In today’s episode we talk about “The Untethered Soul”, a book by Michael Singer. We explore how we can connect more deeply to who we are inside. And how we can observe our thoughts, patterns, and behaviors to live a more fulfilling existence.
Natalie: Good morning.
Dani: Good morning.
Natalie: How are you both?
Dani: Wonderful. How about you?
Natalie: Very good. Thank you. Welcome back! We are today. Well I’ll tell you the first and I’ll tell you what we’re going to be talking about. So I pulled the card today and the first thing that came through was “loving from the inside” and it says, I start with myself as I practice turning my loving attention inwards rather than outwards. I nourish a loving presence within my own body. I might stop by simply closing my eyes and putting my attention on an area that feels central within me, my heart and my solar plexus. With each breath, I allow my awareness to rest there, away from the outer distractions or pressures. My inner space is sacred. It’s a blessing to give myself the gift of my own presence, to turn my focus inwards and sense into the depth of my own essence. Within me pulses. A delicious life force that holds its own unique frequency of subtleties and sensations. This is my practice of loving from the inside, to feel united within, and to embrace the aliveness of all of my senses. So I love the card because of a couple of things that happen to me this week, which has kind of guided what we’re going to talk about. So the first was where I was speaking to a friend and she was saying about how when we feel things like it’s our judgment that defines the sensation. So it kind of touched on that card when it saying, you know, it has its own frequency of subtleties and sensations. So when we feel something it’s our judgment of that sensation, which defines it to be either good or bad. And this is where I was sent a video this week by Michael Singer, who’s the author of “The Untethered Soul” and it’s a book that I haven’t read, but both of you ladies have read, um, thankfully seeing as that’s going to be the topic for today. And um, I watched this video and it was really enlightening to me because the way he described things kind of really affirmed that kind of understanding whereby it’s our perception of the sensations and the things that are going on around us that really defines whether they are good or bad. And so if we can take a step back and look at the reality of the situation, perhaps the perspective or judgment might change. So in this video that I saw, um, he basically talks about how we are kind of detached from who we really are. So the first thing that he talks about is he says, whenever he talks about this with people, the first question he asks is, are you in there and by that he’s like, you know “Who are you? Who is the you that is in the body?” And a lot of people automatically go to the I am, a mother, a wife, a friend, um, you know, business owner, whatever it might be. And he’s like, no, that isn’t all of those are just things and um, experiences or situations that exist around you. But that’s not really you. Like, you know, you get divorced like you’re still there, so you know you’re not the wife of whoever your, you know, ultimately like the situations around you can change. So it’s like really who you are at your core. Um, and it’s really about the understanding that everything that’s going on around you is like an experience, and not a definition of you. So have I got that right Dani, as you have read that book?
Dani: Yeah, that’s my understanding perfectly. Yeah.
Natalie: Okay. So, this is the first step he talks about when the next step is like realizing that when you know who you are, so don’t you kind of like stripped back the layers and look at on the deepest level who you are, and what guys really I guess is, like your consciousness like, who you are. Um, then the next thing is kind of realizing that you’re not okay.
Candace: Before we move onto you’re not okay, can we kind of go back to the consciousness piece because there’s something that he describes in the book and it’s a way of getting in touch with who you actually are. And it is, you know, doing an exercise like sitting back and observing your thoughts. So as your thoughts are coming in, you are noticing them. So who is noticing them? That’s you at your core. That is your consciousness. Um, and actually, you know, what? Is that the exercise from that book or am I pulling that from a different book?
Dani: No, that’s the exercise that he calls it your inner roommate, right? Who has the dialogue constantly in your mind. Only if it were a real person, you would probably throw them out of your home. You wouldn’t want to be roommates with this, this voice in your head that’s always criticizing or analyzing or, whatever he calls it, the inner roommate. But yeah, just observing it and sitting and listening to it from that place. That’s kind of like behind and above and like looking down, kind of observing yourself go through all that.
Candace: In doing that exercise with that book, that was the first time that I truly understood how to separate… Because everybody talks about you aren’t your thoughts. And I, I understood it intellectually, but I had never really experienced it. And in reading his book, that was the first time that I had really experienced for myself separating my thoughts from me.
