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Book Summary – The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

What does it mean to be true to yourself, and what does “self” even mean? In this book, Michael Singer takes us on a journey inward to discover our true selves. It’s an essential read for anyone seeking self-awareness, inner peace, and spiritual awakening. In this free version of The Untethered Soul summary, you’ll get an overview of the main themes and some of the powerful insights in this life-changing book.

Discover Your True Self in The Untethered Soul

To be true to yourself, you must first define what “self” means.

Our concept of self is complex and often muddled. Sigmund Freud suggested that the human psyche can be divided into 3 parts:

  1. The ID: the primal part of us;
  2. The superego: the logical part conditioned by society; and
  3. The ego: balances the other 2 parts and selectively presents a part of ourselves to the outside world.

The Untethered Soul serves as a mirror to help you look inward, sort through the confusion and distraction, and find your true self. Once you’ve connected with your real self, it’s up to you to decide what to with that knowledge.

In this summary, we’ll present the key concepts, insights and practices in 5 parts.

The Untethered Soul summary - Overview of key themes

1. Awaken Your Consciousness

In this section, Michael Singer helps you to peel away the layers of noise and confusion, to uncover who you are at the core–pure consciousness that is observing everything in and around you.

Separate your Self from your Mental Noise

We talk to ourselves all the time. You are constantly sharing observations, judgments, and even arguing with yourself (“Can you shut up, I’m trying to sleep!”)

Yet, if you listen carefully, you’ll notice that most of the words are pointless. Thinking about the weather or traffic doesn’t change anything; it only makes you feel better or worse about stuff.

Don’t get tangled up with what the voice is saying, nor try to dissect what’s good or bad about it. Just observe that it’s there, like noise in the background.  In our complete 17-page The Untethered Soul summary, we elaborate more on why we have this voice in our head.

For now, realize that that you’re not the voice; you’re the one listening to it. None of the mental chatter—be it the good or bad stuff—defines you.

Seek to observe the world without filtering it through your narrative. You’ll start to see things as they are, and realize that the problem isn’t with life but the fuss we make about it.

Ignore your Neurotic Roommate

To distance yourself from your inner dialogue, imagine the voice as a separate person, like a roommate living in your head.

Personify this voice and imagine what it’s like to have this person living with you—someone who’s endlessly judging, criticizing, nitpicking, making demands, and can never be satisfied. Most of what this person says is also wrong or unhelpful.

Right now, you’re trapped in your mind with this neurotic person. To regain control of your mind and life, you must free yourself from your mental roommate’s melodrama.  When something bugs you, don’t rush to fix the problem. Instead, ask yourself, “Which part of me is bothered by this?” Often, the solution lies in changing your perspective, not fixing things in the outside world. More insights and examples in our full summary :)

Discover Who You Truly Are

Yogi and philosopher Ramana Maharshi said that the key to attaining inner freedom is to deliberately and continuously ask yourself, “Who am I?”

In the book, Michael Singer takes you on a detailed exploration of this question.  You’ll realize that: you’re not your name, job, or life story. You’re also not your physical traits (e.g. height or weight), nor thoughts or emotions, all of which change over time. In the absence of thoughts (e.g. when you’re in deep meditation) you’re still aware of what’s going on.

So who is behind the name, physical traits, life experiencse, thoughts and emotions?

To find the answer, you must reflect deeply on questions like, “Who sees when I see? Who hears when I hear? Who knows that I know?”

As you peel away each layer, what eventually remains is your conscious awareness—the part of you that notices everything.

Become Conscious of your Consciousness

In a lucid dream, you’re aware that you’re dreaming. In daily life, you can also observe yourself experiencing various events, thoughts, or emotions, instead of being totally immersed or lost in them. This is what it means to be “conscious”.

In our full version of The Untethered Soul summary, we explain why/how we get so lost or absorbed in our daily lives that we forget we’re just there as an observer, and how you can reconnect with your true Self.

Real meditation isn’t just about focusing on an object or thought. It’s about contemplating your consciousness itself, so you become aware of your awareness, and return to the essence of your being—just being aware.

Here’s a visual recap of this first theme of The Untethered Soul:

The Untethered Soul summary - Awakening your Consciousness

Now, let’s take a quick peek at at the remaining 4 themes. This is just a short outline–feel free to check out our full 17-page summary for more details on each segment!

