THE UNTETHERED SOUL BY MICHAEL A. SINGER
REVIEWED BY ALANA @GROWBYTHESUN
I am convinced that the necessary steps to get through this book is as follows:
1. “Wow that’s interesting.” You take in the passage on a surface level. You consider those who may benefit from it.
2. “Wait… do I do that? Surely I do not.” No, you do. This is the denial stage. The particular passage echoes for a few hours, you even discuss it with yourself while you get ready for the day.
3. “Whatever I have a slow flow in an hour.” You will find it difficult to any-kind-of-warrior. And forget doing camel. Any kind of pose that requires you to open any vulnerable chakra is immediately met with a blurry resistance. You have also realized you need to do something with this information and probably soon.
4. You make it to the savasana stage. You are blown away by the magnitude of this book. Why has nobody else told you this? Not your closest person, not the dog? During this stage pain and then a brief but warm and welcoming glow will come over you. You practice the suggestions in the book and silently thank its thin pages for their wisdom. You take the advice with a namaste.
You pick up the book again. Rinse, and repeat. Maybe I am being dramatic. I love this book guys, I really do. It is the kind of painful you feel for two days after a really intense practice. It is the growing kind of painful. This book will leave your soul raw, but clean and whole. Like, really, only read this book if you are ready to do some less glamorous HGTV type construction on your inner self. Be prepared to keep an open mind and feel as open and exposed as one does in heart opening poses. I am a firm believer that if you commit to putting in the work, you will absorb the benefits. I apply this philosophy to much of my life as it is the reason I moved from Southern California to Texas. If you currently live your life this way, why not apply it to your inner self? Allow yourself to apply your work ethic to your inner being- and hold yourself accountable and responsible for the outcome. Use this book as blueprints to the construction.
There is a chapter that discusses what we are really doing to ourselves when we recoil and hide in our shells when faces with something that could cause discomfort. Singer says that when hiding behind a “protective shield,” you are “closing down your energy centers.” Now think about that. All that meditative space we invite into our energy centers in our practice, all the depth we reach when we connect breath with asana. When we shut down, close off, and numb ourselves from even the thought of discomfort or hurt- we are reversing that spiritual connection we gain with ourselves in practice. One of the more powerful quotes in this book comes from this chapter. “You will get to a point in your growth where you understand that if you protect yourself, you will never be free.” And not only will we never be truly free, but we will never grow. We take one step forward in practice, but closing off reverses that. It is like maintaining yoga but never growing in practice. Singer gave another great piece of advice, do not live life as if it is a threat. If you find yourself ending the day thinking, “I made it through another day without embarrassment or discomfort,” you are seeing life as a threat. Really, if you read this chapter you will be blown away by the unreal truth Singer shares.
I think this book could deeply help those struggling with mental health and those that are unaware they are struggling with the horribly detrimental “little voice” inside you. Not the little voice that tells you to brake seconds before a car accident- that is instinct. I am talking about the little voice we all have that causes us to doubt, abuse, and second guess ourselves. This voice tears us down, tells us lies, and causes unrest in the soul daily- usually without you even realizing it. For me this is the voice that asks me if I am good enough, it replays painful memories when it gets bored just for spite, it turns on when I wake up and steals what should be quiet moments with my inner self. Since reading this book I have realized that this inner voice causes most of my stress, anxiety, and sadness. I catch myself watching these home movies of the past in my brain and I feel that emotion like a wave crashing over and over again. I have come to realize through this book that it is not me. I am not a flaw- I have simply allowed this voice to hijack my inner dialogue and change it into a negative flow of energy coursing through my body like a toxic drug. I read the portion of this book that discusses this tragedy and immediately had to take a few days off from it to absorb this information. We are not broken friends, but this needs to change.
Singer’s advice to most of the struggles within your consciousness is to notice what is going on. After reading and going through the emotions of absorbing the information regarding the inner voice, I began to simply notice when I could hear the voice planting seeds of destruction. I began to notice myself closing off, numbing myself to life. Just the act of noticing allowed me to step away and let the event pass. I set a written intention to continue and further this practice so that I can be free of this misery I had never really confronted prior to reading The Untethered Soul. I realize that not only do I let the little voice inside tell me what to do and how to feel, but it also causes discomfort which causes me to then close off my energy centers.
Reading this book allowed me to pull out the pain and truth in the furthermost corner of my insides. The Untethered Soul allows you to confront simple things most of us do that do not serve us in our daily lives. It guides you to become at peace with the hurt in your soul. It is jarring and beautiful and inspiring. If you decide to read this book, please look into buying used either at one of our awesome local resale shops or on Amazon. I think that when a book is recycled it carries a special spirit along with it, costs you less money and it is just plain good for our Earth. And if it held a special place in your heart, pass it along or buy a used copy for a friend (I know I will hold my copy as a treasure). Find me on Instagram @growbythesun and @karmayogadenton tell me what us what you think! We are open to book suggestions.