What a week this has been!
In my last post, Hello, Goodbye, I was sharing my experience of releasing the past in order to make room for what’s to come and how this coincided with the symbolism of the new moon in Sagittarius. At the end of the post, I said that I was still “riding the wave”, and… oh boy… truer words were never spoken.
Shortly after I posted last week, I felt that I needed to support the release I was feeling by reading or listening to some content that would inspire me and guide me. I was concerned that I might begin to over think things and I didn’t want to go into my head and end up down the rabbit hole. So… I perused my bookshelf and there it was:
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer
“Ahhh… yes…”, I thought. “This is exactly what I need.”
I had read it once before, while I was enroute to a meditation retreat in Puerto Vallarta in 2014. For those of you who have been reading for while, you may recall some posts relating to that trip: Speechless, Ocean Dance, Falling In Love In PV, and Freedom & Choice. Much of what I experienced during that trip was influenced by what I learned from The Untethered Soul and it was such a huge revelation to me that I remember buying multiple copies of it to “gift” to anyone else who was ready and willing to hear it’s message.
When I saw it on my bookshelf, earlier this week, it was practically glowing. Since then, I have immersed myself, yet again, in the wisdom of this brilliant little book.
As I am re-reading it, I am struck (again) by how simply and clearly the book is laid out, using practical examples and analogies to illustrate the various concepts. For this reason, I believe it is easily digestible to anyone, even those who are new to this type of information. I won’t go into too much detail because I really do recommend that you read it yourself but I will share what I have come away with after my second reading.
I hadn’t remembered many of the specifics of what the book contained but one thing that did stick with me was it’s description of the many “voices” in our head being like an annoying room mate. It made the point that if we were to actually live with someone who was saying the same things to us, all day long, that our “voices” do, we would probably kick them out within a few days. And yet, with our inner dialogue, we not only tolerate the voices, we actually believe them and try to follow their conflicting guidance, causing us much frustration, confusion and anxiety. The truth is, our voices are all about fear and they actually perpetuate the issues that they are, seemingly, trying to solve. Understanding how the voices are actually a form of defense (fear based), as opposed to being helpful is fundamental. As Singer says: “you are forced to constantly use your mind to buffer yourself from life instead of actually living it.”
So, if the voices can’t be trusted, how do we go about navigating our lives?
Singer helps us to understand (remember) that our voices and thoughts are not “who we are”. Neither are our bodies, nor anything else which we are “experiencing”. Rather, we are that which is aware of our voices, our bodies, our environment and our emotions.
We are consciousness.
Consciousness can be focused or unfocused. When it is focused, we are not aware of anything else around us… like when we are sitting in a darkened movie theatre and completely immersed in the experience. During that time, everything else is blocked out… even our awareness of “Self”. Similarly, when we are caught up in our familiar thought patterns and reactions to things (which are designed to protect us from experiencing discomfort and pain) we are so preoccupied with controlling our world of thoughts, emotions and physical sensations that we completely lose our ability to feel our true “Self”. We are no longer aware of our separateness from the objects on which we are focused. We believe we are the experience, which is why it is so hard to break free of it.
What happens next, is the most important piece, in my opinion…
The result of our belief that we are not separate from our experiences and that we must, therefore, protect ourselves from getting hurt by them, is that we begin to close our hearts.
This is what Brené Brown calls “numbing”.
An open heart is a vulnerable heart and nobody wants to feel pain, right?
So, we employ various methods in an effort to not feel pain, such as eating, socializing, sex and other passions, working, procrastination, perfectionism, blame, denial, etc… Unfortunately, as Brené says, we can’t “selectively numb”, so we end up not feeling anything… not even joy. In fact, if we do encounter an experience that gives us joy, we immediately sabotage it with thoughts of what will happen if the thing that brings us joy is suddenly taken away.
Pretty fucked up, eh?
But this is how most of us live our lives, each and every moment of every, single day.
But here’s the good news…
There is a way… a practice… that will help us release ourselves from this prison of illusion.
For years now, I have been teaching the concept that our emotions are simply signals, sent by the unconscious mind, to help us process old wounds which are stored in our bodies as trapped energy. Just as we generate waste through our day-to-day consumption of materials, we also generate emotional and energetic waste through our human experiences. In our households, we have to take the garbage out regularly or it will pile up, become toxic and eventually overwhelm us. It’s exactly the same with our emotional “garbage” except that we are such a “numbed out” society that we are completely unaware of what it feels like when it builds up. And, even when we do feel it, we are programmed to avoid it, push it down or try to make it someone else’s responsibility.
The amazing thing that The Untethered Soul teaches us is how to (in my words) “take out the garbage”.
Basically, it’s about staying in touch with the information that our bodies give us, which comes in the form of sensations and emotions. What we want to avoid is listening to and trusting the “voices” and the “programming” that comes from the mind because, as we now know, they are mostly fear based. The body is connected to the consciousness and is the most reliable source of “knowing”. The body never lies. The mind, on the other hand, is connected to the ego and can never be trusted.
Of course, the mind does have it’s place. After all, it will never shut up and it is not easy to ignore. This is why we must continuously remind ourselves that WE ARE NOT OUR MIND and we must ALWAYS do a “reality check” before we allow the mind to guide us.
Right about now, I’m guessing your mind is wondering “How, exactly, does one take out the garbage?”
Actually, it’s pretty simple.
Assuming you are now going to practice being more aware of your body’s sensations, you will begin to notice when you feel a physical or emotional disturbance. As soon as you feel this disturbance, do your best NOT to go into your head about it. Rather, bring your focus… your CONSCIOUSNESS… down into your body to the place where you are feeling the most sensation. Get a “felt sense” of the energy of it. You may want to label it as this emotion or that kind of pain, which is okay but, more importantly, just feel and even visualize the energy of it. As you experience the energy, imagine it traveling from wherever it originates, up into your heart centre. This will likely be very uncomfortable and you will not want to do it but, in order to release it you must feel it.
Everyone is different… you may feel hot or shivery… the energy may be dense or sludgy or prickly… you may feel like crying or yelling or moaning… whatever happens, just stay with it and “witness” it, as it moves through your heart centre and away from you. You can help it along by breathing or blowing out very gently. Be patient with it, no matter how yucky it feels. You will feel relief, eventually, and the best part is that this will actually release old, stored and toxic energy from your body in a way that “thinking” and “processing” will never do. Once it’s gone, it’s GONE… but it may take many, many MANY rounds of these exercises to release all the stored energy of one specific issue.
For instance, when I was using this technique to heal from a past relationship, it took several months of committed effort before I felt it was gone… but I can assure you that it is definitely and miraculously GONE, energetically. If I go into my head about it, however, I can easily conjure up the old “story”, once again… which is why I avoid doing that :)
This is BIG, folks… I hope you get that.
As helpful as this post might be, though, I URGE you to read The Untethered Soul. In fact, I’m thinking of doing a book club or workshop based on it, so let me know if you’d be interested in something like that.
I love you all…