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About the Author

Born in Suffolk, U.K. in 1949 Michael Vincent has been a painter and writer throughout his life.

He has specialised in gouache and oil painting using his work to illustrate his published books and articles, turning several paintings into limited edition prints. He has exhibited his work widely since the 1960s. Since childhood he has used his Art to support many environmental issues, recognising it to be a powerful tool in raising the awareness of others to the dire issues we face today.

His inspiration is found in nature, in front of the living, vibrant landscape where painting becomes both a connection to our precious Earth and an act of deep meditation.

A lifelong interest in meditation inspired him to demonstrate, through courses in creativity, how visual Art can play a significant part in health and well-being. This growing interest in meditation, notably in the practise of Self Enquiry, has resulted in the publication of three books on this ancient Practice, introduced to many individuals and groups over the years. His first book was completed in India and published in 2010; his second book was published in 2016 and the third in 2020.

Michael returned to his beloved Suffolk in 2024. He now lives in Kessingland by the sea with with his daughter Jennifer and their rescue dogs. Although “retired” he continues to write, paint, meditate and meet with individuals and small groups keen to learn more of this Practice and his work.


Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent's Latest Publications

Self Enquiry: A Testimony –

Autobiography Shares Transformative Practice From Author’s Self Help Cupboard

Self Enquiry: A Testimony – Autobiography Shares Transformative Practice From Author’s Self Help Cupboard

Whilst sharing his personal story, painter and writer, Michael J Vincent explains how dedication to the practise of Self Enquiry becomes a companion on our life’s journey and whilst to be considered neither a doctrine nor sticking plaster, this powerful practice comes with one simple message – believe in yourself

UNITED KINGDOM –  The third published work by author and painter, Michael J Vincent, Self Enquiry: A Testimony fascinates the reader on two levels.  Firstly the autobiographical elements paint a picture of a life well lived, but Michael Vincent’s explanation of his practice of Self Enquiry, initially without having realised that’s what he was doing, elevates this biography into a self-help guide that will strike a chord with all those looking to make sense of 21st century life.

Sharing the benefits that Self Equiry (the constant attention to the inner awareness of ‘I’ or ‘I am’) brings, the author offers readers and those new to this mindful philosophy a jargon free and clearly explained overview of this life changing practice and the benefits it offers.

With the author believing his practise to be the reason for his peace, fulfilment and  positivity, this new book is an insightful introduction to the practice, as well as a compelling retelling of the life of a man who has lived life to the full.


Michael J. Vincent uses his life story to illustrate how experience, no matter how trivial or intense and life-changing, becomes a deep well of learning for us to draw upon in our search for truth.

Exploring his journey through life, Michael demonstrates how the Practice of Self Enquiry can quieten the mind-driven anxieties, doubts and fears that grow along the way, moving us to a place of peace, fulfilment and positive action.

No doctrine; no belief system; not a crutch, mask or sticking plaster; Self Enquiry is a profound, radical and powerful Practice with one clear message: Believe in yourself.

The author says:

“I believe self-enquiry to be a very powerful tool to have in our “self-help” cupboard as we struggle to come to terms with a painful present and an uncertain future. We are all presented daily with great challenges as we reassess, with increasing urgency, the nature of our relationship with each other and this precious Earth.”

Garnering five-star reviews:

“To use one’s own life as a personal example of how to deal with – and make sense of – all that is thrown at us is a remarkable achievement, one which not only highlights the benefits of this practice, but also answers many of today’s pressing concerns about how to live a spiritual life in the 21st century.”

Stephen Gawtry, Managing Editor, Watkins Mind Body Spirit Magazine.

“There are a few books which just seem to connect, as if they’re speaking directly to your heart at a pivotal time in life. Self Enquiry, A Testimony is one such book. It provides a gateway to discovering the true self that has been trapped by either the story we tell ourselves or the conditioning layered upon us.

A captivating personal account of a journey out of conditioned existence, into the freedom of being true to yourself. The simple and effective method of Self Enquiry is demonstrated by Michael’s powerfully honest and open story of how he dropped all that isn’t him. This and Michael’s other books have opened a pathway to freedom for me to have the courage to be true to myself, empowering me to approach the world in a more loving way.” – John Beeny

“It was a privilege to read the heartfelt adventures of a life so well-travelled. The love, the happiness, and the pain of Michael’s journey are courageously shared in this, his most recent passionate work. Readers will undoubtedly find strength in this honest remarkable soul-bearing autobiography and will learn how the process of Self Enquiry is so much more than a philosophy of personal discovery, but a pillar of support, an endless well of creativity, and a universal call to action from the heart of Being. More than that, he explains how recognising our natural state is the key to healing ourselves, others, and this beautiful planet we call our home. Read it now, remember who you are, then act from That!” – Jonathan Harrison

“This book is a deeply personal account of the authors life, framed by his ongoing commitment to his meditation practice. A touching memoir with powerful pointers to the practice of  Self Enquiry. Recommended.” – Stephanie Hiller

Published by Matador, Self Enquiry:
A Testimony is available in paperback (£8.99)

and Kindle format (£4.99)

Get it at Amazon at and


Self Enquiry: On Being You. A Journey Into Truth.

