The Untethered Soul (2007) takes the reader on a spiritual journey by exploring what it means to be conscious, how to tap into the infinite flow of energy that permeates around us and transcending one’s inner state to higher realms of consciousness.
The author Michael Singer, who after having an inner awakening in the 1970s, began studying yogic philosophies and meditation and has spent the last four decades both as a student and teacher of spirituality. Singer is also the Founder of ‘The Temple of The Universe.’
“The Untethered Soul” Summary
- In case you haven’t noticed, you have a mental dialogue going on inside your head that never stops. It just keeps going and going. Have you ever wondered why it talks in there?
- If you’re smart, you’ll take the time to step back, examine this voice, and get to know it better. The problem is, you’re too close to be objective. You have to step way back and watch it converse.
- Notice that the voice takes both sides of the conversation. It doesn’t care which side it takes, just as long as it gets to keep on talking. If you spend some time observing this mental voice, the first thing you will notice is that it never shuts up. When left to its own, it just talks.
- The best way to free yourself from this incessant chatter is to step back and view it objectively. Just view the voice as a vocalizing mechanism that is capable of making it appear like someone is in there talking to you. Don’t think about it; just notice it. There is absolutely nothing that voice can say that is more you than anything else it says.
- The bottom line is, you’ll never be free of problems until you are free from the part within that has so many problems. When a problem is disturbing you, don’t ask, “What should I do about it?” Ask, “What part of me is being disturbed by this?”
- If you ask, “What should I do about it?” you’ve already fallen into believing that there really is a problem outside that must be dealt with. If you want to achieve peace in the face of your problems, you must understand why you perceive a particular situation as a problem.
- If you’re feeling jealousy, instead of trying to see how you can protect yourself, just ask, “What part of me is jealous?” That will cause you to look inside and see that there’s a part of you that’s having a problem with jealousy.
- Once you clearly see the disturbed part, then ask, “Who is it that sees this? Who notices this inner disturbance?” Asking this is the solution to your every problem. The very fact that you can see the disturbance means that you are not it.
- This act of maintaining objective awareness of the inner problem is always better than losing yourself in the outer situation. This is the essential difference between a spiritually minded person and a worldly person.
- Suppose that you’re looking at three objects; a flowerpot, a photograph, and a book—and were then asked, “Which of these objects is you?”
- You would reply, “None of them! I’m the one who’s looking at what you’re putting in front of me. It doesn’t matter what you put in front of me, it’s always going to be me looking at it.” It’s an act of a subject perceiving various objects. This is also true of hearing the voice inside. It doesn’t make any difference what it is saying, you are the one who is aware of it.
- True growth is the realization that you are not the voice of the mind—you are the one who hears it. If you don’t understand this, you will try to figure out which of the many things the voice says is really you.
- People go through so many changes in the name of ‘trying to find myself.’ They want to discover which of these voices, which of these aspects of their personality, is who they really are. The answer is simple: none of them.
- To be aware that you are watching the voice talk is to stand on the threshold of a fantastic inner journey. If used properly, the same mental voice that has been a source of worry, distraction, and general neurosis can become the launching ground for true spiritual awakening. Come to know the one who watches the voice, and you will come to know one of the great mysteries of creation.
- The yogis call energy centers chakras. This flow of energy comes from the depth of your being. It’s been called by many names. In ancient Chinese medicine, it is called Chi. In yoga, it is called Shakti. In the West, it is called Spirit. Call it anything you want. All the great spiritual traditions talk about your spiritual energy; they just give it different names.
- Although various energy centers exist within you, the one you intuitively know the most about opening and closing is your heart. You should know about this energy because it’s yours. You can call upon it any time you want. What it needs is openness and receptivity.
- Opening allows energy in, and closing blocks it out. Here’s a simple method for staying open: All you have to do is decide whether you are willing to stay open, or whether you think it’s worth closing.
- Closing is a habit, and just like any other habit, it can be broken. For example, you could be the type of person who has an underlying fear of people and tends to close when you first meet them. You could actually be in the habit of experiencing an uptight, closing sensation whenever somebody walks up to you.
- You can train yourself to do the opposite. You can train yourself to open every time you see a person. It’s just a question of whether you want to close or whether you want to open. It’s ultimately under your control.
- You practice opening by not closing. Any time you start to close, ask yourself whether you really want to cut off the energy flow. Because if you want, you can learn to stay open no matter what happens in this world.
- Do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you’re willing to close your heart over it. When your heart starts to close, just say, “No. I’m not going to close. I’m going to relax. I’m going to let this situation take place and be there with it.” Honor and respect the situation, and deal with it.
- Remember, if you love life, nothing is worth closing over. Nothing, ever, is worth closing your heart over.
- The spiritual journey is one of constant transformation. In order to grow, you must give up the struggle to remain the same, and learn to embrace change at all times.
- One of the most important areas requiring change is how we solve our personal problems. We normally attempt to solve our inner disturbances by protecting ourselves. Real transformation begins when you embrace your problems as agents for growth.
- How do you free yourself? In the deepest sense, you free yourself by finding yourself. You are not the pain you feel, nor are you the part that periodically stresses out. None of these disturbances have anything to do with you. You are the one who notices these things.
- To free yourself of your inner thorns, you simply stop playing with them. Since your inner thorns are simply blocked energies from the past, they can be released. The problem is, you either completely avoid situations that would cause them to release, or you push them back down in the name of protecting yourself.
- Moreover, because you’re always doing something to avoid feeling them, they are not given the chance to naturally work themselves out. If you want, you can simply permit the disturbances to come up, and you can let them go.
- When you are no longer absorbed in your melodrama but, instead, sit comfortably deep inside the seat of awareness, you will start to feel this flow of energy coming up from deep within. This flow has been called Shakti, it has also been called Spirit. This is what you begin to experience if you hang out with the ‘self’ instead of hanging out with inner disturbances.
- If you sit within the ‘self,’ you will experience the strength of your inner being even when your heart feels weak. This is the essence of the path. This is the essence of a spiritual life. Once you learn that it’s okay to feel inner disturbances, and that they can no longer disturb your seat of consciousness, you will be free.
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