This past Sunday, I visited a Quaker Friends meeting for an ethnographic project. The entire hour of silence in the presence of a small community was regulated by nothing but my thoughts. I began thinking of my past few weeks and Jesus drew my thoughts to the word “release.”
I desired to release this idea that I have to be a perfect Christian. I wanted to release my self-deprecating thoughts for God to dissolve them. I needed to release all of the bad decisions I made that were not in line with God’s will for me. Ultimately, I realized that I had to release control of my circumstances to God’s hands.
This “release” is the foundation of the blog's next book, The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer.
I first picked up this book two months ago after one of my mentors suggested I read it. I was in a place where I allowed myself to drown in the quicksand of busyness and neglected self-reflection until I was forced to face it within the confines of the two covers. The predicament I now faced in the silent Quaker meeting was summed up in the first few pages: “You already know how to find yourself; you have just gotten distracted and disoriented…. You have the ability to free yourself” (4).
The path to freedom
Recognition of the shackles that bind us to a hollow life prompts the acceptance of wisdom in The Untethered Soul. The first step in the path to freeing ourselves from this restrain is releasing the obligation to control what is going on outside of us. We cannot control anything accept our internal response to external situations. Singer refers to the judging voice inside our head as the inner roommate. The solution to living in harmony with this inner roommate is to recognize that we are not it, we are the awareness of its voice. This awareness is the experiential consciousness.
As Catholics, we can understand consciousness as apart of our lives on earth. The consciousness is not the soul, but the soul can be understood as an enhancement to the consciousness of our minds. The mind and consciousness are the natural states of life and the soul is the higher, spiritual nature of who we are.
Growth in acceptance
Growth occurs when you stop resisting and start being. Once you grow, you transform, and this “real transformation begins when you embrace your problems as agents for growth” (128). Singer advises us to not reject the problems that cause us discomfort. We must embrace the chances to cultivate our truest self. Only we can control our reaction: “Things are going to happen. The real question is whether [we] want to be happy regardless of what happens. The purpose of [our] life is to enjoy and learn from [our] experiences” (229).
As Catholics, we can see this in our relationship with our bodies and souls. In comparison to this idea, do not reject the earthly hardships because you wish for heaven. Instead embrace it because it gives you the opportunity to purify your soul for Christ.
Untether your yoga practice
Yoga is one of the many paths to quiet that little voice inside our head, the inner roommate. “Yoga is about the knowledge that will help [us] out of [our] predicament, the knowledge that can free [us]” (32). Being present gives you the full benefits of a yoga practice because we are not preoccupied with aspects of our life we cannot control. When we are practicing yoga, we only need to practice yoga. We practice yoga by relaxing and occupying the space and time in that moment. Yoga is a chance to meet ourselves again and reconcile our emotions.
Think of it this way, “every single time you relax and release, a piece of the pain leaves forever. Yet every time you resist and close, you are building up the pain inside” (170). Yoga is our release, this is why everyone feels amazing after just a one hour class! We can release our pain, negativity, and anxiety on the mat.
What is that you need to release today? Have you given yourself the chance to face the silence? Challenge yourself to find quiet time to relax and release. You owe it to yourself to untether your soul.
Peace and Namaste,