Last year, I had given up a promising job to concentrate on my writing. 365 days later, today, I am on the brink of realizing my dreams to commercialize my creativity. Between last year and now, there have been many stormy events that have made and marred my days: I fought depression, I saved my pennies and toured Goa with my best friend, I jumped onto the ‘job’ bandwagon only to find myself unfit for it, I moved cities, saw my best friend go through a terrible phase when his Ford met with an accident, discovered that my great grandfather was a maverick painter and photographer who was gifted a tiger by an Englishman who bought his works, got involved in legal cases and of course quit yet another job. I also finished reading a wonderful book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma. I would like to summarize my interpretation of it.
Note: I read the book quite reluctantly after my friend and partner persuaded me saying that it may change my life!
We have only got one life to live. We must make the most of it by living in the present. How many times have we spent endless hours in our day to day lives thinking about our hurtful past? I admit I used to do that everyday and trust me it didn’t leave me feeling all well and nice. It tired me out, drained my energy. I used to feel so consumed by living in the past that I used to put off ‘living’ altogether. I’ll live tomorrow, today, I’ll just think about the past- this was the mantra I used to live by till even yesterday! I realized that not only was I wasting my time, I was wasting my energy, my thoughts and in turn I was cluttering my mind with things that cannot be undone. So when my partner kicked my butt saying, you must write about what you learned from the book, I jumped to my desk and turned on my laptop.
The book recounts how rich, successful but ageing litigator Julian Mantle undergoes a magical transformation into a yogi after suffering a heart attack in the courtroom. Three years travelling the length and breadth of India and residing with the Sages of Sivana in the Himalayas, Mantle is a new being. One day, after three years of disappearance, he suddenly drops in to his junior colleague John’s house one evening. In a little more than twelve hours, this red robe clad monk (who had sold all his material assets which included a Ferrari before setting out soul searching) awakens in John what the Sages in the Himalayas had awakened in him. The path to self- awakening is simple but needs discipline and involves these seven steps:
1. Be the master of your mind
2. Follow your purpose
3. Learn the art of self- mastery (Kaizen)
4. Live with discipline
5. Respect your time
6. Do good
7. Live in the present
Even though ‘live in the present’ is listed as the last step to self- awakening by Julian Mantle, I believe that it is the first and leads us seamlessly through the remaining six stages. It all begins with banishing negative thoughts from the past from our minds. As soon as we start nurturing a negative thought and invoke regret, we must immediately check ourselves, uproot the bad thought from the lush green garden of our minds and throw it out. Doing this repeatedly will help us master our minds from thinking negative. The garden of our mind remains fertile. We have weeded out negativity. We are on our way to self- mastery.
To help us remain motivated, we must set a goal for ourselves for this life. Our goal in life should involve giving back something to humanity. As we slog in our office day- in- day- out justifying our inflated bank balances, we must strive to selflessly serve others. You needn’t be a philanthropist. A kind word, a prayer and even a smile can touch peoples’ lives.
The goal should be like our lighthouse, guiding us and helping us stay on course and stay disciplined. To stay disciplined we must give up procrastination and putting off whatever we want to do for tomorrow- we learn to respect our time. We have, after all, just one life to live.
There we have- the monk’s seven steps to self- awakening.
Interpret these in your own little ways. After all, your mind is a fertile garden through which flows the river of imagination.
Will the book help me realizing my dreams? At least it will make me live every day to the fullest- as if this were my last. And why spend my last day running someone else’s race.