In the West also, sooner or later, psychotherapy will have to understand the ultimate psychology – the psychology of the Buddhas. Before I enter into it, I would like to say a few things about the ego – how this mechanism functions, what exactly it is.
A child is born. A child is like an uninflated balloon. The balloon is there, it can be inflated, it can carry much air. But right now there is no air in it. Then, by and by, we inflate the balloon. This balloon is the symbol of the ego. From the first year to the seventh year the child exists almost egolessly. He exists in tune with existence, he has no separation, no clear-cut boundaries. He does not know who he is, he does not compare, he does not fight. He lives in utter relaxation – that’s the beauty of a child. That’s why the eyes of a child are so innocent; no tension floats there, no anguish has arisen, no fear.
Anguish arises only when your boundaries have become very clear-cut. With the boundaries you are separate; when you are separate you are in danger. Separation brings danger. When you start feeling that “I am myself and nobody else!” then death starts hovering around you – because this is a false idea. You are not yourself: you are part of the whole. You are not an island. The ego gives the idea that you are an island. You are not an island; you are involved with the whole of existence. You are not separate, so how can there be death? That’s why a child is deathless – he can go and play with a snake. He has no concept of death, he s so utterly innocent. From where does this fearlessness of the child come?
It comes because there is no division yet; he lives an undivided life, a life of unison, unity. That’s why later on we go on thinking with nostalgia how beautiful those days, those few years, were. They continue to remain the golden age – the poetry of those days, the dance, the joy, the celebration – that goes on hovering around you for your whole life. As if the best happened first, and since then you have been falling and falling and falling.
Because of this basic mechanism, all the religions carry the parable of “The Fall.” The Fall presupposes that we were higher first; we were higher and then we became lower. This doesn’t seem to be a very good evolution. It is involution! First you were in a golden age – so say the Hindus, so say the Christians, so say all the religions of the world: that the real golden age passed in the past. Now more and more gloomy days are coming – Kaliyuga, the Dark Age – more and more dark it will be. From where does this parable of the Fall come? It comes from the deep experience of every man. It is very fundamental.
The child was really happy. He had known no responsibility, he had known no division, he had known no separation. He was egoless. The balloon was there, potentially ready. You can put hot air into it at any moment. And we start putting hot air in – the moment the child is born we start putting hot air into it. The moment you start putting hot air in, the child starts becoming more and more of an individual.