685 of 713 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2007
I simply cannot say enough great things about this profound book! The Untethered Soul gets right down to business answering some of the deepest, soul searching questions I'd had for years but didn't know whom to ask. It's almost as if the author has seen into the inner-workings of my mind!
With very straight forward examples, the book emphasizes the pitfalls of relying on the mind to come up with ideas for making ourselves happy. The book points out that relying on the outside world for inner happiness just simply doesn't work. Happiness comes to us when we change and let go of ourselves at the deepest, innermost-level rather than changing the world outside.
The Untethered Soul helps to explain the crazy world around us where the unhampered ego creates conflict. This book is a step-by-step guide to the letting go of the ego - a process that may seem counter-intuitive initially, but ultimately leads to freedom from the nagging mind and heavy heart and directs you to the beauty of the self within.
The chapter on Contemplating Death has made me truly appreciate each living moment. I no longer want to waste time on energy depleting thoughts and feelings.
I am grateful that Michael Singer has written a book so deep that it could actually make a difference in people's lives and help to make the world a better place to live.
Consider yourself warned! Once you read this book, there is no turning back from The Untethered Soul within.
694 of 729 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2012
Some of the points made in The Untethered Soul are:
1. Happiness can only be found within.
2. The mind is not the place to look for happiness.
3. Learn to relax and stay open no matter what.
4. Identify yourself as the observer. Do not identify with the experiences you are observing.
5. You are not the voices in your head. You are the listener.
6. Facing the fact of bodily death can help you to realize that all of the observed is temporary.
7. Do not allow painful experiences from the past to influence the present.
8. Your thoughts are not you. You are the observer, not the thoughts.
9. If you want a life full of joy and love you must make a commitment to having a life full of joy and love.
10. Learn how to live from your heart, not from your ego.
11. Take refuge in the Divine, not in the temporary.
12. Peace is always within.
13. Learn to control your mind, do not let the mind control you.
14. It is possible to never have a problem in your life again.
The Untethered Soul is my second most favorite book on the subject of how to transcend the ego and how to realize the true Self and directly experience that perfect infinite consciousness that has only joy and love and has no suffering.
My most favorite book on that subject is THE SEVEN STEPS TO AWAKENING which is a collection of quotes by these seven authors: 1. Ramana Maharshi. 2. Nisargadatta Maharaj. 3. Sankara. 4. Vasistha. 5. Sadhu OM. 6. Muruganar. 7. Annamalai Swami.
213 of 235 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2007
There are moments in your life, that you will never forget, in which you became aware of joy flowing through your heart. Have you ever stopped to study a moment such as this, or contemplate the source, or question why you don't feel that all of the time? It came from within you, didn't it? You were aware of the joy that you felt inside. Are you interested in these things and exploring the edges of who you currently think you are?
Take the time to study, as a scientist would, and explore these questions. This book is for those that want to explore such things. In a clear and straight forward manner the author advises us how to take the first step and the next and so on, on what becomes a journey of self discovery. No matter where your consciousness is consumed today, the author clearly illustrates how you may become more aware of how this consumption is presiding over your everyday life. Once aware of these things, you may begin to truly understand why you don't feel the joy in your day to day life and come to know and challenge the edges of yourself.
287 of 319 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2014
I really want to like this book, I truly do, but i just cannot seem to grasp it. I have been drawn to books on similar topics for years and have an open mind to all of them, but for some reason, this just does resonate with me. I am willing to read again and again if that is what it takes to understand, but there were some points within the pages that turned me off. I was specifically bothered by the section in which Singer states that God would "prefer" to be around a happy, joyful person who loves life than one who complains about it. It is very difficult to accept and believe that God would have a "preference" as that stems from judgment, which is personifying. To place God in this category is somewhat offensive and puzzling to me. As I said, I have an open mind and I am willing to listen to other's opinions in order to expand my awareness, but it was striking to me to see that a book on this topic overlooked something so simple as presenting God as someone/thing who likes/dislikes one type of person's behavior over another. That is the opposite of unconditional love and is hypocritical of the message to "let go." If we were to "let go" then we would not have a preference on someone who is joyful vs. depressed, as it would simply be the case and we would observe that without adding judgment/feeling/feeding into it, no?
