Untethered Soul, Chapter 8

If you’ve been reading The Untethered Soul, or at least these chapter summaries, you know now that you are not your name, age, or profession. You know that you are an inner witness to all that happens around and in you. You also know that experiences can become held inside of you, leading to reactions of either avoidance or grasping.

In the last chapter, the book’s author, Michael A. Singer, suggested that it’s possible to “transcend the tendency to close” when inner fears get triggered. Now, with Chapter 8 called Let Go Now or Fall, we go deeper into how to transcend. This chapter launches the next unit of the book called, Freeing Yourself. And the key word in this chapter title is, “now.” You’ll see why.

Singer says that by trying to control life, based on how we think it should go for us, we think we are protecting ourselves, but that what we are really doing is creating fears.

If you attempt to arrange people, places, and things so they don’t disturb you, it will begin to feel like life is against you. … You will feel that anyone, at any moment, could cause you disturbance. … That makes life a threat. That’s why you have to worry so much. … You’re either trying to figure out how to keep things from happening, or you’re trying to figure out what to do because they did happen. …How did we come up with the notion that life is not okay just the way it is, or that it won’t be okay the way it will be?

Instead, what if we can live without fear and just let life be what it is. Live without fear?? That seems unlikely. But what would it be like? Just imagine. No fear of money problems. No feel of being abandoned. No fear of failure. No fear of safety.

Singer says we’re hanging onto our “stuff” (our blockages, fears, etc.) and when something happens that triggers that stuff we get thrown into a tailspin. He says you have to LET IT GO IMMEDIATELY, because it’s harder to do it later. If you get sucked down into the energy of disturbance, it is through the “haze of your disturbance” that you will see things and try to handle things.  You lose control because you got pulled away from your seat of consciousness, which is where the freedom is. Now you’re in your survival instincts…again, how to protect my “stuff” from getting triggered again. And over and over we are in this cycle.

Singer paints a pretty bleak picture of what it’s like when we act from this lower energy once we’ve been triggered. We listen to our survival instincts to tell someone off, quit our job, drink a little more, whatever it might be. Other people are impacted and then THEIR stuff gets triggered. We take the energy of our own blockages and we pass it on to others. (Not very zen of us.) The negative energy we put out now has to come back in kind. We are weakened and MORE stuff gets triggered more easily. Etc, etc.

What if all you had to do to avoid all of this was to let go in the beginning?

Fair question.

Singer says when a blockage gets hit, it’s a GOOD thing. Because it’s time to let go IMMEDIATELY and get some purification!

It’s time to open up internally and release the blocked energy. If you let go, and permit the purification process to take place inside, that blocked energy will be released. When it’s released and allowed to flow up, it becomes purified … then strengthens you instead of weakening you.

Again, this takes practice.

Just turn your eyes upward and relax your heart. You do not have to leave the seat of Self in order to deal with the darkness. … Getting involved in the darkness does not dispel darkness; it feeds it. … No matter what goes on below you, open your heart and let it go. Your heart will become purified, and you will never know another fall. … let all of your blockages and disturbances become the fuel for the journey. That which is holding you down can become a powerful force that raises you up.

Readers, if you’re like me, this sounds like just what the doctor ordered, but it also sounds pretty daunting. For the rest of the week, I’m going to go for it. It’s going to be a challenge for us…maybe with certain relatives, maybe at work, maybe with kids or with pets, definitely in traffic! But isn’t it worth it to try and see what happens?

I hope that this week finds you freer than the last! Go for it!!

