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The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer

Written By: ruchi - Apr• 06•18
7 Spiritual Laws Of Success by Deepak Chopra

I recently got an opportunity to listen to the audio book – The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer. I really liked the book although I had to read it really slowly to understand it. These are my personal notes for future reference.

Chapter 1: The Voice inside Your Head

You have a mental dialog going inside your head all the time. It never shuts up. How much of it turns out to be true. How much of it is even important. If you see someone talking to oneself nonstop what will you think. Why is he talking and listening and taking both sides? It adjusts its viewpoint and keeps going. You can’t shut it. Best way to free yourself is to just view that voice. If you are hearing it, it’s not you. If you are willing to watch your thoughts, you will soon realize that most of them have no relevance. They are simply making you feel better or worse about now, past and future. There is no point of this talk, it is meaningless. Eventually the real cause of the problem is not life but the commotion mind makes about it. But then why does it exist and talk to you? Sometimes some energy needs to be released. It is a way of releasing energy. Voice talks because you are not okay inside and talking releases energy. But it talks even when you are okay. Sometimes it narrates the world for you. But I am already seeing the world then why does it need to narrate it to me. Narration makes you feel more comfortable with the world around you. You actually feel that you have some relationship with the world. You saw a tree, labeled it and judged it. You brought it in your realm of thoughts. There it becomes interrelated with your past thoughts and experiences. You verbalize it, judge it and recreate the outside world inside you and live in your mind. Your mind processes the current experience in a way it fits in your view of past and vision of future. It helps to create a semblance of control. You use mind as a protection to buffer from life. True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that’s not okay and needs protection. This is done by constantly remembering that you are the one that constantly hears the voice talking. You are always silent. Your mind processes current experience with your past experiences and creates your reality.

Chapter 2: Your Inner Roommate

You are ready to grow when you realize that the voice inside will never be content. You will never be free from problems until you are free from that part inside, which has these problems. When a problem bothers you, see which part of you is uncomfortable. For example you are feeling jealous. Ask yourself, which part is bothered. Then ask yourself, who notices this. The process of seeing something requires a subject object relationship. Subject is the witness. Object is what you are seeing, the inner disturbance. This is the difference between spiritual person and worldly person. Worldly person thinks that they will be okay if they fix the things outside. Nobody ever truly becomes okay by changing things outside, there is always the next problem to solve. To attain true peace, you must objectively watch the problem. You cannot find a solution while you are lost in the energy of the problem; first deal with your own reaction. The real problem is that you have something inside which can have problem with anything. First step is to deal with that part of you. Permanent solution is to go inside and let go that part of you that seems to have problem with reality. Watch yourself getting jealous or angry. Who sees it? Who sees the uncomfortable changes inside? Once you take the seat of consciousness you can get rid of these personal disturbances. Just start watching what’s going on inside there. Now watch this person talking. Make this person your roommate. There are 2 distinct aspects of you. First is the awareness, the witness. Second is what you watch. The problem is that second part never shuts up. If you could get rid of it, peace will be with you always. Your roommate can come up with new theories at any time without any notice, like I don’t want to talk to this person, I am afraid, this thing is useless etc. Once you see what it does to you, then you are ready for spiritual growth. Spend a day watching your roommate. You will see it’s never silent. It jumps from one subject to next. Personify this person. Spend the day with this person. Just watch, don’t try to stop it. Make her your best friend. Will you like such talkative person? This is one seriously disturbed person. How many times it’s totally wrong. Once you realize that you will never take their advice. You will ask it to get lost but how?

Chapter 3: Who Are You

You are not your name, your profession, your age, your religion, your nationality, your status or your demographics. You existed before all these. You existed before you were a doctor or before you started living in Australia. It was the same you. The one who sees, hears, dreams and experiences everything is the real you. You are not the object, you are the subject. If you are looking at something, that thing is the object and that’s not you. You are not the outside world. You also feel the emotions but again that’s not you. Inside and outside objects compete your attention. Your existence does not depend on the act of thinking. Thoughts are objects; you are the subject aware of thoughts. You exist whether you have thoughts or not. But then who are you? You are the experiencer. You live in the seat of consciousness. Your consciousness fully comprehends everything you see. Consciousness is pure awareness.

