Quick review: If I had to summarize what The Untethered Soul offered me in a short phrase, it would be an alternative approach. In it, Michael Singer (who also wrote The Surrender Experiment) outlines the importance of coming to terms with the self, what understanding “You are not the thinking mind; you are aware of the thinking mind” unlocks for the individual, and his approach to looking inward. Prior to reading it I had never put much stock into things like meditation and didn’t take time on a very regular basis to reflect on myself and the activities and individuals in my life that were sources of energy. I now try to meditate on a regular basis and practice gratitude and joy by starting every morning by writing for myself, a take on Morning Pages that Julia Cameron espouses in The Artist’s Way. Despite the book dragging a bit and a bit heavy handed with platitudes, I found value in the reading.
Additional materials to complement your reading:
There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind—you are the one who hears it.
By verbalizing it mentally, you brought that initial direct experience of the world into the realm of your thoughts. There it becomes integrated with your other thoughts, such as those making up your value system and historical experiences.
You’re ready to grow when you finally realize that the “I” who is always talking inside will never be content.
You will not be able to solve anything outside until you own how the situation affects you inside.
Just ask, “Who am I? Who sees when I see? Who hears when I hear? Who knows that I am aware? Who am I?”
“I am the one who sees. From back in here somewhere, I look out, and I am aware of the events, thoughts, and emotions that pass before me.”
…you have a phenomenal amount of energy inside of you. It doesn’t come from food and it doesn’t come from sleep. This energy is always available to you.
The heart is an energy center, and it can open or close.
What you’ll find is that the only thing you really want from life is to feel enthusiasm, joy, and love.
But in truth, you are not your heart. You are the experiencer of your heart.
But if the energy patterns that are coming into your psyche create disturbance, you will resist them and not allow them to pass through you. When
What it means to live life is to experience the moment that is passing through you, and then experience the next moment, and then the next. Many different experiences will come in and pass through you.
When the next moment comes, you no longer notice the rest of the trees. You’re not seeing the rest of the cars. Your heart and mind are fixated on that one car, even though it’s gone. You’ve got yourself a problem here. There’s a blockage, an event that got stuck.
The point is that past impressions do get stimulated, even old ones, and they affect your life. Sensory inputs from today’s events dig through all the stuff you have stored through the years, and they restore the exact past patterns associated with the incoming events.
…you are willing to experience the gift of life instead of fighting with it, you will be moved to the depth of your being.
You will get to a point in your growth where you understand that if you protect yourself, you will never be free.
People don’t understand that fear is a thing. It’s just another object in the universe that you are capable of experiencing. You can do one of two things with fear: you can recognize that you have it and work to release it, or you can keep it and try to hide from it.
You are fighting with creation, and that’s what makes creation itself the most frightening thing in your life.
This leaving the seat of Self is not generally a willful act. The laws of attraction will cause it to happen. Consciousness is always drawn to the most distracting object: the bumped toe, the loud noise, or the hurting heart.
If you don’t solve the root cause of the problem, but instead, attempt to protect yourself from the problem, it ends up running your life.
What you can do is notice that you noticed. You can notice that your consciousness was watching TV, and now it is watching your inner melodrama. The one who sees this is you, the subject. What you are looking at is an object. A feeling of emptiness is an object; it is something you feel. But who feels it? Your way out is to just notice who’s noticing. It’s really that simple.
Pain is not bad; it’s how the body talks to you.
You just stop telling your mind that its job is to fix your personal problems. This job has broken the mind and disturbed the entire psyche. It has created fear, anxiety, and neurosis. Your mind has very little control over this world. It is neither omniscient nor omnipotent. It cannot control the weather and other natural forces. Nor can it control all people, places, and things around you. You have given your mind an impossible task by asking it to manipulate the world in order to fix your personal inner problems. If you want to achieve a healthy state of being, stop asking your mind to do this. Just relieve your mind of the job of making sure that everyone and everything will be the way you need them to be so that you can feel better inside. Your mind is not qualified for that job. Fire it, and let go of your inner problems instead.
You are not the thinking mind; you are aware of the thinking mind.
Change involves challenging what is familiar to us and daring to question our traditional needs for safety, comfort, and control. This is often perceived as a painful experience.
The psyche is built upon avoiding this pain, and as a result, it has fear of pain as its foundation.
To get some distance from this, you first need to get some perspective. Walk outside on a clear night and just look up into the sky. You are sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Though you can only see a few thousand stars, there are hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy alone. In fact, it is estimated that there are over a trillion stars in the Spiral Galaxy. And that galaxy would look like one star to us, if we could even see it. You’re just standing on one little ball of dirt and spinning around one of the stars. From that perspective, do you really care what people think about your clothes or your car?
It’s a thing in the universe that is passing through your system. Laugh at it, have fun with it, but don’t be afraid of it. It cannot touch you unless you touch it.
When you feel pain, simply view it as energy. Just start seeing these inner experiences as energy passing through your heart and before the eye of your consciousness. Then relax. Do the opposite of contracting and closing. Relax and release.
The only light we get is what we manage to create for ourselves. If we don’t create good situations for ourselves, there is darkness. So we are very busy decorating daily. We do this by trying to bring things in there with us—hoping to create at least a little light, in the house of our own making, where we have sealed ourselves off.
Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is.
In the end, enjoying life’s experiences is the only rational thing to do. You’re sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Go ahead, take a look at reality. You’re floating in empty space in a universe that goes on forever. If you have to be here, at least be happy and enjoy the experience. You’re going to die anyway. Things are going to happen anyway. Why shouldn’t you be happy? You gain nothing by being bothered by life’s events. It doesn’t change the world; you just suffer. There’s always going to be something that can bother you, if you let it.
The key is to learn to keep your mind disciplined enough so that it doesn’t trick you into thinking that this time it’s worth closing. If you slip, get back up. The minute you slip, the minute you open your mouth, the minute you start to close and defend yourself, get back up.
It’s clear that not all of us resist the same things or have the same issues. This is because we don’t all have the same preconceived notions of how things should be or how much they should matter to us.
Death is not a morbid thought. Death is the greatest teacher in all of life.
You fear death because you crave life.