Julian, before pouring himself another cup of tea said, “Time is passing quickly.”
“The morning will soon be upon us. Do you want me to continue or have you had enough for one night?”
There was no way that I was going to let this man, who held such gems of wisdom within his grasp, stop without completing his story. At the outset, his tale seemed fantastic.
But as I listened to him, as I absorbed the ageless philosophy that had been bestowed upon him, I came to believe deeply in what he was saying.
These were not the superficial self-serving ruminations of some two-bit huckster. Julian was the real thing. He clearly walked his talk. And his message rang true. I trusted him.
“Please continue, Julian, I have all the time in the world. The kids are sleeping at their grandparents’ house tonight, and Jenny won’t be up for hours.”
Sensing my sincerity, he continued with the symbolic fable that Yogi Raman had offered him to illustrate his wisdom on cultivating a richer, more radiant life.
“I have told you that 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.”
“Sounds like a bad Godzilla movie.”
“I used to love those when I was a kid.”
“Me too. But don’t let me distract you,” I replied.
“The sumo wrestler represents a very important element in the life-changing system of the Sages of
Sivana. Yogi Raman told me that many centuries ago in the ancient East, the great teachers developed and refined 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.”
“How did the concept of kaizen enrich the lives of the sages?” I asked.
“As I mentioned earlier, John, 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 self-improvement. Self-mastery is the DNA of life mastery.”
“Julian, I hope you don’t mind me saying it, but all this talk about one’s ‘inner world’ sounds more than a little esoteric to me. Remember, I’m just a middle-class lawyer from the leafy suburbs with a minivan sitting in the driveway and a Lawn-Boy in the garage.”
“Look. Everything you have told me so far makes sense. As a matter of fact, much of what you have shared with me appears to be common sense, although I know that common sense is anything but common in this day and age. I must tell you though, I’m having a little difficulty with this notion of kaizen and improving my inner world. What exactly are we talking about here?”