The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

by Michael A. Singer


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781572245372
Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
Publication date: 10/03/2007
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 190
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Michael A. Singer is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Untethered Soul, which has also been published in Turkey, Brazil (in Portuguese), Switzerland (in German), Spain, Japan, China, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Poland, and Italy.

Singer received a master's degree in economics from the University of Florida in 1971. During his doctoral work, he had a deep inner awakening and went into seclusion to focus on yoga and meditation. In 1975, he founded Temple of the Universe, a now long-established yoga and meditation center where people of any religion or set of beliefs can come together to experience inner peace. Through the years, Singer has made major contributions in the areas of business, the arts, education, healthcare, and environmental protection. He previously authored two books on the integration of Eastern and Western philosophy: The Search for Truth and Three Essays on Universal Law: Karma, Will and Love. Visit for more information.

Read an Excerpt

"Shoot, I can’t remember her name. What is her name? Darn, here she comes. What is it... Sally... Sue? She just told me yesterday. What’s the matter with me? This is going to be embarrassing."

In case you haven’t noticed, you have a mental dialogue going on inside your head that never stops. It just keeps going and going. Have you ever wondered why it talks in there? How does it decide what to say and when to say it? How much of what it says turns out to be true? How much of what it says is even important? And if right now you are hearing, "I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have any voice inside my head!"—that’s the voice we’re talking about.

If you’re smart, you’ll take the time to step back, examine this voice, and get to know it better. The problem is, you’re too close to be objective. You have to step way back and watch it converse. While you’re driving, you hear internal conversations like,

"Wasn’t I supposed to call Fred? I should have. Oh my God, I can’t believe I forgot! He’s going to be so mad. He may never talk to me again. Maybe I should stop and call him right now. No. I don’t want to stop the car right now..."

Notice that the voice takes both sides of the conversation. It doesn’t care which side it takes, just as long as it gets to keep on talking. When you’re tired and trying to sleep, it’s the voice inside your head that says,

"What am I doing? I can’t go to sleep yet. I forgot to call Fred. I remembered in the car but I didn’t call. If I don’t call now...oh wait, it’s too late. I shouldn’t call him now. I don’t even know why I thought about it. I need to fall asleep. Oh shoot, now I can’t fall asleep. I’m not tired anymore. But I have a big day tomorrow, and I have to get up early."

No wonder you can’t sleep! Why do you even tolerate that voice talking to you all the time? Even if what it’s saying is soothing and nice, it’s still disturbing everything you’re doing.

If you spend some time observing this mental voice, the first thing you will notice is that it never shuts up. When left to its own, it just talks. Imagine if you were to see someone walking around constantly talking to himself. You’d think he was strange. You’d wonder, "If he’s the one who’s talking and he’s the one who’s listening, he obviously knows what’s going to be said before he says it. So what’s the point?" The same is true for the voice inside your head. Why is it talking? It’s you who’s talking, and it’s you who’s listening. And when the voice argues with itself, who is it arguing with? Who could possibly win? It gets very confusing. Just listen:

"I think I should get married. No! You know you’re not ready. You’ll be sorry. But I love him. Oh come on, you felt that way about Tom. What if you had married him?"

If you watch carefully, you’ll see that it’s just trying to find a comfortable place to rest. It will change sides in a moment if that seems to help. And it doesn’t even quiet down when it finds out that it’s wrong. It simply adjusts its viewpoint and keeps on going. If you pay attention, these mental patterns will become obvious to you. It’s actually a shocking realization when you first notice that your mind is constantly talking. You might even try to yell at it in a feeble attempt to shut it up. But then you realize that’s the voice yelling at the voice:

"Shut up! I want to go to sleep. Why do you have to talk all the time?"

Obviously, you can’t shut it up that way. The best way to free yourself from this incessant chatter is to step back and view it objectively. Just view the voice as a vocalizing mechanism that is capable of making it appear like someone is in there talking to you. Don’t think about it; just notice it. No matter what the voice is saying, it’s all the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s saying nice things or mean things, worldly things or spiritual things. It doesn’t matter because it’s still just a voice talking inside your head. In fact, the only way to get your distance from this voice is to stop differentiating what it’s saying. Stop feeling that one thing it says is you and the other thing it says is not you. If you’re hearing it talk, it’s obviously not you. You are the one who hears the voice. You are the one who notices that it’s talking.