Dani: I love that Candace and I, the power of his book for me too is in exactly that. It’s, um, he has the spiritual ideas equal to any master who’s ever walked the planet, and yet he brings it down to an experiential level. And in fact he says, that’s the only way that we can transform or truly understand is through our own experience. So even though he talks about these amazing ideas, he always brings it home to exactly what you’re experiencing through your day, every day, and, he just kind of elevates it. And, I think it’s worth emphasizing what you already said, which is who is having the thoughts and who is listening to the thoughts? Like when you realize you can listen to those thoughts in your head, then you understand you’re separate from them because how else could you listen to them and have an analysis of them or a thought about them. At the same time, there must be another level of separation.
Natalie: Yeah. I saw an article and it said one of the best quotes from the book, is, is something I’m going to butcher it because I don’t know the exact words, but with something like, you know, you are not your mind. You are the one that gets to listen to it. So it’s like, so it’s like your mind is a separate entity to you and you can choose to listen to it or to ignore or to, you know, you choose what you allow in when you’re listening to it. So I thought that was really interesting.
Dani: I love that. And I think it’s Wayne Dyer who points out, you know, in the way gives you a slightly different but the same way to look at it, which is um, the part of you that we’re talking about that. It’s the true you is the eternal part. So it is that consciousness that will go life to life for through this life or however you believe. But it’s the part of you that never changes the part of you that’s always consistent, has always been there. And it brings up the whole body and everything. Like when you’re born, you have the body of a newborn and that all, you don’t have any of those remaining parts, they’ve all been regenerated and changed, everything cell for cell replaced. So we are, in fact, our bodies are completely different and new, so that isn’t us. We’re definitely not our body. And then the identification with the thoughts and letting that go is kind of that next level too. So I really love those.
Natalie: Okay. So once you’ve realized that you are in there and you are you, whoever you may be, then the next step is really realizing that you’re not. okay. And so it says that it’s about observing your inner state. So that might be what you talking about with the whole, like looking like observing your thoughts and see what’s actually going on in there. What are you listening to? What, what’s the noise?
Candace: Becoming familiar with that roommate.
Natalie: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And then, and the question he asks is like, are you ever at peace. So what are the things that are going on in there? So he basically explains that you’re, that when you realize you’re not okay and you realize that what you’re actually doing all the time is trying to make everything okay because you need, you know, it’s like, it’s so difficult to explain the concept is so deep, it’s trying to simplify it, but it’s like as if your mind basically exists to make sense of everything that’s going on so that you feel okay and that you feel safe and secure. And so it’s like realizing that you’re always either trying to do something or trying to avoid something. So by observing that state, you then begin to see like what other things that you are trying to avoid and what the things that you’re trying to do get to. And they’re all things that your mind has deemed, okay, your mind has declared this is how we need it to look for us to be okay. Does that make sense? Have I explained that?
Dani: It makes perfect sense? And you and you, um, when I think a little before, maybe even before we started recording what you said, which is perfect, is I have to have this and then I’ll be happy. When this happens, then I’ll feel that or whatever that, that line in one sentence is kind of that, that depth of kind of what you’re talking about is this idea that doing something or, having something, or letting go of something, or avoiding something is going to somehow make us feel better.
Candace: Yeah. And I think also it’s about giving meaning to things. So it’s about making everything okay. But it’s also giving meanings. I believe in the book he makes reference to a chair and the only reason that you know, it’s a chairs because you’ve given it meaning. If, if you don’t give it meaning that it’s a chair, then what is it that’s not okay for our brain. It has to be a chair, you know? So it’s becoming aware of the meaning that we give to things and why we do and oh it’s impossible to not.
Dani: Right. Well and, and it is actually impossible to not. I mean, pretty much, I mean just being a human because you know, we know from what we know about the brain, like the brain is taking in so much information, but it has to filter because we have a finite number, amount of kind of um, of power too to analyze. So it’s taking, you know, 3 billion bits of information about all the kind of stuff that we actually kind of know in some sense and are taking in and what we focus on. And it’s like once we’ve identified, oh, that’s a chair, then we don’t have to spend all this energy trying to redefine it or understand it. We’ve got it labeled or like, okay good, now we can conserve brain energy on that. We’ve got handled. But I think we do that for our whole lives, you know, and live this unexamined life sometimes. Well everybody says it’s a chair, you know, I mean everybody says, you know, go to work and you know, work hard and you don’t have to like it and then you can retire and have what you want or you can whatever. Like we do it in so many ways.
Natalie: Yeah. And we’re just basically like meaning making machines. And so we do have. So yeah. So, so many levels. So, so you’re right. So it’s not just to do with the chair, like that’s where like all of these norms, societal norms that we need things to happen as certain way, result in us feeling like it’s okay. And if something or someone disrupts that, like it can completely throw you off. And he gives examples of like. So for example, like if it’s raining and you wanted to go and like, walk in the mountains, like, you know, somebody will be like, oh no, like completely thrown off by the fact that it’s raining and you wanted to go and have this great big walk, but like you can’t control the weather. That’s just something completely out of your control and it’s teaching you to like just be okay with that. So being okay with things that come and throw you off because, so that, so that you get to a point where nothing can throw you off. Where everything just is, good or bad if I even exist because it’s all judgment, you know, so you can’t actually, you can’t, you can’t be thrown off. And so the way that he describes it in this video is really good. I wrote the words down, which was basically the, we’ve created the system. I, we need reality to be the way that we define it and each of us will have our own definition of what that reality should or does look like. Um, and it’s all really about control, trying to control everything to keep yourself safe. It’s all like protection, so making it all be like as I need it to be as I define my reality to look like. And so it’s a protection thing, but the way that he describes it is basically the more, in control you are trying to be, the more out of control you are because, which I’m like, yes, that’s so true because we all, so often, it is trying to control everything but we don’t realize how which are tripping ourselves up and how we’re actually limiting ourselves but also causing ourselves a lot of grief by trying to control everything.
Candace: So the more pieces that you try to control the more potential there is for something to go wrong.
Dani: Yes. And the more affected you are by every little thing. Like Natalie said, when you can let go, the more you let go, the more you can let go. And the more you can be okay with anything and the more control you have and the smaller it gets, the more those little things upset you and then you feel like going in more and more and more. I love this so much. And in his book he does, he uses a lot of, of metaphors and a lot of, um, you know, comparing this and that to help you understand. And one of the ones he does in the book is, is having a sore on your finger. Right? And so, um, instead of kind of, you know, cleaning it and letting the body heal it, then you, you think, well, I need a bandage. And then you bump it on something. I think, well I need a bigger bandage that’ll kind of encompass my whole hand. And then, and then you’re like, well now that I, now that I bumped my hand, maybe I need something to secure like my whole arm and everything. So my hand can’t swing around and hit something. Nothing can get to my hand. So I need more protection. And then before you know it, you’re just like walking around in this big wheelchair and you’ve got ramps in your house and you’ve modified all these things. It gives you silly examples to help you see how you’re doing this in real life. And I’m just going to bring in because you know how I love to keep us off track, but it’s really similar. It’s the same thing. Russell Brand has a book on, on addiction basically on the 12 steps and he does it with such…. I love Russell brand. He’s one of those people. You love him or you hate him. I totally get it. He can be really annoying, but I love him. I mean, I really love him, but he’s talking about. That’s exactly what addiction is, is exactly what you’re talking about right here, you guys is avoidance of that pain and avoidance of, whatever we’re afraid of. We’re not good enough. We’re not lovable. We can’t. We can’t be on our own. Whatever those core fears are, the addiction is all to avoid and to cover up and to distract from that. So all that addiction, all that, and what he argues is that we are all addicted. It’s like to grow up in our society with all the norms and all the conditioning and all the marketing and all the crap. We’re already, you know, people accuse, he was saying the, um, the 12 step program is being a cult. He’s like, you’re already in a cult. This is one of the ways to kind of get, it’s a path to possibly get out and they’re like, how he looked at it, but we are, whether it’s facebook or food or spending or whatever it’s looking for is gonna help us control our awareness, help us stop from facing that which we fear is going to really hurt or have, you know, those, those big effects. So it’s so much avoidance, but it’s also seeking that which society or conditioning, whatever has told us that we need to have, which is, you know, popularity, acceptance, wealth, whatever those things are. But, um, but I do think it does fit. Um, but yeah, I love this. I love this conversation.
