As we sat down for dinner I could sense that he was feeling very passionate about something. There was an intensity about him—a particular kind of focus. You see, one of the absolute privileges of living with the Master is that we receive Satsang on a daily basis. I can’t recall a single day that has gone by in his presence that has not expanded my understanding of my self, humanity, life, the universe and God.
The Satsang was brewing in Sri Avinash until he finally stated matter of factly, “I was trying to remember the last time I was disturbed by something.”
“And when was that?” Tripura asked.
“2001.” Sri Avinash replied.
2001! I thought. Geez, he attained enlightenment in 2009, yet he could live undisturbed by his mind and his emotions for eight years as a spiritual seeker. Eight years!
Hearing that really made me decide to lift my game. We asked him about the nature of disturbances and how to overcome them and I learnt something that really struck a chord with me. “Generally speaking,” he explained, “We only have about six or seven stories, and we just keep replaying them in different ways.”
I reflected on my life, on my sense of identity and how I have come to know and understand myself. I could clearly see the handful of stories—or ideas and themes—that I have imposed on my life’s experiences. Ideas about who I am, or what life is about, or why certain things are the way they are.
I could see how I weaved these stories throughout my life, reinforcing them, until these stories—these ideas of mine—became inseparable from my reality. I created my reality from the fabric of stories I had woven.
“You made it up.” Sri Avinash stated, plainly and simply. As he spoke more on this point and on how the mind works, he used an analogy that I just loved, so let me share it with you.
He has often said that our mind is a forest of thoughts. Now imagine the first time you walk through that forest of your mind, you create a little bush track. If you keep going down that path, you make it wider and smoother, so your journey to the destination is faster. If you keep using that track for years you may decide to pave the road. A decade passes and it may evolve into a highway. Over a lifetime, you may have yourself a multi-lane autobahn through that forest. And that is how you create your thought patterns.
That is how you train your mind to tell you your own made up story back to you. The story you fabricated. That is how a tiny thing like someone forgetting to put their blinker on can send another into a fit of road rage in a split second—they had that autobahn of anger paved in their mind.
Sounds pretty hectic doesn’t it. So we asked Sri Avinash, “What are we to do?” He responded with the rule of thumb that he used when he was a spiritual seeker: “Whatever your mind says, is garbage. It doesn’t matter what thought it starts on, either positive or negative, the chain of thoughts will undoubtedly lead you to eventually fall into a hole of negativities.”