With faith in you and your inner Self,

~~~Simone~~~

 

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Untethered Soul, Chapter 7

It’s back! I can hardly believe it myself. But not to worry, I hadn’t actually forgotten about our chapter summaries of The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. I just got distracted by some other things in life.

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And speaking of distractions, Chapter 7 of the book is called Transcending the Tendency To Close and it also has a little do with distraction as well. It’s the last chapter of section 2 which has introduced us to the idea of energy…energies inside of us, our reactions to them, and our natural tendency to create Samskaras or blocked energies.

This chapter wraps up Singer’s introduction to energy and your ability to cling or release by giving us practical advice for how to NOT develop Samskaras. Here, Singer talks about “falling behind” the energies as they come up, meaning allowing your consciousness to not follow thoughts that enter our mind, but allowing them to pass. These might be immediate thoughts like, “I can’t believe I did that! What would it be like if I hadn’t done that? What should I do next time? I need to figure it out now!” The alternative to following all those thoughts and getting yourself worked up into a state of elevated blood pressure would just be to fall behind those thoughts. Notice them, accept them, then stay centered as they pass.

Falling behind a thought could also be something related to an event that happened a long time ago. Singer gives the example of someone taking your favorite pencil at work. It might seem like every time you have to use a different pencil, you replay their indiscretion and get agitated all over again. He says deciding to fall behind those thoughts and energies is “simply a matter of taking the risk that you are better off letting go than going with the energy.”

Personally, I’ve felt this risk very acutely in practicing this falling behind tactic. When someone hurts my feelings (or maybe I should say, “When I let myself believe that someone has hurt my feelings,”) I want to be mad and I can feel myself shutting down towards them. In some of these moments I have really asked myself if I will be better off if I let it go in the moment and not follow the tide of anger. Sometimes it’s not an answer that comes easily! My established habit of closing down and getting defensive is a strong one. Trusting that I will be better–even that I will at least be okay–if I let it go and stay centered is a challenge to me. But I keep practicing and more and more I am beginning to see that yes, it is better. It is more free.

And this freedom is what we’re talking about. Freedom from being tossed to and fro with every passing emotional reaction. If we spend our lives consciously or subconsciously trying to protect ourselves via anger or resentment or isolation, we’re not really free, we’re not really protected.

But let’s talk specifics then. How do we not follow energy? How do we fall behind it?

“The moment you feel a change, relax your shoulders and relax the area around your heart. The moment the energy moves you simply relax and release. Play with letting go and falling behind the sense of being bothered. “

Singer says this is how you make “freedom a game.”

“You don’t fight the mind. In fact you don’t even try to change it. You just make a game out of relaxing in the face of its melodrama.”

Moments where you can practice this are simply moments to grow. There will be many, many times when energy captures your attention and you flow along with the current of negative thinking. But the more you practice the easier it will become.

“Your center of consciousness is always stronger than the energy that is pulling on it. …There is nothing wrong with feeling the energies of fear, jealousy, or attraction. It’s not your fault that such energies exist. All the attractions, repulsions, thoughts, and feelings don’t make any difference. They don’t make you pure or impure. They are not you. You are the one who’s watching, and that one is pure consciousness. “

On a  personal note, I have found a particular metaphor that best helps me be able to fall behind the passing thoughts and feelings. At my mother’s house in Illinois there is a porch that looks out over her front yard with the pink-blossomed trees and large ancient oak, past a two-lane country highway, and across the expanding fields and forest on the other side. It is one of the most peaceful places I can think of. There are birds and clouds to watch and maybe a cat sleeping in the sun by your feet. It’s really the perfect place for a cup of coffee or iced tea. Everything around is green and alive.

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Even the whir of passing cars and farm trucks adds to the total comforting experience. Now, this porch has become my metaphor for falling behind. I sit in my inner seat of witness just as I sit on the porch. I acknowledge the passing traffic of thoughts and feelings just as I acknowledge the traffic on the highway. I chase not after each thought and feeling that presents itself just as I move not a muscle in response to the passing cars.

What is your metaphor? Think of your “happy place” where calm and comfort surround you as you are observant and at peace. Got it? Now what is something that passes through your line of sight as you sit in that place? Maybe they are seagulls, maybe they are bees, maybe they are airplanes or pedestrians. The next time you feel the challenging energy rising in you, imagine yourself in that happy place. That thought, reaction, emotion is nothing more than one of those seagulls or pedestrians. You are not following them, not grabbing them. You are noticing them and letting them pass.

Go get your freedom and let’s transcend the tendency to close!

~~~Simone~~~

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The Untethered Soul, Chapter 6

The highest state you have ever experienced is simply the result of how open you were. If you don’t close…This can go on all the time–unending inspiration, unending love, and unending openness. That is the natural state of a healthy heart.

