The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer is a great book on better controlling our mind for a more peaceful, happy and fulfilling life.
- Stop trying to change the outside world: the shift you need to be happy and peaceful is within you
- We mostly thing negatively: meditate and learn to let negative thoughts go without affecting you
- Pain is OK. Don’t fight it or you “bottle it up”. Feel the pain and slowly let it go
The author, Michael Singer, is a spiritual teacher who has spent years on yoga and meditation.
The Inner Voice
Our mind never stops humming in the background. It’s always churning out thoughts and interpreting what it receives from our senses.
The very first step towards enlightenment is being able to listen to that background voice, which The Untethered Soul call the “Inner Voice”.
The Inner Voice is our self.
Our inner voice influences our emotions, and our emotions in turn influence how we perceive ourselves. How we perceive ourselves is the personal self.
For example if we often feel jealous -the self level-, then we will think of ourselves as jealous persons -this is the personal self, how we perceive ourselves-.
But that’s a mistake.
The Inner Voice Is NOT You
And this is a key concept of the book. What you think and feel is not the real you.
Feelings and thoughts do not define you. Your inner voice is not you.
Getting in Touch With Your True Self
The only way to go past your inner voice is to meditate for 15 minutes minimum. After a while you will notice that your background Inner Voice has disappeared.
And that’s when you can get in touch with your true self.
Flow & Pain Resistance
The Untethrered Mind deals with a deep and important concept: not allowing negative events in our lives to leave a long lasting impact.
Imagine you’re driving and see your ex with someone else. You’ll keep driving, but the thoughts of your ex will depress you for days to come.
That happens at the Inner Voice level, and it keeps pestering us for a long time because we keep holding and blocking the inner voice thoughts within us.
The author instead recommends you “lean away” from the negative, painful thoughts. Look at them but don’t dwell on them and they will not take over you.
Meditation will help you achieve the power to that.
For more on “flow” as the state of full absorption into a task read “Flow“.
Examples of Blocking VS Letting Go
Example of blocking are:
- God I’m so weak, I gotta get over her
- I need a new and better girlfriend to show her
- I want a revenge on her
Michael Singer says we should learn instead to let the thoughts of the Inner Voice go by. Negative thoughts will come anyway, but you let them go instead of holding them.
Examples of letting go:
- It will be painful, but I won’t resist and I’ll get over it
- That image will run through my head for a few days and that’s OK.
- It’s just another event of my life, it shall pass
Don’t Attach Feelings to Thoughts
Most of the tohughts in our our mind are not true. They are random, or heavily skewed towards negativity. When we fully entertain them, think about them, and attach feelings to them, that’s when they become real.
And that’s when they poison our lives.
Learning to let negative thoughts roam without entertaining them and without attaching feelings to them is liberating.
Let Fear Flow
The Untethered Soul explains how for evolutionary reasons (read The Moral Animal) we give more weight and importance to negative information.
But fear is just another thoughts of our Inner Voice. It’s not you. It’s not even part of you.
And same as jealousy, instead of bottling it up, rumunating over it and let it consume you, you can accept it and let it go.
Death Makes Life Meaningful
Michael Singer explains how reflecting on death can help us make our lives more meaningful.
Also read leveraging death for a better life.
Real Life Applications
Meditation is not woo-woo stuff, it has real, proven benefits.
Letting go of pain
This is something that has always been hard for me. I want to win, and I hate losing.
I’m very happy to be getting better at moving past pain now and it’s a life changer.
If you’ve been reading my summaries a bit you know that I like a tightly organized book. I don’t think The Untethered Soul was well structured.
It felt like a bit of lengthy, verbose prose at times. I think The Untethered Soul could have been briefer and built around the 2-3 key deep nuggets of wisdom it presents and how to reach that state.
Much hope, little how to
I found The Untethered Soul could have gone a bit deeper into the how to reach the enlightened stage the author talks about.
“Let go of fear” is not as helpful as saying “it took me X years to reach this level of awareness, and every day I’ve done X, Y, Z”.
The Untethered Soul popularizes some key concepts of meditation and spiritual awakening, and that’s a good thing.
Useful, practical knowledge
Albeit reaching the level of awareness and control it takes to let go of things is not easy, I believe it’s a key, central skill of an empowered (and happy) life.
And while not easy, it’s certainly within reach for all of us.
The Untethered Soul is about the ultimate control: mind control.
It reminded a bit of Eleven Rings, where Phil also talks about a meditation practice of letting thoughts come and go. He says after a while, you will realize those thoughts have less power over you.
Definitely a book to read and cherish.