You do hear it when it talks, don’t you? Make it say "hello" right now. Say it over and over a few times. Now shout it inside! Can you hear yourself saying "hello" inside? Of course you can. There is a voice talking, and there is you who notices the voice talking. The problem is that it’s easy to notice the voice saying "hello," but it’s difficult to see that no matter what the voice says, it is still just a voice talking and you listening. There is absolutely nothing that voice can say that is more you than anything else it says. Suppose you were looking at three objects—a flowerpot, a photograph, and a book—and were then asked, "Which of these objects is you?" You’d say, "None of them! I’m the one who’s looking at what you’re putting in front of me. It doesn’t matter what you put in front of me, it’s always going to be me looking at it." You see, it’s an act of a subject perceiving various objects. This is also true of hearing the voice inside. It doesn’t make any difference what it’s saying, you are the one who is aware of it. As long as you think that one thing it’s saying is you, but the other thing it’s saying is not you, you’ve lost your objectivity. You may want to think of yourself as the part that says the nice things, but that’s still the voice talking. You may like what it says, but it’s not you.

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. If you don’t understand this, you will try to figure out which of the many things the voice says is really you. People go through so many changes in the name of "trying to find myself." They want to discover which of these voices, which of these aspects of their personality, is who they really are. The answer is simple: none of them.

If you watch it objectively, you will come to see that much of what the voice says is meaningless. Most of the talking is just a waste of time and energy. The truth is that most of life will unfold in accordance with forces far outside your control, regardless of what your mind says about it. It’s like sitting down at night and deciding whether you want the sun to come up in the morning. The bottom line is, the sun will come up and the sun will go down. Billions of things are going on in this world. You can think about it all you want, but life is still going to keep on happening.

In fact, your thoughts have far less impact on this world than you would like to think. If you’re willing to be objective and watch all your thoughts, you will see that the vast majority of them have no relevance. They have no effect on anything or anybody, except you. They are simply making you feel better or worse about what is going on now, what has gone on in the past, or what might go on in the future. If you spend your time hoping that it doesn’t rain tomorrow, you are wasting your time. Your thoughts don’t change the rain. You will someday come to see that there is no use for that incessant internal chatter, and there is no reason to constantly attempt to figure everything out. Eventually you will see that the real cause of problems is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes problems.

Now this raises a serious question: If so much of what the voice says is meaningless and unnecessary, then why does it even exist? The secret to answering this question lies in understanding why it says what it says when it says it. For example, in some cases the mental voice talks for the same reason that a teakettle whistles. That is, there’s a buildup of energy inside that needs to be released. If you watch objectively, you will see that when there’s a buildup of nervous, fearful, or desire-based energies inside, the voice becomes extremely active. This is easy to see when you are angry with someone and you feel like telling them off. Just watch how many times the inner voice tells them off before you even see them. When energy builds up inside, you want to do something about it. That voice talks because you’re not okay inside, and talking releases energy.

You will notice, however, that even when you’re not particularly bothered by something, it still talks. When you’re walking down the street it says things like,

"Look at that dog! It’s a Labrador! Hey, there’s another dog in that car. He looks a lot like my first dog, Shadow. Whoa, there’s an old Oldsmobile. It’s got Alaska plates. You don’t see many of those down here!"

It is actually narrating the world for you. But why do you need this? You already see what’s happening outside; how does it help to repeat it to yourself through the mental voice? You should examine this very closely. With a simple glance, you instantly take in the tremendous detail of whatever you’re looking at. If you see a tree, you effortlessly see the branches, the leaves, and the flowering buds. Why then do you have to verbalize what you have already seen?

"Look at that dogwood. The green leaves are so beautiful against the white flowers. Look how many flowers there are. Wow, it’s so full!"

What you’ll see, if you study this carefully, is that the narration makes you feel more comfortable with the world around you. Like backseat driving, it makes you feel as though things are more in your control. You actually feel like you have some relationship with them. A tree is no longer just a tree in the world that has nothing to do with you; it is a tree that you saw, labeled, and judged. By verbalizing it mentally, you brought that initial direct experience of the world into the realm of your thoughts. There it becomes integrated with your other thoughts, such as those making up your value system and historical experiences.

Take a moment to examine the difference between your experience of the outside world and your interactions with the mental world. When you’re just thinking, you’re free to create whatever thoughts you want in your mind, and these thoughts are expressed through the voice. You are very accustomed to settling into the playground of the mind and creating and manipulating thoughts. This inner world is an alternate environment that is under your control. The outside world, however, marches to its own laws. When the voice narrates the outside world to you, those thoughts are now side by side, in parity, with all your other thoughts. All these thoughts intermix and actually influence your experience of the world around you. What you end up experiencing is really a personal presentation of the world according to you, rather than the stark, unfiltered experience of what is really out there. This mental manipulation of the outer experience allows you to buffer reality as it comes in. For example, there are myriad things that you see at any given moment, yet you only narrate a few of them. The ones you discuss in your mind are the ones that matter to you. With this subtle form of preprocessing, you manage to control the experience of reality so that it all fits together inside your mind. Your consciousness is actually experiencing your mental model of reality, not reality itself.