2. Unblock your Flow of Energy

Here, Michael Singer introduces us to the infinite source of internal energy (Chi, Shakti, or Spirit), that flows through you.  This energy flows through centers called chakras, and the heart is a major chakra. The energy flows smoothly when you’re relaxed, open, and receptive to life and its experiences. It gets blocked when you (i) close up or resist things, people, and experiences, and/or (ii) cling to certain experiences or things in life.

Learn how you release old energy blockages and tap into this deep, powerful source of energy.

3. Free Yourself to Live and Grow

Next, Michael Singer explains the downward spiral that comes with fear and attachment. To break the cycle and elevate yourself spiritually, you must recognize and work through the blockages that cause fear, and learn to release fears and disturbances as early as possible.  Similar to Part 1, we’ll explore several related concepts and exercises in our full version of The Untethered Soul summary–to help you break free from your psyche and inner pain/fear, to truly start your transformative process.

4. Go Far Beyond Yourself

As you grow spiritually and take a deeper seat within yourself, it becomes easier to observe your stream of thoughts, emotions, and sensory experiences. You realize that you’re separate from the mental-emotional turmoil you used to identify with, and are now ready to break your psyche’s grip on your consciousness.

This section describes how you can reach enlightenment by progressively moving beyond your existing psychological limits, letting go of self-concepts and mental models that shackle you, and moving far beyond the constraints of worldly attachments and fears.

5. Choose to Live Life Fully

Finally, Michael Singer explores the concepts of unconditional happiness, embracing your mortality, finding the natural equilibrium in everything to adopted centered living, and embracing the Divine in you. As you continually release lower vibrations (e.g. anger and fear) and physical, emotional, and mental attachments, you’ll experience an “upward drift” in your spirit.  You experience less judgment and negativity, feel a deeper love for all things/people, and start to radiate unconditional love and openness. Eventually, you reach a point where individual consciousness merges with universal consciousness, and can truly grasp and experience God’s divine, selfless, unwavering love.

Getting the Most from The Untethered Soul

This is a powerfIf you’d like to zoom in on the ideas above and get more detailed insights, examples and actionable tips, do check out our full book summary bundle that includes an infographic, 17-page text summary, and a 31-minute audio summary.
The Untethered Soul summary - Book Summary Bundle

In the book, Singer explores the nuances and practical applications for each of the concepts above, taking us on an exploration of our inner world and a journey of personal growth and spiritual awakening. You can purchase the book here or visit untetheredsoul for more details.

Looking for more on spiritual growth? Do check out our book summaries on The Power of Now, Peace is Every Step, and Buddha’s Brain!

About the Author of The Untethered Soul

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself was written by Michael Alan Singer—an American author, journalist, motivational speaker, and former software developer. He is best known for his writings on spirituality, meditation, and New Age philosophy. Singer earned his masters degree in economics at the University of Florida. While working on a doctorate program, he reportedly had a spiritual awakening and went into seclusion. This eventually led to his first book, The Search for Truth.

In 1975, Michael Singer established the Temple of the Universe, a yoga and meditation center. In 1981, he co-founded Medical Manager, which marketed software to help doctors manage their patient and billing records. In 2002, Medical Manager and its subsidiaries were bought by WebMD. Singer continued to work in WebMD before resigning in 2005. In 2010, he was prosecuted in relation to securities fraud during his time at WebMD, and forfeited $2.5 million in settlements.

The Untethered Soul Quotes

“In the deepest sense, you free yourself by finding yourself.”

“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.”

“The real cause of problems is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes problems.”

“That which is holding you down can become a powerful force that raises you up. You just have to be willing to take the ascent.”

“The prerequisite to true freedom is to decide that you do not want to suffer anymore.”

“Life is continuously changing, and if you’re trying to control it, you’ll never be able to fully live it.”

“Your self-concept is just a collection of thoughts about yourself.”

“You were not put on Earth to suffer. You’re not helping anybody by being miserable.”

“Life is not something you get; it’s something you experience.”

“You live [life] as though you were on the verge of death, because you are.”

Click here to download the Untethered Soul infographic & summary

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