I just find some of the statements in here ironic and the lack of evidence or examples is bothersome. I realize the point is to grasp the simplicity of it, which is why it may be so hard to digest, but as a beginner, I was hoping for a sense of connection through examples to help relate to the points being made .
214 of 245 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2007
Unequivocally the best yet for anyone who is on a spiritual path or has had the undeniable feeing that there is more to who we are than what we currently know. For those who are 'answer-hungry' and cannot let go of something until they understand (incessant questioning), this book is for you. I assure you it will touch parts of yourself you may have squelched for years but if you've got the courage to allow 'whatever' to surface, you can tap into a sensation of lightness and freedom and actually 'get more of yourself'. Definitely a book to read and reread and reread. A 5-STAR plus and a welcome addition to the sources of insight that are here now to help us all get in touch with who we really are.
138 of 157 people found the following review helpful
on December 28, 2007
Mr. Singer's "The Untethered Soul" is a superior work.
He writes: "The key is to be quiet. It's not that your mind has to be quiet. You be quiet." "The minute you stop putting your whole heart and soul into the mind as if it were your savior and protector, you will find yourself behind the mind watching it." (p. 95)
He also writes: "You just stop telling the mind that its job is to fix your personal problems." "Your mind has very little control over this world....You have given your mind an impossible task by asking it to manipulate the world in order to fix your personal inner problems." "...let go of your inner problems instead." (p.94)
Mr. Singer's clarity regarding the role and function of the mind and the heart, reign supreme. He writes, "The highest state you have ever experienced is simply the result of how open you were. If you don't close, it can be like that all the time." (p. 57). These are gigantic promises.
In one fell swoop Mr. Singer clarifies exactly what is going on inside the mind and the heart.
Other authors have written about these things, too, of course. Paramahansa Yogananda extols the virtues of yoga, the guru-disciple relationship, Indian lore and culture, and meditation proper in his great "Autobiography of a Yogi." Probably one of the more mind blowing books is "Play of Consciousness," or, "Chid Shakti Vilas," by Swami Muktananda. That book has been hailed by at least one as "...the most compassionate (and therefore important) book ever written...," because he broke tradition and revealed every step along his way to enlightenment.
Here comes Mr. Singer's book, adding information, and giving it a new, simple, relevant approach. Mr. Singer's material is rare indeed, and is a result of his own inner journey.
I find it interesting and worthy of note that I have essentially had this information for many years but I simply was unable to apply it fully until I read it in "The Untethered Soul." Since starting to apply it, I am opening more and more. I can literally breath deeper. Every time I let go of anything, I feel myself breathing deeper. This is not just about the mind being quieter - this is a physiological response as well. My body is relaxing.
To me, this book is active. I have had to put it down at times because it stirred up stuff so quickly. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the words and sentences. They are as powerful as dynamite. It has changed the focus of my meditation to every moment and every breath.
I recommend this book to anyone who has a sincere interest in learning the truth about meditation. Beginners are very fortunate to be able to read this book when they start their meditation practice. Advanced students - grab it and read it now.
I bow to Mr. Singer, and give thanks.