You have to watch this very carefully because you do it all the time. You’re walking outside in the winter, you start to shiver, and the voice says, "It’s cold!" Now how did that help you? You already knew it was cold. You’re the one who’s experiencing the cold. Why is it telling you this? You re-create the world within your mind because you can control your mind whereas you can’t control the world. That is why you mentally talk about it. If you can’t get the world the way you like it, you internally verbalize it, judge it, complain about it, and then decide what to do about it. This makes you feel more empowered. When your body experiences cold, there may be nothing you can do to affect the temperature. But when your mind verbalizes, "It’s cold!" you can say, "We’re almost home, just a few more minutes." Now you feel better. In the thought world there’s always something you can do to control the experience.

Basically, you re-create the outside world inside yourself, and then you live in your mind. What if you decided not to do this? If you decide not to narrate and, instead, just consciously observe the world, you will feel more open and exposed. This is because you really don’t know what will happen next, and your mind is accustomed to helping you. It does this by processing your current experiences in a way that makes them fit with your views of the past and visions of the future. All of this helps to create a semblance of control. If your mind doesn’t do this, you simply become too uncomfortable. Reality is just too real for most of us, so we temper it with the mind.

You will come to see that the mind talks all the time because you gave it a job to do. You use it as a protection mechanism, a form of defense. Ultimately, it makes you feel more secure. As long as that’s what you want, you will be forced to constantly use your mind to buffer yourself from life, instead of living it. This world is unfolding and really has very little to do with you or your thoughts. It was here long before you came, and it will be here long after you leave. In the name of attempting to hold the world together, you’re really just trying to hold yourself together.

True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection. This is done by constantly remembering that you are the one inside that notices the voice talking. That is the way out. The one inside who is aware that you are always talking to yourself about yourself is always silent. It is a doorway to the depths of your being. To be aware that you are watching the voice talk is to stand on the threshold of a fantastic inner journey. If used properly, the same mental voice that has been a source of worry, distraction, and general neurosis can become the launching ground for true spiritual awakening. Come to know the one who watches the voice, and you will come to know one of the great mysteries of creation.

Table of Contents



Part 1: Awakening Consciousness

1. The Voice Inside Your Head

2. Your Inner Roommate

3. Who Are You?

4. The Lucid Self

Part 2: Experiencing Energy

5. Infinite Energy

6. The Secrets of the Spiritual Heart

7. Transcending the Tendency to Close

Part 3: Freeing Yourself

8. Let Go Now or Fall

9. Removing Your Inner Thorn

10. Stealing Freedom for Your Soul

11. Pain, the Price of Freedom

Part 4: Going Beyond

12. Taking Down the Walls

13. Far, Far Beyond

14. Letting Go of False Solidity

Part 5: Living Life

15. The Path of Unconditional Happiness

16. The Spiritual Path of Nonresistance

17. Contemplating Death

18. The Secret of the Middle Way

19. The Loving Eyes of God

What People are Saying About This

Yogi Amrit Desai

This is a seminal book that quite frankly is in a class by itself. In a simple, yet paradoxically profound way, Michael Singer takes the reader on a journey that begins with consciousness tethered to the ego, and ends having taken us beyond our myopic, contained self-image to a state of inner freedom and liberation. Michael Singer's book is a priceless gift to all who have futilely searched and yearned for a richer, more meaningful, creative life. --Yogi Amrit Desai, internationally recognized pioneer of modern yoga

Deepak Chopra

In the book, The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer takes you step-by-step through the process of Gyana, the Yoga of the Intellect, to the Source. Moreover, he does it with elegant simplicity. Read this book carefully and you will get more than a glimpse of eternity. --Deepak Chopra, Author, Life After Death: The Burden of Proof

Ma Yoga Shakti Saraswati

This publication has released boundless joy for the hungry souls of the world. --Ma Yoga Shakti Saraswati, founder of Yogashakti International Mission, recipient of Hinduism Today 'Hindu of the Year 2000' award

Abdul Aziz Said

The Untethered Soul is a brilliant treatment of the path of spiritual consciousness. It is clearly and powerfully written. Michael Singer provides a firm step for those on a spiritual journey. --Abdul Aziz Said, Professor of Peace Studies, Chair of Islamic Peace, American University