Chapter 4: The Lucid Self

There is something called lucid dream and a normal dream. If you are aware of your dream, it’s a lucid dream. Similarly if you are not completely immersed in the events around you; you are aware that you are seeing events and thoughts and emotions; that’s lucid self. Consciousness has the ability to focus on anything outside or inside. Objects are passing by at 3 levels, mental, emotional and physical. Your consciousness gets attracted towards one object and just immerses in that. It is no longer aware. When you watch a TV program, you are so immersed in it that you forget everything else. Similarly, while you are sitting in the seat of consciousness you get absorbed in the screen of mind, emotions and outside objects. You are watching your own TV show of your thoughts, emotions and outside objects and get drawn to it so much that you become part of that show. You can’t see anything else. When your consciousness is not centered, you focus on objects. What if the consciousness focuses on itself? When that happens instead of you aware of thoughts, you are aware that you are aware of thoughts. That’s true meditation. If you pull away, you can view not only your own thoughts but everything else, you move from finite to infinite.

Chapter 5: Infinite Energy

Thoughts consume a lot of energy. Creating, holding on to or recalling thoughts consume energy. Even emotions consume a lot of energy. Creating and disciplining emotions consume energy. When you are happy you feel a lot of energy inside, when you are depressed you feel lack of energy. You are the same person that was happy yesterday then how come you don’t have energy today that you are depressed. You are eating the same way, sleeping the same way. The truth is that you have phenomenal amount of energy inside you. It does not come from food or sleep. This energy is equally available to everyone. You don’t feel it all the time because you block it by closing your heart and closing your mind and pulling yourself into a restrictive space inside. This closes you off from all the energy. You close the energy centers and the energy can’t flow in and you don’t feel the inner energy. This energy needs openness and receptivity. How do you train yourself to stay open? Closing is a habit, which can be broken. Under normal circumstances, our past experiences and Sanskars control the openness or the closeness. If you remember that meeting this person was humiliating last time, you will be closed in the next meeting. But you can’t leave your inner energy to depend on outside events so just stay committed to not close because protection only cuts you off from the energy. Ask yourself do you really want to cut off the energy. If not, don’t try to protect yourself from the negative experience. There is nothing worth closing down. Just deal with the situation, don’t close. Over time you will have all the inner energy all the time. If you stay open all the time, you become source of energy for yourself and everyone around you. That can even heal your body.

Chapter 6: The Secrets of the Spiritual Heart

Your heart is an instrument made up of subtle energy. It is a powerful energy center of your body. The energy changes in your heart run your life. The senses sense the world, convert the info, transmit the data thru electrical nerve impulses and then the impressions get rendered in your mind. But if the energy pattern that comes in create disturbance, you will resist and not allow passing through. When this happens, energy will be blocked. When you have no personal issues, with impressions, they are processed freely. You take them in, experience them and pass through so that you are fully present in the next moment. That is how an awaken being lives, in now. If you were present in the current moment all the time you will be experiencing every moment but that never happens. Your past experiences taint your current experiences and if you cling to that, the current moment passes away, without being experienced. The energy gets blocked instead of passing through. The energy first tries to release by manifesting through the mind that’s why the mind it becomes so active. Then the energy tries to release through heart and you feel all those emotions. When you resist that release the energy gets stored in heart as the block of energy that just keeps circulating at one place. Slowly it builds up and restricts the normal energy flow. Allow the experiences of life pass through if the old energies come up, let go. If a bad past experience comes up, just smile that now is the time to release it. Of course it hurts but experience the pain now and release it.

Chapter 7: Transcending the Tendency to Close

It is the underlying energy that flows in particular patterns through inner being. The most primal energy flow is the survival instinct. There has always been a struggle to protect oneself. For many of us now that survival is not an issue, as a result the inner energy have adapted themselves towards defending the individual psychologically. If you don’t like a situation or feel threatened, you hide inside, withdraw and close down and pull back behind a psychological protective shield. You are closing down your energy center to avoid being receptive to the energies coming in. You are protecting your ego. The problem is that you feel threatened by the simplest of the triggers. We constantly use our energy to close down energy centers. You are locking your problem inside. You are locking the scared insecure person inside. It’s not healthy. It devoids you of spontaneous joy. If you want to grow, you need to not close down. Expose your sensitive parts otherwise you have to protect it for life. Begin by seeing the tendency to protect and defend yourself. The reward is liberation. If someone says something that starts to tighten your heart, that’s your cue to let it go. Don’t defend it. Consciousness has the tendency to focus on disturbance. But don’t let this happen. You notice a thought but don’t dwell there. Just observe and relax behind it. Don’t try to change it or fight it or judge it. Just relax and release. If you focus on disturbance, it grows in importance and demands more attention. Then because your attention feeds it, it draws more attention and the cycle goes on. Begin with small things and let it go. If you remain centered with small things, very soon you can do that for big things too. All feelings like anger, jealousy etc. will come and that’s okay as long as you are releasing that energy instead of suppressing it.

