I have to admit, ever since we started dating almost 9 years ago, my girlfriend (now wife) has always tried to get me to meditate, go to yoga classes, and read books have to do with mindfulness. Its not that I thought negatively about any of it, I just thought that it wasn’t necessarily for me. I had my ways of dealing with stress, I have my faith, and so while I was happy that she was happy, I never really dug into any of them.
That all changed about 3 months ago. I hit a road block in my personal growth. I felt that I was doing all of the right things, but I wasn’t feeling that sense of fulfillment when it came to my development. So I decided what the heck, and downloaded the app “Headspace.”
I really enjoyed taking time out of my morning for me, to focus on my breathing, and to focus on my thoughts, and how much my mind would truly wander throughout the day. I knew immediately that this was the unlock I was looking for. So I immediately began to read/listen to anything related to mindfulness I could get my hands on. I listened to podcasts by Jay Shetty, I watched YouTube videos, and then I finally came across this book, “The Untethered Soul”, by Michael Singer and found myself in awe as I read through each page.
Obviously I can’t give you every nugget from the book, or else I’d just copy and paste the book in this blog (yes, its that good, just ask Oprah), but I can give you my three biggest takeaways that left me speechless and have put me on a mindfulness path that is changing the course of my life as I know it.
My first, and probably biggest takeaway, was the chapter on pain. Singer talks about pain and that one of the main barriers to us experiencing the type of personal growth we want is that we are unwilling to come to terms with our inner pain. That this pain is a mental block, and that underneath this block, is our ability to grow into the person that we want to be. However, since change is difficult, and involves introspection and true reflection, most people are unwilling to go through this pain to get to growth that is on the other side.
The second key point I found fascinating was when he spoke about energy. His view on energy was something that I had never heard or thought of before. He argues that everyone has all the energy that they will ever need inside them, but most of us waste it throughout out day. Let me explain. Any time you have a negative thought and you fight to replace it with a positive one, that takes energy. Any time that you get upset, frustrated, experience any sort of negative emotion, that takes energy. So throughout our day, we are expending all of these little amounts of energy doing this things, so that by the end of the day we are completely exhausted.
The solution? To allow the thoughts and emotions to come and go. Don’t fight them, acknowledge them, but realize they are passing, fleeting moments, like leaves floating on a stream. When I heard this, I knew the way I looked at stress would be forever changed. Too often we hold onto things, not wanting to let go, when in fact, if we looked at the bigger picture, they are all just moments passing by, like those leaves on the stream.
Lastly, I found his chapter on death to be very eye opening. Most of us fear death, and try to think about it as little as possible, but he argues that you should think about death all the time. Why? Because it then forces you to realize that there is a time limit, and to focus your efforts and priorities into the things that really matter to you, rather than wasting the precious time that we do have. I found this concept refreshing, because my personal thought is that people are afraid of death because they aren’t squeezing every last drop out of life, so they are afraid of leaving that untapped energy and potential unused.
Overall, I would definitely put this book in the top 5 list of books I have ever read, and that is saying a lot, because I have had the pleasure of reading some amazing books over these past couple of years. So do yourself a favor, pick this book up, and give it a good read, I promise you won’t regret it.