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 1

If you read last week’s post, Untethered Soul: Introduction, you know that for the next few months I will be summarizing and personalizing this enlightening book chapter by chapter.

I want to insert a quick caveat here before moving on to the first chapter: There are many thoughts, many ideas, many ways of looking at any particular object or idea in the world. If the philosophies in this book resonate with you and bring you freedom of any kind, treasure that! If they don’t serve you, let them go. There are fewer and fewer times that I feel I have found a “truth,” but more and more times I feel I have found something helpful. And that is a much better thing to search for after all, isn’t it?

Now, let’s pick up where we left off…

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Last week I introduced the book, The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer with an invitation for you. The invitation was to spend some time contemplating what is YOU. When you say “me,” what do you mean?

Now it’s time to jump into book’s Part One, Awakening Consciousness. Sounds complex. But Singer is great at taking the complex and making it accessible, step by step. The first step, Chapter 1, is called “The Voice Inside Your Head.” The purpose of the chapter is to help us notice this voice. Can you imagine having someone yammering at you all day and not even realizing they are doing it?? Well welcome to the Voice.

Singer begins by pointing out that we have an ongoing dialogue in our head all the time. It is so incessant, so familiar, that we might not even realize it’s happening. We are as the author says, “too close to be objective” so you might not even realize this is happening. But if you think about it, our mind is talking all the time. Sometimes it takes one side, sometimes it takes the other. Sometimes it’s angry. And then the next moment it tells itself not to be angry. It reminds me a lot of the idea of parts that I have described in past posts.

the-voices-in-my-hea

Sometimes we want this voice to stop. We tell it (or, as we usually think of it, we tell ourselves), “Stop! Shut up!” But that’s just our voice again. It’s always in conversation.

Is this you? Is this the Self that I referred to last week? If it is, then how are you talking and listening? You are the talker? Or are you the listener? Singer writes that

…the only way to get your distance from this voice is to stop differentiating what it’s saying. Stop feeling that one thing it says is you and the other thing it says is not you. If you’re hearing it talk, it’s obviously not you. You are the one who hears the voice. You are the one who notices that it’s talking.

Here is a tidy little exercise to better grasp what he is saying. He suggests that we make our voice say “Hello.” Don’t say it out loud. Just hear it in your head. “Hello.” Now hear it over and over and over. “Hello, hello, hello.” Now make it scream “HELLOOOOO!” You can hear it right? You were listening to it. You are the listener.

Or, here is another activity:

Suppose you were looking at three objects—a flowerpot, a photograph, and a book—and were then asked, ‘Which of these objects is you?’ You’d say, ‘None of them! I’m the one who’s looking at what you’re putting in front of me. It doesn’t matter what you put in front of me, it’s always going to be me looking at it.

In other words, just as what you see is not you, all of what you hear is not you. You are the listener.

Singer’s next point is that most of these thoughts, perhaps all of these thoughts, really don’t change life much at all. He says it’s like sitting down at night and deciding that you want the sun to come up in the morning. The sun will come up anyway. Life will go on despite all of these thousands of thoughts that you have about it. What they do impact though is your experience of life, your feelings about what is happening. They make you feel better or worse about what is going on.

If you spend your time hoping that it doesn’t rain tomorrow, you’re wasting your time. Your thoughts don’t change the rain. … Eventually you’ll see that the real cause of problems is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes problems. 

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The purpose of this voice or at least part of the purpose is to narrate the world around us, says Singer. The voice is trying to make sense of it for ourselves. It labels things for us. Judges them. Predicts them. It connects an experience were having now with all of our other thoughts we’ve ever had about a similar experience. It makes us feel safer. Instead of just experiencing the world around us as it is as things are happening now as they are, outside of our control, we compartmentalize with this voice.

What you end up experiencing is really a personal presentation of the world according to you, rather than the stark, unfiltered experience of what is really out there.

So now, the question of the hour. Instead of re-creating the outside world inside of yourself in a way that makes you feel more comfortable, what if you decided to do something different? What if you decided not to narrate? What if you could transcend the part of you that feels it always needs protection?

As long as you simply want to feel secure safe and unpredictable world,

…you will be forced to constantly use your mind to buffer yourself from life, instead of living it. This world is unfolding and really has very little to do with you or your thoughts. It was here long before you came, and it will be here long after you leave. In the name of attempting to hold the world together, you’re really just trying to hold yourself together. 

