Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan
The ego has two sides: the first one is the one we know, and the next one we must discover. The side we know is the false ego which makes us say, 'I'. What is it in us that we call 'I'? We say, 'This is my body, my mind, these are my thoughts, my feelings, my impressions, this is my position in life.' We identify our self with all that concerns us and the sum total of all these we call 'I'. In the light of truth this conception is false, it is a false identity.
By reasoning with oneself and by trying to study oneself analytically it is possible to get nearer to the true knowledge of one's being. If we consider that every part that constitutes our being has its own name -- the hand, the foot, every part of our being has a different name, quality and purpose, and even a separate form -- what is it then in man which says 'I' and identifies itself with what it sees? It is not our head, hand or foot which says 'I' nor is it the brain. It is something that we cannot point out which identifies itself with all these different parts and says 'I' and mine and knows itself to be the person who sees. This in itself is ignorance, and it is this which the Hindus have called avidya.
How can you be that which you possess? You cannot be the horse and rider at the same time, nor can you be carpenter and tool at the same time. Herein lies the secret of mortality and immortality.
What has taken possession of this accommodation? A deluded ego that says, 'I.' It is deluded by this body and mind and it has called itself an individual. When a man has a ragged coat he says, 'I am poor'. In reality his coat is poor, not he. What this capacity or accommodation contains is that which becomes his knowledge, his realization, and it is that which limits him. It forms that limitation which is the tragedy of every soul.
Now, this capacity may be filled with self, or it may be filled with God. There is only room for one. Either we live with our limitation, or we let God reign there in His unlimited Being.
~~~ You cannot be both horse and rider at the same time.