It is natural, because the eyes open outwards, the hands touch others, the ears listen to others, the tongue tastes food and the nose smells the outside. All these senses open outwards.
That is what birth means. Birth means coming into this world, the world of the outside. So when a child is born, he is born into this world. He opens his eyes, sees others. 'Other' means the thou. He becomes aware of the mother first.
This awareness is a reflected awareness. He is not aware of who he is. He is simply aware of the mother and what she thinks about him. If she smiles, if she appreciates the child, if she says, "You are beautiful," if she hugs and kisses him, the child feels good about himself.
Now an ego is born.
Through appreciation, love, care, he feels he is good, he feels he is valuable, he feels he has some significance.
A center is born.
But this center is a reflected center. It is not his real being. He does not know who he is; he simply knows what others think about him. And this is the ego: the reflection, what others think. If nobody thinks that he is of any use, nobody appreciates him, nobody smiles, then too an ego is born: an ill ego; sad, rejected, like a wound; feeling inferior, worthless. This too is the ego. This too is a reflection.
First the mother - and mother means the world in the beginning. Then others will join the mother, and the world goes on growing. And the more the world grows, the more complex the ego becomes, because many others' opinions are reflected.
From illusion to reality
The real can be known only through the false, so the ego is a must. One has to pass through it. It is a discipline. The real can be known only through the illusion. You cannot know the truth directly. First you have to know that which is not true. First you have to encounter the untrue. Through that encounter you become capable of knowing the truth. If you know the false as the false, truth will dawn upon you.
Newton wasn't the only person in the world on whose head an apple fell. Yet, it was Newton who immediately grasped the meaning of gravity after this experience. When Einstein heard that a painter had fallen from the roof, he asked the painter how he felt while falling down. The painter's reply that he felt weightless propelled Einstein into formulating his General Theory of Relativity.
Both Newton and Einstein and countless other discoverers of truth produced great ideas from every day observations because their minds were in a state of preparedness.
It is the lord Buddha who discovered the reality behind the false view of ‘Ego’, a main cause of endless suffering of all beings. How much you have suffered in this life and in past lives (sansara) because you were deceived by this illusion. While you are deceived yourself, there are other vicious social forces to exploit you on your ignorance on ‘ego’.
— Albert Einstein
We will discuss this false phenomena further and way out of endless suffering due to this false illusion in next few posts.
The above post is excerpts with minor changes from book Beyond the Frontier of the Mind by Osho
- Beyond the Frontier of the Mind by Osho