Chapter 8: Let Go Now or Fall

Natural ups and downs in life can cause growth or fear. It depends on how you view the change. If you have a lot of fear, you won’t like change. People go through their entire life attempting to create safety and control by defining how they want their life to be. You try to avoid things that stimulate your fears. We all do this. But who says that life that naturally unfolds is not okay? Fear says that. We define our entire scope of outside experience based on our inner problems. If you want to grow spiritually, you need to change that. Trying to protect yourself from problems, creates more problems. You have all those dialog inside all the time, how to protect yourself or what to do if it happens. Alternative is to not to fight with your life. Life is continually changing and if you are trying to control it you will not be able to live it fully. There is life without fear. Fear is the cause of all the problems. If you did not have fear, you will be willing to do anything, meet anyone. Life is helping you by surrounding you with people and events for your growth. You need to learn to let go. You simply allow the pain to surface and release it. First you must recognize that there is something that you want to release. Second you must know that you are the one who notices it. When your fear gets hit, let go immediately. The longer you take to let go, the harder it will be because it will draw you in and you will get lost in it and lose perspective.

Chapter 9: Removing Your Inner Thorn

One of the most important areas requiring change is how we solve our personal problems. We normally solve our problems by protecting ourselves but the real transformation begins when you embrace the problem as the agents for growth. Suppose you get a thorn. It hurts when anything touches it. Now you have 2 options. One, you protect yourself so that nothing touches the thorn. Two, you remove the thorn. In the first case the thorn runs your life. Your life will be centered around the thorn, protecting it from everything everywhere. In the second case, you become free. Similarly, if you protect yourself from the problem, it becomes the center of your life and you don’t want that. In the human heart we have more than one thorn. We have sensitivities about rejection, loneliness, appearance and what not. Slightest trigger hurts it. We end up limiting our life in fear of hurting ourselves. You don’t want the weakest part of you to be running your life. How do you free yourself? You could let the disturbances come up and you can let them go. These inner thorns are just the blocked energy from the past, they can be released but we always tuck them deep inside. You can notice who feels these inner thorns. The one who notices is already free. Witness the feeling, don’t get involved and let it go. Once you understand that it’s okay to feel the inner disturbance and they can no longer disturb your consciousness, you will be free.

Chapter 10: Stealing Freedom for Your Soul

Prerequisite to true freedom is to decide that you don’t want to suffer any more. We fear that we are not good enough or that we will fail or that people will take advantage of us or stop loving us and we experience insecurity, anxiety and self-consciousness. All these things burden us tremendously. People don’t understand how much they suffer because they have never experienced what is it like to not to suffer. You only notice when it becomes worse than your daily life. In normal situation we don’t think about our body, when we have to do something, we just do it. Same is not true about our psyche. When we have to do something, we are constantly thinking, what will happen, what should I say, what will they think etc. You think like this because you are not okay inside, just about anything can upset your psyche. You must acknowledge that it can be healthy. You don’t have to protect your psyche. Inner sensitivity is a symptom of non-well being. You have mistreated your psyche. You have given it an impossible task. That everyone should like me. Everything I do should be acceptable to everyone. Nothing that I don’t like, should happen. Everything I like, must happen. Your mind works on it constantly. That’s why it is so active. This has broken the psyche. How do you fix this? Your mind constantly tells you to fix things outside to solve the problems inside but that’s wrong. The next promotion is not going to solve your issue because once you get it you will want the next promotion. External things are not the root cause of the problem. The root cause is that you don’t feel whole or complete. If you don’t find the root of the problem, you will hide behind finances, people, fame etc. Success means you never have to think about your psyche. You should not have to devote your entire life to your psyche. It’s an addiction and you are capable of getting rid of this addiction. You stop telling your mind to fix your personal problems. Mind cannot control anything outside. Everything will be okay if you are okay with everything. You just need to watch the mind and not listen to what it tells you to do. Like someone does not acknowledge you and your mind starts telling you all the bad things about that person. Stop, it’s okay if someone did not acknowledge you. Keep telling yourself that you are not going to get involved in the melodrama of your mind. Remind yourself of this multiple times in a day like every time you leave the house or get into a car.

