Julian continued to use Yogi Raman’s mystical fable as the cornerstone for the wisdom he was sharing with me. 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. Little did I know that the best was still to come.
“You will recall that our friend the sumo wrestler was stark naked.”
“Except for the pink wire cable covering his private parts,” I interjected gamely.
“Right,” applauded Julian. “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. My teachers in Sivana were undoubtedly the most healthy, contented and serene people I have ever met. They were also the most disciplined. These sages taught me that the virtue of self-discipline was like a wire cable. Have you ever really taken the time to study a wire cable, John?”
“It hasn’t been high on my priority list,” I confessed with a quick grin.
“Well, have a look at one sometime. You will see that it consists of many thin, tiny wires placed one on top of the other. Alone, each one is flimsy and weak. But, together, their sum is much greater than their constituent parts and the cable becomes tougher than iron. Self-control and willpower are similar to this. To build a will of iron, it is essential to take small, tiny acts in tribute to the virtue of personal discipline.
Routinely performed, the little acts pile one on top of another to eventually produce an abundance of inner strength. Perhaps the old African proverb says it best: ‘When spider webs unite, they tie up a lion.’ When you liberate your willpower, you become the master of your personal world. When you continually practice the ancient art of self-government, there will be no hurdle too high for you to overcome, no challenge too tough for you to surmount and no crisis too hot for you to cool down. Self-discipline will provide you with the mental reserves required to persevere when life throws you one of its little curves.”
“I must also alert you to the fact that the lack of willpower is a mental disease,” Julian added surprisingly. “If you suffer from this weakness, make it a priority to stamp it out quickly. An abundance of willpower and discipline is one of the chief attributes of all those with strong characters and wonderful lives. Willpower allows you to do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it.
“It is willpower that allows you to get up at five in the morning to cultivate your mind through meditation, or to feed your spirit by a walk in the woods when a cosy bed beckons you on a cold winter’s day. It is willpower that allows you to hold your tongue when a less actualised person insults you or does something you disagree with. It is willpower that pushes your dreams forward when the odds appear to be insurmountable. It is willpower that offers you the inner power to keep your commitments to others, and, perhaps even more importantly, to yourself.”
“Is it really that important?”
“Most certainly, my friend. It is the essential virtue of every person who has created a life rich with passion, possibility and peace.”