Walk down the seemingly endless rows of self-help books in your big-box bookstore and you will see every topic that befuddles humankind: Divorce, weight loss, living the life you want, abundance, de-cluttering, organizing, simplifying, spirituality and grief. You name it, someone has written a book about it designed to help you get over it and get on with it.
Many of us have read our share of self-help books. Most just sit and collect dust, but here is one that really can make a difference in almost every aspect of your life. Michael A. Singer’s The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself (New Harbinger Publications/Noetic Books, 2007) can make sense of all the metaphysical gobbledy goop you have read, and do it within the first few paragraphs.
If you have asked the question, “Who am I?” this book holds the answer. It is not what you do or whom you parent or married. Learning to look beyond your “shell” can open you to the possibilities your life presents. You can stop listening to the chatter of the mind and actually do what you were born to accomplish.
If you are addicted to food, drugs and/or sex (or anything else including self-help books), this book can, if you are willing to listen, help change that. If you are tortured by the need to control, you will find that you can set that down. If you feel like you are stuck, and do not know where to turn, you can learn how to turn inside, and hopefully find the answers you are searching for.
Yes, this was a pick for Oprah’s book club (helping it become a New York Times Bestseller), and yes, those who are deeply into yoga and studying the spiritual self may find it somewhat simplistic. However, sometimes simple is good. If you have ever been driven crazy by the ramblings of your mind enough to scream the words “Shut Up Already!” this book could be the start of something big.
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Considered by many to be the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud created a model of the human psyche (or self-concept) that includes the Id, the Ego, and the Super Ego. According to Freud, the Id is the instinctual self you were born with. The Ego works as a kind of “go between” between the Id and the Super Ego – the part of you that decides right and wrong and criticizes. The question is, are any of these parts of you your eternal soul? Do you even have an eternal soul? Listen and you may find out.
Start with being quiet
Have you ever truly listened to the noise inside your head? Take a minute and hear the conversation you are having with yourself. Is it helping you? Or is it simply chatter that stops you from living your life? What makes us build walls in our minds that force us to live in darkness? Plato asked that question in his “Allegory of the Cave,” written in 360 BC.
The Buddha believed people want to be happy and in order to do this, said we must live consciously. That means living in the moment, and understanding that while we are all confronted by problems and situations, there is nothing we can do to control them. If you want to learn to respond positively, stop “clinging” to the issues in your life. Learn to control your mind in a way that sees difficulty as a challenge or an opportunity, deal with it, and let it go.
Most religious traditions (both Eastern and Western) maintain when you learn about the deepest part of your Self, you become closer to God as you see God. Jesus said, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.” (John, 17:21).