Chapter 6: The Two Concubines
An old man reaches total acceptance; in this total acceptance he is the most beautiful. And he is not self-conscious - he cannot be, because ego is created, self-consciousness is created because you fight. So the first thing to understand is not to be self-conscious. Be aware. Be conscious but not self-conscious - consciousness without the self, just being alert. And what is the difference? When you are conscious you are conscious of yourself; when you are self-conscious you are conscious of yourself in relation to others - what others are thinking about you, what others are feeling about you, whether they think you beautiful or not. You come in the room, others are sitting there; you become self-conscious. You were a different person just a few minutes before outside the room. You were alone. In your bathroom you are totally different - singing, humming, even making faces before the mirror. You are totally a child, enjoying; you are not worried about anything else - you are not self-conscious. But suddenly you become aware that somebody is peeping through the keyhole. Immediately everything changes. You are no longer the same; you have become self-conscious.
Self-consciousness is related to others - and that is what ego is. Ego means continuously thinking what others are thinking about you, whether they appreciate you or not, whether they pay attention to you or not. And when you become so much aware of others you will be ill at ease; you cannot be at home because you cannot control others. Others change like the weather. Sometimes they appreciate you - in fact, they are not appreciating you: by accident you have come to them at a time when they are in a good mood! They appreciate you because they are feeling generous, in a good mood. Come to them when they are in a bad mood; then they cannot appreciate you, then you look ugly to them. Their appreciation doesn’t depend on you; their appreciation or condemnation depends on their own moods. And how can you control the moods of others? They are millions, there is no way. You cannot control your own mood; how can you expect to control others’ moods? If you depend on others you will always be in a continuous trembling and shaking.
A mature man, a man who understands, simply drops the whole idea. It is absurd, it is meaningless. He simply lives his whole life unself-consciously. And then beauty arises, then grace happens; then something from the beyond starts pouring into him. And here is the paradox: when this happens, many will become aware of you. Many will feel the beauty, the benediction that you carry with you, the grace that happens just in your presence. Many will feel it when you are not self-conscious. When you are self-conscious you become ugly. When you are self-conscious, the very effort to impress makes you ugly.
And this you can watch in life. It may be difficult for you to catch it in yourself, because it is very difficult to watch oneself. Watch others. Why does a prostitute look ugly? She may have a beautiful body, but why does she look ugly? Because she is too self-conscious. She depends on the attention of others. She is a commodity, she is on sale; she is always in the window for others to appreciate and look at, because that is her whole life, her business. A prostitute cannot live without self-consciousness. How can she live without attracting others? The body may be beautiful, but you cannot find beauty in a prostitute - it is impossible.
And sometimes a homely woman suddenly appears to be beautiful, just a homely woman doing her housewife’s work: preparing food because the husband may be coming, waiting for children, just waiting for the lover, sitting near the steps looking far away in the distance, suddenly you feel a beauty around her. She is homely; in no way can you call her beautiful, but you feel the beauty. Why? What is happening there? Waiting for the lover she is unself-conscious. She is not worried about you, she is not asking for anybody’s attention; she is totally absorbed. She is not self-conscious, she loves somebody.