-Michael A. Singer

Something challenging happened to my friend this weekend. “It just brought up so much old stuff,” he told me. Had I remembered what I read in The Untethered Soul’s Chapter 6 called The Secrets of the Spiritual Heart, I would have said, “Sounds like it triggered your Samskara.” If you recall, Chapter 5 began our examination of energy flow. I challenged us all to begin considering those moments in our day when we become closed to the natural energy flow. Have you noticed your moments? HOW ENERGY GETS BLOCKED In Chapter 6, Singer goes into a little more depth about what it means to say that energy gets “blocked,” a nice little buzz term that gets used a lot but isn’t necessarily defined carefully. Singer offers clarification on this with relatable everyday illustrations, as usual. Let me try to summarize… The ideal state would be to have your chakra system, especially your heart chakra, completely open. Openness is when input comes in from your senses based on what you are experiencing and you neither reject nor cling to the subsequent energy created by that experience. The energy of anger might come, but then it goes. The energy of fear might come, but then it goes. The energy of joy might come, but then it goes. Imagine your spiritual heart is a valve for all of these various energies and all is moving through smoothly, without a hitch. Unless you are Jesus or the Buddha, good luck alwaysremaining this open. You probably do have many open moments thoughespecially if you practice mindfulness in one form or another. But for most of us, our perceptions, judgements, and interpretations chime in during many of our experiences. Then, instead of sensations simply passing through the valve of our spiritual heart, something else happens:

…inevitably something comes in that doesn’t make it through. There was this one car, a light blue Ford Mustang, that looked like your girlfriend’s car. But as it passed by, you noticed two people hugging in the front seat. At least it looked like they were hugging, and it sure looked like your girlfriend’s car. But it was a car just like all the other cars, wasn’t’ it? No. It wasn’t just like all the other cars to you.

Our mind begins to go on a scavenger hunt through all the possible meanings of something we’ve just witnessed. And after we fixate on something like this, which most of us do here and there throughout the day, we are no longer experiencing every car and tree that is passing after that light blue Ford. Sure you have to notice the next stop light, but doesn’t your mind just chug chug chug away with thought after thought about that car, your girlfriend, and what could have been going on? You’re not just trying to calmly consider…you’re letting anxiety and fear and suspicion get a hold of you. Ta-da!… That energy gets stuck. And when enough energy gets stuck, think about what happens to that valve of your spiritual heart. It begins to get crusty. Okay, Singer didn’t say “crusty,” he said that these accumulations of stuck energies “encrust the valve of the spiritual heart.” Thus, energy flow is restricted and we get the idea of the energy center (i.e., chakra being “blocked.” SAMSKARAS Singer now introduces the term Samskara and includes these various descriptions of what a Samskara is: a blockage, an impression from the past, an unfinished energy pattern that ends up running your life, a cycle of stored past energy patterns in a state of relative equilibrium, a little packet of cycling energy literally stored in your energetic heart center. Samskara means an energy that won’t stop cycling and cycling because you won’t let it. You keep it there and affirm it. In fact, you have a bunch of these little orbiting energy packets–your Samskaras. These blockages can stay with you a long long time. This should come as no surprise since sometimes difficult experiences from decades ago can still “come up” with a look or a word from a stranger. You probably know exactly what I mean. My friend has some Samskaras that he has not released and so they became easily aggravated by the situation in which he found himself this weekend.

A Busy Mind by Ghostgirl-Shanika

A Busy Mind by Ghostgirl-Shanika

Singer says that this pattern of energy blocking is where depression, darkness, negativity can begin. There is too little energy coming in or out in relation to that Samskara. It doesn’t mean that you are not open at other times and related to other experiences.  A light blue Ford might set you off for years to come because of the fear of infidelity that it arouses; but perhaps in most other situations you are able to be open and in the moment. By the way, there are also Samskaras that develop from clinging too tightly to certain expereinces. These would be impressions that you have retained because of the great sense of joy associated with them. Sometimes we don’t want that good feeling to ever end. But just like fear and anger, we can allow joy and exuberance to pass through as well. Learning to Stay Open You can probably imagine that in order to stop this process of blocking and clinging there is going to be an intentional change required. And what is it? Singer recommends that when your light blue Ford drives by, notice the pain, smile, relax, step back into your seat of witness and observe the pain as it just flows through you. Maybe all you’ve tried so far is clinging or pushing. Maybe all you’ve done so far is allowing your heart to get blocked. Time to try something new, isn’t it?

