Hello and welcome to episode 41 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show today I want to talk to you about the power of storytelling and how one story can be a breath of fresh air in your spiritual life.
The question comes from Rosario who lives in Canada. Rosario asks “How can we control our emotions? No matter what I do they seem to come bursting out of me and situations can get out of control”
Thanks for the question Rosario I feel like a lot of people are in the same situation so hopefully this will benefit you and many others too.
All the great beings have said that the mind is a fickle thing that can be hard to control. However with practice and detachment you can master your emotions and take control of them. By practising I don’t mean exercising but rather taking control of your consciousness.
Before we get to all that I want to tell you a story:
This story is about a little boy of 15 or 16. Every day he cycled across a border that he lived beside. This border was always heavily patrolled. Every day he carried with him, a huge black sack of coal and every day the border patrol would check the bag. Every day they’d spend time checking his bag of coal and every day they’d find nothing and allow him to pass through. This continued for years until the boy became a man.
One day he had crossed the border as usual and was drinking tea in a restaurant when he was spotted by one of the security guards that used to man the patrol. Curiosity got the better of the guard so he approached the table and asked them man why he carried the bag of coal back and forth every day for so many years.
The boy explained that every day he was taking a new bicycle from one side of the border to the other and selling it for a profit. The bag of charcoal was merely a guise. The guards would never have allowed him through if they had known the true purpose behind his comings and goings.
Their attention was always on the bag of coal and what might be concealed within it. They never noticed that the boy was on a different bicycle every day.
Our minds are a lot like the guards on that border patrol. Were always focused on that bag of coal. Only instead of coal our bags are filled with things like desire, guilt, shame, pain and pleasure. Our minds get distracted by the everyday happenings in the world.
The bicycle is our consciousness. It keeps going everyday no matter what. It’s there for you to ride through a wonderful happy life.
Similarly the nature of the mind is to suspect everything. We become clouded by doubt and fear and it can get you into trouble. The mind will always move toward that bag of charcoal. No matter how positive the situation is there is always that niggling doubt that distracts us.
Don’t be that security guard. Don’t let your consciousness ride away from you every single day.
Krishna says in the bhagavad gita that “Attachment to objects develops when the mind ponders over it. Out of attachment develops craving out of craving wrath and out of wrath – delusion. When this happens memory fails, intelligence perishes, destruction reigns”
There’s an attachment being developed (we don’t see it) every time we get distracted. Even if it’s only for a moment the mind will still attach to something. We just don’t notice it. Out of this develops a craving so you’ll want to experience it again. When you don’t get it you experience wrath and anger which leads to a complete blockage. When this happens you’ll suffer by losing touch with your consciousness.
That’s why Krishna says “Approaching the world with senses that is free from attachment and aversion one wins serenity. Serenity won sufferings end reason becomes steadfast . The undiscriminating and the witless one with no yearning for the soul is never peaceful and is never happy.”
So, approach the world through your consciousness not through your mind. Let the mind fall back to the consciousness. Don’t be the security guard, wasting your life by always looking for that bag of coal. The mind is not the driving force the consciousness is. Don’t let your consciousness ride away from you. Remember that consciousness is love and joy. You don’t need to control or conquer it.
Now get on that bike and embrace it!
I hope that answers your question Rosario. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.