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Living Untethered: Review and coaching application


The book “Living Untethered: Beyond the Human Predicament” by Michael A. Singer is a must-read for everyone interested in raising their level of consciousness and removing their Samskaras (mental formations).

As you take the spiritual journey you become more mindful. You begin to identify more with the subject – the self within – and less with the objective external trappings.

Early in your journey, there is no distinction between your seat of awareness and your body and mind. They have become the subject with no space between them. With mindfulness, you create a space between. Your body and mind become the object and you become aware of how they distract you. However, the first experience of your inner self is not as it can be. It has been left unattended – and has become derelict with weeds. You still do not feel ok and will compensate with outside experience.

The universe of moments has nothing to do with you. It is completely impersonal and just is. This means that there is no need to get personally upset. We have expectations regarding our level of significance towards all that happens around us which are untrue. Each experience you have is as nature intended whether the sun shines or rain falls. You are trying to pit yourself against nature.

How Suppression Occurs

Your inside experience comprises thoughts, emotions, and the outside world. You have become focused on these rather than the light of your seat of awareness. The mind can create thoughts and your body’s senses allow feedback from the outside world. Outside experiences are sometimes bad and sometimes good. We think we can control having less bad and more good.

This leads to resisting negative experiences and clinging to the positive. Neither is allowed to flow through. One is not allowed in and the other is not allowed out. This prevents fully following each new moment. These clinging and resisting impressions are stored in the mind. (In Buddhism they are known as Samskaras). Emotional triggers occur when these samskaras are activated. These stored impressions come from our unique experiences. When life gives us what we want from these stored impressions we feel good. When it doesn’t we feel bad. The cause of suffering is the desires created by these impressions. We use our mental resources and free will to maintain what we want. In doing so, we miss out on the opportunity to be awed by the existence of the moment.

The things that we repress get pushed into our unconsciousness. They are suppressed until they build up enough that they have to be expressed for relief. This expression often leads to further suffering. Suppression blocks our inner energy and unchanneled expression wastes its power. But we have another choice and that is transmutation through letting go.

Surrender, Acceptance and Non-Resistance

Surrender, acceptance, and non-resistance to reality is the spiritual path. Mindfulness is about allowing the awareness of each moment as it is without needed adjustment. When consciousness merges with the object of consciousness it begins a breathtaking new experience of the nature of self – total peace, contentment, and bliss.

Your spiritual journey is supported by the mindfulness meditation that works best for you. This could be watching the mind, using a mantra, watching or counting the breath, or counting with a mala. Instead of using your will to try and maintain what you want, use it to let go.

The heart closes or opens when these unprocessed impressions (Samskaras) are activated. It opens with positive impressions and closes with negative ones. Getting rid of accumulated samskaras is the path to unconditional love. Dreams are one way these impressions (Samskaras) can be released that occurs automatically.

You can intentionally engage with Samskaras by watching the voice inside the head. If you resist a thought you can:
1) positively reframe it or see the gift in it to bring it into a state of allowance
2) use a mantra to eclipse the thought or
3) switch to witness consciousness where you relax and release.
With each practice, you are just the one who notices the thought without being bothered by it.

The heart is like a symphony of high and low notes with you bearing witness to the music of life. Similar to meditative practice with thoughts, you need to allow the emotions to flow through whether good or bad. The heart will do the work of purification automatically if you just relax behind it.


The emotions and thoughts that spring up are non-personal. So if you want to intentionally do something about the thought or feeling, just relax. You are not the disturbance.

As you expand and grow spiritually, your range of comfort with the outside world will grow allowing you to handle more of the moments passing before you. You will be witness to the things you can’t control without being bothered by them, e.g. weather, traffic, or economic climate. In parallel, you can handle more of the range of the emotions of your heart.

Eventually, your mind is free to think and your heart free to feel. These experiences have no memory as everyone’s mindset and emotional set just is. When each experience passes through fully, you naturally know how to deal with similarly occurring circumstances.

Blocked energy will rise with the pain that it was stored as. The process of transmutation is to relax and allow it to pass. This cleanses whatever was causing the blockage.

As blockages thin you can increasingly feel love as a natural force feeding you from inside. Relationships will naturally shift to being of service. The flow will come and go and eventually be sustained. You become open to the flow of source (Shakti) moving through you. Then you have the opportunity to follow it to its source.

Transmutation occurs by letting go of the lower self. This opens the flow of higher energy and then you surrender to this higher energy. This moves you from consciously observing the Shakti flow to being one with it.

Michael Singer eloquently describes how to engage in this process. This is a handbook for coaching yourself through it. You are not what you think or feel and can let thoughts and feelings arise and pass. Ultimately you choose what to focus on. If you want to turn into any particular thought and feeling as a means to an end you can. Otherwise, interact with them transiently allowing both objectively good and bad to come and go.

Image by Kanenori from Pixabay