To change this, to really experience life without censorship for the sake of safety, Singer proposes that one can begin to constantly remember: I am the one inside that notices the voice talking. A change will assuredly begin to take place if we were to do this, wouldn’t it?

And so, for this week let’s do that. Begin to notice that you are listening to the voice in your head, but you are not that voice. Let there be a subject (your awareness) and an object (the voice.) Begin to notice that there can be a separation between the two. 

After I read this chapter, I practiced this awareness activity and it was amazing to notice the amount of chatter going on. It already begin to feel emancipating to let go of some of my attachment to that chatter and just let it pass by me. But I’m jumping ahead… More on that next Tuesday. For now….

Enjoy the assignment. You are the listener!

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Higher Selves, For Greater Good

“To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.”
― Robert M. Pirsig

Where did April go??

I’ve been so so busy and have missed writing for Life As a Wave. It’s a new month which means I should be picking my next Here I Am intention, too. Eek. Ive hardly had time to think about it! (Spoiler alert: it may have something to do with a redesign of this blog, so stay tuned!) Life has been good, and incredibly busy…did I mention that already?? I just posted on our Facebook Page: “I have never worked so hard so happy.” And it’s true!

loving work

Yes, jumping man in jeans, that is good advice. The trick though is that you don’t have to wait for a job to make you jump. Jump in gratitude for EVERYTHING ELSE you have to be happy about (there is ALWAYS something) and pretty soon you’ll discover that your job makes you jump too! If it still doesn’t then okay, maybe you need to open up yourself up to the possibility of a new job.

As for me, in the last month I’ve gone from “What is my purpose?!” to “Bring on my purpose!” I’m not going to wait around for a divine calling while squandering my here and now. Every moment we have is part of our purpose. Ask for a purpose and it will introduce itself to you. And don’t you dare restrict yourself to just one purpose. In the last two months I’ve gotten a promotion in my “regular” job as a speech-language pathologist, received a request to manage a major fundraising project for a start-up, been invited to submit a painting to a non-profit arts magazine, and completed an energy-healing class. I’m not tootin’ no horn here! I have simply realized that I am more than just one thing and that my purpose is a story not a title.

Most importantly, I have realized that I can choose to be happy and that I can only do that with the spiritual practices that elevate me above all the potential anxiety and pessimism that would try to drag me down.

calm

So onward and upward, Life As a Wave readers! Your purpose awaits your invitation! I’m going to keep inviting mine and you do the same. Let’s say it together…”Purpose, I invite you into my life TODAY!”

Now together let’s become our highest selves…

for the world’s greatest good.

12-12-12

UPDATE (12/12/12):

Since these last two posts that introduced my HERE I AM! plan, I have heard from a number of you telling me that you also will be writing your own list of intentions. I just want to say how honored I am to be included in this exciting and sacred journey that you are embarking on. Whether there are big changes ahead for you, small steps that you will take, or simply increased awareness about your life, I send you all my encouragement and love. I’m right there with you and look forward to hearing about your experience.

~~~S Wave~~~

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After writing about my HERE I AM list in yesterday’s post (don’t forget to read it!), I was left wondering when I should write my list. As soon as possible? January 1st? Midmonth? I left the questions to answer themselves. (A good thing to practice, by the way.)

And then a friend pointed out to me that tomorrow is 12/12/12. She said that she is planning on writing out her own HERE I AM! list of intentions tomorrow because it “feels like a strong spiritual day.” I couldn’t agree more! It was a lovely coincidence because my sister and I were planning on being together on the evening of 12/12/12 and after reading the post, she said she may feel inspired to write one as well. What a beautiful evening it will be then! And yet a third perk for choosing tomorrow: I will now  have an easily remembered date on which to rotate to a new intention. January 12th, February 12h, March 12th…and so on.

So that was decided. Tomorrow night, there will be a special little ceremony as we listen to our hearts, write our lists, and bless them with some words of kindness, gentleness and faith. Then begins the first month of

HERE I AM!

Out of curiosity, I did want to see if 12/12/12 had any special spiritual meaning. Oh, the things you can find on the internet! But instead of summarizing them here, I am instead going to tell you: make the day what YOU want it to be. Celebrate, pray, love, panic…..in the end, what you expect is probably to some extent what you are going to get. So choose wisely! I know I am.