12.07 – What are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves?
Our mind is rarely satisfied with the world as it exists – and especially with our present position in it. Consequently, it frequently goes into flights of fantasies of what we will achieve and how the world will praise us. Cricket lovers may fantasize themselves as hitting a match-winning sixer for the national team on the last ball of a world cup final.
Sometimes these fantasies perversely take the form of nightmares. If someone irritates us, we may mentally play and replay a future furious confrontation with that person. Most of our worries are nothing but the mind’s perverse fantasies, its agonizing over everything that may go wrong.
These fantasies are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. While these stories are mostly unreal and unrealizable, they indicate what our mind’s present definition of happiness is. Though this definition is usually wrong, its level of wrongness reflects our current consciousness and our overall spiritual advancement. Initially in our spiritual life our imagination may be primarily about gross immoral anti-devotional indulgences. Gradually our imagination will change to the successes that we can achieve in our devotional service. And again within our devotional dreams initially our imagination will be more self-centric, focusing on how we will be glorified for doing extraordinary service. Gradually it will become Krishna-centric, gravitating on how Krishna and his devotees will be pleased by our service.
Not only can we observe this gradual spiritualization of our imagination, we can also actively strive to spiritualize it by consciously telling devotional stories about ourselves to ourselves. We can train our imagination to leap and fly within the ambit of Krishna consciousness, visualizing how we will chant attentively, study diligently and serve selflessly, for example. This is an emotionally potent way of applying the recommendation of the Bhagavad-gita (12.7) to internally “reside in Krishna.”