101 of 114 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2007
The first book to come out of the IONS organization's new book publishing imprint, this modest volume should be wrapped in a protective shield. I was a member of IONS but let it lapse, though the quote from Deepak Chopra got me hooked. Does he have time to sleep with all the books he puts out? I can't keep up with him. Take a rest, Deepak. The Untethered Soul will sneak up to you and explode your beliefs and mind, if you are open to it. I've read hundreds of books in the fields of spirituality/religion/mysticism and I have never seen one that dissects the everyday "monkey-mind" as this one does. In clear, unambiguous language (quite elegant, I might say), the author brings you face to face with how your mind, in all its devious and protective ways, keeps you from the freedom and happiness you can achieve and deserve. The suggestions for clarity of mind are so simple and obvious but so exceedingly difficult to accomplish (without intention). He is a surgeon of mindfulness who helps you cut away and discard the samsara that imprisons you. This book is not a quick read. It must be savored and taken in small doses, like concentrated chocolate in milk. Enjoy.
P.S. I've updated this review with this important comment. I rarely if ever re-read a book (much to my detriment, no doubt) right away. This book is an exception because you really don't get it completely the first time.
I am reading it again and gaining new insights thereby. I was curious also about the author. Who is this guy that I never hear of him in the din of self-help gurus and media-favored meditators that I am so familiar with? I went and bought his previous book,
The Search for Truth, and I recommend it equally. Though his writing is less elegant and more academic, it's important to me to see the path of his intellectual and spiritual development. Check it out for yourself.
252 of 293 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2009
I gave the book three stars because I think it is well written. Also, there are definitely some good points in it that are thought provoking. It was a great way to be walked through meditation and what apparently masters have done for thousands of years.
However, I do have a problem with the philosophy of the book itself. Please, if anyone can help any these questions for me, do so. My email is: [...]. I would love to have these questions answered by those who are more experienced with this. Perhaps I am missing something.
Problem #1: Chapters 1 - The Voice Inside your Head, and Chapter 2 - Your Inner Roommate -- I like my thoughts. I like my inner roommate. I believe that these thoughts originate from me and thus I am truly talking to me - the very me. This books states that you are not your thoughts, merely the observer. This seems to be dissecting and deconstructing us too far.
Problem #2: Page 66, "You tell your mind, `When it's the car, we'll have a talk. Right now, it only costs a pencil to be free.'"
So, who or what is doing the thinking here? How can the true you think, when the true you is not your thoughts?
I never truly understood this. At times in the book Singer insinuated that your consciousness thought, which is confusing because consciousness is not supposed to think, but is aware. Does awareness / pure consciousness think? It must have to, but then who or what is doing the thinking? Confusing.
Problem #3: Page 37, "As you pull back into the consciousness, this world ceases to be a problem." Here, I just have a problem with either the escapist attitude - It's like the world can go to hell, but I will be just fine because I have deconstructed my entire thought process and "I am not really even a human being, I just happen to be watching one." It just sounds selfish.
Problem #4: Chapter 7 - Transcending the Tendency to Close - If we constantly fall or stay behind the pull of energy, which moves us, then how would we fall in love, desire sex, have children? How does the concept of eros love work here? The feeling I got when I read this book was that one was not to discern the "good" energy from the "bad" energy - you were encouraged to fall behind any energy, relax, and observe.
Problem #5: Page 74, "Life is surrounding you with people and situations that stimulate growth. You don't have to decide who's right or wrong. You don't have to worry about other people's issues. You only have to be willing to open your heart in the face of anything and everything, and permit the purification process to take place."
But is there not a reality outside occurring that has meaning? What about your family's issues, close friends? How to help them? Again, it seems that this philosophy asks you to retreat away from everything to disengage, which doesn't really sound like the life I want to live.
Of course, from the author and others who believe it, they say that you are more engaged. Perhaps someone could explain that to me.
Problem #6: Page 95, "The truth is, everything will be okay as soon as you are okay with everything."
Really? Are we supposed to be okay with everything? Everything?!
Problem #7: Page134, "This is the false self you are building inside. It is just a concept of yourself that you hide behind."
Then what is your true self? What does your true self sound like, act like? Does your true self have a personality? Can it have a personality? I am still confused here.
