Chapter 10: Wisdom and Understanding
But by and by he got fed up. He was a lonely man, a bachelor with no wife, no children, and he wanted always to be alone but the cat was a continuous disturbance. He would be sleeping and she would jump on his chest. And she would come in with bloodmarks on her paws and destroy a whole chair seat or his clothes, because she was continuously hunting mice. So she was a trouble to him, and for a bachelor who had never cared for anybody, she was too much of a wife. He asked me what to do. This Ego had become a trouble. So I told him, “Ego is always a trouble. You go and throw it out.”
He said, “But she knows all the ways of the town. She will come back.”
I told him, “You go to the forest.”
So he went to the forest so that the cat could not find the way home. He went in and in - and then lost the way! Then there was only one thing to do: he let the cat go, followed her, and came back home. That was the only way, there was nobody else to ask. The cat came back as certain as an arrow, not even hesitating for a single moment which way to follow.
So I told him, “Your cat has the quality of the ego perfectly. You cannot throw it out easily. Wherever you go to throw it, when you come home, it is already there. Or sometimes you may get lost and then you will have to follow it, because only it knows the way.”
The ego is very wise - wise in its cunningness. Lao Tzu does not give the ego any foothold, any ground to stand on, so he does not talk about enlightenment. So if you meet Lao Tzu don’t ask him, “Do you believe in sudden enlightenment or in gradual enlightenment?” He will not answer you. He will laugh at you: What foolishness! There is no need for any enlightenment. That word doesn’t occur for Lao Tzu, it is not part of his vocabulary.
He is very simple. He says just be ordinary. Why this hankering to be extraordinary, to be someone? And if you cannot be someone in the world then become enlightened at least. But why? Why can’t you be satisfied and content with yourself as you are? If you ask me, to be content with oneself as one is, is enlightenment. It is nothing special, as yogis have made it sound: kundalini rising, light showing, inner experiences, angels and God and this and that. This is all nonsense if you understand it. Enlightenment is nothing of this sort.
All these things - kundalini and the light and God and angels and heaven and hell - are part of the magician’s bag. You want them - he immediately produces, supplies them. You create the demand and the magician supplies the things to you. You want something special, he gives it to you. He exploits you. He lives on your absurd desires.
Lao Tzu is absolutely simple. He has no bag. He says why not just be? What is wrong? What is wrong in that which you are? Why make an effort? And who will make the effort? You will make the effort. Your effort cannot go beyond you, and whatsoever you do, you will do. How can it go beyond you? How can it be transcendental? By your own efforts how can you transcend? It is not possible; you are trying to do the impossible. You can go on jumping for thousands of lives and nothing will be attained.