Breaking Out of the Shell of the Ego
I have been always surprised by the number of people who come to me and say they are afraid of love. What is the fear of love? It is because when you really love somebody your ego starts slipping away and melting. You cannot love with the ego; the ego becomes a barrier, and when you want to drop the barrier between yourself and the other, the ego says, "This is going to be a death. Beware!"
The death of the ego is not your death; the death of the ego is really your possibility of life. The ego is just a dead crust around you, it has to be broken and thrown away. It comes into being naturally--just as a traveler collects dust on his clothes, on his body, and he has to take a bath to get rid of the dust. As we move through time, the dust of our experiences, our knowledge, of the life we have lived, of the past, collects. That dust becomes the ego. It accumulates and becomes a crust around you, which has to be broken and thrown away. One has to take a bath every day, in fact every moment, so that this crust never becomes a prison.
It will be helpful to understand where the ego comes from, to understand the roots.
A child is born and is absolutely helpless, particularly the human child. He cannot survive without others' help. Most children of the animals, the trees, the birds, can survive without the parents, can survive without a society, without a family. Even if sometimes help is needed, it is very little--a few days, at the most a few months. But a human child is so helpless that he has to depend on others for years. It is there that the root has to be sought.
Why does helplessness create the human ego? The child is helpless, he depends on others, but the ignorant mind of the child interprets this dependence as if he is the center of the whole world. The child thinks, "Whenever I cry, my mother runs immediately; whenever I am hungry, I just have to give an indication and the breast is given. Whenever I am wet, just a slight cry and somebody comes and changes my clothes." The child lives like an emperor. In fact he is absolutely helpless and dependent, and the mother and father, the family and his caretakers, are all helping him to survive. They are not dependent on the child, the child is dependent on them. But the mind of the child interprets this as if he is the center of the whole world, as if the whole world exists just for him.
And the world of the child is, of course, very small in the beginning. It consists of the mother, the caretaker, the father on the fringe--this is the child's whole world. These people love the child. And the child becomes more and more egoistic. He feels himself to be the very center of all existence, and in that way the ego is created. Through dependence and helplessness, the ego is created.
In fact the child's real situation is just the contrary from what he thinks; there is no real justification to create such an ego. But the child is absolutely ignorant, he is not capable of understanding the complexity of the thing. He cannot know that he is helpless, he thinks he is the dictator! And then for his whole life he will try to remain the dictator. He will become a Napoleon, an Alexander, an Adolf Hitler--your presidents, prime ministers, dictators, are all childish. They are trying to achieve the same thing they experienced as children; they want to be the center of the whole existence. With them the world should live and die; the whole world is their periphery and they are the center of it; the very meaning of life is hidden in them.
The child, of course, naturally finds this interpretation correct, because when the mother looks at him, in the eyes of the mother he sees that he is the significance of her life. When the father comes home, the child feels that he is the very meaning of the father's life. This lasts for three or four years-