What’s it about?
The Untethered Soul is all about you: your feelings, thoughts, and consciousness. By engraving on different spiritual practices, this summary explains how you can navigate your own mind, get in touch with yourself and become your own master, to ultimately achieve enlightenment.
About the Author:
Michael A. Singer is a writer and the founder of Temple of the Universe, a yoga and meditation center. His other writings include The Search for Truth and Three Essays on Universal Law: Karma, Will, and Love.
To get a grip on the voice guiding you, don’t concentrate on the speaker, but on yourself – the listener:
All of us have a second voice inside our heads. It is that voice you are reading with right now without moving your lips. It is the voice that’s wondering: “Do I have a voice in my head?”.
There it is. It is the voice that reads your thoughts loudly but without a sound. It says the words before you even utter a letter. It is the narrator – your narrator – when you are strolling down the street and start wondering:
“Oh, there’s a dog at a fire hydrant. Wait, why does that dog look so much like Mrs. James’s Labrador dog? Ah, that’s because it is Mrs. James’s Labrador dog. The trees are beginning to brown. Fall is approaching… I remembered last fall. I spent so much time with Janet… I wonder how Janet is doing…”
You would notice that this voice is not stable at all; it keeps jumping from one idea to another in a heartbeat. It is even capable of arguing with itself. Pretty wild, isn’t it?
But wouldn’t it be awkward if all those voices came out loud? Not only would it hurt the feelings of others, but it would make you look crazy to wander around the streets, uttering every word in your head.
“Come to know who watches the voice, and you will come to know one of the great mysteries of creation.”-Michael A. Singer
Your inner voice may look harmless, or even helpful at times, but really, it’s not:
Think of it this way. Imagine having your best friend by your side all day, every day, for the rest of your life, without shutting up. Wouldn’t you get sick of him eventually? Similarly, the voice in your head is shadowing you 24/7 and won’t be quiet.
This voice is there because deep down, you want it to be. It acts as your support system to fall into when reality seems too real. When you see a tree in the park, for example, you come in contact with it, and the voice notes and judges it just to seem in control and make a sort of fake connection with the tree.
When that happens, a personalized view will start to form inside the mind of your surroundings and existence. However, this isn’t good. The voice prevents you from living the world’s totality and instead forces you to be satisfied with unrealism.
This voice also is capable of ruining the right things when it keeps second-guessing your every move non-stop, which by the end, makes your life miserable.
“I told you not to wear this dress on this date. You look like a total whale. I bet he’s spent so much time just looking at the menu, so he doesn’t have to look at you.”-Michael A. Singer
Your inner voice can be the meanest thing you’ll have to deal with. And yet, you keep listening to it because it is in your head, and you feel that you owe it the attention. To let go of this, get the voice out and keep it away from your head. Imagine it as if it’s a character, and it is sitting next to you, except it is outside your head.
This voice will always be bounded to the external forces because it wants to control, but this is just impossible. Always remember that the sound doesn’t define you. Sure, it is a part of you, and that’s why whenever you feel it complaining, search within and track that sound. Once you do, you’ll be able to find the reason behind the nagging. Sometime later, you’ll find yourself ultimately having power over this voice.
Once you discover who you truly are, you will finally take control of your mind and body:
Discovering who you are from the inside is the most crucial step to achieve your inner freedom, as the yogi master Ramana Maharshi mentioned. Taking this journey of self-discovery will make you realize that it is not that simple.
Who you are isn’t your name, or age, or skin color, or weight, it is not your achievements or life experiences. It is not even your thoughts, unlike how Rene Descartes quoted, “I think; therefore, I am.” The very meaning of thinking is “using the mind to form thoughts.” You are the one using your mind. When you do meditation, your thoughts pause, and you experience peace. Then, you won’t be the thoughts in your mind.
You have nothing to do with the outside world, nor are you identified by your thoughts and emotions. Who are you then? You are your consciousness, the one that thinks thoughts and experiences life and emotions.
“You have a wellspring of beautiful energy inside you. When you are open you feel it; when you are closed, you don’t.”-Michael A. Singer
To reach your inner freedom, you have to find the soul of your consciousness within and take a seat. Right there, you’ll discover your lucid self.