Louis Chiavacci

Michael Singer has opened my mind to an entirely new dimension of thought. Through The Untethered Soul I have been challenged both psychologically and intellectually in a new and exciting way. It may take more than one reading and many hours of introspection but The Untethered Soul is a must read for anyone in search of greater understanding of themselves and of the truth. --Louis Chiavacci, Senior Vice-President, Merrill Lynch, ranked in Barron's top 15 U.S. Investment Managers

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Deep spirituality is within your reach in this book. In it you will find the mirror to see your unconditional, holy Self. If you look for practical spirituality not encumbered by credo and ritual, read this book. --Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi: coauthor of Jewish With Feeling and From Age-ing To Sage-ing

From the Publisher

"Read this book carefully and you will get more than a glimpse of eternity." —-Deepak Chopra

Bikram Choudhury

The Untethered Soul, in a clear practical manner, shows the reader how to achieve the real goal of human life—self-realization. --Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram Yoga and worldwide Yoga College of India

Ray Kurzweil

East is East and West is West, but Michael Singer bridges these two great traditions in a radiant treatise on how to succeed in life from our spiritual quest to our everyday tribulations. Freud said that life was composed of love and work. With great eloquence, wit, and compelling logic, Singer's brilliant book completes this thought by showing them to be two poles of the same selfless devotion. --Ray Kurzweil, inventor, National Medal of Technology recipient and author of The Age of Spiritual Machines, The Singularity is Near, and other books

James O'Dea

In lucid, unadorned prose, Michael Singer delivers the essence of the great spiritual teachings of the Ages. Each chapter of The Untethered Soul is an instructive meditation on the binds of the human condition and how each and every knot can be gracefully untied so that our souls may fly. The accuracy and simplicity of this work is a measure of its pure mastery. --James O'Dea, President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS)