Who or what is being challenged? What is it within you that creates this resistance, doubt and fear? This is your first opportunity to go to the source, to step back from this anxiety and concern and see it for what it is

My first book on Self Enquiry, completed in 2010 during my stay at Sri Ramana’s Ashram in Arunachala, India, sought to clarify the nature of Self Enquiry, to free it from spiritual jargon and flowery language and make this important Practice accessible to those who are ready for it. Since that time I have continued to lead Satsang* and Retreats focusing on Self Enquiry and have worked to clarify for myself just how this Practice can be “taught” to others and made even clearer and more accessible for everyone. This book, in growing from the first, addresses these questions and seeks to further clarify a Practice that is, essentially, so very simple and so very profound.

I suspect since humankind first developed an awareness of a spiritual dimension to existence Self nquiry in some form has been practiced. Indeed Self Enquiry is an ancient Practice embraced by the major religions and one which has inspired many figures in world history: politicians, spiritual leaders, composers, artists, writers, philosophers and scientists. Why am I here? What is my purpose? Why do I exist? “Who Am I?”

In the mind-centred West this simple but radical Practice has become enmeshed in verbiage, notably over the last 100 years into the 21st century. Weighty, complex texts have been written, retreat centres established and many pilgrimages made to sacred places across the globe in the search for answers to these questions, to discover the nature of Truth, whatever that may be.This is often to the detriment of Self Enquiry and its message resulting in confusion and uncertainty for the seeker, the pilgrim, the ordinary man and woman who, in becoming aware that something exists beyond the physical world, is seeking the nature of Truth.

In doing this, in stripping away the flowery language and sweet sugar coating so to speak, I am aware that I am presenting Self Enquiry as the challenging Practice it is designed to be, directly, “in the raw”. But then this will take you to an important question: who, or what, is being  challenged? What is it within you that creates this resistance, doubt, fear, this seeming mountain that is now before you as you confront full-on the issues presented to you as you proceed with the Practice? This is your first opportunity to go to the source, to step back from this anxiety and concern and see it for what it is: the many-layered mind with all its attachments continuing its game playing in its effort to remain in control. In being prepared to swallow what seems to be a bitter pill you are taken directly to what matters: the path to Truth.


To Kaisa: Life, Love and Complementary Health Care

Kaisa Vincent was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1983, an event which was to be the beginning of a great journey. Instead of accepting cancer as a death sentence she chose to develop her way of dealing with this life-threatening and destructive illness. This book describes her journey and the complimentary health care programme she developed and used for over 18 years.

To Kaisa : Life, Love and Complementary Health Care.

Michael Vincent  2001.  Full colour. 61 pages.

Kaisa Vincent was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1983, an event which was to be the beginning of a great journey. Instead of accepting cancer as a death sentence she chose to develop her way of dealing with this life-threatening and destructive illness. This book describes her journey and the complimentary health care programme she developed and used for over 18 years.

“When the student is ready the master will appear” it is said.  If you are reading this book you are ready; and here is a master of courage, determination and self-empowerment speaking through the voices of those who knew her.

It is the author’s wish that as many people as possible may benefit from Kaisa’s programme and her message of hope and power, love and trust that can define any life, even one coloured by a life-threatening illness.

 Snowdrops and primroses

Gouache 1995




Book Review: To Kaisa – Life, Love & Complementary Health Care by Michael Vincent

This lovely book is a shining tribute to Kaisa lovingly written by her husband, the author. Kaisa, born in Finland in 1944, was a woman of huge spirit, wit and exceptionally mischievous humour. A person who lived life to the full, she came to the UK during the 1960s, lived in London, Suffolk, emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1990s, and moved to Somerset during the latter part of the 1990s. The book is illustrated by her artist husband.

The book makes riveting reading because it chronicles honestly Kaisa’s eighteen year struggle and methods of treatment for a variety of cancers, beginning with breast cancer in 1983, for which she received radiotherapy treatment. The book chronicles how, the victim of misdiagnosis, patronization and being treated like a naughty child, Kaisa gradually assembled a huge amount of knowledge, with the help of the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, regarding complementary self-help treatments, including nutritional and herbal medicine, relaxation, visualization and meditation, which enabled her to remain in remission from 1983 to 1996.

Following a recurrence of breast cancer in 1996, a dispute with the oncology team at Norfolk hospital, a transfer to the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, and a residential week at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, Kaisa embarked upon a combined orthodox and complementary treatment approach, undergoing chemotherapy and a mastectomy in 1998.

It was her attitude and approach to her treatment, and how she interacted with the medical team and her friends and family, however, that is so intriguing about this book. Having read that negative expectations can severely undercut the patient’s ability to maintain hope,[1] Kaisa was strong-willed and independent, attending cancer treatment clinics by herself, keeping her illness rather private and not revealing the true extent of her pain and suffering, steering clear of ‘negative’ people. Lung cancer was diagnosed in 1999 and treated with chemotherapy in 2000 which was only partially successful, followed by the devastating diagnosis of multiple brain tumours in 2001. She sadly died on 2nd April 2001.

