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15 April 2018

The Untethered Soul by Micheal Singer - Book Review

It's been a while since my last review of a book on spirituality - so I'm back to talk about some spiritual lessons I learnt from a book that I got for Christmas, The Untethered Soul. This is a very short but intense book on finding your true self; it looks at some of the steps to be taken on the journey towards mindfulness and well being.
It is not a book I recommend if you are reading about mindfulness for the first time, as a lot of ideas are taken for granted; but it is definitely worth reading if you want to look at mindfulness from another angle. The lessons contained in the book are by all means not new and at times they remain general or simplistic, but I enjoyed reading them as a way to remind myself of my personal goals.

Here are some of the main lessons I learnt:
  • You are your own spiritual being and your thoughts and feelings are a separate 'stream'. If you identify with them, you will have to put up with a constant inner struggle. If you learn to separate the two things you will be able to endure even hard times. This is the way you get rid of drama in your life.
  • Be an open source of energy at all times; this means keeping your heart open. By doing this, you bring more energy into your system, hence more love. That's how you heal.
  • Whenever you don't like something, you tend to close your heart over it (you can feel that distinctly in your chest muscles). In order to stay conscious and not be troubled by external factors, you need to relax the muscles around your heart. You can actually tell whether you are mentally letting go or not according to how your tense your muscles are feeling. So whenever you start noticing this attachment to something external you dislike, start letting go immediately. Do not resist what's happening; laught about it, breathe into it, but don't get attached to the physical feeling. If you do, it will be a million times harder to later let go of that layer of tension, and any time something reminds you of such a situation you tensed up over in the past, you will do so again. This is the biggest lesson I took away from the book.
  • Nothing is worth closing your heart on.
  • Don't be scared; don't be scared of change or of pain. You need to sit with it and face it; hiding it will create the tension we talked about.
  • You can make two decisions: to be happy, or not to be. There is no way in between. If you make a conscious decision to be happy, it might not be easy to adapt all of these lessons into your life but you do have the power to do it and can just like everyone else, no matter your life situation.
  • Although most people don't ever want to think about death, death is the biggest life lesson. The possibility of death has the power to teach us at any moment. I loved the example of a yogi who claimed to be living at all times as though a sword was suspended above his head and could fall on him at any time. That is how close to death each person is. 
As I said in the introduction, I recommend this book to those who are already familiar with the philosophy of mindfulness or awareness, although it might still give you some valuable insights if you are just starting.

My edition: Michael A. Singer, 2007. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond the Self. New Harbinger Publications. This was a Christmas gift :) 

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