Tao says: The ego has to disappear from all the layers. One has to understand it so totally that it cannot find another way for its existence, so that it cannot find another shelter in your being. When ego disappears completely and there is no way for it to assert itself then you are not in one sense and you are, for the first time, in another sense. You are not as an individual any more, you are the whole.
This is the meaning of a holy man in Taoism: A holy man is one who is not. Very paradoxical. And remember, Tao does not teach you to become humble. If you become humble the ego will continue – it will become the ego of the humble person, it will hide behind humbleness. So a practiced humbleness, a cultivated humbleness, is not going to help. Then what is to be done?
If you ask Lieh Tzu, Chuang Tzu or Lao Tzu, they will say that nothing has to be done because whatsoever you do will create the ego; ego is created out of doing. Nothing is to be done. One has just to see the ways of the ego, the subtle ways of the ego, the cunning ways of the ego; one has to see them so totally…. One has to follow the ego into one’s being from body to mind, from mind to self, one has to seek and see all the hideouts. Once you have known all the possibilities of ego-assertion, in that very understanding, in that very awareness, ego disappears.
When ego disappears your body is different, your mind is different, your self is different. When ego disappears, many things happen. First, now you are no more identified with your body. You are in the body, but you are not the body. When the ego disappears you are no more identified with the mind. You use the mind, the mind becomes an instrument – a beautiful instrument – but you are not identified with the mind either. When the ego disappears you use the self, but you are not identified with self either. You remain an individual: you walk and live like an individual. but continuously aware that the wave is just an appearance, the reality is the ocean; that “I am just a wave. God is the ocean, Tao is the ocean.”
The disappearance of the ego is the disappearance of what Gurdjieff calls identification. That is the right word: identification. We get identified with everything, whatsoever we are close to. You are very close to the body, so you start thinking “I am the body.” You feel hungry and you say “I am hungry.” That is not right. The body is hungry, you are the knower, you are the one who knows that the body is hungry. Sometimes you arc insulted and the mind is feeling miserable, but you are not miserable. You are the knower who notices that the mind is miserable. Sometimes you see miracles happening in your life, but you know that you are not the doer, you are not the self. They are happening, but they are happening from the whole. That’s why Jesus goes on saying again and again….
A man came to Jesus and said, “We are very grateful to you. You are good and great.” And Jesus said, “Don’t assert such a thing. Only God is good and great. I am not.” What is he saying? He is saying, “I am not a self. I function as a self, but the function is not the reality, the function is just a function. The reality is far more huge, far bigger, enormous, infinite.”