So there are two ways: knowledge – direct, knowing oneself directly, immediately – this is the right way. And the wrong way is knowing oneself through others – what they say. And if you don’t know yourself, how can they know you? They are very far away. You are the nearest person to know yourself. If you don’t know your reality, how can others know?
But because we lack self-knowledge we need a substitute. Ego is the substitute, and ego is on constant display. You are just like a display window in a market. You have become a commodity, you have made yourself a commodity on display, always on display, always begging for somebody to say you are good, beautiful, you are saintly, you are great, extraordinary.
Tao is against this, because Tao says that this is how you waste your life. The same energy can move directly towards your being, and when the being is revealed it is extraordinary.
So a man who is in search of self-knowledge will remain ordinary in the eyes of others. He will not bother – he will hide himself, he will not display. He will not be on exhibition, he will not be a stage-show. He will remain silent, live silently, enjoy life silently. He would like nobody to bother about him, because whenever somebody bothers about you, thinks about you, it is going to be difficult and complex – self-knowledge becomes more and more difficult.
You have to go there alone; and if you are looking at the crowd, and if you think that the crowd has to follow you, you will never reach it. If you are an exhibitionist then you will remain a commodity, a thing. You can never become a person, because ‘person’ is hidden deep in the recesses of being. It is the deepest possibility in the whole of existence. You are the greatest abyss. Nobody else can go there with you. You will have to go alone. And if you are too concerned about others, what they say, what they think, you will remain on the periphery. That is one thing.
The second thing is: just to be on display you hide whatsoever is ugly. In clothes, in words, in gestures, in masks, in actions, you try to hide whatsoever is ugly and wrong. What are you doing? This wrong will become a seed inside and it will grow. And the more you push it in, the more you are throwing it towards the source of all energy; it will be strengthened. And the beautiful you throw out – it will never become a seed.
Just do the opposite. If you have something ugly, show it to others: it disperses. If you are an angry man, tell everybody, “I am an angry man, don’t love me, don’t be a friend to me. I am a very bad man. I am ugly, I am immoral, I am greedy, I am sexual.” Say whatsoever is ugly about you, not only say it but authentically act it out. And you will be surprised that whenever something is thrown out, it disperses.
And hide the beautiful; let it go deeper so that it can get roots in your being, and it will grow. But you have been doing just the opposite.
Now, try to understand this story:
The Prince of Wu took a boat to Monkey Mountain.