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1-Page Summary of The Untethered Soul
The Untethered Soul is a book about self-help and how to grow as a person. It’s written by Michael A. Singer, who aims to convince readers of the importance of listening to their inner voice rather than what they think or say (the mind).
The book’s main idea is that readers should “untether” their thoughts from their true inner selves. This message is relayed through lessons of mindfulness, which are rooted in Buddhist philosophy. Readers are encouraged to meditate and clear their minds of conscious thought to reach a deeper level of self-awareness.
Buddhist meditation is about clearing one’s mind, but The Untethered Soul recognizes that while you should clear your conscious thoughts from time to time, it’s just as important to be aware of what your consciousness is telling you.
Singer wants to convey that thoughts aren’t permanent. Thoughts are like objects that pass through us, and we shouldn’t put more importance on them than they deserve.
Most people define themselves through the thoughts they have. However, these thoughts aren’t always accurate because our inner voice says whatever it wants to say. Therefore, we can’t trust what it tells us about ourselves.
Once we recognize the illusory nature of our personal selves, how can we break through to the true self? Singer writes that while our thoughts enter and then leave our minds, the true inner self is always flowing inside us. Once we separate ourselves from individual thoughts and anxieties, what’s left is this positive flow of energy that will help us survive. Positive thinking isn’t enough; positive thinking is still just a thought like any other in your mind.
Since “The Untethered Soul” focuses so much on positivity, it might surprise readers that the book spends a lot of time talking about death. However, this is actually a good thing because it allows us to separate what matters from what doesn’t. When we think about death, we should not be driven by fear of what comes after; rather, we should focus on how limited our time here on Earth is and use that as an opportunity to focus on what truly matters.
Singer also offers his twelve-step process for persuasion:
Understand that you are here
Know that you are not who you’d like to be
Be OK with Everything
It’s important to realize that our minds have taken on the task of figuring out how everything needs to be so we can feel OK.
Accept that the process of defining how you want to be won’t make you happy.
Learn to stop struggling with your mind.
It’s important to live your life like everyone else, but not for the purpose of trying to be OK.
When you let go of the energy you’re feeling, a deeper energy will come in.
As you work with your inner energy, it becomes so beautiful that you develop a deep, personal relationship with it.
The energy begins to pull you up into it. You begin to feel a sense of oneness with the energy, and your entire path becomes letting go of yourself in order to merge with it.
When you get back to the source of energy, it becomes clear that your personal life can go on without you. You’re free to be immersed in spirit and do what’s really important.
You are now at peace with yourself and your emotions, so nothing can cause you to feel bad.
The book has been endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, who says it helped her come to peace with life.
Full Summary of The Untethered Soul
Buddha’s Brain is a practical guide to achieving peace of mind and greater happiness, love, and wisdom in life. It aims to help readers unlock their potential by providing them with the skills needed for it. Specific attention is paid to mindfulness, which was developed in Buddhist teachings.
We’ve all experienced jealousy, sadness, and fear. These negative emotions make us feel like we’re not the person we want to be.
The mind is powerful, but it can also be dangerous. It can take us to great heights in creativity and power, but it can also bring us down by making us negative thinkers.
The truth is, we don’t really know why our minds work the way they do. We just know that there’s something inside us that can overcome negative emotions and release positive energy in all of us.
The following are the key points that will help you overcome your negative thoughts and emotions, and allow you to take control of your mind.
After reading this passage, you’ll know the difference between your “self” and your “personal self”; what chi and shakti are; how to channel energy through them. You’ll also learn about removing fear by conquering it like a splinter in your finger.
Big Idea #1: Listen to your thoughts, but don’t let them define you.
Everyone has a voice in their head. It’s what we think about, our style of thinking and writing, like James Joyce did with Ulysses.
But what is it and why does it continue to talk?
If you take a moment, you will notice that your mind is always active. It never stops to rest.
The first step to enlightenment is to pay attention to your inner voice.
You also need to understand that your thoughts don’t define you. They’re simply outputs of your consciousness, which is the part of your brain that spends all day processing information and feelings.
When you pay attention to your inner voice, you’ll notice that it tends to make people worried, upset and surprised. It also influences your emotions.
We sometimes get so caught up in our thoughts that we forget they’re not actually us. This is the difference between a person and his personality.
Your consciousness is your pure self. It flows as it wants to and creates patterns of thought that you perceive as your identity.
If you’re sad often, you might label yourself as a sad person. If you feel envious of others, you might see yourself as a jealous person.
In order to become enlightened, you must accept that these thoughts and feelings are not who you really are. The real person is merely aware of these thoughts and feelings.
Big Idea #2: There’s a reservoir of energy within you. Don’t suppress it, but rather learn how to let it flow in the right direction.
Consciousness is a wonderful thing. It’s like energy, and if you can learn to flow with it, you can do just about anything.
Just like the energy around us, there is an internal energy inside you.
Imagine that your partner broke up with you. You’ve been depressed and lethargic ever since then. One day, they call you up saying they want to come over and see you again.
You’ll probably feel energized and ready to take on the world.
