“The prerequisite to true freedom is to decide that you do not want to suffer anymore.” – Michael Singer
Imagine some of the most painful moments in your life.
Do you think about them often? Does your mind plague you with internal chatter about what happened in the past?
Do you continue to question, replay and rethink what has happened to you?
Do your thoughts (or your “inner roommate,” as Michael Singer calls them) preoccupy your mind and your life?
In The Untethered Soul, Singer shows you how to become more aware of your thoughts, acknowledge your inner being and free yourself from the trappings of your inner turmoil.
You can tone down the internal chitter-chatter and “neurotic bursts of conflicting dialogue” in your mind.
In this book, Singer offers the gift of a peaceful mind and an uncaged soul.
1. Become aware.
“You are behind everything, just watching. That is your true home,” Singer writes.
The Untethered Soul reminds you of two points: that there’s you and then there’s the sensitive person inside you. Every day, observe this internal being.
“Simply watch that sensitive part of you feel disturbance. See it feel jealousy, need, and fear…If you pay attention, you will see that they are not you; they are just something you’re feeling and experiencing,” writes Singer.
Singer reminds you that you are a different person internally than you are externally. Internally, you observe what is going on in your life. When you’re at your center or core, you can witness and even appreciate the difficult experiences you’re encountering.
You sit in a seat of awareness and watch these disturbances and emotions pass you by. You become aware of the drama taking place in the movie of your life.
“Once you learn that it’s okay to feel inner disturbances, you will be free. You will begin to be sustained by the inner energy flow that comes from behind you,” writes Singer.
By being in this state of centeredness, “you can walk in the world and the world will never touch you. That’s how you become a free being – you transcend.”
2. Decide that you do not want to suffer anymore.
You’re constantly shaken up on the inside.
External events take hold of your mind, your soul and your psyche. You regularly think about life’s disturbances.
First your thoughts bother you, continually hammering away at your peace.
Then your emotions bother you, leading your heart and soul to continuous discomfort.
Singer says that you don’t have to be a prisoner of your psyche.
You do not have to engage with your mind.
Disengage. Sit quietly and observe yourself. Become aware of your anxious psyche and thinking mind. Stop looking for solutions and stop expecting that your mind will fix your internal problems.
When someone cuts you off in traffic, is rude to you or doesn’t talk to you, free yourself by disengaging.
Do not get involved with the mechanical, droning thoughts your mind repeats.
The only action you should consciously take is to relax and release.
Singer encourages you to refrain from playing mind games.
“Just be there, noticing that you notice. It’s like taking inventory. Just check what’s going on – heart, mind, shoulders, etc.,” he writes.
“You’re just there, aware that thoughts and emotions are being created around you, while the world unfolds before your senses.”
By consciously choosing not to play mind games, you become more aware of the inner drama your mind creates. By refusing to engage, you set the stage for soul freedom.
No more engagement with your mind and psyche.
Only observance and awareness.
Your external life is a play. A movie, even.
Learn that the way you process and deal with external circumstances is also a movie – something you should watch. You’re not the actor and you don’t have a part to play.
“Right in the midst of your daily life, by untethering yourself from the bondage of your psyche, you actually have the ability to steal freedom for your soul. This freedom is so great it has been given a special name – liberation.”
3. Learn to accept.
You may have had emotional problems, childhood situations and past pain that scarred you on the inside.
Emotional damage has caused you to struggle with the events you currently face.
You won’t open yourself to the present because you fear previous circumstances.
When you live like this – clinging to the past and resisting the present – you are wasting your life.
If you learn to accept events as they develop, you won’t see them as problems.
“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,” Singer says.
If you refuse to compare past circumstances and relationships to current circumstances and relationships, you will have a newfound appreciation for your present experience.
It is what it is. You’re not resisting the present; instead, you’re surrendering to it.
“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.”
4. Be willing to be open.
You want to protect yourself from pain.
Yet Singer reminds you that once you close your heart to pain and emotional disturbances, you spend a lot of time and energy protecting the safe place you’ve created.
Instead of holding onto things and closing off your heart, be willing to experience the disturbances. Sit fully in the pain’s depth.
If past or present hurts have annoyed or upset you, be open and become aware of them.
“A thought or emotion emerges, you notice it, and it passes by because you allow it to,” Singer says. “This technique of freeing yourself is done with the understanding that thoughts and emotions are just objects of consciousness.”
Further, Singer says that when you experience these things you won’t continue to harp on them. You won’t become preoccupied and focused on them, repeatedly experiencing them.
“You just let go. It’s simply a matter of taking the risk that you’re better off letting go than going with the energy. When you’re free from the hold the energy has on you, you will be free to experience the joy and expansiveness that exists within you.”
In Singer’s eyes, the way to attain freedom for your soul is to let go of yourself. Whenever you experience strong negative energy because of everyday annoyances and irritations, simply relax and release.
“If you don’t hold these issues inside, you can go about your life without getting psychologically damaged. No matter what events take place in life, it is always better to let go than to close.”
5. Let go.
“The law is very straightforward: When your stuff gets hit, let go right then because it will be harder later. It won’t be easier if you explore it or play with it, hoping to take the edge off,” Singer says.
“No matter what goes on below you, open your heart and let it go. Your heart will become purified, and you will never know another fall.”
Singer encourages you to release the sensitivity and pain you’re clinging to. If you open up internally and let go of the negativity you’re experiencing, you will release the blocked energy within you.
“When it’s released and allowed to follow up, it becomes purified and merges back into your center of consciousness. This energy then strengthens you instead of weakening you.”
Regardless of what you experience or how heavy, pained or irritated something makes you feel, choose to let go. It’s the only way to grow spiritually, as it will prevent the disturbance or offense from hampering you for the rest of your life.
6. Do not fear inner pain and disturbance.
Do you try to avoid pain? Do you run away from it at all costs?
I know I do. I have tried to create boundaries so I don’t have to experience discomfort or pain.
Singer says there’s no reason to fear internal pain.
He asks you to think of pain as something temporary, simply passing through your system.
If you don’t get comfortable with pain in your life, “you will react by closing in order to protect yourself. Once you close, your mind will build an entire psychological structure around the closure.”
An alternative is to experience the pain momentarily, then release it.
View pain as energy flowing through your body. “Stay open and receptive so you can be present right where the tension is. You must be willing to be present right at the place of tightness and pain, and then relax and go even deeper. This is very deep growth and transformation.”
If you resist pain, it will haunt you even more.
Simply experience, face and release the pain you store in your heart. On the other side of that pain are beauty, love, joy and peace. So are, Singer says, ecstasy, freedom and true greatness.
When you open yourself to the pain traveling through you, you become free and pain will never again bother you. It won’t remain, but will disappear as the energy of its fire goes up in smoke.
Once you transform pain into deep love and experience – the beauty on the other side of pain – you will find soul freedom.
When you are willing to pay this price for soul freedom, you will experience great spiritual growth.