Today is boom time for ‘consciousness’, for ‘awakening’. We’re in an effervescent era of mindfulness exploration as we all grapple to breathe, be present and step out of the whirlwinds of our tumultuous, tech filled, stimulus assaulted lives. We’re all seeking utopian states of peace, joy and fulfilment, be they ephemeral or eternal. Much of the advice out there, amidst the exploding array of self-help literature, encourages us to follow our hearts. To listen to the deep inner voice showing us our true paths and ideal relationships. To cut out the noise, shun those invasive distractions and honour our true purpose.
So if we’re to follow our guiding intuition how do we segregate between what is a soulful calling and what is in fact wishful thinking. How do we identify a gut inspired path versus an ego driven pursuit. When we are still and reflective which voice should we listen to?
Reassuringly, there are some obvious, distinguishing features of the ego’s voice as different from your heartfelt intuition.
Ego versus Intuition
The ego shouts and stimulates high frequency sensations in the body. High energy excitement and anticipation or bone shaking fear and anxiety. Extreme sensations, repetitive thoughts, loop cycles, that wired ‘brain getting stuck’ state making you feel a sense of mental dementia. Intuition on the other hand is very subtle and calm. It’s a still, deep, gentle and soft knowing. Whether you like what your intuition is telling you or not there’s no crazy physical or mental reaction, you are steady in the acceptance and acknowledgement of what it. The knowing is almost soothing.
The ego is driven by logic, rationalisations, impulsive desires and an intense focus on what the outcome will give you. It is driven by gain, by an end result that satisfies your self esteem, your public image, your extrinsic world. It is without humility. Conversely intuition is your heart, your gut. It’s a soft direction without articulation of a specific, explicit goal. It’s a pathway rather than an end point. You may visualise success of a particular goal but without obsessive attachment to that outcome, just a reassuring knowing that it’s coming. It’s a humble truth.
Your ego is driven by fear whereas your intuition is positive internal guidance. The ego is trying to protect you from harm a la primeval fight or flight instinct. Do this to save yourself, to protect your reputation, look better and so on. Intuition seeks peace and takes you to a place where needs are met and satisfied positively for your growth.
Your ego can be very destructive as it’s self serving. It doesn’t speak to a place that is best for you. It is short term and potentially self sabotaging. Intuition on the other hand feels deliciously natural to follow and trust. You don’t need an inner dialogue back and forth to justify the course it’s guiding you to take. You know with every cell in your body, deeply in your soul that it is right.
As we hit our mid lives, if we haven’t been following our intuition it rises up as our cliched mid-life crises and we either lull into depressed, grumbling acceptance or start making radical, often dramatic changes to areas of our lives. The latter could be gentle for instance in the form of more time devoted to self care, or perhaps more deeply cleansing shunning now-unserving diets, habits and perhaps even people.
Listen carefully to your heart. The gentle, intuitive wisdom within you is leading you to your most exceptional experiences and your absolute highest potential. Things look pretty sparkly up there. Go reach for those stars.