Quotes from The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

i wrote on what i learnt from this amazing book here.

Quotations

“you have a mental dialogue going on inside your head that never stops.”

“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. 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.”

“much of what the voice says is meaningless. Most of the talking is just a waste of time and energy. The truth is that most of life will unfold in accordance with forces far outside your control, regardless of what your mind says about it.”

“Eventually you will see that the real cause of problems is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes problems.”

“If you can’t get the world the way you like it, you internally verbalize it, judge it, complain about it, and then decide what to do about it. This makes you feel more empowered. When your body experiences cold, there may be nothing you can do to affect the temperature. But when your mind verbalizes, “It’s cold!” you can say, “We’re almost home, just a few more minutes.” Now you feel better. In the thought world there’s always something you can do to control the experience.”

“You will come to see that the mind talks all the time because you gave it a job to do. You use it as a protection mechanism, a form of defense. Ultimately, it makes you feel more secure. As long as that’s what you want, you will be forced to constantly use your mind to buffer yourself from life, instead of living it. This world is unfolding and really has very little to do with you or your thoughts. It was here long before you came, and it will be here long after you leave. In the name of attempting to hold the world together, you’re really just trying to hold yourself together.”

“You have to break the habit of thinking that the solution to your problems is to rearrange things outside. The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality. Once you do that, you’ll be clear enough to deal with what’s left.”

“Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950), a great teacher in the yogic tradition, used to say that to attain inner freedom one must continuously and sincerely ask the question “Who am I?” He taught that this was more important than reading books, learning mantras, or going to holy places. Just ask, “Who am I? Who sees when I see? Who hears when I hear? Who knows that I am aware? Who am I?”

“When you are an aware being, you no longer become completely immersed in the events around you. Instead, you remain inwardly aware that you are the one who is experiencing both the events and the corresponding thoughts and emotions. When a thought is created in this state of awareness, instead of getting lost in it, you remain aware that you are the one who is thinking the thought. You are lucid.”

“To begin with, consciousness has the ability to do what is called “focus.” It is part of the nature of consciousness. The essence of consciousness is awareness, and awareness has the ability to become more aware of one thing and less aware of something else. In other words, it has the ability to focus itself on certain objects. ”

“True meditation is beyond the act of simple, one-pointed concentration. For the deepest meditation, you must not only have the ability to focus your consciousness completely on one object, you must also have the ability to make awareness itself be that object. In the highest state, the focus of consciousness is turned back to the Self.”

“There is a very simple method for staying open. You stay open by never closing. It’s really that simple. All you have to do is decide whether you are willing to stay open, or whether you think it’s worth closing. You can actually train yourself to forget how to close.”

“As long as you are defining what you like and what you don’t like, you will open and close. You are actually defining your limits. You are allowing your mind to create triggers that open and close you. Let go of that. Dare to be different. Enjoy all of life.”

“The most important thing in life is your inner energy. If you’re always tired and never enthused, then life is no fun. But if you’re always inspired and filled with energy, then every minute of every day is an exciting experience. Learn to work with these things. Through meditation, through awareness and willful efforts, you can learn to keep your centers open. You do this by just relaxing and releasing. You do this by not buying into the concept that there is anything worth closing over. Remember, if you love life, nothing is worth closing over. Nothing, ever, is worth closing your heart over.”

“The alternative is to enjoy life instead of clinging to it or pushing it away. If you can live like that, each moment will change you. If you are willing to experience the gift of life instead of fighting with it, you will be moved to the depth of your being. When you reach this state, you will begin to see the secrets of the heart. The heart is the place through which energy flows to sustain you. This energy inspires you and raises you. It is the strength that carries you through life”

“The reward for not protecting your psyche is liberation. You are free to walk through this world without a problem on your mind. You are just having fun experiencing whatever happens next. Because you got rid of that scared part of you, you don’t ever have to worry about getting hurt or disturbed. You no longer have to listen to “What will they think of me?” or, “Oh God, I wish I hadn’t said that. It sounded so stupid.” You just go about your business and put your whole being into whatever’s happening, instead of putting your whole being into your personal sensitivity.”