Chapter 11: Pain, the Price of Freedom

One of the essential requirements for spiritual growth is to come to terms with pain. You may not like this inner disturbance but you must face it. If you try to avoid it, it builds up inside and even simple situations will cause it. You end up building protective layers around the experience in your heart forever, like a layer to get peoples acceptance, another layer to win them over. You need to get some perspective. You are a tiny blip in this universe so why do you care about what others think about you. Why does it hurt so much if they don’t like you or your dress or your car? You have 2 choices. One, leave the pain inside and continue struggling outside. Two, decide to get rid of the pain. If you did not have pain, you will be free. Don’t be afraid of the pain. It’s just another thing. It’s temporary. It’s just a feeling. Just look at it objectively. Have fun with it, laugh at it. The survival instinct is to pull away from unpleasant experiences. Psyche does the same thing with insecurity, jealousy etc. and you put a shield around you. Someone says something to you and you are hurt. You walk away thinking that you will not talk to them again ever. Now the pain will remain inside and shape your future. That’s not what you want. You must learn to transcend the tendency to avoid pain. When you feel the pain, simply see it as energy passing through you, just relax and release. Watch the place which tightens. Heart will want to pull away, close and protect. Just relax your shoulder and the pain will go away. Every single time you resist and close, you are building up the pain inside. Accept the pain and that you feel it. This way it passes through. You may feel the heat in your heart; enjoy it because it’s freeing you. Pain is the price of freedom. The moment you are not afraid of pain you will be able to face all of life’s situations without fear. If you closed around something you will be psychologically sensitive about that subject for rest of your life. If you are comfortable about pain passing through, you will be free. You will be able to walk through this world more vibrant and alive than ever before.

Chapter 12: Taking Down the Walls

Our awareness of being is living deep inside us in an artificially sealed area. It is so solid that no natural light comes in. The only light we get is what we managed to create for ourselves. If we don’t create good situations for ourselves, there is darkness. You are inside the house totally sealed off from natural light while there is an open field of brilliant light. What is your house made of? It is made of your thoughts, past experience, views, opinions, hopes and dreams. You have woven your thoughts, experiences, emotions into a conceptual world, where you live. This mental structure blocks you from the natural life outside this wall. You want to avoid running into these walls. You are locked inside. If you want to get out, you have to cross these walls. It’s not that difficult. Time and again every day the natural flow of light collides with our walls and tries to tear them down but we defend them. What you are defending is the house you built. You can step out of this house and get unlimited supply of life. You need to take down these walls. Walls are just thoughts, you can change them.

Chapter 13: Far Far Beyond

Everything is infinite but we have put boundaries on them. To go beyond you must go past the limit you have put on things. You have made up your thought model and if something does not match your model, it’s wrong. If you want to go beyond your model you have to take the risk to not believe in it. You do things for a reason. To know the reason, don’t do them one day. Like don’t comb your hair one day. See what happens when you don’t do things. Your model is your comfort zone and you are constantly trying to stay in your comfort zone. The moment someone starts ignoring your expectations, your mind starts telling you how to bring him on the right track. You can devote your life to fit your limited model or you can devote your life freeing yourself from your limited model. People feel safe inside their models, they are locked inside a cage because they are afraid of unknown beyond their model. You can hardly move in there and constantly hitting the limits of your comfort zone. You are afraid of speaking your mind, you are too self-conscious, you have to stay on top everything to be okay. Why? You have put limits on yourself. You can devote your whole life to stay in the comfort zone or free yourself. Boundaries of comfort zone make your world finite. You need to go beyond. You hit the edges of your cage every day and get hurt. You constantly plan how to stay in your comfort zone. When you reach the edges you feel insecurity, fear, jealousy self-consciousness and you stop trying. Spirituality is the commitment to go beyond every second. Just interact with the day with peaceful mind as it unfolds. If you constantly relax, one day you will go beyond.

Chapter 14: Letting Go of False Solidity

Internal psyche is constantly changing due to internal or external stimuli. It changes moods, desires, likes, dislikes, enthusiasm, and lethargy. It’s a full time task to control all this. You feel these emotions and you are the one who has all these experiences. Consciousness is the dynamic field of awareness and when if focuses narrowly, it loses broader sense of your surroundings. Your consciousness focuses on whatever catches its attention. Focusing on one object creates clinging and this becomes a building block of your psyche. If outside world does not match your model, your facade crumbles and it does not protect you anymore and you feel panic. Instead if you let go of your model, you will start to be peaceful. You will be aware of a lot of changes, which you don’t control, just let it happen and slowly you will be comfortable. Just let the life unfold moment after moment. You want your model to break. You must be comfortable with psychological disturbances. If an event is creating disturbance, and your heart tightens or heats up, just watch it, it will pass. It will be painful but face it. Don’t see the disturbance as a negative experience. When your mind is disturbed don’t ask what to do, ask who am I? Eventually the disturbance stops.

Chapter 15: The Path of Unconditional Happiness

There is only one choice, do you want to be happy or not? Once that choice is made life becomes totally clear. Your happiness is totally under your control if it’s unconditional, no matter what. Things will challenge you, it will be difficult. The purpose of your life is to enjoy and learn from experiences. Events will happen but you have to choose how you want to live. Enjoying life’s experiences is the only rational thing to do. You are here and things will happen and you are going to die but at least enjoy your life. Every time some part of you starts to become unhappy let it go. What good does it do to not have fun? Stay happy no matter what. When you are happy, heart feels open and energy flows in. Whenever your heart is closing, ask yourself if you want to be unhappy. You have that choice. You can’t base your happiness on other people’s behavior or outside events. You have limited time left in life. Just relax when your heart starts to tighten and let the event pass through.

Chapter 16: The Spiritual Path of Non-resistance

Stress happens when we resist life’s events. We use our will power to stop the experience of an event. It’s a waste of energy. We are resisting things about past, which have already happened or from future, which may not happen at all. Anything to do with past creates more disturbance. The solution is to stop resisting or at least find a good reason to resist. Resistance to life is pointless. You carry preconceived notions and impressions and resist if life does not match it. Solution is to let go of your impressions and the stress they create. Key is to accept events, relax and release. Fear and desire make things complicated. If you don’t have those, the life events will unfold and pass smoothly. If you don’t judge and resist people, it’s much easier to get along.

Chapter 17: Contemplating Death

If this was your last day, what you will do, how will your priorities change, how will your thoughts change and why are you not doing that by default death or no death. Death takes away everything from you in a flash. Regularly reflect what you need to do. Say what you need to say, do what needs to be done only then you will experience life fully and there will be no last wishes. Death does not take your life away; you do, by not paying attention to the current moment.

Chapter 18: The Secret of the Middle Way

Everything has two extremes – eating, heat, relationship, sex, money. Middle is a place where no energy is pushing in any direction. Everything has a yin and yang and a balance. To be efficient, you need to be centered on a path. When you stop swinging on extremes, you will be much more efficient and you will finish everything fast. It is much more efficient to deal with the body in a balanced manner than to be burdened with the effects of extremes. For example relationship in which you want to stay together all the time or never meet is not possible. It’s difficult to live in extremes, it’s very inefficient, just like a pendulum, going from left to right and back wasting energy. Pendulum can stay on extremes only for a moment but it can stay in center forever. How do you stop pendulum from swinging to the opposite? It’s easy, don’t participate in the extremes and slowly the pendulum will come to the center. Your energies will find a balance. You will become much clearer; staying in present will become your natural state. Life’s event will never overwhelm you. Life becomes simple because you are not confused and don’t react. Similarly, if you are centered, it’s efficient, no energy is wasted. The balance point is not static it’s a dynamic equilibrium. You have to let the forces move you. You must reach a point where your whole interest lies in balance and not in a particular preference. Find the balance in the center and live in harmony.

Chapter 19: The Loving Eyes of God

There is a part of being which is beyond the personal self. When you can identify with it, a natural transformation occurs within you. Things don’t touch you as much. You associate less with your physical being and more with the spirit. You stop judging everyone. You just feel love for no reason.