible whole. The way you act at home affects the way you act at work. The way you treat people at the office affects the way you will treat your family and friends. eighty percent of the results you achieve in your life come from only twenty percent of the activities that occupy your time. this is called it the ‘Ancient Rule of Twenty.'” One 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.” 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.” “Laughter opens your heart and soothes your soul. No one should ever take life so seriously that they forget to laugh at themselves.” 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 deathbed mentality 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 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!” There is a simple remedy to break the spell of frustration that plagues so many people “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.” “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.” the ultimate purpose of your life.” To serve 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. Respect Your Time • Time is your most precious commodity and it is nonrenewable • 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. Yellow Roses in fable: The Ultimate Purpose of Life Everything that lives, lives not alone, not for itself William Blake the quality of your life will come down to the quality of your contribution “a little bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you roses.” The meaning is clear — when you work to improve the lives of others, you indirectly elevate your own life in the process. When you take care to practice random acts of kindness daily, your own life becomes far richer and more meaningful A paradigm is simply a way of looking at a circumstance or at life in general. Some people see the glass of life as half empty. The optimists see it as half full. They interpret the same circumstance differently because they have adopted a different paradigm. A paradigm is basically the lens through which you see the events of your life, both external and internal You must realize that, just as you entered the world with nothing, you are destined to leave with nothing you should make it a priority to change your world view so that you stop seeing yourself purely as an individual and start seeing yourself as part of the collective when we are born, we are crying while the world rejoices. He suggested that we should live our lives in such a way that when we die, the world cries while we are rejoicing. ************ “There was once a feeble old woman whose loving husband died. So she went to live with her son and his wife and daughter. Every day, the woman’s sight grew worse and her hearing grew worse. Some days her hands trembled so badly the peas on her plate rolled onto the floor and the soup ran from her cup. Her son and his wife couldn’t help but be annoyed at the mess she made and one day they said enough was enough. So they set up a little table for the old woman in a corner next to the broom closet and made her eat all of her meals there, alone. She would look at them at mealtimes with tear-filled eyes from across the room, but they hardly talked to her while they ate, except to scold her for dropping a spoon or a fork. “One evening, just before dinner, the little girl was sitting on the floor playing with her building blocks. ‘What are you making?’ her father asked earnestly. ‘I’m building a little table for you and mother,’ she said, ‘so you can eat by yourselves in the corner someday when I get big.’ The father and mother were moved to silence for what seemed like an eternity. Then they started to weep. In that instant they became aware of the nature of their actions and the sadness they had caused. That night they led the old woman back to her rightful place at their big dinner table and from that day on she ate all her meals with them. And when a little morsel of food fell off the table or a fork strayed onto the floor, nobody seemed to mind anymore. ********** Selflessly Serve Others • The quality of your life ultimately comes down to the quality of your contribution • To cultivate the sacredness of each day, live to give • By elevating the lives of others, your life reaches its highest dimensions • Practice Daily Acts of Kindness • Give to Those Who Ask • Cultivate Richer Relationships The most noble thing you can do is to give to others. Start focusing on your higher purpose. The Symbol The Virtue The Wisdom The Timeless Secret of Lifelong Happiness When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator. Mahatma Gandhi Raman’s magical fable. You will recall that the sumo wrestler who walked out of the lighthouse in the middle of a beautiful garden with nothing more than a pink wire cable covering his private parts slipped on a shiny gold stopwatch and fell to the ground. After what seemed like an eternity, he finally regained consciousness when the marvellous fragrance of the yellow roses reached his nose. He then jumped to his feet in delight and was astonished to see a long, winding path studded with millions of tiny diamonds. Of course, our friend the sumo wrestler took the path and, in doing so, lived happily ever after.” The path of diamonds, then, will serve to remind you of the final virtue for enlightened living. By carrying this principle with you through your daily work, you will enrich your life in a way that is difficult for me to describe. You will begin to see the exquisite wonders in the simplest of things and live with the ecstacy you deserve. And by carrying out your promise to me and sharing it with others, you will also allow them to transform their world from the ordinary into the extraordinary.” past is water under the bridge and the future is a distant sun on the horizon of your imagination. The most important moment is now. Learn to live in it and savor it fully.” happiness is a journey, not a destination. Live for today — there will never be another one quite like it “Just as the sumo wrestler found lasting fulfillment and joy by walking the path of diamonds, you can have the life you deserve the very moment you start to understand that the path you are currently walking on is one rich with diamonds and other priceless treasures. Stop spending so much time chasing life’s big pleasures while you neglect the little ones. Slow things down. Enjoy the beauty and sacredness of all that is around you.” goals and dreams for the future are essential elements in every truly successful life. Hope for what will appear in your future is what gets you out of bed in the morning and what keeps you inspired through your days. Goals energize your life. My point is simply this: never put off happiness for the sake of achievement. Never put off the things that are important for your well-being and satisfaction to a later time. Today is the day to live fully, not when you win the lottery or when you retire. Never put off living!” Today is the day to enjoy the fruits of your efforts. Today is the day to seize the moment and live a life that soars. Today is the day to live from your imagination and harvest your dreams. And please never, ever forget the gift of family ‘Live your children’s childhood,’ you are basically telling me to take the time to watch them grow and flourish. “Happiness is a journey,” Julian continued, his voice rising once again with the heat of passion. “It is also a choice that you make. You can marvel at the diamonds along the way or you can keep running through all your days, chasing that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that ultimately reveals itself to be empty. Enjoy the special moments that every day offers because today, this day is all you have.” As a matter of fact, the harder you try, the longer it will take you to reach your aims. Instead, simply follow the path of your dreams, in full expectation of the bounty that is certain to flow. This will bring you to your divine destination. This is what I mean by growing your destiny **************** ‘Peter and the Magic Thread.’ Peter was a very lively little boy. Everyone loved him: his family, his teachers and his friends. But he did have one weakness.” “Peter could never live in the moment He had not learned to enjoy the process of life. When he was in school, he dreamed of being outside playing. When he was outside playing he dreamed of his summer vacation. Peter constantly daydreamed, never taking the time to savor the special moments that filled his days. One morning, Peter was out walking in a forest near his home. Feeling tired, he decided to rest on a patch of grass and eventually dozed off. After only a few minutes of deep sleep, he heard someone calling his name. ‘Peter! Peter!’ came the shrill voice from above. As he slowly opened his eyes, he was startled to see a striking woman standing above him. She must have been over a hundred years old and her snow-white hair dangled well below her shoulders like a matted blanket of wool. In this woman’s wrinkled hand was a magical little ball with a hole in the center and out of the hole dangled a long, golden thread.” “‘Peter,’ she said, this is the thread of your life. If you pull the thread just a bit, an hour will pass in seconds. If you pull a little harder, whole days will pass in minutes. And if you pull with all your might, months — even years — will pass by in days.’ Peter grew very excited at this discovery. ‘I’d like to have it if I may?’ he asked. The elderly woman quickly reached down and gave the ball with the magic thread to the young boy. The next day, Peter was sitting in the classroom feeling restless and bored. Suddenly, he remembered his new toy. As he pulled a little bit of the golden thread, he quickly found himself at home, playing in his garden. Realizing the power of the magic thread, Peter soon grew tired of being a schoolboy and longed to be a teenager, with all the excitement that phase of life would bring. So again he pulled out the ball and pulled hard on the golden thread. Suddenly he was a teenager with a very pretty young girlfriend named Elise. But Peter still wasn’t content. He had never learned to enjoy the moment and to explore the simple wonders of every stage of his life. Instead, he dreamed of being an adult. So again he pulled on the thread and many years whizzed by in an instant. Now he found that he had been transformed into a middle-aged adult. Elise was now his wife and Peter was surrounded with a houseful of kids. But Peter also noticed something else. His once jet black hair had started to turn grey. And his once youthful mother whom he loved so dearly had grown old and frail. Yet Peter still could not live in the moment. He had never learned to ‘live in the now’ So, once again, he pulled on the magic thread and waited for the changes to appear. Peter now found that he was a ninety-year-old man. His thick dark hair had turned white as snow and his beautiful young wife Elise had also grown old and had passed away a few years earlier. His wonderful children had grown up and left home to lead lives of their own. For the first time in his entire life, Peter realized that he had not taken the time to embrace the wonders of living. He had never gone fishing with his kids or taken a moonlight stroll with Elise. He had never planted a garden or read those wonderful books his mother had loved to read. Instead, he had hurried through life, never resting to see all that was good along the way. Peter became very sad at this discovery. He decided to go out to the forest where he used to walk as a boy to clear his head and warm his spirit. As he entered the forest, he noticed that the little saplings of his childhood had grown into mighty oaks. The forest itself had matured into a paradise of nature. He lay down on a small patch of grass and fell into a deep slumber. After only a minute, he heard someone calling out to him. ‘Peter! Peter!’ cried the voice. He looked up in astonishment to see that it was none other than the old woman who had given him the ball with the magic golden thread many years earlier. ‘How have you enjoyed my special gift?’ she asked. Peter was direct in his reply. ‘At first it was fun but now I hate it. My whole life has passed before my eyes without giving me the chance to enjoy it. Sure, there would have been sad times as well as great times but I haven’t had the chance to experience either. I feel empty inside. I have missed the gift of living.’ ‘You are very ungrateful,’ said the old woman. ‘Still, I will give you one last wish.’ Peter thought for an instant and then answered hastily. ‘I’d like to go back to being a schoolboy and live my life over again.’ He then returned to his deep sleep. Again he heard someone calling his name and opened his eyes. ‘Who could it be this time?’ he wondered. When he opened his eyes, he was absolutely delighted to see his mother standing over his bedside. She looked young, healthy and radiant. Peter realized that the strange woman of the forest had indeed granted his wish and he had returned to his former life. ‘Hurry up Peter. You sleep too much. Your dreams will make you late for school if you don’t get up right this minute,’ his mother admonished. Needless to say, Peter dashed out of bed on this morning and began to live the way he had hoped. Peter went on to live a full life, one rich with many delights, joys and triumphs, but it all started when he stopped sacrificing the present for the future and began to live in the moment.” *************** In Nirvana, all things were possible. There was no suffering and the dance of life was played out with divine perfection. On reaching Nirvana, the sages felt that they would step into Heaven on Earth. This was their ultimate goal in life “We are all here for some special reason,” Meditate on what your true calling is, and how you can give of yourself to others. Stop being a prisoner of gravity. Today, light your spark of life and let it blaze brightly. Start applying the principles and strategies that I have shared with you. Be all that you can be. A time will come when you too will taste the fruits of that place called Nirvana.” Begin to live each day as if it was your last. Starting today, learn more, laugh more and do what you truly love to do. Do not be denied your destiny. For what lies behind you and what lies in front of you matters little when compared to what lies within you Embrace the Present • Live in the “now”. Savor the gift of the present • Never sacrifice happiness for achievement • Savor the journey and live each day as your last • Live Your Childrens’ Childhood • Practice Gratitude • Grow Your Destiny We are all here for some special reason. Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future.