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Untethered Soul 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 130 reviews.
CynthiaSueLarson More than 1 year ago
THE UNTETHERED SOUL is truly exceptional for its ability to simultaneously explain the nature of enlightenment while also providing simple, practical tools for attaining that exalted state. It lives up to its subtitle: "The Journey Beyond Yourself" by demonstrating how we are able to transcend worldly troubles by changing the way we view our lives. Just as we might notice that problems cannot be solved at the same level where they were created, there is great advantage in rising above the inner chatter and emotional storms to a peaceful, blissful state of mind we've all experienced... that can become our new core identity. The big idea here is that by identifying ourselves as being observers who watch thoughts and feelings flowing through, we can keep our hearts open to love even (and especially) during times of crisis. This simple sounding concept of separating the part of us who thinks and feels and acts from the part of ourself who sees ourselves thinking and feeling and acting becomes extraordinarily liberating. The proof of the efficacy of this concept is immediately verifiable by readers willing to roll up their sleeves and start feeling the burn of releasing energies from the past, by taking this book as a workbook, and not merely an intellectual sourcebook. At its core, THE UNTETHERED SOUL is a book about the energies of emotion. Readers are encouraged to recognize and appreciate the expansive experience of feeling love and joy, as well as the restrictive sensations we feel when guarding ourselves from potential pain or suffering. Just as a good athletic coach might guide us to start noting the difference between "good pain" and "bad pain" in order to achieve best athletic results, Singer teaches the value of recognizing the "good pain" that accompanies emotional release and the greatest resulting state of true spiritual happiness, joy and well-being. Here is a book that has the power to completely transform your life to be free of stress, fear, and melodrama. This book is highly recommended for spiritual seekers everywhere, as well as those seeking emotional clarity in order to transcend the common human condition of pain of suffering. This is a book you will read and find yourself thinking about for years to come, hoping everyone else in your life will read it, too!
Ms_MJ More than 1 year ago
Instead of reading this book.. you might find the book is reading you. It helps you realize that "mind chatter" is not as serious as one might have thought. This book will help bring you out of your head and into the wonderful experience of the beauty of life and all that it has to offer. Awesome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is incredible. I have read it many times and will continue to throughout my life. I never thought my eyes and my heart could be so open. I have gone from a stressful, fearful, confused life to one that now is calm and loving and patient. I never thought I could ever be so free. I have learned so much about myself while reading this book. I suggest everyone read this book. It is truly amazing.
Leslie-at-Ideal-Self More than 1 year ago
The Untethered Soul not only embraces the concepts of letting go and living guilt free, but gives simple steps on how to achieve these concepts and others. This book has set me on a higher plain of existence. Thank you Michael A. Singer!!!
Michelle-Wolff_11 More than 1 year ago
On my 3rd reading of this life changing book. It pulls together all that I've studied before in a truly magical way. So far my life has been rocketing forward since I implemented this method a few weeks ago. So grateful to Oprah for letting everyone know about this book and incredibly grateful to Michael Singer for changing the world with these writings!
featherfoot55 More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful for those of us who have "roommates" in our heads. You'll keep saying "OMG, that's me, I do that!" Love it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Untethered Soul is the most unique and helpful book I have ever read on the experience of being human. Michael Singer writes with wisdom, humor, and deep but relaxed insight into what it takes to be truly free internally. I have been reading books for that purpose for many years, and am particularly drawn to this one. Singer describes consciousness with tremendous clarity and simplicity in a way that I have not seen before. He also shares very down-to-earth practices that truly do feel as though they nurture my soul. This book is a huge gift in my life. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it was a simple and clear way of cleaning up the path to seening ourself for the first time. I am buying a copy for each of my friends. The untethered Soul is now in the list of favorite books.
8512 More than 1 year ago
This book is for anyone that wants to learn how to stop the mind chatter and finally tune into your own "being-ness". Easy read with many new ways of looking at life and self.
csonder More than 1 year ago
We have heard that phrase "peace of mind" our entire lives, yet this book shows us how to truly have that peace. I found this book to be inspiring, insightful and give me a calm i don't think i had ever noticed before in myself. i highly recommend this book for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Singer has such a wonderful gift for explaining a complex subject(s) in an easy to understand way. If you are on a quest for a more peaceful, yet purposeful life, this is the book you must read. I love it so much I have it in both paper and ebook format so I'm never without it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book helped to become a better person and change the negative thoughts in your mind
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read a lot of books lately on this subject but when read this one - it all became clear. I thought I was reading about me! At the end when the author says that you can choose to be happy I made a chose for the first time and it has been so easy to keep. It seemed like simple advice but so true. This book should be read by everyone!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a lovely and inspiring read. The first time I picked it up I was unable to get into it, but have now realized I simply was not ready for the wisdom about to be shared. The second time I picked it up, I barely put it down. When you find yourself lost on a spiritual journey to happiness and fulfillment, there are many books that may seem interesting, but become a jumbled mess when you begin reading. This book breaks it down in simple terms that allow you to fully comprehend each lesson that is illustrated. I have found so many of the stories and illustrations have stuck with me and I am able to share and explain with others. Definitely recommend. It will change the dream you are currently living in and allow you to feel the beauty constantly surrounding you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book! It is a beautifully simple way to understand and apply very complex but necessary changes in our own self awareness. It is incredibly empowering!
BauerH More than 1 year ago
A friend gave me this book during a very trying time in my life. It changed me forever. I hope to repay my friend by spreading the word to others about this book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Almost everything I wanted to learn in one book! Thank you Michael Singer your work has been a blessing. DKS
Amy21WI More than 1 year ago
Life changing! And if you ever get a chance watch the Michael Singer Interview with Oparh on Super Soul Sunday. It is the reason I picked up this audio book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book. I enjoyed the book very much. Yes, there is some repetitiveness, but not everyone reads and learns the same. I would recommend this book for anyone going through trying times. I am losing my job; book helped me readjust my focus.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read and loved the book. Bought the CD to hear in the car but don't love the voice of the actor reading. The book, to me, was serene and thought provoking. The reading actor over acts and gives a strident feel that puts me off. Also, the voice volume is inaudible at certain points, too loud at others. I would like it better if the author had read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are some very thoughtful “gems” in here; however, you have to plough through a great deal of redundancy to get to them. It’s easy to miss the author’s most powerful points. I almost feel like the author is racing through his body of work and concepts. I am quickly bored with his examples. Having said that though, those who are new to the ideas he is putting forth will be challenged to make very positive changes in the way they interact with their own consciousness. For those already working with these concepts, the book has good reminders and reinforcements.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books. I recently purchased several copies to give to friends. This has changed my life ... Read it and re- read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The foundational aspects and wisdoms behind the book are great. However, it often runs on and on, repeating many of the same thoughts and ideas. I found myself getting bored and skipping pages to find the point. I wouldnt buy this book again,i recommend going to the library or loaning from a friend.
Cakes89 More than 1 year ago
This is a readable book that moves towards transformation. Recommended for any seeker, or just those who feel a little stuck right now. Good read for couples to do together.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that makes you think.