There are some who believe all thoughts are tainted by the ego and thus the only way to achieve wisdom is through meditation. I think this perspective is a bit pessimistic, though I concede that the ego, and his willing soldier, the mind, are sophisticated indeed. So how can one connect with the true self despite the ever-present me in the fore? This is where the intellect comes in. We humans have the unbelievable ability to observe and study our own ego at work.
You might be surprised about the title of this note. For some reason, I came up with the image of a samurai in my head. He just stands there charged and ready to act if something in the mind seems out of order: negative thoughts, derogate statements or compulsive behaviours; once the samurai feels something is out of order, out comes a load Kiyah (this is a karate scream in case you missed it) and the intellect is activated to monitor the situation.
The trick, however, is to realize that this is a monitoring device. Monitor the ego at work, don't judge it. Judgement is a sure sign that the ego is just around the corner. You might ask how the samurai, or the intellect, is activated in the end. By life, I would say. Yes, discovering the ego at work is tricky indeed, but you have no idea how much help is on your side. Once you are willing to look at your self, life (or an army of angels if you wish) is there to alert you, and show you the way. I believe Krishnamurti once said something to the extent, watch your mind at work, it is more fascinating than the most brilliant movie plot. Enjoy the show!