1-Sentence-Summary: The Untethered Soul describes how you can untie your self from your ego, harness your inner energy, expand beyond yourself and float through the river of life instead of blocking or fighting it.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Books and Oprah Winfrey have a two-way, positively reinforcing relationship: If Oprah picks a book to show to her audience, those book’s sales are sure to go through the roof. Vice versa, you can be sure that the book Oprah picked is a good one and that it’s made a big impact on her.
So when Oprah interviewed Michael A. Singer in 2012, you can bet that she put a lot of thought into why he was a good person to talk to: he explains spirituality in plain terms, he’s not a guru and makes what he describes as “the untethered soul” easy to understand and attain for everyone.
His book of the same name is about reaching a state of well-being and acceptance by letting life flow through you without ever blocking its stream of energy.
Here are my 3 favorite lessons:
- There are two separate versions of you, and your personal self is just one of them.
- Your inner energy is real, and the more you can let it flow through you, the better.
- Think about death often to make sure your priorities are in the right order.
Want to untether your self from your consciousness without having to become a recluse? Here’s some spiritual sense for normal people!
Lesson 1: Your thoughts don’t define you, they’re just outputs of what your consciousness perceives.
We all have an inner monologue going. 24/7/365, our inner voice is talking, directing how we navigate the world, and it rarely ever shuts off. The first step towards an untethered soul is realizing that this happens, because only then can you stop, pause and take a step back to look at what’s going on.
After all, your thoughts don’t define who you are. For example, if you often feel sad, you might start to think you’re just a sad person in general, when in reality, these thoughts are nothing more than objects flowing through you – it just so happens that your inner voice keeps picking them up.
This distinction is important. Singer calls it the difference between your self and your personal self. Your self is the pure stream of consciousness, that just keeps on flowing. Your personal self is the identity you form, based on how your inner voice perceives this stream of consciousness and the thought patterns that emerge from it.
Once you realize there’s a difference, you’ll look at yourself in a whole different light.
Lesson 2: Inner energy, though intangible, is very much real and the more you can let it flow, the better.
If you’ve ever had a surge of energy you couldn’t really explain, or that at least didn’t seem to make sense from a physical standpoint, you’ve witnessed the power of the mind.
For example, yesterday I was supposed to drive two hours to Frankfurt and meet up with a bunch of old and new friends. When I woke up in the morning, I didn’t feel too good and thought about canceling the trip. Once I decided to go and sat in the car with some music though, I suddenly felt like I could take on the world.
Some call it chakra, some call it chi, some call it shakti, but whatever you label it, this inner energy we all have, though intangible, is very much real and you should never underestimate it.
In the same way it can empower us, it can also drag us down if we block it. For example, ever since I sent an email on Wednesday, I was anxious about the potential reply I’d get – so my mind clung to it, I kept thinking about it and couldn’t let it go. This stressed me, and I could only let it go two days later, when I realized nothing bad would happen.
It’s important to learn to let such negative thoughts just pass through, so they won’t block your inner flow of energy.
Lesson 3: Death is what gives life meaning, so reflect on it often.
Did you know that humans are the only beings that know in advance that they will one day die? Imagine we didn’t know! We’d probably live our lives really carelessly.
While death is one of our biggest fears (though not as big as public speaking), it’s also what gives life meaning.
I keep re-learning this lesson, and since I’ve been following Gary Vee a lot, I keep getting reminded of it. Knowing that you’re going to die and that your time on this planet is finite is one of the single greatest ways to get you focused on what really matters to you in life.
For example, if you’re the jealous type and seeing your partner talk to someone else at a party already makes you mad, imagine what you’d want them to do once you’re gone – does it really matter who they talk to, as long as they’re happy?
Whatever it is you want to do in your life, if it’s worth doing before you die, chances are it’s very much worth doing right now. Don’t wait. This is your only at bat.
My personal take-aways
I’ll be the first to admit that it took me a while to get Michael Singer’s ideas, you’ll have to think a bit to wrap your head around them, but once you do, they’re incredibly powerful new ways of looking at the world. I’m with Oprah on this one, thumbs up!
What else can you learn from the blinks?
- More about your consciousness vs. your personal self
- A relationship example of harnessing your inner energy
- Why you should treat fear like a splinter
- How to widen your consciousness to expand beyond yourself
- What Tao is about and how it can help you become spiritually aware
Who would I recommend The Untethered Soul summary to?
The 17 year old, who thinks of himself as just a sad and lonely person, the 43 year old jealous type wife, and anyone who’s tasted the power of an inner burst of energy before they couldn’t really explain.