As part of the Daily Possible mission to present solutions spiritual and practical, I intend to use this space to profile great books worth checking out. For my first selection, I chose the most inspiring and useful book I’ve read in recent memory: “Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer.
No other book that I know of has had such an impact on my daily behavior and my inner being. So what’s it all about?
Unlike advice found in myriad “self-help” books, you are not asked to change your thoughts to change your life, or to feel your feelings and go for it anyway. No quite the opposite.
Being “untethered” means acknowledging your emotions, but not letting them drive expected outcomes from the outside world.
When you carefully observe your emotions, you’ll see that you are never completely at peace, Singer writes.
Whatever emotion you are experiencing, positive or negative, causes urges, drives, and impulses to act in some way. It is a constant effort to either get something or avoid something in effort to feel OK.
As Singer told Huffington Post:
If you watch, you will see that your mind is always telling you what you should and should not do, what others should and should not do, and how things should and should not be. All of this is the mind’s attempt to first create a conceptual model of what would make you okay, and then try to get the outside world to match it. …
While it’s true that sometimes you manage to make it better for short periods of time, you know that you’ve never even come close to reaching a state of permanent peace. You will see that if your mind gets what it wants, you feel joy; if it doesn’t get what it wants, you feel disturbance. You will never be okay playing this game because the world will never match the conceptual model your mind has made up. …
The key to moving forward is to acknowledge these emotional energies but not engage with them.
You come to see that there is a habitual process in which the moment you feel inner disturbance, you are drawn into doing something about it. You must learn to sit inside and not participate in this process. If you truly understand that going outside to try to be okay inside doesn’t work, then you’ll be willing to sit inside and simply allow the disturbance to pass through.
If you aren’t so preoccupied with trying to be okay, you will be free to sit inside and quietly love, serve, and honor whatever naturally unfolds in front of you. …
The more you get drawn into your personal energies, the less Spirit you feel. The more you don’t participate in your personal energies, the more Spirit you feel. You now have a direct relationship with the spiritual energy. …
Things just are what they are. At this point, you know yourself as Self. The world, mind, and heart cannot disturb you.
“Untethered” is very easy to digest. Singer writes in a calm, clear style so that doing the exercises are straightforward and meaningful.
Before reading “Untethered Soul,” I would too often get caught up in what Singer calls “downward spiral thinking.” This happens when reacting to something from an emotional state triggers an emotional response in another party, and then each energy feeds off the other. Instead, by pausing and taking a step back, and communicating from the inner seat of the witness, more favorable outcomes are assured, because tense situations become diffused and not further heightened.
#dailypossible challenge: Have you read “Untethered Soul,” or have your own favorite book on a similar topic? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr