“Your inner growth is completely dependent upon the realization that the only way to find peace and contentment is to stop thinking about yourself.” ~ Michael Singer
And so begins Chapter Two of The Untethered Soul. In this chapter, Singer refers to the voices in our head as our inner roommates and we’re encouraged to spend some quality time getting to know our roommates. As we listen, we ask ourselves, “who is it that is listening to these voices?”
We are then introduced to our inner witness, the one that watches and listens to our roommate(s). In my opinion, understanding the distinction between the voices in your head and the one who is listening is a profound spiritual teaching. So I’d ask you to pay close attention this week as you listen to the voice in your head. Again, ask yourself, “who is it that is listening?” The “listener” is your inner witness, or your consciousness, your soul. Call it what you will….the point is, the one who listens is not the voice you hear. Sit with that thought for a moment.
After spending time listening to our inner roommates we learn that we can free ourselves from this internal melodrama. In the coming chapters, Singer will provide us with the teachings and techniques to free ourselves and develop a spiritual practice of conscious awareness.
But there’s a catch…you have to want out of the self-imposed mental melodrama. You start by becoming conscious enough to understand your predicament. You have the will, and the power to take your life back. It’s your choice. And to be clear, it’s not that the world is gonna change for you – it’s the way you see and interact with the world that changes.
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” ~ Wayne Dyer
Next week, Chapter Three: Who Are You?
I’ve decided to return to my spiritual roots and keep a promise I made when I first created this blog.
In the beginning, the focus was my spiritual path. Earlier this year, I wrote about The Voices in my Head, from Chapter One of Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul – you can read the post here.
My promise was to share my spiritual journey with a chapter by chapter review of Singer’s book; a book which I believe provides a strong spiritual foundation. But life got a hold of me, blogging challenges in April, summer vacations with grandkids while editing of my memoir, and then, a devastating family loss in September. That loss brought great sorrow and I realized I need to get my spiritual house in order. Of course, I could continue to make excuses – National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, launches in November and I will be participating again this year, but no more excuses! If ever I needed a spiritual refresher course it’s now!
My plan over the next several weeks is to post my insights from each chapter of Singer’s book. I’ll post on Mondays and try to keep the posts short, between 300 – 500 words.
I hope you’ll join me on this spiritual journey. I recommend Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul, for anyone interested in the spiritual path. The book provides a strong foundation for those seeking to understand our human experience and live their best life.
Let me entice you with an excerpt from the Introduction of The Untethered Soul:
“In the following chapters, we will undertake a journey of exploration of ‘self’. But we will not do so in a traditional manner. We will neither call upon the experts in psychology nor upon the great philosophers. We will not argue and choose between time-honored religious views, or resort to statistically supported surveys of people’s opinions. We will, instead, turn to a single source that has phenomenal direct knowledge on the subject. We will turn to one expert who, for every moment of every day of their life, has been collecting the data necessary to finally put this great inquiry to rest. And that expert is you.” ~ Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul
Next week: Chapter Two ~ Your Inner Roommate
Chapter One Review ~ The Voices in my Head (original post from March)
One of my greatest spiritual teachers is the mirror of judgment. The teaching is simple: what I judge in others exists within me. The lesson is not easy.
Now, to be clear, this teaching is not about making factual observations or discernment. There is a distinction, although subtle. It is the intention behind our judgment or criticism of another that serves as the distinction. But the bottom line is this – you know when you’re being critical. We all recognize our inner critic. We’ve turned our inner critic on ourselves often enough to recognize it when it emerges.
By way of example, let’s say you have a friend you think is a pompous ass. You’ve heard the cliché, “it takes one to know one”. That old saying holds a truth and a lesson. What you recognize in another and judge harshly, exists within you. Some of the most frustrating and difficult people in our lives serve as our best teachers.
You may find yourself resisting this teaching. I did. I confess, I was resistant to seeing myself in others. It’s much easier to see and judge the flaws, weaknesses, and shortcomings of others. Seeing our own reflection through the mirror of judgment requires awareness – presence.
Our resistance to such lessons stems from our ego’s inability to recognize itself. Our ego often stands in the way of spiritual growth. You can see your ego at work in the way you react to difficulties or criticism. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, the ego falls away when you are truly present, focused in the here and now.
“To love is to recognize yourself in another” ~ Eckhart Tolle
If you’d like to try this lesson, pay attention as you go through the week. Stop and take notice when you hear yourself judging another or being critical. Take a deep breath and center yourself in the present moment. Then, hold your judgment up like a mirror and see what is reflected. Ask yourself, “What characteristic or quality exists in the other that exists in me?” This is difficult inner work but if you’re willing to step outside your ego, real spiritual growth begins.
As you begin your week, let me leave you with the wisdom of the ancient Mayans,
“I am you and you are another me.”