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Chapter 9: I Laughed

“I am” is nothing but another name for the ego. Now you will be getting into trouble. If the ego is convinced that the only way is to drop the ego, then who is going to drop whom? And how? It will be like pulling yourself up by your own shoestrings. You will look just silly. Watch each word that you use. “I am” is nothing but the ego.

The second thing: nobody has ever been able to drop the ego because ego is not a reality that you can drop; anything to be dropped at least has to be real, substantial. Ego is just a notion, an idea. You cannot drop it, you can only understand it. Can you drop your shadow? You can run as fast as you want but your shadow will run at the same speed, exactly the same speed.

There is a Taoist story about a man who became afraid of his shadow. He was reading a story.He was alone on a farm in a small hut, and in the deep darkness of the night, reading a story that was saying shadows are nothing but ghosts, he became so frightened that he looked at his own shadow and started running. Again he looked and the shadow was there. The natural logic was that he was not running fast enough, so he started running faster and faster. The faster he ran, the faster the shadow followed him. He became utterly exhausted and tired, so much so that he could not run anymore and just sat under the shadow of a tree. The moment he sat under the shadow of the tree, his shadow disappeared.

He was very much puzzled: he could not get rid of the shadow while he was running so fast, and now that he was simply sitting under the shade of the tree, the shadow disappeared.

This is a beautiful parable, of great significance. You cannot drop the ego. Once you start trying to drop the ego you will get in a very deep mess; you will become more and more worried and puzzled. And this is not the way to get rid of the ego. The only way to get rid of the ego is to look at it.

First, try to find out where it is, whether it is there or not in the first place. And one who goes in never finds it; it simply disappears. Ego is just an idea, the idea of those people who have never gone in. And they suffer because of the ego - because it is a false thing, it creates suffering. Remember, reality always creates blessings and falsity always brings misery.

Hell is the most false thing in the world - it exists not. Heaven is the only reality. We are in it right now, this very moment. We cannot be anywhere else. If you are in hell that is your creation, your fantasy, you are seeing a dream. If you are in heaven that is not your fantasy, that is not your dream, that’s how things are. Heaven is the way of things.

Just look inside and try to find out, to point out where the ego is, and you will be surprised: you cannot find it anywhere. And when you cannot find it anywhere, it is gone - without dropping it.

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