In Chinese medicine, this energy is called chi. In the yoga tradition, it’s known as shakti. You can feel it when you open your mind and allow it to flow through you.
Energy is a resource that’s always there, but we don’t use it as much because of subconscious blocks.
Imagine you’re driving down the road. Suddenly, someone who looks like your ex appears on the street. You think they are holding hands with another person.
You’ll keep driving, but your mind will be consumed by one image. It’ll make you anxious and jealous, and it won’t let you relax.
When you’re in a difficult situation, like the one described here, it’s important to let your negative thoughts pass through you. Otherwise, your inner energy will build up and become blocked. This can lead to negative emotions like depression.
Big Idea #3: You can never live a fear-free life. The only way to transcend fear is to let go of it and move forward with your life.
Your consciousness has a habit of thinking about negative things, but it’s actually part of our evolution. It helped us survive by focusing on predators and other threats.
It’s unfortunate that we’re so sensitive to fear and anxiety. So, how can you put your fears aside?
Fear is another thing that can cause problems. You can either run away from it or learn to deal with it.
It’s hard to accept fear as a product of our thoughts. We often avoid situations that trigger fear and try to structure our lives so we’re never afraid.
When you have a splinter in your finger, it hurts. You may find it hard to sleep because you’re touching the area where the splinter is.
If you get a splinter, there are two ways to deal with it. You can cover it up and do nothing about it, or you can pull the splinter out.
Letting go of your fear is like removing a splinter. It’s not a part of you, and it can be removed easily.
When your energy becomes blocked, you will become fearful. This is because your heart cannot receive the natural flow of energy from within you. Thus, it will be more susceptible to fear and other negative emotions.
Fear is a natural part of life, and it’s not realistic to think we can get rid of it. The goal is to be aware that fear exists, but still move forward in spite of it.
Big Idea #4: When you broaden your perspective, you step out of the narrow confines of your personal life.
Spiritual growth is essential to living a happy and fulfilling life. However, you can’t achieve spiritual growth if you’re constantly thinking about yourself. Therefore, it’s important to be able to direct your consciousness away from yourself and focus on something greater than yourself.
If you were able to transcend your current state of consciousness, what would it be like?
Your consciousness is bound up in your personal self. Your thoughts and feelings have shaped it over the years, such that you can’t get out of its cage.
If you’ve ever been to a zoo, you might have felt sorry for the animals stuck in small cages. You’re also trapped in your own self, even though it may not seem like it.
We often create our own mental boundaries to protect ourselves from things that threaten our idea of who we are.
When you let go of your thoughts, your mind becomes more open and expansive.
Have you ever been so engrossed by a movie that you forgot about the world around you? This is similar to what happens when we’re too focused on our own thoughts. Buddhists call this clinging. As long as we cling, we build a cage for ourselves with our thoughts.
When you don’t hold on to your thoughts, impressions and feelings, you’ll realize how much freedom there is.
When you let go of your thoughts, they flow freely and expand. You can transcend your personal self by allowing these thoughts to float on their own.
Big Idea #5: Death is a powerful motivator that can make us evaluate our lives and focus on what’s important.
Humans are the only creatures who are aware that they will die.
People have struggled with this concept for all of human history. They don’t know what to do if they only had one day left on earth.
Yogis and saints have always embraced death. They’ve also said that “death has no sting” or “the grave has no victory.”
When reflecting on death, you can find value in your relationships.
Perhaps you are a jealous person. You see your wife talking to another man at a party, and this upsets you. However, if she were to die today, would you want her to have the love of just one man?
When you think about death, it’s important to realize that the most important thing is for your wife to be happy. It’s not worth ruining an evening or having a fight because she talked to another man.
If you reflect on your own death, it helps you prioritize what’s important in life. Think about all the activities that require time and energy during the day, and imagine if you knew that you’d die in a week. How would this change how you spend your final days? What would be most important to do with those few remaining days?
Now ask yourself, what’s stopping you from doing those things?
Don’t waste time on unimportant things. If something is really important to you, then do it now.
Big Idea #6: Finding balance between extremes is an important part of spiritual awakening.
Most people fail at their New Year’s resolutions because they don’t find the right balance between what they want and what is achievable.
The Tao Te Ching is a spiritual teaching that explores the way between two extremes. It leads to the best result.
If you’re in a relationship and want to spend every waking minute with your partner, how long will that last?
Now, imagine a situation in which you don’t like to be dependent on others. You want to travel and live independently. You haven’t seen your partner in several months or years, but you still consider yourself to be in a relationship with him/her.
You need to find the balance between doing everything for your partner and expecting nothing. If you do too much, you will exhaust yourself and resent your partner. On the other hand, if you expect nothing from them, then their laziness or selfishness will eventually drive a wedge in your relationship.
Everything in life is true.
When we wander off the path and lose our way, we waste a lot of time. Let’s say you want to go from point A to B. If you get lost, it will take much longer for you to reach your destination.
Instead, you should follow the path that has been laid out for you. That way, your energy will be more focused and powerful. When you find the right path in life and stay committed to it, your life will become simpler and clearer as well.