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About Michael Alan Singer
Michael Singer is a bestselling author, a meditation center founder, and a former software programmer. In 1975, he founded Temple of the Universe, a long-established yoga and meditation center for people of any religion or belief to experience inner peace. Singer created Medical Manager, one of the first programs that helped medical practitioners to digitize their medical records. This company was acquired by WebMD, a billion-dollar public company. Singer continued for many years as executive VP and head of research and development of WebMD Practice Services. He resigned from WebMD in 2005 and focused on writing. His two books, The Untethered Soul (2007) and The Surrender Experiment (2015), were New York Times bestsellers.
The Untethered Soul aims to help all its readers be free from their limitations and soar well beyond their boundaries to achieve inner peace, energy and happiness. Singer encourages you to focus less on the world around you and more on changing your relationship with your inner space to achieve these outcomes. Once you have untethered yourself from your mind and soul, you will be able to deal with all challenges that life throws at you. The Untethered Soul has sold over one million copies.
StoryShot #1: Solve Problems Based on Your Inside World
To find peace with the voice inside your head is to realize that this “I” will never be content. This means you can identify this voice, which Singer calls your inner roommate, as the source of negative energy. For example, if you are feeling jealous, you should avoid finding ways to protect yourself. Look inside and find what part of your voice is having a problem with jealousy.
Singer explains that solving problems based on your outside world will be ineffective and short-term. The key to solving problems is understanding and improving how situations affect you on the inside.
StoryShot #2: Get to Know Your Inside Voice
We all have a voice inside our heads. That said, we very rarely take a step back and examine this voice. Singer suggests observing what it says and getting to know it better. Without getting to know this voice, it can feel like it is part of you. But, as you have no control over it, it is obviously not you. The importance of understanding your voice is that it can be the source of most of your problems. The author explains that the real cause of problems is not life itself but the negative way your mind can react to life events. For example, a build-up of nerves, fear or desire will increase the voice’s activity in your head. This internal narration helps you analyze the world around you and re-create this world inside yourself. This can lead to you then living in your mind.
The key to avoiding living in your own mind is by overcoming the part of you that needs protection. You can do this by constantly reminding yourself that you aren’t your voice. You are just an individual noticing this internal voice.
StoryShot #3: Tackle Autopilot to Stop Being Absorbed By Your Inside Voice
Many of us live our lives as if we are in a dream. In dreams, we simply accept what is happening and do not question whether we are actually in a dream. We fly over our house without even questioning the legitimacy of our experiences. Singer describes this as a lost state and explains we often move into this state while awake. For example, being totally absorbed in our thoughts, feelings and senses. Focusing on these features prevents us from understanding the context of our experiences. This is the difference between being aware that you are aware and not being aware that you are aware.
It is easier to get lost when you are overloaded by several senses. You become absorbed by your experience. A perfect example of this is when you are watching a really exciting movie. For two hours, you are immersed in your sensory experience. You must learn to pull yourself back from autopilot when engaging in these activities so you can experience everything. This practice will help you pull away from your inner roommate.
StoryShot #4: Your Inside Voice Is Your Inner Thorn
Singer describes the internal voice’s response to external problems as our inner thorn. Sometimes external problems are so insignificant that you can choose to avoid the thorn. That said, there will be occasions where external problems are negatively influencing your inner voice. On these occasions, you must decide to remove this inner thorn. The question is not how to get rid of the problem but how you can protect yourself from reacting negatively to this problem. Singer repeats here that the best approach is understanding how you want to respond to these problems and that your inner voice’s negative perceptions aren’t coming from you.
StoryShot #5: A Healthy Heart Allows Energy to Flow
Although energy is clearly physical, it is also influenced by your mental approach. The author uses the example of when you fall in love with someone. This experience makes you inspired about other things in your life and fills you with energy. On the flip side, you may feel demotivated and drained of energy after a breakup. The Chinese call this Chi, but Singer calls this infinite energy. This chapter merely highlights that external forces influence energy. Still, you can reclaim control by not letting the voice inside take over during difficult times.
Singer believes that a healthy heart’s natural state will allow energy to flow, encouraging inspiration, love, and openness. Your heart helps you research your highest state, which is simply the result of being completely open. So, don’t sell yourself short by neglecting your heart and closing up. Your heart is the antidote to your mind. At some point in your journey, you will be guided by your heart rather than worrying about your mind. Your mind will merely follow your heart. That said, as with your mind, you are also not your heart. You are the experiencer of your heart.
StoryShot #6: Openness Is Essential for Energy Production
Staying open is the key to happiness and love. Remaining open will lead to waves of uplifting energy filling your heart. Energy is so important that you should never leave it to chance. You will receive more energy if you stay open, so Singer suggests practicing opening by not closing. Once you have practiced enough, you will be able to stay open no matter what. At this point, your energy will affect other people. They will be able to pick up on your energy, and they will start to open up too.