“Just commit to not letting the energy draw you in. When you feel the pull, like somebody pulling on your heart, you just let go. You fall behind it. You simply relax and release. And no matter how many times you’re pulled, that’s how many times you relax and release. Because the tendency to get drawn in is constant, the willingness to let go and fall behind has to be constant.”

“There is nothing wrong with feeling the energies of fear, jealousy, or attraction. It’s not your fault that such energies exist. All the attractions, repulsions, thoughts, and feelings don’t make any difference. They don’t make you pure or impure. They are not you. You are the one who’s watching, and that one is pure consciousness. ”

“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. Because people don’t deal with fear objectively, they don’t understand it. They end up keeping their fear and trying to prevent things from happening that would stimulate it. They go through life attempting to create safety and control by defining how they need life to be in order to be okay. This is how the world becomes frightening.

“Only someone who looks deeper, and questions why we need the events of life to be a particular way, will question this assumption. How did we come up with the notion that life is not okay just the way it is, or that it won’t be okay the way it will be? Who said that the way life naturally unfolds is not all right?”

“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. ”
“You must look inside yourself and determine that from now on pain is not a problem. It is just a thing in the universe. ”

“You will never be free, however, until you get to the point where you are willing to release the initial pain instead of avoiding it. You must learn to transcend the tendency to avoid the pain.”

“In truth, pain is the price of freedom. And the moment you are willing to pay that price, you will no longer be afraid. The moment you are not afraid of the pain, you’ll be able to face all of life’s situations without fear.”

“When you are comfortable with pain passing through you, you will be free. This world will never be able to bother you again because the worst the world can do is to hit the pain stored within you. ”

“Since the analytical mind cannot handle the infinite, you created an alternate reality of finite thoughts that can remain fixed within your mind. You have taken the whole, broken it into pieces, and selected a handful of these pieces to be put together in a certain way within your mind. This mental model has become your reality. You must now struggle day and night to make the world fit your model, and you label everything that doesn’t fit as wrong, bad, or unfair.”

“Imagine a comfort zone that is so expanded that it can easily fit the entire day, no matter what happens. The day unfolds and the mind doesn’t say anything. You simply interact with the day with a peaceful, fully inspired heart. If your edges happen to get hit, the mind doesn’t complain. It all just passes through. This is how great beings live. ”

“You literally define yourself based on what you believe: “I believe in God or I don’t believe in God. I believe in peace and nonviolence, or I believe in survival of the fittest. I believe in capitalism, or I believe in neo-socialism.” You take a set of thoughts in the mind and you hold onto them. You make a highly complex relational structure out of them, and then present that package as who you are. But it is not who you are. It is just the thoughts you have pulled around yourself in an attempt to define yourself. You do this because you are lost inside.”

“You want people to be steady enough so that you can predict their behavior. If they aren’t, it disturbs you. This is because you have made your predictions of their behavior part of your inner model. This protective shield of beliefs and concepts regarding the outside world acts as insulation between you and the people you interact with. By having preconceived notions about other people’s behavior, you feel safer and more in control. Imagine the fear you would feel if you let the entire wall down.”

“You will just be aware that tremendous changes are taking place. You will be aware that there is no solidity and you will become comfortable with that. You will be aware that each moment of each day is unfolding and you neither have control, nor crave it. You have no concepts, no hopes, no dreams, no beliefs, and no security. You are no longer building mental models of what’s going on, but life is going on anyway. You are perfectly comfortable just being aware of it. Here comes this moment, then the next moment, and then the next. But that’s really what has always happened. Moment after moment has been passing before your consciousness. The difference is that now you see it happening.”

“What it means to live spiritually is to not participate in this struggle. It means that the events that happen in the moment belong to the moment. They don’t belong to you. They have nothing to do with you. You must stop defining yourself in relationship to them, and just let them come and go. Don’t allow events to leave impressions inside of you. If you find yourself thinking about them later on, just let go. If an event happens that doesn’t fit your conceptual model, and you see yourself struggling and rationalizing to make it fit, just notice what you’re doing.”

