The Buddha said:
Look up to heaven and down on earth and they will remind you of their impermanency.
Look about the world and it will remind you of its impermanency. But when you gain spiritual enlightenment you shall then find wisdom.
The knowledge thus attained leads you anon to the way.
The Buddha said:
You should think of the four elements of which the body is composed. Each of them has its own name and there is no such thing there known as ego. As there is really no ego, it is like unto a mirage.
I am reminded of the fateful day of twenty-first March, 1953. For many lives I had been working – working upon myself, struggling, doing whatsoever can be done – and nothing was happening.
Now I understand why nothing was happening. The very effort was the barrier, the very ladder was preventing, the very urge to seek was the obstacle. Not that one can reach without seeking. Seeking is needed, but then comes a point when seeking has to be dropped. The boat is needed to cross the river but then comes a moment when you have to get out of the boat and forget all about it and leave it behind. Effort is needed, without effort nothing is possible. And also only with effort, nothing is possible.
Just before twenty-first March, 1953, seven days before, I stopped working on myself. A moment comes when you see the whole futility of effort. You have done all that you can do and nothing is happening. You have done all that is humanly possible. Then what else can you do? In sheer helplessness one drops all search.
And the day the search stopped, the day I was not seeking for something, the day I was not expecting something to happen, it started happening. A new energy arose – out of nowhere. It was not coming from any source. It was coming from nowhere and everywhere. It was in the trees and in the rocks and the sky and the sun and the air – it was everywhere. And I was seeking so hard, and I was thinking it is very far away. And it was so near and so close.
Just because I was seeking I had become incapable of seeing the near. Seeking is always for the far, seeking is always for the distant – and it was not distant. I had become far-sighted, I had lost the near-sightedness. The eyes had become focused on the far away, the horizon, and they had lost the quality to see that which is just close, surrounding you.
The day effort ceased, I also ceased. Because you cannot exist without effort, and you cannot exist without desire, and you cannot exist without striving.
The phenomenon of the ego, of the self, is not a thing, it is a process. It is not a substance sitting there inside you; you have to create it each moment. It is like pedaling bicycle. If you pedal it goes on and on, if you don’t pedal it stops. It may go a little because of the past momentum, but the moment you stop pedaling, in fact the bicycle starts stopping. It has no more energy, no more power to go anywhere. It is going to fall and collapse.