Natalie: My favorite line in the, in the video that I saw was basically by, having control, you leave yourself vulnerable to the unfolding of reality and I was just like, oh, I like that, like that. I get, I’m understanding. I do that. And it’s like I know that I’ve been described before like Dani, we’ve worked through this. My whole… like I’m a control freak. I didn’t know when it positive and control let me do it with, in so many areas, like in the whole typical, like being controlled freak thing but also no, just in everyday life and we don’t realize it. You’re trying to control everything and he gives an example of like, um, you know, cooking dinner for your spouse and you go to all this effort and you go and buy all the nice food and then you go and make it. And then he gets home late and he’s not like, you know, missed it.
Candace: Not hungry…
Natalie: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Just wants to go to bed because he’s tired and like that leaves you vulnerable because you had all of the expectation and the reason you did it was because you wanted the thanks. Or you wanted to give thanks, or you wanted the appreciation, or you wanted to be seen and actually by trying to control that. So by trying to control the receiving of that, you’ve left yourself vulnerable to an, to an alternative, you know, and it’s like, wow, okay. Kind of mind boggling.
Dani: It really is. And I know I say it almost every episode now, but think back about our recent episode on expectations. So which episode is that right? But it’s, yeah. Um, it’s so perfect in this conversation of, of when you expect things to be a certain way, how you are just shutting yourself off from every other possibility, including learning something about, oh, look at what I was doing there. I was waiting for his approval when, if I just did it for the love and just did it for the fun of it or whatever, then I would have been much happier.
Natalie: Yeah. So Dani. Before we got on, you said that this book is like one of your top 10.
Dani: Oh top five for sure! It’s in the top. Maybe even the top few books and I have read, I read a lot self-help, development and spiritual books. I mean lots because it’s know my personality is like you want to learn something new, read a book. Like that’s my first go to, I want to read about it and so I do that a lot and I had just done a 10 day meditation retreat and one of the people that I made friends with during that retreat, which is funny, you make friends but it’s a silent retreat, but then the last day, the first day you get like the first couple of hours when people are arriving to talk and then they ring a bell and you do not speak for 10 days. But then the last night they ring the bell again at like 10:00 PM or something and then you can talk again and everybody leaves the next morning. So I stayed up all night, you know, talking to the people who had this shared experience. But anyway, she recommended the book and I just bought it on the way home because I loved her so much and thought she was so amazing and um, and so it really did change me so much and I think that, you know, we’ve really already hit on how it’s so powerful is that it’s experiential and he brings things down to your everyday life. I had heard so many people talk about mindfulness being the observer or the voice in your head and for me, the way he says things is just like what I needed to hear at that point in my life. And um, and I haven’t read the book for a while, but now I want to go back and read it again because it is short. You guys. It’s only, it’s only a hundred and 80 pages. I mean it’s very short and easy to get through. But it really did brought it from all these ideas. And I had studied Buddhism and I had studied, you know, a lot of eastern methodologies and some of the mystics and all of that. And the ideas sound amazing, but he brings it to every day and there’s just, that is so powerful and it made such a difference for me and just being able to experience these ideals that I had talked about and not talked about probably, but read about and thought I was kind of trying to understand and he just brings it home in such a beautiful way. That’s really why and I think it, it’s so good for people in so many levels. It just, it brings it down to a level where like, my kids could read it, like I could give it to anyone to read and they could get something out of it because of the way it’s written in everyday language. And the common understanding just brings this really high ideas down to a level where, where people can really ingest and really feel it, which is critical. I just, I can’t, you know, I know I’m going on and on, but I just feel like it’s like the most important thing. I mean how often do we kind of hear about a concept and we recognize the truth in it, but it doesn’t change our lives. Like here I’ve recognized this concepts before, but this is where the rubber met the road and this is where my life actually changed was from reading these books and I’ve read a ton of books where it was great to know that and it’s great to have that knowledge and that understanding. And I think part of it as a lot of it in the beginning I did for ego to be able to like, well yeah, I’ve read that. Yeah. You know, to be able to talk to people and connect on certain levels. But they’re actually in all the books I’ve read very few that really had a life changing effect. Like his did.
