My wife told me a story once:
A simple man who lived in India heard his beloved guru was coming to town.
He went there to listen to his teachings. But he was late and the doors got closed in front him. The only thing he got told by his guru was “Go away”.
He took it literally and this became his mantra: “Go away”. He went out of town and constantly said “Go away”.
Years went by and people had come to see him and to listen. Then, one day, the guru was back in town. The simple man made his way back to town to see him.
Meanwhile there were far less people to see the guru then he expected. On some questioning he heard about the simple man who had been seeking solitude.
Even more, he was surprised that this man was coming to see him and they met face to face. “Who are you?” asked the guru.
The simple man took this as a new challenge and ran away resuming his solitude and saying his new mantra “Who am I?”.
Again years went by and more people came and listened. Then, the guru was back in town. Again the simple man made his way to see the guru.
This time only a handful of town people actually came to see the guru. And some were quite clear about the reason. The guru demanded the simple man being brought to him at once.
He needn’t to wait long as the man was already there. “Don’t run away”, the guru said, “tell me what is happening?”
“First you told me to go away.”, the simple man said. “That was all I needed to know at the time. My head was full of ideas and dreams. I couldn’t get a firm grip on any of them. Finding solitude helped me clear my mind.”
“Then you came back and asked me, ‘who are you?’.”, the simple man continued, “It allowed me to look into myself and explore who I am. I know myself now. Thank you.”
The guru couldn’t believe it. He started laughing. The simple man was perplexed and then realised what he had missed. He started laughing, too and walked away. Not much later he ascended.