Ego Is the Basic Problem – That’s Why You Always Need Attention


“Ego is the basic problem, the most basic. And unless you solve it, nothing is solved. Unless ego disappears, the ultimate cannot penetrate you.”

What is the source of our constant craving for attention? Is there any way out of this hole?

Ego is always looking for trouble

“The ego is always looking for some trouble. Why? Because if nobody pays attention to you, the ego feels hungry. It lives on attention. Even if somebody is fighting and angry with you, that too is good because at least he is paying attention to you. If somebody loves you, it is okay. If somebody is not loving you, then even anger will be good. At least some attention will come to you. If nobody is paying any attention to you, nobody thinks you are somebody important, significant, then how will you feed your ego? Others’ attention is needed.

“In millions of ways you attract the attention of others: you dress in a certain way, you try to look beautiful, you behave, you become very polite, you change.

“When you feel what type of situation is there, you immediately change so that people pay attention to you. This is a deep begging.

“A real beggar is one who asks for and demands attention. A real emperor is one who lives in himself: he has a center of his own, he doesn’t depend on anybody else. Buddha sitting under his Bodhi Tree… if the whole world suddenly disappears, will it make any difference to Buddha? – none. It will not make any difference at all. If the whole world disappears, it will not make any difference because he has attained to the center.

You have no center of your own

“But you… if the wife escapes, divorces you, goes to somebody else, you are completely shattered – because she had been paying attention to you, caring, loving, moving around you, helping you to feel that you were somebody. Your whole empire is lost, you are simply shattered. You start thinking about suicide. Why? Why, if a wife leaves you, should you commit suicide? Why, if a husband leaves you, should you commit suicide? Because you don’t have any center of your own. The wife was giving you the center; the husband was giving you the center.

“This is how people exist. This is how people become dependent on others. It is a deep slavery. Ego has to be a slave: it depends on others. And only a person who has no ego is for the first time a master, he is no longer a slave.

“Try to understand this, and start looking for the ego, not in others – that is not your business – but in yourself. Whenever you feel miserable, immediately close your eyes and try to find out from where the misery is coming and you will always find it is the false center which has clashed with someone. You expected something, and it didn’t happen. You expected something, and just the contrary happened – your ego is shaken, you are in misery. Just look. Whenever you are miserable, try to find out why.

The basic cause is within you

“Causes are not outside you. The basic cause is within you – but you always look outside, you always ask, ‘Who is making me miserable? Who is the cause of my anger? Who is the cause of my anguish?’ And if you look outside you will miss. Just close the eyes and always look within. The source of all misery, anger, anguish, is hidden in you – your ego. And if you find the source, it will be easy to move beyond it. If you can see that it is your own ego that gives you trouble, you will like to drop it, because nobody can carry the source of misery if he understands it.

“And remember, there is no need to drop the ego. You cannot drop it. If you try to drop it you will attain to a certain subtle ego again which says, ‘I have become humble.’ Don’t try to be humble; that’s again ego – hiding, but it is not dead. Don’t try to be humble. Nobody can try humility, and nobody can create humility through any effort of his own, no. When the ego is no more, a humbleness comes to you. It is not a creation, it is a shadow of the real center. And a really humble man is neither humble nor egoistic; he is simply simple. He’s not even aware that he is humble. If you are aware that you are humble, the ego is there.


“Whenever you are miserable, just close your eyes and don’t try to find some cause outside. Try to see from where this misery is coming. It is your own ego. If you continuously feel and understand, and the understanding that the ego is the cause becomes so deep-rooted, one day you will suddenly see that it has disappeared.”

Nobody can drop the ego

“Nobody drops it… nobody can drop it. You simply see; it has simply disappeared, because the very understanding that ego causes all misery becomes the dropping. The very understanding is the disappearance of the ego.

“And you are so clever in seeing the ego in others; anybody can see someone else’s ego. When it comes to your own, then the problem arises, because you don’t know the territory, you have never traveled on it. The whole path towards the divine, the ultimate, has to pass through this territory of the ego. The false has to be understood as false. The source of misery has to be understood as the source of misery – then it simply drops. When you know it is poison, it drops. When you know it is fire, it drops. When you know this is hell, it drops. And then you never say that ‘I’ have dropped the ego. Then you simply laugh at the whole thing, the joke that you were the creator of all misery.”

Osho, Returning to the Source, Talk #5