“You must learn to be comfortable with psychological disturbance. If your mind becomes hyperactive, just watch it. If your heart starts to heat up, let it go through what it must. Try to find the part of you that is capable of noticing that your mind is hyperactive and that your heart is heating up. That part is your way out. There is no way out through building this model of yours. The only way to inner freedom is through the one who watches: the Self. The Self simply notices that the mind and emotions are unraveling, and that nothing is struggling to hold them together.”

“When your mind is disturbed, don’t ask, “What do I do about this?” Instead ask, “Who am I that notices this?”

“People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.”

“If you want to be happy, you have to let go of the part of you that wants to create melodrama. This is the part that thinks there’s a reason not to be happy.”

“The key to staying happy is really very simple. Begin by understanding your inner energies. If you look inside, you will see that when you’re happy, your heart feels open and the energy rushes up inside of you. ”

“Stress only happens when you resist life’s events. ”

“You will be surprised to find that in most situations there’s nothing to deal with except for your own fears and desires. Fear and desire make everything seem so complicated. If you don’t have fear or desire about an event, there’s really nothing to deal with. You simply allow life to unfold and interact with it in a natural and rational manner. When the next thing happens, you’re fully present in that moment and simply enjoying the experience of life. There are no problems. It’s all about no problems, no tension, no stress, and no burnout. When the events of this world make it through you, you have reached a deep spiritual state. You can then be conscious in the presence of whatever takes place, without building up blocked energies. When you attain that state, everything becomes clear.”

“Relationships are a great way to work with yourself. Imagine if you used relationships to get to know other people, rather than to satisfy what is blocked inside of you. If you’re not trying to make people fit into your preconceived notions of what you like and dislike, you will find that relationships are not really that difficult. If you’re not so busy judging and resisting people based upon what is blocked inside of you, you will find that they are much easier to get along with—and so are you. Letting go of yourself is the simplest way to get closer to others.”

“The key is to just relax and release, and deal only with what’s left in front of you.”

“To comfortably handle this flow of life, your heart and mind must be open and expansive enough to encompass reality. The only reason they’re not is because you resist. Learn to stop resisting reality, and what used to look like stressful problems will begin to look like the stepping-stones of your spiritual journey.”

“How much love could you give the ones you love, knowing it would be the last time you’d get to be with them? Think about what it would be like if you lived like that every moment with everyone. Your life would be really different. You should contemplate this. Death is not a morbid thought. Death is the greatest teacher in all of life.”

“What actually gives life meaning is the willingness to live it. It isn’t any particular event; it’s the willingness to experience life’s events.”

“You have to understand that it is your attempt to get special experiences from life that makes you miss the actual experience of life. Life is not something you get; it’s something you experience. Life exists with or without you. It has been going on for billions of years. You simply get the honor of seeing a tiny slice of it. If you’re busy trying to get something, you will miss the slice you’re actually experiencing. Every one of life’s experiences is different, and every experience is worth having. Life is not something to waste. It’s truly precious. That’s why death is such a great teacher. It is death that makes life precious. Look how precious life becomes when you imagine you only have a week left to live. How precious would life be if there was no such thing as death? You’d waste every second of it because you’d figure you’d always have it. It is scarcity that makes things precious. It is scarcity that makes a simple rock become a rare gem.”

“In the Tao, you are blind, and you have to learn how to be blind. You can never see where the Tao is going; you can only be there with it. A blind person walks down a city street with the use of a cane. Let’s give that cane a name: it’s the seeker of the extremes, it’s the feeler of the edges, it’s the toucher of the yin and the yang. People who walk with the use of that cane often tap from side to side. They’re not trying to find where they should walk; they’re trying to find where they shouldn’t walk. They’re finding the extremes. If you cannot see your way, all you can do is feel for the edges. But if you feel the edges, and don’t go there, you will stay in the Way. That’s how you live in the Tao.”

“To see, to experience, and to honor is to participate in life instead of standing back and judging it.”

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