I had just finished reading her book, The Elegance of Simplicity, when I filmed this interview with Sophie McLean at her house in the French Provence. The night before we had a very deep and expansive conversation, and I wanted to condense in an hour as much learnings as I could.
Language creates our life
I was eager to talk about language, and how it creates reality. Sophie says it’s actually the only tool to create in this dimension. And she acknowledges that it is a limited tool. I am passionate about what kind of language has that actual power.
Most of us use the language of description. When you use the language of description you don’t have any power to alter what is. I do not have a say in the matter of life. There is another language that is called the language of declaration. And that is the one that creates your reality. That language is extremely powerful because in the moment of the declaration you create a future that didn’t exist before. And it’s not the future “one day I’ll get to it”. It’s the future now. That language is available to everybody and can indeed create your life.
The art of listening
There is no effective and authentic communication without real listening. Yet most of humans don’t really listen. We just filter for ideas to judge, for things to agree or disagree on, so we can comment and reinforce our attention-thirsty egos. Sophie assures me that the access to the art of listening is very simple:
You have to give up everything. Mainly opinion, judgment, evaluation, fear, thinking about something else, commenting about what the other person just said, agreeing, disagreeing, right, wrong, good, bad. All that has to be given up so there is nothing. And when there is nothing from you then you will actually be able to listen and have an experience of the other person.
The way she puts it, it sounds extraordinary. Life is experience, which allows growth, and Sophie says that in every conversation there is the potential of an experience. As long as we let ourselves really listen. I love this.
Sophie McLean has been leading transformational seminars for years, and she tells me the secret to connection when doing public speaking is to care so much for your audience that all your attention is on them instead of you.
I ask what is the role of us storytellers in my pursuit for authenticity. She starts by sharing that it is a waste of time to regret the past, which doesn’t really exist anymore.
Share your own experience and the experience of others in as many different points of view about what’s possible. Through your experience and what you learn from what happened to you, create what’s possible.
And I wonder how that is achievable, that quest for authenticity, through media.
Maybe the way to have authentic media that will really provide people with the opportunity to make up their own point of view will be a media that will give so many different points of view that people will look, let’s say, at 10 points of views and then make up their own. The problem with the ego is that we don’t like watching different points of views, because it invalidates ours. So mostly what we do as people we watch what goes in agreement with our own point of view.
The ego (that misunderstood part of ourselves)
But we didn’t go straight into the power of language. I asked her to share what she learned during the many years she spent studying the ego, which she defines as “the sum of all identifications”.
If you think the ego is who you are, you are inauthentic. So do you see the paradox? You do need an ego but you have to know you’re making it up and you’re creating it.
To examine opinions, your actions, your feelings, your judgement. That is by itself transformational. People are inquiring into love, generosity, integrity, connection, consciousness, awareness. It’s very exciting.
Awareness allows you to get out of that trap that you built, which is quite limited, and have the full range of being.
I was playing the devil’s advocate (sometimes inadvertently), arguing that the ego was the root of all evil in this world. And Sophie kept shining the light of clarity over the concept that has us bewitched.
There is nothing wrong with the ego if you know that you have a choice in the matter, that you are the source of it. Because if I sat here being silent and in nothing, meditating, you would not have an interview.
Well, I’m very happy she was not in nothingness and I could be there listening to her well put arguments. Possibilities is already my new mantra. And the truth in her ideas resonated with me.
When people are dominating and controlling and want to force their view on somebody and manipulate people, those people are as trapped as anybody else. And what’s underneath is all fear. And I really really think that the 21st century is a century of consciousness, spirituality, the feminine.