Apr 29 Recording – The Untethered Soul – an Introduction
In his NY Times bestselling book The Untethered Soul, Michael (Mickey) Singer presents a compelling explanation of why, instead of joy, we feel fear, we feel unease, we don’t feel okay. The reason is we cling to what is pleasant and avoid what is unpleasant. Every time we do that, we create internal blockages. We create so many that we are repeatedly triggered and bothered.
Mickey’s teachings have had a huge impact on me. I’m not as easily bothered and notice more joy, enthusiasm, and energy. I’ve wanted to share his teachings with others and finally feel I’ve practiced enough to offer a course.
On April 29, I taught an introduction to The Untethered Soul. In Part 1 (video below), I introduced myself and folks shared why they were there. Next time I’ll mute everyone and record speaker view!
20 minutes into Part 1, I lead a meditation on the body breathing, with a particular emphasis on noticing resistance, opening to the experience, and becoming aware that you are the one who notices.
At 38 minutes, I give a presentation on the teachings. Halfway through, my internet went down!
Between Part 1 and Part 2, there’s a missing bit covering how we create blockages (samskaras), so here’s an explanation of that. You can also reference the full presentation, downloadable below.
While the nature of mind is “satchitananda” (eternal conscious bliss), this gets covered up or blocked by our samskaras.
Blockages are caused by wanting things to be different, which causes you to resist present-moment experience. Our reptile brain, which is very powerful, commands us to avoid pain and seek pleasure. So when an experience is unpleasant, we try to avoid it or push it away. In so doing, we don’t allow it to pass through us. Instead, it gets stored inside in the form of a negative blockage.
In the same way, when we experience something noticeably pleasant, we try and hold onto it. Again, we don’t allow it to pass through us, so it gets stored in the form of a positive blockage.
The problem with storing our negative experiences is obvious. It’s like we’ve got a pile of stinking garbage inside us! Whenever something reminds us of that experience, the samskara gets touched, and we experience the original pain and discomfort. We store so many negative experiences that we’re constantly triggered, in both strong and subtle ways. As a result, we tend to feel a sense of fear or discomfort, which causes the “voice in your head”, that stream of automatic thoughts that is always trying to find a more comfortable place.
Holding onto positive experiences causes us to want to re-live them. This creates a sense of lack and grasping. Instead of being open to new experiences, we want things to be exactly as they were. We narrow the range of things that we like. But when our positive samskaras get hit just right, the energy can flow and we feel happy. For a brief time.
The effect of all these blockages is that they are always getting hit. We like when our positive ones are hit and dislike when the negative ones are. Because it’s things outside us that trigger the blockages, we think our happiness and unhappiness are caused by our outer world.
But we all have a unique set of blockages, so those same events in our outer world interact very differently with others. We like sun, but the farmer likes rain. Many people may like the name Ben, but it triggers a negative association in us, since that’s the name of our ex-husband or a mean old uncle who treated us poorly.
The primary cause of our happiness or unhappiness is our blockages. But since we think it’s the outside world, we develop likes, dislikes, preferences, and ideas of how things should be. We live our life based on our blockages, and are constantly seeking things that touch our positive ones and avoid things that touch our negative ones.
The other thing samskaras do is block the natural flow of energy inside you (called chi, shakti, etc.). Instead of feeling joy, love and enthusiasm, our blockages leave us feeling neurotic, anxious and even depressed.
The way out is to release our blockages! In part 2 of the Intro Session, I explain how to do this, followed by Q&A.
In the 6-week course, we will go much deeper. It starts May 13. For more information, see the course page.
Here’s the PowerPoint presentation: