Untethering My Soul

I am absolutely positively obsessed with the book The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. I've listened to it twice and decided that I want to also read the hard copy. Being basically the slowest reader in the history of mankind, that's a pretty huge thing for me. But that's how huge this book is my friends!

I'm gonna break this book down to probably TOO simplistic of an analogy but this is how I view it...

When we are born, our consciousness starts out all clean and fresh. Let's view this consciousness as a filter of sorts. A filter through which we send every experience, every thought, every image...everything! Most things pass seamlessly through this filter without a hitch. I view these things as "neutral". They don't really affect us or cause any emotional response. However, not all thoughts/images/experiences are neutral and some get stuck in our filter. I've come to think of them as "dirty". Here's an example of the difference, and a version of an example used in the book:

Neutral: Driving down the road, you see a blue car at a stop light. The guy inside kinda looks like your boyfriend. You notice it but then the light turns green and you drive away, notice a cool looking tree, and forget all about the guy who kinda looked like your boyfriend.

Dirty: Driving down the road, you see a blue car at a stop light. The guy inside IS your boyfriend and he's kissing another girl. BAM! Everything else around goes blurry. You have an emotional AND physical reaction to it. You can't think of anything else, possibly for days/weeks/months. Years later you are driving down the road and pull up beside a blue car at a stop light and see two people kissing inside. Maybe the car isn't even blue or maybe the people aren't kissing. But it's still enough to trigger that memory that is STILL stuck in your filter and you once again have an emotional and very possibly even a physical response to it. 

Over a lifetime, our filters get dirty. This causes a couple different things to happen. First, these negative experiences actually become part of the filter and shape the way we perceive the world. In the example above, they turn something neutral (like blue cars) into triggers that can affect all our future relationships. Second, the dirtier our filters get, the harder it is to send new experiences through them.

This is absolutely profound for me. For the past few years I've felt like I'm almost numb to happy experiences. Not that I can't experience them but they haven't had the same bright, happy zest they used to have. I've almost dismissed this as part of getting older and having almost a "been there, done that," attitude about it all, thinking "of course I'm not going to be as carefree and happy as I was when I was younger, I'm wiser and more experienced." However, now I'm starting to view it much differently! And this concept just feels true to me. It truly feels like everything I'm experiencing is being sent through a dirty, clogged filter.

In addition to this, I most definitely have experiences that have become part of my filter. I have a perfect example of this from my own life:

A few years ago a guy I was dating started a class at a local college. We had been dating for about a month at the time and he was very interested in me. After his first day of class he suddenly became very different toward me and extremely slow to respond to texts. I found out over time that he had met someone else in that class. All these years later I'm still a little unsure of the exact details of what transpired but to simplify things, he basically cheated on me with her.

A few years later I was dating a guy who went to a cookout at a friend's house. I actually encouraged him to do this and this was something new for him and very much out of his comfort zone as he was "relationship guy" who always preferred to do things with me instead of making friends and growing his world. He was very slow to respond to my texts that day and I had the thought (I'm sure because of my past experience) of "what if he's met someone?" However, I was able to recognize this as based on a fear from my previous experience and dismissed it....Less than one week later he broke up with me for the girl he met at that cookout.

What once would have been a totally neutral experience (a guy I'm seeing having a new experience) has turned into quite the dirty experience. In addition to my concern over anyone I'm seeing going anywhere new, I am also highly sensitive to even the slightest perceived shift in his level attention toward me. Where most people would base their belief in a person's interest on all their experiences with that person leading up to that day, I know it's possible for a man to appear to love you one day and then be pulled in another direction by someone else the next.

So, now, I have to fight the urge to believe that any new experience in a significant other's life will result in cheating and abandonment.

Luckily, this book made me perceive all these feelings as a perfect opportunity to clean my filter a little. At one time, had a new man in my life displayed any slight shift in his attention to me, I would have felt anxiety and then tried to "silver lining" the experience. I would have probably made a list of all the reasons it would be a good thing if he decided not to date me anymore. I've since learned that this is the psyche's way of trying to resist the fear and emotions and instead we build "walls of thought" around these feelings to "protect" us. Problem is, these walls are built inside of us. That means we are sealing these negative feelings and experiences inside of us!

So, instead, I open my heart. This is such a new age, vague concept, I know. Basically I allow myself to truly feel my anxiety. I don't try to justify why it would be okay if it happened. I don't pretend like it wouldn't hurt my feelings. I also don't resort to my "get him before he gets me" attitude that I seemed to have adopted since my last painful breakup. I just feel it. And then I envision my heart as opening up and allowing the pain to move out of me and the light to move into me. Not just the pain of this thought because it isn't really even painful, just uncomfortable. But, rather, the pain of the other experiences. It hurts to really think about them. My subconscious attempts to recoil but I work through it. And I feel it move out of me. 

I'm cleaning my filter one painful memory at a time. Rejection is a big fear of mine so I've fought it pretty hard for a long time. Because of that, I've taught my psyche that this is my "job". I've given my mind the impossible job of attempting to avoid ever feeling rejection. And, in the process, I've built a wall around myself and numbed myself from so many amazing experiences. 

Slowly, as I clean my filter, it feels like I really am starting to feel things on a more heightened level. That unfortunately includes sadness and discomfort but, on the flip side, the world is looking more vibrant again. Happiness has a sharper, more beautiful edge to it. And I'm just getting started....