It only hurts for a minute and then it’s over. …Learn to be centered enough to just watch this stuff come up. Once you sit deeply enough inside to stop fighting the stored energy patterns, they’ll come up constantly and pass right through you. Just like the physical body purges bacteria and other foreign matter, the natural flow of your energy will purge the stored patterns from your heart.

So here is the question for the week. And this time I don’t have to make it up for us…it is right there at the bottom of page 57:

Do you want to try to change the world so it doesn’t disturb your Samskaras, or are you willing to go through this process of purification?

So begin. Anticipate the freedom and ease that will come into your life as you release this energy. And stay tuned for our summary of Chapter 7 which gives us even more direction on how to transform our tendencies to close. Here’s to your open heart, ~~~S Wave~~~

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Untethered Soul: Chapter 5

The most important thing in life is your inner energy.

The Untethered Soul

Welcome back to Life As a Wave’s series on The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer. I took a little hiatus since the holidays, so to catch up on the first four chapters, visit my Untethered Soul Series category to the left. In a nutshell, the first three chapters compose Part 1, which introduced you to your inner self, your seat of witness, the place where you can find the “real you.” Now that you’ve realized that you really are pure consciousness or awareness, Singer takes us to Part 2 called, Experiencing Energy.

Chapter 5, Infinite Energy, is a crash course on what this “energy” is that he refers to throughout Part 2. Now I assume that many Life As a Wave readers have at least a basic understanding of the idea of energy. Singer explains that this is the Spirit, Shakti, Chi that people across many ages have recognized, often associating this energy with various energy centers or patterns in the body. You may very well have recognized this energy as you did the exercises from the previous chapters. When you feel inner rejuvenation, optimism, peace — the kind that seems to come from something bigger than you — you are experiencing this energy.

All the great spiritual traditions talk about your spiritual energy; they just give it different names. That spiritual energy is what you’re experiencing when love rushes up into your heat. That is what you’re experiencing when you’re enthused by something and all this high energy comes up inside of you.

To be clear, we are not talking about energy in the sense of high or low energy that we might feel throughout the day depending on our rest or caffeine intake. That is outer energy, physical energy. Singer describes the energy in question as inner energy and suggests that each of us has the ability to allow it to flow or to be blocked.

For instance, if you choose to worry about the future, fear an immediate situation, or dwell in anger about the past, then you are blocking this good energy. Or, you can allow it to flow. Singer says, “True spiritual teachings are about this energy and how to open it.”

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The author goes on to address your question, “How do I keep this energy open and flowing?” His beginning answer is, “Choose to.” The control to stay open, he says, is within your power at all times. It just takes practice to do so.

Any time you start to close, ask yourself whether you really want to cut off the energy flow. Because if you want, you can learn to stay open no matter what happens in this world. You just make a commitment to explore your capacity for receiving unlimited energy. You simply decide not to close.

Don’t be too distracted, wonderful humans, by the words “just” and “simply” in that quote. I’ll admit they kind of rubbed me the wrong way as someone who has dealt with serious anxiety and deep sadness over the years. I’ve had to make a colossal effort to shift much of my thinking and believing and I still face emotional hurdles that seem insurmountable from time to time. So I do think that for many people, “simply decid(ing)” to not close the flow of positive, spiritual energy implies a remarkable task that challenges deeply-engrained defenses and habits.

Nevertheless, I do still believe that Singer’s call to choose openness is a worthy undertaking. And in his defense, Singer will touch on the power of habits and beliefs in the next chapter. I also do fully agree when Singer says that it is this energy that, when given more room to flow through us, also begins to flow out of us.

All these energy centers open, and a tremendous amount of energy starts flowing out of you. What is more, the energy affects other people. People can pick up on your energy, and you’re feeding them with this flow. If you are willing to open even more, it never stops. You become a source of light for all those around you.

So how do we stay open? More details to come in the following chapters. But the first step is to start choosing…especially when you would normally choose to close.