Natalie: Yeah. And I think like, I feel like I’ve grasped the concept slightly before, just just in the whole expectation piece because I just thought this is taken expectations, just taking it to a whole new level for me because where I thought I had before and understood how by trying to plan and like make things a certain way. I was limiting myself but, but now I’m like now I’m realizing that it’s not even necessarily about expectation, it’s about control and about meaning and the meaning we attach to things and how that meaning only exists because of us. Like so, so like and I attached to set meaning something you would attach to different meaning, something so that meaning like it’s not something real. Like it’s something that I’ve created and not meaning that I’ve attached to it can shift to tomorrow if I choose for it to do, you know what I mean? It’s just like that then just makes me go wow. Like nothing. Nothing in my life as what I think it is.
Dani: Nothing is real.
Candace: Do we even exist?
Natalie: So yes I really enjoyed the video and I hope that we’ve done it a little bit of justice, you know, having not read the book and trying to explain the concepts is not an easy task because they are very deep. But I hopefully would, you know, Dani’s health and …Do you need to go and read the book? Dani? Should people go and read the book having heard our synopsis.
Dani: I think every person will know right now if they’re having the urge to go buy it or if they feel like, okay heard it. Got what I needed from you guys. And I think one of the beautiful things about the day and age that we’re living in is, so this book was written and it’s available. Think a generation or two ago. They just didn’t have this kind of accessibility to spiritual growth and things and certain ideas that we do now. I read the book, Candace has read the book. You watched a video and read a blog post, but, that fits in your life. I mean, not everybody is going to be, even if it’s only a 200 page book, a lot of people don’t like to read aren’t going to.
Natalie: He’s so like light as well. Having watched the video, he was just like so like, like to explain, like really deep concepts but not with any kind of like ego. He makes fun of us and our humanness and our processes and how we live and so I was like, it makes it interesting. He doesn’t kind of make you wrong. He, he just shines a light to go actually. Do you see like this is what was actually going on and actually this is what we’re all doing and these are the steps that you can take to try and stop doing that.
Dani: Yeah. He has another book we might as well plug to called “The Surrender Experiment” and as someone who has a love hate relationship with the word surrender a really good as well, but he. But again he takes things to an experiential level and I will tell you, you know like in the book when he finishes up, he really talks about, so what do you do with all that information is number one, you know, you observe it and you observe your mind. I don’t know the better way to do that than meditation. Maybe that’s not the path for everyone and maybe just the awareness in everyday life to notice it and fine. But for me, when I really started to meditate, it was a huge leap forward in just that, in increasing that awareness and paying less and less attention to those thoughts in the head when we can just see them running around truly like the monkey mind, you know, just like a monkey just running around and playing and this over here just out of control. And it helps us to not give it quite so much importance or weight. And like you said, he’s very light. But yeah, I just, I adore him and I forget if I even had a, had a point with that or not, but we’ll let it go. But yeah, just dearly love him.
Natalie: Okay, is there anything else either of you would like to add about the book or anything else?
Candace: I would just say that we’ll link the blog posts and the video that you saw because if people aren’t interested in reading the book or even listening to the book. They could go and watch that video or even just read a quick blog post and get a little bit more.
Natalie: I think it would be super helpful because this is just my interpretation, what I’ve heard and again, like I heard the bits that really resonated with me and where I saw myself, but I’m sure the other pieces in there that other people would get something out of listening to.
Dani: Yeah. And I think he really brings home this idea of nonresistance, you know, and, and that I’m shifting our perspective is what’s within our power to do, shifting the way that we look at things, the way that we incorporate them. That’s what’s within our power. And once we have a little bit of separation between all the musings of the mind and the marketing and the conditioned ways of being and everything, get a little bit of distance and we can have the space to really find that. And the less we can resist the more freedom and openness there really is. Because we all know shit just happens sometimes. And so you know, it just does. And so things are not going to go according to plan all the time for normal of us. Still making plans and living life like that. But, but just finding some kind of nonresistance and I know meditation is the number one thing that just helps me with both of those things, awareness of what I’m doing, and then having the space to step back and leave that, that space for not pushing things, not forcing things, but going with the flow more and accepting things the way they are, but also acceptance is just a really powerful place to move through transition or move through change. You have to really accept first and then and have space to have an idea, maybe a divinely inspired idea or something creative. Give it the space Let go of the desperation, let go of some of that. Find ourselves in acceptance then move from that place. So I think that’s a great place to stop too, you know, just in our discussions ladies.
Natalie: Thank you.
Dani: What a great topic.
Candace: See you girls next time.