The dropping always happens in the moment and always in THIS moment. There is no progressive, gradual process for it. There cannot be. The happening is instantaneous. You can't get ready for it, you can't prepare for it, because whatsoever you do - and I say whatsoever - will strengthen the ego.
Any gradual process will be an effort, something done on your part. So you will be strengthened more and more through it. You will become stronger. Everything gradual helps the ego. Only something absolutely non-gradual, something like a jump, not like a process, something discontinuous with the past, not in continuity with it - only then the ego drops. The problem arises because we cannot understand what this ego is.
The ego is the past, the continuity, all that you have done, all that you have accumulated, all the karmas, all the conditionings, all the desires, all the dreams of the past. That whole past is the ego. And if you think in terms of gradual process, you bring the past in.
The dropping is non-gradual, sudden. It is a discontinuity - the past is no more, the future is no more. You are left alone here and now. Then the ego cannot exist.
The ego can exist only through the memory: Who you are, from where you come, to whom you belong, the country, the race, the religion, the family, the tradition, and all the hurts, wounds, pleasures - all that has happened in the past. All that has happened is the ego. And you are that to whom all this has happened.
This distinction has to be understood: you are that to whom all has happened, and the ego is that which has happened. The ego is around you. You are in the center, egoless.
A child is born absolutely fresh and young - no past, no ego. That's why children are so beautiful. They don't have any past. They are young and fresh. They cannot say I, because from where will they bring the I? The I has to develop gradually. They will get educated, they will get awards, punishments, they will be appreciated, condemned - then the I will gather.
A child is beautiful because the ego is not there. An old man becomes ugly, not because of old age, but because of too much past, too much of the ego. An old man can also become again beautiful, even more beautiful than a child, if he can drop the ego. Then there is a second childhood, then a rebirth.
This is the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus. It is not an historical fact, it is a parable. Jesus is crucified and then he resurrects. The man who was crucified is no more; that was the son of the carpenter, Jesus. Now Jesus is dead, crucified. A new entity arises out of that. Out of this death a new life is born. This is Christ - not the son of a particular carpenter in Bethlehem, not a Jew, not even a man. This is Christ, something new, egoless.
And the same will happen to you whenever your ego is on the cross. Whenever your ego is crucified, there is a resurrection, a rebirth. You are born again. And this childhood is eternal, because this is a rebirth of the spirit, not of the body.
Now you will never become old. Always and always you will be fresh and young - as fresh as the dew-drop in the morning, as fresh as the first star in the night. You will always remain fresh, young, a child, innocent - because this is a resurrection of the spirit.
This always happens in a moment.
Ego is time - the more time, the more ego. Ego needs time. If you penetrate deeply you may even be able to conceive that time exists only because of the ego.
Time is not part of the physical world around you, it is part of the psychic world within you, the mind-world. Time exists just as a space for the ego to evolve and to grow. Room is needed; time gives the room.
If it is said to you that this is the last moment of your life, next moment you are going to be shot dead, suddenly time disappears. You feel very uneasy. You are still alive, but suddenly you feel as if you are dying. And you can't think what to do. Even to think becomes difficult, because even for thinking, time is needed, future is needed. There is no tomorrow, then where to think, how to desire, how to hope? There is no time. Time is finished.
The greatest agony that can happen to a man happens when his death is fixed and he cannot avoid it; it is certain. A person who is sentenced, imprisoned, waiting for his death - he cannot do anything about it, death is fixed, after a certain period he will die, beyond that time, there is no tomorrow for him - now he cannot desire, he cannot think, he cannot project, he cannot even dream. The barrier is always there.
Then much agony follows. That agony is for the ego, because ego cannot exist without time. Ego breathes in time. Time is breath for the ego. The more time, the more possibility for the ego.
In the East much has been worked out, much has been done to understand the ego, much probing has been done. And one of the findings is that unless time drops from you, ego will not drop.
If tomorrow exists, the ego will exist. If there is no tomorrow, how can you pull on the ego? It will be just like pulling a boat without the river. That will become a burden. A river is needed, then the boat can function.
The river of time is needed for the ego. That's why the ego always thinks in terms of gradual, in terms of degrees. The ego says: Okay, enlightenment is possible - but time is needed, because you will have to work for it, prepare, get ready.
And this is a very logical thing! For everything time is needed. If you sow a seed, time is needed for the tree to grow. If a child is to be born, if a child is to be created, time is needed. The womb will need time. The child will have to grow. Everything grows around you. For growth, time is needed. So it seems logical that spiritual growth will also need time.
But this is the point to be understood: spiritual growth is not really a growth like a seed. The seed has to grow to become a tree. Between the seed and the tree there is a gap. That gap has to be traveled, there is distance. You don't grow like a seed. YOU ARE ALREADY THE GROWTH. It is just a revelation. There is no distance between you as you are and you as you will be. There is no distance! The ideal, the perfect, is already there.
So it is not really a question of growth, but just a question of unveiling. It is a discovery. Something is hidden - you pull away the screen, and it is there. It is just as if you are sitting with closed eyes, the sun is there on the horizon, but you are in darkness. Suddenly you open the eyes and it is day, it is light.
The spiritual growth is not really a growth. The word is erroneous. Spiritual growth is a revelation. Something that was hidden becomes unhidden. Something that was already there, you realize it, that it is there. Something that you had never missed, simply forgotten, you remember it. That's why mystics go on using the word remembrance. They say the divine is not an achievement, it is simply a remembrance. Something you have forgotten, you remember.
Really, no time is needed. But the mind says, the ego says, for everything time is needed, for everything to grow time is needed. And if you become a victim of this logical thought, then you will never achieve it.
Then you will go on postponing. You will say tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. And it will never come because tomorrow never comes.
If you can understand what I am saying, that the ego can be dropped this very moment, and if it is true, then the question arises: Why is it not dropping? Why can't you drop it? If there is no question of gradual growth, then why are you not dropping it? Because you don't want to drop it.
This will shock you, because you go on thinking that you want to drop it. Reconsider it, think again. You don't want to drop it, hence it continues. It is not a question of time. Because you don't want to drop it, nothing can be done!
Mysterious are the ways of the mind. You think that you want to drop it, and deep down you know you don't want to drop it. You may want to polish it a little more, you may want it to be more refined, but you don't really want to drop it.
If you want to drop it there is no one who is preventing. No barrier exists. Just for the wanting it can be dropped. But if you don't want to drop it nothing can be done. Even a thousand Buddhas working on you will fail, because nothing can be done from the outside.
Have you really thought about it, have you ever meditated on it, whether you want to drop it? Do you really want to become a non-being, a nothing? Even in your religious projections you want to be something, you want to achieve something, reach somewhere, be something. Even when you think of being humble, your humility, your humbleness, is just a secret hiding-place for the ego and nothing else.
From: My Way: The Way of the White Clouds