Chapter 5: Dropping the Ego Now
If you are unoccupied, suddenly you become aware that without you the world goes on beautifully. Nothing is changing. You have been discarded, you are thrown on the junk pile, you are not needed. The moment you feel you are not needed the ego becomes uneasy - because it exists only when you are needed. So all around the ego goes on forcing this attitude on everybody: that you are a must, you are needed; without you nothing can happen, without you the world will dissolve.
Unoccupied, you come to realize that the game continues. You are not an essential part. You can be discarded easily. Nobody will bother about it, nobody will think about it. Rather, they may even feel relieved. That shatters the ego. So people want occupation - something or other, but they must remain occupied. They must continue the illusion that they are needed.
Meditation is an unoccupied state of mind. It is a deep retirement. It is not just a superficial retirement like going to the Himalayas. That may not be a retirement at all, because again you can get occupied in the Himalayas. You can create fantasies there that you are saving the world. Sitting in the Himalayas meditating, you are saving the world from a third war; or because you are creating such vibrations that the world is reaching toward a utopia, a peaceful state of society. And you can enjoy this occupation there. Nobody is going to argue because you are alone. Nobody is going to dispute the fact that you are in an illusion or a hallucinatory state. You can get really involved in it. The ego will assert itself again in a subtle new way.
Meditation is not a superficial retirement. It is a deep, intimate, real retirement, a withdrawal - a withdrawal from occupation. Not that you will not be occupied; you can continue whatsoever you are doing, but you withdraw yourself and your investment in occupation. Now you start feeling that this constant hankering after being needed is foolish, stupid. The world can continue quite well without you. And there is no depression in it. It is good. So far, so good - the world can continue without you. This can become a freedom if you understand. If you don’t understand then you feel you are being shattered.
So people continue to be occupied, and the ego gives them the greatest occupation possible. Twenty-four hours the ego gives them occupation. They are thinking how to become a member of parliament, they are thinking how to become a deputy minister and a minister and a prime minister, and how to become a president. The ego goes on and on and on. It gives you a constant occupation - how to achieve more riches, how to create a kingdom. The ego gives you dreams continuously, inner occupation, and you feel much is going on. Unoccupied, suddenly you become aware of inner emptiness. These dreams fill the inner emptiness.
Now psychologists say that a man can live without food for at least ninety days, but he cannot live without dreaming for ninety days. He will go mad. If dreaming is not allowed within three weeks you will go mad. Three weeks without food will not harm you - it may even be good for your health. Three weeks without food, a good fast will rejuvenate your whole system, you will be more alive and young. But three weeks of non-dreaming? - You will go mad.