When your heart starts to close, just say, “No. I’m not going to close. I’m going to relax. I’m going to let this situation take place and be there with it.” Honor and respect the situation, and deal with it. By all means deal with it. Do the best you can. But deal with it with openness. Deal with it with excitement and enthusiasm. No matter what it is, just let it be the sport of the day. In time, you will find that you forget how to close.

Let’s begin to play with opening and closing this week. Can you notice when you close up in a moment of fear or offense? Can you connect to your Inner Self first and allow yourself to be open to the situation? I’m going to try more. And just a hint from ~~~S Wave~~~, for what it’s worth, when I’m scared I sometimes remind myself of my eternal nature and inwardly say, “This can not hurt you.”

In the next installment, we’ll see how resisting and clinging can interfere with our ability to be open. Stay tuned!

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Untethered Soul, Chapter 4: Get Me Lucid!

“What differentiates a conscious, centered being from a person who is not so conscious is simply the focus of their awareness. It’s not a difference in the consciousness itself.… Just as all light from the sun is the same, all awareness is the same.”

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Are you lucid?

Now that you know you are aware, based on the last four posts we’ve shared covering the topics in The Untethered Soul, have you found yourself being more aware that you are aware? Chapter 4 is called The Lucid Self and wraps up Part 1 for us. So let’s see what Singer has to say about all this awareness stuff before we launch into the very exciting Part 2, Experiencing Energy.

A lucid dream, as you probably know, is a dream in which often you are flying but especially in which you know that you are dreaming while having the dream. Michael Singer says that similarly if you are aware that you are Awareness, then you are lucid.

Throughout the day you might not be aware that you are Awareness. But when you’re seated in the self you’re lucid, aware that the thoughts, feelings, judgments, labels, emotions that you are experiencing are not you but that they are the dream in which you are immersed. Or, if it resonates more with you, they are the movie in which you are immersed.

Singer uses the analogy of TV to make clear that we can allow our awareness, or our consciousness, to wander. When you’re watching TV, you often don’t focus at all on what else is going on in the room, or the time that his passing. In the same way, we can get wrapped up in what Singer calls our “inner show.”

Let me get a little personal to make this more relevant. I don’t just want to write chapter summaries here. I want to be real and I want you to take something from this for your OWN lives. In thinking about all this in relation to my own life and trying to think of a way to make it functional for you readers, I ended up noticing that there are three levels of lucidity for me. (Nothing is really so easily categorized, but for the sake of ease let’s say three levels.)

Level 1: I Love Lucid!

This strongest level of lucidity happens for me during times of meditation and prayer when I can remove all distraction and “go inside” to be in the witness seat. With practice, I am more and more able to remain there fairly steadfastly and commune with whoever/whatever I want to from that place. When I began the exercise of silent mediation a few years ago it was MUCH harder to quiet down and let the monkey brain relax. Now, I can get myself into that seat of witness with more ease and once there, I let the prayer begin…if that is what needs to happen. I rarely start with prayer anymore (unless I am praying with someone in person) because it is much better for me to get into the seat of Self and pray from that spot instead of just sitting down and praying from a more ego-run place.

Level 2: Lucid or Lose It!

My Level 2 is the point where I have to work out my awareness muscles. It is where I am inundated by distractions of my external movie and internal reactions and so my intention and effort to remain aware of my awareness is in full effect. This would be for example while I am driving my car in busy traffic, while at the grocery store, hiking at the busy and bustling Hollyridge Trail, or surrounded by energies at a family gathering. Basically, anywhere that is not my quiet meditation spot requires me to flex my awareness muscle!

The great thing though it that I fully believe that the more I flex, the easier it will become. It is very liberating to be among people and egos and be in the seat of witness, from which I can interact with them with less attachment, emotion, and defensiveness. Things get to me less, traffic is okay because all things unfold as they are meant to, people are more lovable because they are on a journey just as I am, etc. You get the idea. Stuff is just better.

Level 3: Luciwhat?

This Level is where I am not at all lucid. Not even thinking about it. Forgot all about my Self. Totally engrossed in my movie and emotions. What are we even talking about?

