Mulla Nasruddin was traveling on a train. The ticket collector came; he asked for the ticket. He looked in all his pockets, in all his suitcases, and the ticket was not found. And he was perspiring, and he was becoming more and more frightened. And then the ticket collector said, “Sir, but you have not looked in one of your pockets. Why don’t you look in it?”
Mulla Nasruddin said, “Please don’t talk about that pocket. I am not going to look in it. That is my only hope! If I look in that pocket and it is not found, then it is not, then it is absolutely not. I cannot look in that pocket. Mind you, I will look in everything else; that pocket is my safety, I can still hope that it may be in that pocket. I have left it deliberately and I am not going to touch it. Whether I find the ticket or not, I am not going to look in that particular pocket.”
This is the situation about the ego too. You don’t look in, that is your only hope: “Who knows? Maybe it is.” But if you look, your tacit feeling says it is not.
This false ego which you have created by not looking in, by continuously looking out, is the root cause of fear. You will be afraid of all those spaces in which you have to look. You will be afraid of beauty because beauty simply throws you in. A beautiful sunset, and all those luminous colors in the clouds, and you will be afraid to look at it because such great beauty is bound to throw you in. Such great beauty stops thinking: for a moment the mind is in such awe it forgets how to think, how to go on spinning and weaving. The inner talk comes to a stop, a halt, and you are suddenly in.
People are afraid of great music, people are afraid of great poetry, people are afraid of deep intimacy. People’s love affairs are just hit-and-run affairs. They don’t go deep into each other’s being because, going deep into each other’s being, the fear is there – because the other’s pool of being will reflect you. In that pool, in that mirror of the other’s being, if you are not found, if the mirror remains empty, if it reflects nothing, then what?
People are afraid of love. They only pretend, they only go on playing games in the name of love. They are afraid of meditation; even in the name of meditation, at the most, they go on doing new ways of thinking. That’s what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation is – it is neither meditation nor transcendental. It is simply chanting a mantra, and chanting a mantra is nothing but a process of thought, concentrated thought. It is again a new device, a device not to meditate. People are repeating Christian prayers, Mohammedan prayers, Hindu prayers, all ways to avoid meditation. These are not meditations, remember. Mind is so cunning that in the name of meditation it has created many pseudo-phenomena.
Meditation is when you are not doing anything at all, when the mind is not functioning at all. That nonfunctioning of the mind is meditation – no chanting, no mantra, no image, no concentration. One just simply is. In that isness the ego disappears, and with the ego the shadow of the ego disappears. That shadow is fear.