Lucidity is awareness. You being your lucid self, is when you are in a state of total awareness. When something crosses your mind, you don’t get lost it and instead, you understand that you, yourself, are the one thinking this thought.
Lucidity is when you have control over your focus. You no longer get lost in the external factors nor within yourself. In that place, it is simple for you to control your body and mind and reach your potential. Yoga, for instance, applies such focus to create those insane shapes with your body. The higher you go with yoga, the more intense it gets, and the closer you get to your lucidity. Yoga masters are always on the hunt for the center of their consciousness. Even at their high level of focus. Right in the center, who knows? You may be able to levitate.
In that journey, like Ramana Maharshi, keep asking yourself,” who am I?” You will realize that the answer to this question is seems redundant, but there is no rational answer. You are who you are.
To be truly free, you should prevent yourself from being stopped by fear, accept, and allow the change to happen in order to grow:
Life’s unpredictability is beyond imagination. Life will throw things at you, something that you were not prepared for. It is your choice in the end whether you allow yourself to learn from this experience or be swallowed by fear.
“Fear is the cause of every problem.”-Michael A. Singer
People’s problem is their need to assert control, especially over things that can’t be controlled. They make feeble attempts to fight the external factors when they should be monitoring the inner self, which will eventually lead to control over the world around them.
A significant factor that fuels the need to control everything is fear. It stimulates people to try to control everything around them. This might seem reasonable because it is a normal human reaction to avoid being scared.
If you allow fear to take over your life, you will live in a war with yourself forever. It will always be you against life, emotions, everyone, and everything. You will always have a belief that everything outside your comfort zone is a monster in the dark.
Letting fear take over your thoughts will prevent you from changing and growing. You won’t be able to accept the change, eventually not allowing yourself to grow, and more importantly, you won’t have your freedom.
Protecting yourself is always the way to process conflict, that’s how you’ll think when you are still scared. You will always try to avoid what causes this fear, which means preventing the conflict instead of dealing with it. Dealing and facing this conflict is the way to grow.
Let’s put it that way, imagine that this conflict is a thorn in your leg. The thorn restricts the use of your leg; it’ll disturb your sleep and so much more. Anything that touches the thorn will hurt. There are two ways to deal with it. The first will be making sure nothing touches the thorn and avoiding everything that would affect it to prevent any pain. The second way is taking out the thorn and feeling the pain once and for all.
In the first case, you center your life around the thorn and the pain it causes. It would control every aspect of your life, and not in the right way! However, you can do whatever you want if you remove the thorn. It won’t be there to influence your daily activities.
It seems quite evident that option two is the best. You should certainly face conflict and remove the thorn. When you try to protect yourself and stay in your comfort zone forever, you won’t allow yourself to grow. You wouldn’t be able to experience life and its totality.
The key to a healthy existence is simpler than you think that it’s easily overlooked if you are not careful:
The peak of spiritual understanding is inner freedom. It is said to be “The Tao,” which means “The Way.” The Tao is exceptionally subtle that you might be looking right at it and not realize it. Once you finally discover it, you will notice that it was right under your nose the whole time.
The Tao is a kind of balance. It is most know as being the middle. To find it, you should search in what sits halfway between your two extremes. That place is a place of moderation without excesses. A place that is trying to reach you.
“Extremes create their opposites; the wise avoid them. Find the balance in the center and you will live in harmony.”-Michael A. Singer
Following the Tao will end you up on the path to God. There are a lot of concepts regarding God. However, these all reflect the culture they originally stem from.
The road to God, luckily, is within ourselves. It is discovered through the training of seeking and claiming the seat in the middle of your consciousness where you can allow yourself to drift upwards.
God is the most significant consciousness where all consciousness came to rise. The peak of spiritual understanding is to go back from where it all started – god. In that place, the person’s consciousness merges the universal oneness.
The merge is present in many studies, such as the Gospel of John says in the Bible: “That they all may be one; as thou, the father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one is us… I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.” This is too seen in Hindu Vedas, the Jewish Kabbalah, and written by a great Sufi mystic poet.
The peak of all the spiritual endeavors is to join in with God. God isn’t judgmental, as most believe, but very loving and accepting, waiting for you to become a part of the Universal Oneness and become the untethered soul.