Problem #8: Chapter 15 "The Path to Unconditional Happiness" This is confusing because the author explains how the simple decision to make of being happy or unhappy is clearly under our control. Yet, the whole book, from what I gathered, is stating how we are not to control anything, but surrender to life as it happens. So now, I am to take charge and put in control my decision to be happy at all times? Again, I am confused.
Problem #9: The biggest problem I have with the book is it is so diametrically opposed to say the philosophy that claims that we are creators of our own reality and experience, which I happened to be much more comfortable with.
The Untethered Soul's Approach = you are not in control of the outside in the least, let go and surrender to it
"Law of Attraction" Approach = you are in control of the inside and outside, and you are invited to learn how the law works as you are always creating consciously and unconsciously you experience. Here, emotions, feelings, and thoughts are paramount to understand our current connection with source energy.
Those two philosphies have profound differences to their approaches. One approach seemingly disengages with reality, reducing the thoughts and emotion's importance, while the other fully engages reality and sees emotions and thoughts as crucial in achieving ones goals and objectives.
If someone can attempt to answer these questions, I would appreciate it. Perhaps I just have to experience it totally appreciate what the philosophy is espousing. I am open to discussion.
59 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2013
This book was recommended to me after completing a vipassana meditation course. First of all, I don't think anyone could get much out of this book without knowing how to properly do vipassana meditation. The author makes permanent mental paradigm shifts sound so easy. I'm sorry, if it were so easy to not be depressed or full of anxiety, everyone would do it. It's very condescending and even cruel to tell a suffering person that their problems are all their fault, and if they would just be happy then everything would be ok. The Buddha knew better than to just push his own understanding of the world onto others, he knew that people could only understand by experiencing the truth for themselves. So he devised a meditation to recondition the mind, a system that isn't taught at all in this book, and hardly even mentioned.
The text is rambling and often repeats itself, with little new information. The chapter headings seemed almost pointless since the same information is regurgitated page after page.
The examples the author uses of problems people have in life are conveniently simple. Like the worst problem someone can have in life is getting offended, or being cut off in traffic. What about domestic violence victims, or people who suffer racism on a daily basis, or the fact that our planet is being killed by corporations and human apathy? Are we supposed to just smile and accept these things too? He offers no solutions for anyone above whiny children in terms of emotional maturity. Apparently the only thing that matters is our own happiness.
There are much better books written about this subject than this shallow read. I gave it an extra star only because he makes a few interesting points, but I can't really recommend it to anyone.
66 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2014
Critique: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
I found this book not to be helpful. Its main point- stated in a repetitive fashion - is that by the act of assuming the stance of the Witness (i.e. observer) that we will see that we are not our minds/emotions/bodies, and that by 'not closing down' , by "pulling back into consciousness", and letting go - "not closing" - that we will realize a higher state of being. Although being able to observe the mind is a powerful tool and "letting go" is constructive at times, mentioning this without sufficient PRACTICAL (i.e. practice-based) guidance is inadequate and unrealistic. Concerning "letting go" and "not closing the heart" - in times of crisis and suffering (one reviewer mentioned the mother that lost her children in Hurricane Sandy) and even in the midst of suffering of a lesser intensity, it is too much to expect of ourselves to just 'let go.' A more helpful approach here would be to observe what the Buddhist teacher, Pema Chodron suggests: to observe the 'felt sense' of any given experience and to - when possible - use the breathing to steady ourselves. The author's unfortunate repetitive use of New-age speak ( "Heart Energy,", "soul", "pulling back into consciousness") lends an air of imprecision and lack of discipline.
Readers would be better advised to read books such as Full Catastrophe Living" by Jon Kabat-Zinn and to seek instruction in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for those more inclined to a secular approach, and books like A Wise Heart and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, by Jack Kornfield, for those desiring a more heartful approach. Also excellent would be Pema Chodron, an American Tibetan Buddhist-trained teacher who has written and recorded numerous books and programs, e.g. Comfortable with Uncertainty, 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion.