Small children run fast to escape being caught, but deep down there is a yearning to be caught too. Why this contradiction? Running away is a joy in that you are not able to catch the child, that the child is no more a child: he can run faster than you. He is proving his mettle.
But no child is so uncompassionate that he will defeat you; so finally he wants to be caught. In the interval he wants to enjoy your failure. In the end he wants to give you the gift of success too.
And something similar is always happening between the master and the disciple. It is a little more subtle and it is more complex because the running is not outward, it is something inner. And the disciple is not a child anymore. For the master the game is exactly the same.
From the master’s side he will allow the disciple to run as fast as he can to give him the joy of knowing that he can escape. But the disciple cannot be allowed to escape – that would be against the compassion of the master, because if he is allowed to escape he will remain unreborn. He will never become a child, he will never become innocent; he will remain miserable.
The master knows when to catch you, but he gives enough rope. The problem is the disciple – because master and disciple are not at the same stage of consciousness. The disciple is running – he has become a disciple just to be caught. There was no other need. He wants to be transformed by the master – and that can happen only if he is caught. But he is afraid of many things.
He will lose his ego, his identity; he will lose his individuality: he will no longer be himself. The moment he is caught looks like a death; hence there is fear. He wants, desires to be caught because he can see the beauty of the master – his light, his newly-achieved, fresh consciousness. He would also like to have all these, so he wants to be caught. But the complexity is that he wants all these things while remaining himself, as he is. And that is impossible.
And the master is not going to catch you – although he can catch you at any moment – he is not going to catch you unless you are totally willing, because it will be useless to catch you against yourself. There will be no point because there will be no communion.
To catch you while you are resisting being caught is absolutely futile. The master will catch you only when he sees that you have dropped all fear, all anxiety. And your fear and your anxiety are all imaginary.
You will certainly lose the ego.
But you will gain the self.
Ego is a false entity – you are not losing anything in fact; you are simply becoming aware that it had never existed. You had simply been forced to believe in it.
And you will get your original self; so there is no loss, there is no question of fear. You are not going to lose your individuality either.
But in a confused mind, which is basically the mind of the disciple…he mistakes his personality for his individuality, just as he takes his ego to be his self.