Change the stories you tell yourself about yourself
Our mind is rarely satisfied with the world 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.
These fantasies are the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. While these stories are mostly unreal and unrealizable, they indicate our mind’s present definition of happiness. 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 grossly 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 towards how Krishna and his devotees will be pleased by our service.
In addition to observing this gradual spiritualization of our imagination, we can also stimulate such spiritualization 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, for example, how we will chant attentively, study diligently, serve selflessly and help many others to attain Krishna’s mercy. Such spiritualization of our imagination is an emotionally potent way of applying the recommendation of the Bhagavad-gita (12.08) to internally “reside in Krishna.”
“But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having ﬁxed their minds upon Me, O son of Prtha – for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.”