Son, listen. These are the characteristics of devils. That which is called ‘devil’ is not some actual great big black thing that scares and petrifies whomever sees it. A devil is anything that obstructs the achievement of freedom. Therefore, even loving and affectionate friends become devils [with regard to] freedom. Most of all, there is no greater devil than this fixation to a self. So until this ego-fixation is cut off, all the devils wait with open mouths. For that reason, you need to exert yourself at a skillful method to sever the devil of ego-fixation. As adjuncts, there are three devils that are born from ego-fixation; thus we have the four devils that must be severed. These are their names: Devil of the Material and Devil of the Immaterial; Devil of Exaltation and Devil of Inflation. Those are the four devils of ego-fixation.

— Machig Labdrön


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