This inattention happens most frequently and intensely when I’m at work. Work is busy, busy, busy; I have anxieties that get triggered easily at work; I am almost constantly in someone else’s presence so there is little gratuitous alone time. In a social situation I can step aside and get reentered before entering back into the pool of egos. At work, not so easy.

No guilt though. This level just gives me a challenge, helps me set a goal. What would it be like, after all, to be more Self and less Ego at work?? It probably would be pretty amazing. I probably wouldn’t feel as stressed or nervous.

So those are my levels. What about you? Where is your awareness throughout the day? Is it in your movie, in your emotions? do you remember at different points in your coming and going that you are much, much more than all of that external and internal gunk?

“You will find that you are tremendously expansive.… You realize that your consciousness only appears to be small and limited because you are focusing on small and limited objects. ” Pg. 37

I’m setting a goal. I’m going to try recalling my true identity during my work days. That’s at least 40 hours a week in which I have a chance to be more of who I want to be! To be more free! To be more authentic! What a great opportunity.

Will you join me? If you have already grasped your true identity through reading the previous Untethered posts, now think about when and where you can bring that awareness of awareness into your daily life. I’ll meet you there!

With Love,

~~~S Wave~~~

Untethered Soul, Chapter 3: Take the Identity Challenge!

Welcome back to our series of The Untethered Soul! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving if it is a holiday you celebrate. I’m excited to now return to our regularly scheduled programing, especially for Chapter 3 of Michael A. Singer’s fabulous, best-selling book.

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So far we’ve looked at the intro and the first two chapters with the intent on contemplating our inner voice and what it means when wen we say, “Me.” I hope it has been food for thought! As for me, even though this is the second time reading this book I am finding the topics and applications just as fascinating and freeing as the first time around. Okay, and sometimes pretty frustrating, too. How in the world do we remain detached fro all of that prattling taking place inside all the time?? Well, more on that in the coming weeks.

Chapter 3, called “Who Are You?” continues urging us to understand that we are NOT the inner voice, but rather that we are awareness, or a witness. What I like the most about this chapter are the exercises Singer provides to help us experience our identity conundrum. They’re a mental blast! So, instead of outlining or summarizing this chapter, let me just use the author’s own words and invite you take the IDENTITY CHALLENGE!  Here we go…

Challenge #1: Whoooo are Youuuuu?

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Make believe that you and I are having a conversation. Typically, in Western cultures, when someone comes up to you and asks, “Excuse me, who are you?” you don’t admonish them for asking such a deep questions. You tell them your name, for example, Sally Smith. But I’m going to challenge this response by taking out a piece of paper and writing the letters S-a-l-l-y S-m-i-t-h, and then showing it to you. Is that who you are — a collection of letters? Is that who sees when you see? Obviously not, so you say,

“Okay, … It’s a label. Really, I’m Frank Smith’s wife.”

No way, that’s not even politically correct nowadays. …Are you saying you didn’t exist before you met Frank, and you would cease to exist if he died or you got remarried? Frank Smith’s wife can’t be who you are. Again, that’s just another label, the result of another situation or event you participated in. But then, who are you? This time you respond,

“Okay, … My label is Sally Smith. I was born in 1965 in New York. I lived in Queens with my parents, Harry and Mary Jones, until I was five years old. Then we moved to New Jersey… I got all A’s in school, … I went to Rutgers College where I met and married Frank Smith. That is who I am.”

Wait a minute, that’s a fascinating story, but I didn’t ask you what has happened to you since you were born. I asked you, “Who are you?” You’ve just described all these experiences, but who had these experiences? Wouldn’t you still be in there, aware of your existence, even if you had gone to a different college?

… So you ponder this more seriously and you say,

“Okay, I am the body that is occupying this space I am five foot six and I weigh 135 pounds, and here I am.”

When you were Dorothy in the fifth grade play you weren’t five foot six, you were four foot six. So which are you? … Weren’t you in there when you were Dorothy? … When you were ten years old, didn’t you look in the mirror and see a ten-year-old body? Wasn’t that the same you that now sees an adult body? What you looked at has changed; but what about you, the one who is looking? Isn’t there a continuity of being?

Wasn’t it the same being that looked in the mirror throughout the years?

pp. 23-15

Challenge #2: Dream on!

Susan Seddon

Susan Seddon

