The image formed in other people’s eyes deceives you and you become afraid to look within. You want to see the image people have of you, not your reality. What are people saying? – you become very interested in knowing what people say about you. There is nothing else behind this curiosity to know: you think you can recognize yourself through the image formed in others’ eyes. This is really surprising! Even to know yourself you have to look into another person’s eyes.
People are afraid that others might say something bad about them. They feel happy if people say something good about them because their knowledge of themselves depends on others’ opinion. They do not have immediate knowledge of themselves; they do not have any direct experience of knowing themselves. This experience could happen, but it doesn’t because you try to escape from it.
The first thing in encountering the mind is not to bother about what others say or how you appear to others; rather, you have to have a direct encounter with what you essentially are. In your aloneness you have to open your mind totally and see what is there. It is an act of courage. It is an act of tremendous courage to decide to enter into the hell hidden within yourself. It is an act of great courage to see yourself in your nudity. Great courage is needed.
Once there was an emperor. Every day he used to disappear into a room in the middle of his palace. His family, the people in his house, his friends, his ministers were all surprised about this habit. He used to always keep the key of that room with him, and when he went into the room he would lock the door from the inside. There was only one door to the room and not a single window. During a period of twenty-four hours he would stay in that room for at least one hour.
Even his wives did not know anything about the room because he had never told anybody about it. If somebody asked he would smile and remain silent, and he would not give the key to anybody. All the people were surprised about it and their curiosity went on growing every day: “What does he do there?” Nobody knew. He used to stay in that closed room for one hour, then he would come out silently and put the key in his pocket, and the next day he would do the same thing again. At last the people’s curiosity reached a peak and they conspired with each other to find out what he was doing. His ministers, his wives, his sons, his daughters were part of the conspiracy.
One night they made a hole in the wall so that they would be able to see what he was doing when he next went there. The next day, when the emperor went inside, they all peeped through the hole one by one. But whoever put his eye to the hole immediately moved aside and said, “What is he doing? What is he doing?” But nobody could say what he was doing.
The emperor had gone inside and taken off all his clothes. Then he spread his hands towards the sky and said, “Oh, God! The person who was wearing these clothes is not me. That is not my reality – this is my reality.” And he started jumping and shouting and screaming abuses and behaving like a madman.
Whoever looked through the hole moved aside immediately, in shock, and said, “What is our emperor doing? We used to think that perhaps he would be doing some yoga or saying some prayers. But this! What is he doing?”