I’m writing today to talk about chapter 11 of The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. It’s called Pain, the Price of Freedom. You see, we’re pretty much all carrying around old woulds, old hurts. Old pain. You can call it anger, sadness, or whatever. We all have our own flavors based on our own individuality and personal history, but it’s there. And for most of us, it’s not very fun to feel. But it’s there, and it wants to leave. And we want it to leave! So we have to learn how to feel. When it is fully felt, it is gone. So we aren’t suppressing or denying it, because that doesn’t work. That’s the “pay later” plan. But we aren’t wallowing in it and living in a story about it, either. That just perpetuates it, rather than allowing it to leave. There’s a fine line in between those two options, and that’s simply feeling. Being present with an energy in the body, and allowing it to move, which it actually wants to do.
I’ve written about Michael Singer’s book The Surrender Experiment before (here), and I knew I’d write about The Untethered Soul at some point. As often happens with my busy life, along with my “interesting” state of organization and discipline, is that I’ll read something and will know it’d be great to write about, but I won’t do it right away, and then time passes and it’s not fresh in my mind anymore. So the next best thing in the case of The Untethered Soul is this one chapter, which to me is pure gold. My friend and teacher John Mark Stroud had already given me the above description of feeling, walking that fine line between suppressing and wallowing. Simply being present with an energy we might not like, but without labelling it and judging it. And that’s pretty much exactly what Singer is saying in this chapter, but he goes into a bit more detail (it’s a pretty short chapter, though). The key, according to both of these living masters and others, is that it’s energy that wants to move through my system. So let it. Get out of the way and allow it to do what it’s programmed to do. Allow it to do what we can’t stop it from doing, not for very long, anyway. Well, I guess that’s not true. Many of us have been carrying this stuff around for decades and decades, and lifetimes if the reincarnation crowd is correct. Decades is long enough, though. It’s time to learn how to release this stuff. We are way beyond ready.
So Singer makes it very clear that we all have this old, old pain we’re carrying. It’s just a fact. So it’s really not even very personal. If you’re a human, you’re probably carrying around some old pain. I imagine it starts when we come out of the womb. We leave this awesome home of fluid that’s the perfect temperature where we just chill all day long, and then we pop out and it’s like, “Welcome to earth, kid. Now learn to breathe! And you have no choice in the matter, by the way. And you have have to do it now. So let me slap you on the ass! Oh, yeah, let’s cut that umbilical cord – scissors on your skin feel great! Are you having fun yet? Why are you screaming and crying??” That’s the beginning of our trauma here on earth. Welcome to the party.
Then we go through childhood, puberty, teenage years, schooling, making friends, whatever our family situation is, maybe some health issues, you name it. Then we become adults and have a new set of pressures. Life gets more heavy and serious. More health issues. And social pressures throughout the journey. You get the picture. And it continues, on and on until we lay the body down. But here’s the thing, nobody is teaching us about feelings! We aren’t learning that they’re simply energy that’s normal, harmless, and has to move through our system to leave. They might hang out for a while depending on the severity of the situation, but they’re all temporary. Temporary! There’s never been a permanent feeling. Nobody tells us this stuff, so of course we stuff them down or act them out. Of course we don’t want to feel. And our pain reservoir fills and fills. And now we’ve had enough, and it’s time to allow it to be released. Enter chapter eleven of The Untethered Soul. This might help you find the freedom that is actually your birthright.
So when you are triggered and have an emotional reaction, you can learn to witness it as an energy moving through the body. Be present with it, meaning you aren’t identified with it. You don’t think it’s part of what you are. It’s simply something you’re noticing. There’s a you that is totally independent of the feeling, and it’s totally fine, always. Fact. A great analogy is the sky and the clouds. You are the sky and the feelings are the clouds, the weather passing through. If the sky thought it was the weather, it would freak out a lot, especially during a big storm. But it knows by now that one hundred percent of these storms have passed fully, leaving no trace. It’s the same blue sky after the weather passes. So the sky is chilling the whole time! No big deal. Any kind of weather can come and go all day long, and it’s still the same sky. It’s fine. And that’s what we learn. No big deal. Do I like it? Maybe not. But as John Mark says, we learn to have an innocent relationship with it. An innocent relationship with anger, sadness, etc. He says they’re actually neutral, just like the color yellow. Some people like yellow and others don’t. Yellow itself is neutral, though. And so are these various energies moving through our systems.
This is pretty cool stuff, and I’m finding out more and more how it really is an integral component to our awakening. Awakening to what we really are, which is way beyond any feeling or energy. And way beyond our physical body, by the way. Nobody tells us this stuff growing up, though. Oh well, we will just have to learn it now. And as we release this old stuff, we feel lighter and lighter, and what’s underneath it just might start to shine through more and more. And those that have gone down this road already say that what’s been there the whole time, underneath these other layers of feelings, is a big ass ocean of peace and love. Amen!
Let me close by saying that staying out of the story can be very tricky, very subtle. So we practice. I first heard about all of this feeling business over ten years ago from a teacher named Gangaji. Then I heard about it again about five years ago through The Sedona Method. And I’ve done my best ever since to just feel, but looking back, I’ve been WAY into the story the whole time. Putting this into practice is a lot different than reading about it and understanding it intellectually. We have to be willing to be honest with ourselves when we’re wallowing. And when I say “the story” or “wallowing,” I’m talking about the commentary about why I’m feeling this way and how terrible or unfair it is. “I can’t believe this or that happened,” “This is unfair,” “Life sucks,” “I’ll never feel good again,” etc. When I have that chorus of thoughts accompanying the feeling, it can’t freely move.
What we want to do looks more like this: just go right to the body and feel the feeling, without even naming it. This is powerful, folks! “I feel energy in my chest or in my head, or even all over.” And then breathe right in the middle of it. Explore it and play with it. But you are literally not even using language to name it! There’s not a whole lot of thinking involved; that tends to get it stuck and to go back to a story. Just tell yourself, “This is energy moving through my system. And that’s okay. I’ll let it flow as it wants to. And I am being freed from some old pain now, and that feels AWESOME. Because when it’s gone, it’s permanently gone. I am being cleansed right now, that is a fact.” Wash, rinse, repeat. And as we do this each time it arises, we clear out all of this old stuff. Of course, that leaves the new stuff that I create, but since I’m learning to live in my wisdom/common sense and not in the chatterbox, I’m flowing through life WAY more smoothly and peacefully than before. So we are good on that front.
Awesome stuff, folks. Let me say that I’m learning all of this in real time and sharing it with you. So I’m practicing right along with you. This is big, big, big, though. Really big. An integral part of our awakening. So check it out, play with it, and just do your best. Keep the pressure down, though, because this should really be taught in middle school. So we are learning it now. Later, we’ll talk about how some of these old energies are superimposed onto present situations, and the feeling we get is really amplified. It’s cool when you notice this and can bust it, letting the present situation just be what it is, without throwing pain from decades ago on top of it. Awesome. So happy practicing and exploring folks! And as always, let me know if I can help.