Letting go of self-defeating thoughts and finding a closer relationship with your inner self to free yourself from your limiting thoughts and emotions are key themes of the long-time non-fiction bestseller The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. Through simple language and relatable storytelling, the reading is light in this classic and long-time bestselling non-fiction book, first published in 2007. The book offers deep insights for readers who go along with Singer’s premise that we are all limitless with a soul.
The Untethered Soul is arranged in five major sections: Awakening Consciousness, Experiencing Energy; Freeing Yourself; Going Beyond; and Living Life. Each of these sections contains a few chapters, and the book invites readers to progress through the journey from understanding more about the everyday thoughts and chatter in your head to becoming a more aware being who is an observer of their thoughts. For example, in the Freeing Yourself section, in a chapter entitled “Removing Your Inner Thorn,” the author presents interesting analogies which are easy to visualize to explain resistance from the energetic perspective when we meet up with painful emotions and work hard to avoid them.
Singer gives a compelling case to support training your “monkey mind” toward freedom. The term is not used by the author but apt here for its meaning as a mind which is unsettled, restless or confused, according to Buddhist principles. The author starts with an introduction to the mind, giving vivid examples of how we are often distracted, focused or obsessed with our foibles, thoughts and emotions that can take us into emotional pain and discomfort, far away from our potential centerpoints or equilibrium as an aware soul where there is ease and bliss.
Exploring who you really are
By definition, consciousness is a central discussion of the book. Singer notes that consciousness is “just there. Aware that it’s aware.” A key teaching of the book—no big spoilers here—is you are not your thoughts, you are simply aware of your thoughts so you can develop the power to develop greater awareness of those thoughts and feelings, and gently move them away from troubling thoughts and situations. The intended destination is toward inner freedom and liberation at your centerpoint.
What makes this book different from others in the Self-Help and Transformation categories are its simple prose and the author’s ability to teach through storytelling and share his knowledge about the journey of consciousness toward enlightenment. This book is not a true self-help book with detailed how-tos and recommendations. Rather, Singer only provides nuggets of broad advice such as not to close your heart, in explaining the principles of energy and the Hindu philosophy of Samskara, a concept which is based on the premise of repeated impressions on the mind. A Samskara is a cycle of stored past energy patterns which stay in relative equilibrium—a basis for the theory of karma—and Singer points the way toward for the reader to release undesirable patterns.
In this regard, the promise of the book that we can, day by day, become the masters of our own journey, is accomplished.
The destination, Singer suggests, is toward our centerpoint, closer to universal consciousness or God or Christ consciousness, or whatever you may call it, where you can direct yourself (your mind, your consciousness) to live with ease and freedom. He relates that sweet spot to the Tao te Ching, known as the Dao or The Way, a place where life can flow unchallenged and unchallenging. According to the Britannica encyclopedia, among the many tenants of Tao te Ching as a philosophy, is: “ Everything that is comes from the inexhaustible, effortless, invisible, and inaudible Way, which existed before heaven and earth.”
This limitless source is what Singer invites us to explore and find that dynamic balance within ourselves, our centerpoint.
The Untethered Soul (New Harbinger Publications and Noetic Books, 2007) is a book is for anyone who is seeking deeper spiritual meaning and greater peace in their lives through emotional and mental clarity. It is also a book with profound prose that leaves its interpretation open to the reader (observer). Readers are likely to find deeper insights into themselves and others. It is a book that you may find yourself returning to from time to time to find new understanding.