Who are you?
If someone asks you on the street “Who are you”, you may reply with “Adam”. But are you just your name? Does that explain who you are?
Ok, fine. Next, you may say “I was born and raised in Toronto, and now am a student at the university of Waterloo studying engineering”.
But is that really you? Are you the culmination of your past experiences? Are you anything more than a summary of events?
I don’t think so, it doesn’t capture the sense of a person.
How about likes and dislikes? Is being a dog-lover, car-enthusiast, and hockey fan what defines you?
Maybe. You’re getting closer, but there’s so much more.
What about your inner thoughts? Your doubts and fears when going in for an interview, or the boost of inspiration when you mutter “I can do this” under your breath when you are at the last stretch of a marathon.
The Untethered Soul looks inwards to the sense of self, and what “who you are” truly means. With that understanding, Michael Singer talks about what it means to live life freely and becoming an untethered soul.
Your Mind is Powerful
Imagine that your girlfriend or boyfriend left you. You are sad, downtrodden, depressed for days, weeks, months. You stop going out. You have no motivation to hit the gym, to go outside, to clean up after yourself, or even cook. Dirty dishes are piling up in your sink, clothes left over the floor. You are in despair. You cry from time to time, until the tears stop flowing. You sink into your couch for days, binging Netflix reruns.
But suddenly, one night, you hear a ring. It’s your ex. You pick up right away and hear her talk. She’s apologizing for what she’s done, and tells you she realizes it was a huge mistake. She regrets breaking up and wants to see you again. Maybe tomorrow?
After you finish talking, a huge grin is stamped on your face. You jump in the air! You make an instinctive fist pump, and if you were to put your hand on your chest, you can feel the quick heartbeat skipping along vigorously.
The whole rest of the night, you have a pep in your step. You are elated, and start picking up clothes off the floor. You even finish cleaning those damn dishes for the first time in months!
Physically, you are the same. The food you ate was the same food you ate in the last couple of months. Instant noodles, junk food, lots of chinese takeout. You didn’t change your exercise schedule at all. You didn’t have a single change in routine. So why were you so sluggish one second and invigorated the next?
Your mentality changed. Your energy. Your perspective. Yesterday, you were in despair, nothing in the world mattered anymore. Now, there’s a shimmer of hope that’s crept back in your life. You see a way back to how things were, you see beauty again, a reason to get up in the morning.
How to Become an Untethered Soul
Michael argues that you are all your thoughts, including all your self-talk and inner dialogue. The voice at the back of your brain, saying “everyone’s going to judge how ugly I am” or “does anyone even love me?” All those voices, positive and negative, come from you.
And the most important part of you is your energy. When your girlfriend called, there was nothing physical that changed. It was all mental. Your thoughts. Your perception and outlook changed in life. You have hope now. You feel loved, you feel special.
But, why do we need others to give us that feeling? Don’t we all want to feel loved? Feel special? Michael suggests that understanding this concept is the key to becoming an untethered soul. Someone who loves themselves. To have independence and not rely on other people to offer those feelings. However, this does not mean being unattached. But to force you to give yourself compassion.
From this moment on, when you have a great day, try soaking in the warmth. If someone compliments you on your outfit and you are in cloud nine for a brief moment, close your eyes and take in the senses. The smell, the touch, the sounds. Savor the moment, and try to keep those memories for other times in your life when you need it.
Remember all the times you feel loved, to feel proud, to feel confident. Practice running those thoughts in your head, and to be grateful for those memories to have happened. Your energy is very influential to what you end up doing in day-to-day life, and the practice of regularly allowing love-filled energy to flow through your body will help you live a happy life, freedom from external forces, and become an untethered soul.
Takeaway – Savor the moment
Whenever you feel love, gratitude, savor the moment. To become an untethered soul, you will need to let go of depending on others to give you joy. Instead, you have to be the one who can give yourself that love and warmth. One thing you can do to help achieve this is to fill out a gratitude journal at home. Every night before going to bed, you can list three things you are grateful for that day.
For more insights, read the Untethered Soul yourself