Chapter 4: An Experience of Deathlessness
Mansoor said, “I am saying to existence, ‘What a game you are showing me.’ So much fuss and bother to kill the one who cannot die. You are unnecessarily wasting so many people’s time. And I am also laughing that he whom you are killing is not me. And that which I am, you cannot even touch. Your swords cannot cut it. Your fire cannot burn it.”
Once even a brief contact is established with one’s life stream, the fear of death disappears.
What is the difference between ego and taking a pride in oneself?
Taking a pride in oneself is not ego. Not only is there a difference between them, they are opposites.
Ego is the feeling of being superior to others. Ego is a disease. How many people can you believe yourself to be superior to? Someone is more beautiful, someone is healthier, someone is more talented, someone is a genius. An egoist can only suffer his whole life; he can only receive hurt everywhere. His life will be full of wounds and yet more wounds. Ego is comparing yourself with others; ego is ideas such as “I am superior to others.”
Taking a pride in oneself is altogether a different thing. To take a pride in oneself is to be very humble. There is not even a question of being superior to others - everyone is unique in his own right. This is the understanding that goes with taking a pride in oneself: that nobody is higher than anyone else nor is anyone lower than anyone else. In this existence a small grass flower and the greatest star in the sky both have the same value. If even this small grass flower were missing, something would be missing in the whole existence that even the greatest star could not make up for.
Taking a pride in yourself is accepting the reality that everyone is unique and there is no race, no competition, no ambition. Yes, if someone is aggressive toward you, because taking a pride in yourself has no aggression in it, it will give you the capacity to fight back - but not to belittle the other, only to prove that the aggression of the other was wrong, that all aggression is wrong.
Taking a pride in yourself has no conceit: it is very simple and plain. But even the greatest power in the world cannot defeat a person who takes a pride in himself. This is a very unique mystery. Such a person is humble, so humble that by his own choice he will stand last in the queue. And so where else can he be pushed?