Here’s another question: When you go to sleep every night, do you dream? Who dreams? What does it mean to dream? You answer,

“Well, it’s like a motion picture plays in my mind and I watch it.”

Who watches it?

“I do!”

The same you who looks in the mirror? Does the same you who is reading these words also look in the mirror and watch the dreams? When you awake, you know you saw the dream. There is a continuity of conscious awareness of being.

p. 25

Challenge #3: The Dog and the Rattlesnake

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…imagine that you’re watching a dog play outdoors. Suddenly you hear a noise right behind you –a hiss, like a rattlesnake! Would you still be looking at the dog with the same intensity of focus? Of course not! You’d be feeling tremendous fear inside. Though the dog would still be playing in front of you, you’d be completely preoccupied with the experience of fear. All of your attention can very quickly become absorbed in your emotions. But who feels the fear? Isn’t it the same you who was watching the dog? …You can become so absorbed in beautiful inner feelings, or frightening inner fears, that it’s hard to focus on outer objects. In essence, inside and outside objects compete for your attention. You are in there having both inner and outer experiences –but who are you?

To explore this more deeply, answer another question: Don’t you have times when you’re not having emotional experiences and, instead, you just feel quiet inside? You’re still in there, but you’re just aware of peaceful quiet. Eventually, you will begin to realize that the outside world and the flow of inner emotions come and go. But you, the one who experiences these things, remain consciously aware of whatever passes before you.

pp. 25-26

Challenge #4: I Think, Therefore I am?? 

The-Thinker-Statue

Thoughts can stop, and they can also get extremely noisy. Sometimes you have many more thoughts than other times. You may even tell someone, “My mind is driving me crazy. Ever since he said those things to me, I can’t even sleep. My mind just won’t shut up.”

Whose mind? Who is noticing these thoughts? Isn’t it you? Don’t you hear your thoughts inside? Aren’t you aware of their existence? In fact, can’t you get rid of them? If you start to have a thought you don’t like, can’t you try to make it go away? People struggle with thoughts all the time. Who is it that is aware of the thoughts, and who is it that struggles with them? … You are not your thoughts. You are simply aware of your thoughts.

pp. 26-27

So we’re not our labels, we’re not our experiences, we’re not inner emotions nor outer objects, and we’re not even our thoughts! If this is all so what in the world ARE we??

Eventually, you will get to a point within yourself where you realize that you, the experiencer, have a certain quality. And that quality is awareness, consciousness, an intuitive sense of existence. You know that you’re in there. You don’t have to think about it; you just know . You can think about it if you want to, but you will know that you’re thinking about it. You exist regardless, thoughts or no thoughts.

Challenge #5: Piano Finale

Notice that with a single glance at a room, or out a window, you instantaneously see the full detail of everything that’s in front of you. You are effortlessly aware of all the objects that are within the scope of your vision, both near and far away. Without moving your head or eyes, you perceive all the intricate detail of what you immediately see. Look at all the colors, the variations of light, the grain of wood furniture, the architecture of buildings, and the variations of bark and leaves on trees. Notice that you take all this in at once, without having to think about it. No thoughts are necessary; you just see it.

Now try to use thoughts to isolate, label, and describe all the intricate detail of what you see. How long would it take your mental voice to describe all that detail to you, versus the instantaneous snapshot of consciousness just seeing? When you just look without creating thoughts, your consciousness is effortlessly aware of, and fully comprehends, all that it sees. …

Let’s say you are in a room looking at a group of people and a piano. Now make believe the piano ceases to exist in your wold. Would you have a major problem with that? You say,

“No, I don’t think so. I’m not attached to pianos.”

Okay then, make believe the people in the room cease to exist. Are you still okay? Can you handle it? You say,

“Sure, I like being alone.”

Now make believe your awareness doesn’t exist. Just turn it off. How are you doing now? What would it be like if your awareness didn’t exist? It’s actually pretty simple — you wouldn’t be there. There would be no sense of “me.”

pp. 27-28

I know that was long, but I hope you have found it as interesting and enlightening as I did. So what is the final answer that the author is looking for from his hypothetical interviewee?

I am the one who sees. From back in here somewhere, I look out, and I am aware of the events, thoughts, and emotions that pass before me.

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Take comfort this week in knowing that you are always peacefully, calmly situated in your “true home,” the “seat of Self.”

