One of the most powerful books I’ve read is “The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself” by Michael Singer. I recently took some time to reread some of my favorite parts and once again I was left feeling grounded and refreshed.
This passage felt particularly relevant this month:
“Walk outside on a clear night and just look up into the sky.
You are sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Though you can only see a few thousand stars, there are hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy alone.
In fact, it is estimated that there are over a trillion stars in the Spiral Galaxy. And that galaxy would look like one star to us, if we could even see it.
You’re just standing on one little ball of dirt and spinning around one of the stars.
From that perspective, do you really care what people think about your clothes or your car?
Do you really need to feel embarrassed if you forget someone’s name?
How can you let these meaningless things cause pain?
If you want out, if you want a decent life, you had better not devote your life to avoiding psychological pain. You had better not spend your life worrying about whether people like you or whether your car impresses people. What kind of life is that?
It is a life of pain.
You may not think that you feel pain that often, but you really do. To spend your life avoiding pain means it’s always right behind you.”
The psychological pain Singer refers to is the constant internal chatter we all hear in our heads. Sometimes that voice can be encouraging, but more often than not it's resurfacing thoughts from the past and future that do nothing other than take us away from the present moment. It is the manifestation of our anxieties.
Singer reminds us that there is a way beyond this pain. We need to be able to see our thoughts, instead of be our thoughts. This is the “untethering” of our being from our ego. This quote from the book sums it up nicely:
“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind — you are the one who hears it.”
Like looking out on the night sky, reflection gives us distance from what we experience, allowing us the space to look at our lives openly, honestly, and without judgement.
Sending love from my soul to yours,
P.S. If you haven’t checked it out yet, our 36-page Guided Reflection Journal is an incredible framework for looking back on the last year. Using it over the holiday break to reflect on the year is one of my favorite personal annual traditions.
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