StoryShot #7: Let Go of Things to Become Liberated
Freedom and liberation are the key to avoiding a closed mind. Singer describes liberation as committing to your inner work and subsequently finding yourself. You can then untether yourself, so you can steal freedom for your soul. You achieve this liberation by not protecting your psyche. Everything will be okay as soon as you are okay with everything.
StoryShot #8: Free Your Soul By Not Worrying About Others
Singer believes we are all constantly suffering because we focus our mental and emotional energy on being liked by others. But, as these emotions are so prevalent, we don’t even notice them. He compares this to a fish not noticing water. So, the first thing you need to do is stop expecting your mind to fix what’s wrong with you. Singer explains that your mind is a highly effective computer tool. It should be used to ponder great thoughts, solve problems, and serve humanity rather than worry about what others think. Moving away from the lost state just spoken about will help you stop focusing on external problems and start focusing on inner problems.
StoryShot #9: Freedom and Liberation Will Not Be Pain-Free
True spiritual growth, freedom and transformation will not be free of pain. You instead have to learn to come to peace with pain. Most people are always trying to avoid pain, but this means pain is running their lives. Years of attempting to avoid pain will have created layers of deep sensitivity to external events. This is because this pain is still being processed, just deeper down. These deep processes will build a whole structure around this pain and create closed energy that influences your decisions. Singer believes that dealing with pain is the core of spiritual work. Once you accept pain, you will start to have more beautiful experiences.
StoryShot #10: Take Down Your Walls to Free Your Consciousness
As you take down the walls and go deeper into yourself, you will realize a never-changing part of you. This is your sense of awareness. This is your consciousness. This part of you is aware of your thoughts, experiences and emotions. So, your consciousness is the root of your Self.
StoryShot #11: Destroying False Solidity Will Bring You Peace
Letting go is always a positive action. It is a deep inner release that is a spiritual path in and of itself. Once you learn to let go of false solidity, you will experience permanent peace, joy and happiness. Even after letting go, you will still have thoughts, emotions and a self-concept. But, they will be merely one small part of what you experience rather than the entirety of your experience. After letting go, you will not identify with anything outside your sense of Self.
StoryShot #12: Choose Happiness and Character
Singer explains our usual responses to “Who are you?” are incorrect. Most people respond to this question by describing where they grew up and what their parents were like. This is not who you are. This is what has happened since you were born rather than your character.
Deciding you’re going to be happy will also help you to become enlightened. Enlightenment is not about learning Sanskrit or renouncing the world. The key to true enlightenment is meaning it when you choose to be happy. People can easily become burdened by the many choices in their lives. Singer reminds us that there is only one question that truly matters and what is whether you want to be happy or not. Committing yourself to unconditional happiness will teach you every single thing there is to learn about yourself, about others, and about the nature of life.
The path to unconditional happiness relies on your ability to understand your inner energies. If you think deeply, you will notice that happiness is associated with an open heart and a rush of energy.
StoryShot #13: Push Beyond Your Comfort Zone
As humans, we try to stay within our comfort zone. This zone confines us to certain experiences and takes away our freedom. To go beyond this comfort zone, you have to start letting go of the effort to keep things within your defined limits. Once you have awoken spiritually, you will realize you’re caged. You will better understand your comfort zone’s limits and that your fear of discomfort creates the cage.
So, Singer suggests you go far beyond your comfort zone. There should be no cage and your soul should be infinite.
StoryShot #14: Learn to Never Worry
Every day will feel like a vacation once you learn to never worry about what will happen in your day. You will wake up excited about the day and will let go of everything when you go to bed at night. If you can do this, you’ll start living life rather than fearing or fighting it. If you want to be content and enjoy your work, you have to let go of yourself and let events flow through you. Your real work is what is left to do after all else passes through.
StoryShot #15: Death Teaches Us Unique Lessons
Most people try to avoid thoughts of their own death. But, Singer believes that contemplating death teaches us several lessons that will improve our lives. Here are five lessons you should learn about contemplating death:
- Don’t wait until the last moment for death to be your teacher.
- A wise person realizes when you breathe out, you may not breathe in again.
- Any time you are struggling with something, think of death.
- Whatever you are doing right now, someone was doing that when they died.
- No matter what you’re doing, you can be sure someone died that way.
Final Review and Analysis
The Untethered Soul is Michael Singer’s guide to being joyful, liberated and energetic. The key to each of these is becoming untethered from your soul. We all have an inner voice we assume is who we are. Singer challenges this and explains that we are separate from our minds. Freeing ourselves from our minds is what will make us happy.
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