Then why bother? Then one relaxes. The anxiety, the tension, the anguish disappears. Suddenly you become vulnerable, no more closed. Suddenly you are open, suddenly you become inviting. And this is the point to be understood: once you are exposed to others, only then will you be exposed to yourself. If you are hiding from others, whatsoever you are hiding from others will by and by be thrown into the basement of your unconscious mind. Others may not know about it but by and by you will also forget about it.
But whenever you come within the vision of a perceptive man, everything will be revealed. That is one of the basic reasons why, in the East, the relationship of a disciple to a master is so valued: because the master is just like a ray of light, an X-ray, and the disciple exposes himself. And the more the master penetrates and knows about the disciple the more the disciple becomes aware of his own hidden treasures by and by. Trying to hide himself from others, he has become such an expert in hiding that he hides from himself also.
You don’t know much about yourself. You know just a fragment about yourself, just the tip of the iceberg. Your knowledge about yourself is very limited – not only limited, it is almost irrelevant! It is so partial, it is so fragmentary, that unless you put it in the context of your whole being it carries no meaning. It is almost meaningless.
That’s why you go on living without knowing yourself. And how can one live without knowing oneself? And you go on projecting things on others which have nothing to do with others; they may be just hidden forces inside you. But you don’t know that they are hidden inside you, you project them onto others. Somebody looks like an egoist to you: you may be the egoist and you project. Somebody looks very angry: the anger may be inside you and the other is just like a screen – it is you projecting.
Unless you know yourself exactly, you will not be able to know what is real and what is projection. You will not be able to know about others also. Self-knowledge becomes the door of all knowledge; it is the very base. Without that foundation, all knowledge is just knowledge in appearance; deep down it is ignorance.
I have heard an anecdote:
Mistress Jones, deeply troubled, was consulting a psychiatrist.
“My husband,” she said, “is convinced he is a chicken. He goes around scratching constantly, and sleeps on a large bar of wood he has fixed up as a perch.”
“I see,” said the psychiatrist thoughtfully. “And how long has your husband been suffering from this fixation?”
“For nearly two years now.”
The psychiatrist frowned slightly and said, “But why have you waited till now to seek help?”
Mistress Jones blushed and said, “Ah well, it was so nice having a steady supply of eggs!”