Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Untethered Soul

I read a lot of self-helpy type stuff -- mind over matter, law of attraction, using the energy of the universe, that kind of thing. Yes, right alongside my Bible reading. No, it doesn't conflict -- because I have a brain in my head that I use to determine what I think is right and what I think is bunk. It's all about opening my mind, learning, witnessing the possibilities of this short life.

If I'm being honest, most of those books are the same. There aren't many new ideas. But I just finished reading one that took me by surprise. The Untethered Soul wasn't the best book I've ever read -- the writing was mediocre, the big paragraphs lent to skimming, and while it posed a lot of problems it didn't give a lot of step-by-step instructions for how to solve them (I like step-by-step). However, it made me aware of things I hadn't been previously aware of. And it reinforced some practices I already have.

I am aware of how much brain chatter is happening in my head. I am aware of the tightening in my chest when something upsets me. But The Untethered Soul pointed out that these are objects passing through, and I don't have to give them any attention or hold onto them. The book starts by identifying who we are -- our consciousness. We are our awareness. We are the witness.

We can witness our brain chatter, we can witness the physical sensations of distress, but we can do it with some distance. We can step back from all of that and just watch it happen. And once we become a witness of ourselves, all the stress, negativity, frustration, anger loses its power.

When I have trouble sleeping, I use meditation techniques to separate myself from the brain chatter that is keeping me up. Then the chatter stops and I immediately fall asleep. So this book just reaffirmed why this works so well for me.

It also talked about feeling your heart shut closed when you are distressed. I think we can all identify with that sensation -- that tightening in our chest. And the book encourages us to purposefully keep our heart open, to feel that closing sensation and release it, because we can only be happy when our heart is open.

Anyway, with how much stuff I'm processing this year, it was nice to be reassured that all these negative thoughts and feelings aren't me, and I have the capability of getting through it in a healthy way.

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