Kaisa’s approach to her treatment was underpinned by a determined search for knowledge and the answers to questions. Over many years she became exceptionally knowledgeable about wild flowers and herbs and their healing properties. She created a herb garden in an allotment, creating many remedies for colds, headaches, stomach problems and the like. She also shared her knowledge with many others as well as applying it in her efforts to cope with cancer.

She was also attracted to spiritual healing, used homeopathy and vitamin and mineral supplements, in an attempt to strengthen her immune system. I am very moved that one of the publications she referred to regarding vitamins and mineral supplements was my book which originated from the Cancer and Nutrition database which I compiled for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre during the early 1990s.[2]

To Kaisa details her regime of nutritional and mineral supplements, herbal remedies, as well as her dietary advice (vegetables, salads and fruits, much of it eaten raw) as well as her favourite detoxification regime.

Other complementary therapies used to great advantage included counselling, reflexology, aromatherapy, acupressure, shiatsu, crystal healing and meditation.

Although it is a great sadness that Kaisa died, it has also been a time of grief for her loving husband, who has chosen to channel some of his energies to putting together this book as a tribute to Kaisa, as well as a help to others who may be living with cancer.

The author has stated that all proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to complementary health care.


1. Simonton, Simonton and Creighton. Getting Well Again. Bantam Books. 1978.

2. Goodman Sandra. Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the Art. Positive Health Publications Ltd. 1998.



On Being You: A Simple Guide to Self Enquiry: Revised Edition 2015

“On Being You: A Simple Guide to Self Enquiry”

Michael Vincent

Edited by Chantal De-Silva with a Preface by Hilary Lepine

Kessingland, Suffolk and Arunachala, India 2009-10

I came into this body with no-thing: without my name, my mind, my ego and without any material thing. It is assured I will leave this body with no-thing. What is the nature of the “I” which existed before all these things were attached to it? What is the nature of this Consciousness, this Awareness, that existed as “I” before entering this body?  Who is this “I” that I am? Who amongst us will dare to ask………..?

If you would reflect on “Who am I?” in your search for Self realisation this small volume may be the invitation you seek and the map you require on your personal journey. The travelling may not be easy as you drop all the masks and kick away the crutches. But as the clouds clear and the fog lifts you will become aware that the Realisation of True Self is the essential factor rendering as side show and distraction all other activities pursued in life.

Self Enquiry is for all, you are already fully qualified and membership of this club is guaranteed with endless benefits





On Being You – A Simple Guide to Self Enquiry.

Having been an avid reader of Self Enquiry books and sort-out Masters around the world for many years I was pleasantly surprised to be touched and inspired by Michael’s book on Self Enquiry into the timeless question “Who am I?”.

His paintings in the book are a treat in themselves. I shall recommend this little gem to my clients and students.

Reverend Leonora van Gils

Interfaith Minister and Spiritual Counsellor,

International Healer and Allergy specialist.


Moat Hall, Darsham, Suffolk, IP17 3PP.

10 July 2010.

On Being You: A Simple Guide to Self Enquiry

Michael has written articles for local and national newspapers and magazines and published a book in 2001 celebrating the life of his wife Kaisa and her pioneering complementary health care programme for cancer. He has broadcast on local radio and facilitates workshops on visual art and Meditation.

This book is delightfully presented in all aspects. I found the “look and feel” of the book immediately set a relaxed tone. The size and clean layout are easy on the eye, offering the opportunity to focus upon the content without undue distraction.

The text is interspersed with relevant quotations and a selection of images taken from his own extensive portfolio of original artworks created during his lifetime as a painter. Each quotation and each image offers the reader an opportunity to pause and reflect, before continuing.

Sri Ramana Maharshi first offered Self Enquiry as silent Satsang. It soon became apparent to him that many of his students were not “getting the message” as they were unable or unprepared to sit with silence. Faced with this fact verbal communication was started, much of which was written down by his students and later became the basis of texts.

From there, the author explains, there has become an almost exponential increase in the verbiage, particularly in the west, as Self Enquiry becomes more popular, and as Hindi texts are translated with different ways used to compensate for the lack of equivalent western words.

It is the proliferation of differing words and the accompanying complexity or confusion that Michael seeks to redress.

As readers, invited to work at our own pace, we are led through each section with simple and uncluttered explanations. I found that when approached in a relaxed and open way, I absorbed the material with more and more ease.

Following his desire to keep matters as simple as possible Michael’s book follows a path covering:

Some Definitions


On being not you

 Conscience, action and behaviour

 Unlearning the learned

 On Desire

 Be in your body

 Earth Matters

 Look to the Source

 On Freedom

 On what remains

 Epilogue: I am I


This route offers a measured journey through each of the areas being addressed. At only 80 pages, which include the images and quotations, some recommended reading, and three pages at the end left empty for writing any personal notes, it is clear that Michael has accomplished what he set out to offer – A simple guide to Self Enquiry devoid of surplus verbiage.

Publisher: Authorhouse

Year; 2010

Format: paperback, colour

Size: 8.5 x 8.5 inches

ISBN: ISBN 978 144 909 7578

Reviewer: John Emery