 ~~~S Wave~~~

Untethered Soul, Chapter 2

Welcome back to our summary series of The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer! So far we have used the introduction and first chapter to inspire simple noticing. We are noticing the voice inside our head and are growing more and more curious about the fact that we can separate ourselves from that voice. If we can separate from it, then we can consider ourselves the listeners, yes?

Well so what?

Enter Chapter 2. It is called The Inner Roommate and it’s a great metaphor for realizing the power that the inner voice has over our decision-making and our perspective on our lives. It also introduces us to our own power to disentangle ourselves from that voice. The metaphor goes like this…

You have a roommate. This roommate is with you ALL THE TIME. And the worst part about the roommate is that they jump immediately to worry, fear, and doubt with news about almost anything. fd98525722a532d71ebb65851cd0ad0d.wix_mpIf you want a quiet time by yourself. Too bad. There’s that roommate popping in and interrupting with a barrage of thoughts, questions, judgements and worries. You want to watch a movie? Too bad. The roommate is there to tell you everything else you should be doing. Want to enjoy your new romance? Too bad. The roommate is jabbering at your ear to freak out about everything that might go wrong, or right, or wrong, or right….

Imagine how crazy you would become if that were a person in the flesh! I would be looking for a studio apartment quick!

Now that you’ve been noticing your inner voice, isn’t it kind of like that though? The inner voice sees almost everything as a problem to be solved. But if we could step back, disentangle, and be curious about why that part is feeling fear or worry or doubt, then we would experience a new kind of freedom. After all, it can be a GOOD thing that there are protective parts inside of wanting to shield us from hurt and loss. But that benefit ceases to exist when we they begin to reign. As we grow spiritually and personally, we need those defenses less and less; we become able to allow potential painful situations to happen.

lion

And so, just as we would never tolerate an actual roommate like that in our life, Singer suggests that part of spiritual growth is not tolerating our complete identification with that inner roommate.

This is the essential difference between a spiritually minded person and a worldly person. Worldly doesn’t mean that you have money or stature. Worldly means that you think the solution to your inner problems is in the world outside. You think that if you change things outside, you’ll be okay. But nobody has ever truly become okay by changing things outside. There’s always the next problem. The only real solution is to take the seat of witness consciousness and completely change your frame of reference. … The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality. Once you do that, you’ll be clear enough to deal with what’s left.

One of the most common thread between spiritual practices is the goal of releasing ourselves from this predicament of ego versus self. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” has been one of my favorite Bible scriptures for a long time.

Spiritual practice isn’t about being better than other people or being right. It’s not even about vanquishing all fear. It’s about being able to recognize those fears, those anxieties, those worries and be in the seat of consciousness in the midst of them. Prayer, yoga, meditation, chanting. All of these things are means for us to be more centered in our Self throughout our daily life.

Meditation-Collage-small-300x282

Your will is stronger than the habit of listening to that voice. There’s nothing you can’t do. Your will is supreme over all of this. … Stand firm in the seat of the witness and release the hold that the habitual mind has on you. This is your life – reclaim it.

How do we find that will? How do we “stand firm in the seat of the witness?”

Next week, chapter three will take us a step closer to answering that question. Until next Wednesday, let’s agree that we believe there is more freedom than we allow ourselves to experience when we hear only our psyche, our inner voice. Let’s entertain the possibility that we have the ability to not be at the mercy of its every changing thought and that our inner roommate need not rule the roost.

As I am becoming more and more familiar with that “seat of consciousness” from which I sit back and observe my inner roommate going about her up’s and down’s, I will be using affirmations to till the soil for the garden of growth I seek! Join me in letting these words permeate your own life this week. Say them a few times a day. Write them and put them around your home, in your car, at work.

There is more to me than my inner voice.

I have just as much potential as anyone else to be free from my fears and worries and anxieties.

My life is evolving, always, towards this freedom.

I find myself at peace in my seat of consciousness and am more and more embodying my true Self.

 

Thank you for reading, waves. Be well and here’s to our growing together.

~~~S Wave~~~