"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye" 

Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Chapter  6

Do you really know who you are?

           Intuitive drawing with found objects by Harry Maberly

           Intuitive drawing with found objects by Harry Maberly

Most people tend to believe that the mind and the ego are intertwined and that they are inseparable. It is easy to accept this as almost every interaction in which we participate and in every response we have to events, we tend to involve both facets at the same time.

The fact is they are completely separate parts of our makeup. The mind is a very useful tool and when put to good use it is exceptionally valuable, as can be seen by our progress into the modern age of technology. The ego on the other hand is a survival mechanism. It allows us to establish an identity but is directly affected by inputs we process every day. The basis of our egoical responses is formed as a consequence of the many and varied inputs we have had over the years. 

The intuitive self works very differently to the ego. It feels into the energy all around us, using all of our senses. We both give off and receive energy from everything around us all the time and the intuitive self responds to this.  It listens to the intellect and quietly responds to everything that is happening, acting like a second, but much quieter mind. If we do not hear it speaking to us it is because we have either blocked it (usually because we have been educated out of giving it any credibility) or the noise of the ego is so loud we cannot hear it. It has no investment in staking its claim over us (as the ego does) and so often goes completely unnoticed.

Contrary to popular perception, the intuitive self is our core centre, our ‘motherboard,’ whilst the egoical self is an ‘app’ we can make good use of, but be aware.  If the ego is allowed full reign, it will act like a computer virus and infect and control our entire system.

Alan McLean, Carol Dweck and Carol Craig

is a Glasgow based Psychologist who works closely with the Scottish Government on various educational advisory councils. He has written two books of note. Further information about Alan can be found here.

The review of his book can be found here.

Carol Dweck’s book ‘Mindset’ can be considered here. 

Details of Carol Craig’s ‘Centre of Confidence and Wellbeing’ in Glasgow can be found here.

Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen was a Catholic Priest. He was also a psychologist and a great communicator. He was a troubled man himself and it was as a result of those challenges and that vulnerability that he was able to touch people in a way that was immensely powerful. People felt he understood them and he provided for many thousands a sense of belonging – that they were the beloved sons and daughters of God.

 The Henri Nouwen Society’s purpose is to foster the spirituality of solitude, community and compassion that was embodied in the life and teaching of Henri Nouwen.

Henri Nouwen travelled around the world speaking on the subject of ‘Being the Beloved’. This link shows Nouwen speaking at Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral in 1993.

One of his closest friends was Sue Mosteller. In this very personal recollection, she speaks of Henri Nouwen as a person who was both remarkable and challenging in equal measure. See the video here.

The Forgotten Circus

The film “The Forgotten Circus” produced by Shelly Love in 2008 is, for me, a brilliant depiction of the dying throes of the ego. In this short clip (which also serves as a promotion video for the song ‘In this shirt’ by the Irrepressibles), a vivid depiction of the agony and the ecstasy of the flailing ego is well captured.

The full version can be seen at her website at this link


Jill Bolte Taylor

Although not referenced at all in the book, the experiences of a lady called Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuro-anatomist who had a stroke and was able to see and understand it from the inside with clarity, are well worth noting. It gives an extraordinary insight into how we are wired from the inside out. She gave a talk on TED some years ago. It is a very moving but also an extraordinarily revealing talk. Well worth watching.


Anita Moorjani

Another person who is not referred to in the book but whose own book has greatly influenced and inspired me recently is Anita Moorjani. Her book ‘Dying to be Meis the extraordinary story of her near death experience in Hong Kong. It is well worth reading.

In it she speaks at great length about what she found, saw and experienced on the other side of the veil. Even if you are a sceptic, you will find this book fascinating. If you want a starter, read this interview with her in the ‘Around DB’ magazine.