If the flowers arranged in a vase were to become conscious in some way, they will know that they have no roots; the same is bound to happen to you if you become conscious. We are not really men. We are mere deceptions, without any roots, without any ground. We are like characters in a fairy tale, in a dream, with no existence in reality. I see you lost and moving in this dream. All your actions are done in sleep. All your activities take place in sleep. But you can awaken from this sleep. This is the difference between sleep and death. You can awaken from the former, but not from the latter. No matter how deep your sleep, awakening is its intrinsic possibility. Sleep has this dormant seed, this potentiality hidden within it.
If you come face-to-face with yourself many illusions will be shattered, as if somebody falsely considering himself very beautiful finds himself before a mirror for the very first time. Just as there is a mirror for looking at the body, there is a mirror for looking at the self. I am talking about this very mirror. Self-observation is this mirror.
Do you really want to see the truth of yourself? Do you want to meet the person that is really you? And knowing there is the possibility of seeing yourself in all your nakedness, don’t you feel afraid? Such fear is quite natural. It is because of this fear that we go on creating new dreams about ourselves and keeping our true reality forgotten. But these dreams cannot be your companions; you cannot get anywhere with their help. They only waste the time and the priceless opportunity that could have led you home.
You must wonder why I insist so much on your seeing the nakedness, the ugliness and the emptiness of yourselves. Wouldn’t it be better to leave what is unfit to be seen, unseen? And isn’t it nice, isn’t it good to decorate what is ugly with jewelry and to cover what isn’t worth seeing with curtains? Generally this is exactly what we do. This is the common custom. This is in vogue. But this is very harmful because the wounds we hide do not heal. On the contrary they become all the more infected and dangerous. And the ugliness we cover up is not destroyed but enters the inner source of our whole personality. We go on sprinkling artificial perfume on the surface while a foul stink rules inside. A time comes when perfume no longer helps and the inner stink begins to surface on the outside, when jewelry no longer helps and the underlying ugliness forces its way out.
I am not in favor of sprinkling perfume; I am in favor of getting rid of foul smells. I am not for covering ugliness with jewelry and flowers; I am for doing away with ugliness from the roots and awakening the beauty and music within. In their absence everything else is pointless. All our efforts are useless. All our endeavors are like trying to get oil by pressing sand.
So I ask you to uncover what is hidden in yourself. Uncover yourself and know yourself. Do not run away from yourself. And escaping from yourself is not possible. Where will you go? What you are will be with you wherever you go. You can transform it but you cannot run away from it.
Self-observation is the first link in this chain of transformation. And the wonder of wonders is that to know the ugliness is to become free of it! To know one’s fear is to become free of that fear; to know hatred is to become free of hatred. They are there because we do not look at them. They are after us because we are trying to run away from them. The moment we stop they will also stop – just as our shadow runs with us when we are running and stops when we stop.