Fed by power and control,
the ‘I’ cares nothing for our inner well-being.

It cuts us off from our real feelings
and makes it impossible for us to see clearly
what is beneficial for growth.

We cannot listen to wise advice
without becoming defensive or offended;

we cannot accept knowledge
that questions the ‘I’s control.

The ‘I’ will even say,
“I have no ego.”

Judging only by its own needs for protection and control,
the ‘I’ can override deeper sensibilities
and concern for the welfare of others.

Unrestrained by awareness of the natural dignity
and value of others,
the ‘I’ tends to dominate an ever-widening territory.

When the ‘I’s demands are given free rein,
we can unwittingly become as selfish and demanding as a child,
forcing others to meet our desires.

Our most valuable human capacity,
the ability to love and respond,
is distorted by the ‘I’,
which recognizes only its own needs
and provides us with a set of false ideas:

Through the veil of self-centered concerns,
we equate domination, dependency, and control
with real caring and responsibility,
and blind ourselves to the conflicts we are creating
in the lives of those we love.

Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche
Knowledge of Freedom


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