The self is very cold. The self is death. Those who live in the self are already dead, or maybe they were never born in the first place. They missed their birth. To be born, to be alive, means to be flowing, to be warm, to be melting, to be dissolving, to not know where you end and where existence begins, to not know the boundaries, to remain in that diffused consciousness. You are conscious, certainly, but there is no self-consciousness in it. Consciousness in itself is unself-consciousness.
Consciousness can make man far more happier than anything else on the earth. It is a great opportunity. But there is a danger lurking just by the side. Consciousness can turn into selfconsciousness at any moment, and the moment consciousness turns into self-consciousness that which was going to be a bliss becomes a curse. Then you are a dead thing here. Then you only pretend that you live, you only believe that you live. You only drag on, you only wait for death to come and free you from this so-called life.
The Zen approach is how to make you again an unself, a no-self, how to dissolve the boundaries again, how not to cling to these boundaries, how to become open again, how to be vulnerable, how to be available to existence so that it can penetrate you to your very core.
Says Lao Tzu, “Everybody seems to be so certain of himself except me. Everybody seems to be so well-defined except me. I remain very undefined, I remain kind of ambiguous. I don’t know exactly where I am or what I am or what I am not. I don’t know how to define the self and the other. I don’t know where ‘I’ and ‘thou’ can be separated.”
Existentially they are not separate. “I” is the one polarity of “thou,” they are vibrations of the same energy. That energy which is speaking in me is listening in you, it is not separate, it can’t be separate. It is one spectrum, it is one wavelength. It is the same wave that is speaking in me and that is hearing in you. It is the same energy that is man in you and woman in somebody else. It is the same energy that is human in you and vegetable in the trees. It is the same energy out of which the whole existence is made. It is one stuff in the rocks and in the stars. In man and woman it is the same stuff. It is one whole.
To lose this one whole and to become confined in the self is the misery. That’s what hell is. Don’t wait for any other hell, you are already there. Your ego is your hell. There is no other hell. Don’t think that somewhere deep, hidden underneath the earth, is hell. It is already there, you are in it, it is in you. It comes with the ego.
So we have to understand this phenomenon of the ego. Once we understand this phenomenon of the ego, Zen becomes very clear-cut. Then Zen is a very, very simple methodology. Once the understanding of what this self is arises in you, you can easily become an unself. That very understanding liberates you from the self. As the understanding arises, the self starts disappearing – just as when you bring light into a room, the darkness disappears.