The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer is about freedom.
Freedom from a terrible master.
This was my favorite book of 2015. I have read it again.
What I learnt:
1. Be aware of the mental dialogue that never stops in our heads
2. Understand almost all of it is useless and harmful
3. By training ourselves to make awareness the object of our thoughts, we prevent emotions and thoughts from harming us. Awareness is the goal.
4. We build awareness by separating ourselves from those emotions and thoughts through the silent act of observing. By seeing them as things outside ourselves, we can discard them more easily.
5. Why is awareness a worthy goal? “Awareness does not fight; awareness releases.” Awareness releases me to accept reality, confront pain and be open to all life has to offer, good and bad.
Some other insights:
“It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes problems.”
There are real problems with serious consequences. Often, our minds make them worse. The word commotion is apt.
“The bottom line is, you’ll never be free of problems until you are free from the part within that has so many problems.”
That sounds like death but it doesn’t have to be. We have to train our minds to be aware of the unceasing mental dialogue that causes imaginary problems.
“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.”
When something I have done goes wrong, my mental dialogue becomes very active and starts looking for something or someone to blame. And it’s unconscious, I don’t even have to order my brain to do it. This is something it does to protect me.
“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.”
I am not my thoughts or emotions. I can let them go. I want to be aware. I want to be lucid.
“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.”
Our problems are not outside, but inside. See the world as it is, not how you want it to be.
“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.”
This is useful – see fear as a THING. A thing that is not you and can be discarded.
“When you are comfortable with pain passing through you, you will be free.”
It’s painful to know I did a bad job, I wasn’t perfect, no one likes me, I’m ugly, I have bad habits. It’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok. Let these pass. Free at last. Free at last.
“The key is to just relax and release, and deal only with what’s left in front of you.”
Be aware of the endless mindless dialogue, release them. Relax and be open to all life can offer me. Don’t judge.
“To see, to experience, and to honor is to participate in life instead of standing back and judging it.”
This I must learn.
Quotes from The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer