I just finished reading the ‘self-help’ book entitled The Untethered Soul by author Michael A. Singer. This book was suggested to me by someone who I greatly admire – Greg Simon over at knowmadiclife.com.
Greg first suggested this book to me back in a message conversation months ago. At that time I was not ready for a book of this nature. I feel self-help books are best read when you need a pick me up, and boy, this book did just that. I gained new inspiration and motivation through the various logical life lessons that the bestseller presented. Throughout the 200 pages, the ultimate message Singer presents is simply to be happy, claiming life is but an event, passing you by. No matter what happens in life, there’s never a reason to stress out. Your uncle dies? No problem. Your car gets totaled? Don’t stress! Your house burns to a crisp? Just a moment in time! The logical power that he presents this message with will leave you as hopelessly happy as well. Some of my favorite quotes and reasoning are as follows:
“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind-you are the one who hears it. If you don’t understand this, you will try to figure out which of the many things the voice says is really you.” -page 11
One of the first valuable messages of the book is to step away from the voice in your head and conquer it. Make it you ‘best friend.’ This message hit hard at home with me as often my mind is my biggest enemy. Prior to reading this, I was skeptical that others had these problems. I went as far to wonder if I had a serious mental problem due to the often bi-polar voice in my head.
He goes on:
“If you spend your time hoping that it doesn’t rain tomorrow, you are wasting your time. Your thoughts don’t change the rain. You will someday come to see that there is no use for that incessant internal chatter, and there is no reason to constantly attempt to figure everything out.” -page 12
“The reward for not protecting your psyche is liberation. You are free to walk through this world without a problem on your mind.” -page 60
Liberate yourself from… yourself! Really! It makes perfect sense. Life is but an event passing you by, constantly, there’s no reason you should ever stress out or try to figure everything out. This world was here many years prior to your existence and it will be here many years after your gone! Stop letting the voice in your head ruin your precious moments alive.
Next, he expands on challenges:
“Real transformation beings when you embrace your problems as agents for growth.” -page 76
“It turns out that the life of protecting yourself from your problems becomes a perfect reflection of the problem itself. You didn’t solve anything. If you don’t solve the root cause of the problem, but instead, attempt to protect yourself from the problem, it ends up running your life.” -page 77
What an important concept! Think of the number one problem you have (there will always be problems going on in your head) right now. How often do you think about it? Does it run your life? The key, argues Singer, is to fight it head on! The challenges in life are truly what allow us to grow. Without challenges, we will not grow.
“The events that happen in the moment belong to the moment. They don’t belong to you. They have nothing to do with you. You must stop defining yourself in relationship to them, and just let them come and go.” -page 126
“If anything can cause disturbance inside of you, it means it hit your model. It means it hit the false part of you that you built in order to control your own definition of reality. But if that model is reality, why didn’t experiential reality fit?”-page 127
More than likely, the voice in your head has made hateful comments like: “Oh my god, what is she wearing on her head?” “Man, I hope that freak doesn’t come over here and try to talk to me.” “That guy is way too spoiled!” If this is so, throw them out! Throw those perceptions of reality out, as they are holding your happiness back!
“People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy?” -page 129
“Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. You don’t have to learn Sanskrit or read any scriptures. You don’t have to renounce the world. You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy.” -page 131
Gee, what a concept.
“Life is not something you get, it’s something you experience.” – page 149
The author then presents the example of death. If you knew that you were going to die this week, what would you do? Why aren’t you doing this now in life? You can die at any moment, any breathe you take could be your very last.
If you haven’t had a chance to read this book, or any self-help book for that matter, I suggest you take the time out of your day to check it out. Self-help books tend to fix problems in your psyche that you are completely unaware of. Only after reading a few chapters of this book, you will feel refreshed, wondering why you haven’t thought about these things before. The only element of the book that I did not appreciate was the final chapter. The author decides to dedicate this part of the book to the ‘loving eyes of God.’ Throughout the first 18 chapters he rarely (if ever) makes mention of ‘God,’ instead focusing on a logical, rational approach to connect with the reader. Regardless, the first 18 chapters are well worth the read and will likely fill you with inspiration!