Alan Gassman, a prominent Florida attorney, took my capstone program Creativity and Personal Mastery a few years ago. Shortly thereafter he invited me to Tampa to meet some of his clients. He gave me a bunch of books that had an impact on him and among them was an inconspicuous paperback with a light blue cover. It was called ‘The Untethered Soul’ and was by someone called Michael Singer.
I gave many talks during that visit and an affable gentleman, who had asked some really good questions, came up to me afterward and asked me if I had read a book called ‘The Untethered Soul’. I assured him that I had not.
I came back to New York and discovered that I had two copies of ‘The Untethered Soul’ on my bookshelves. I buy lots of books and my wife is convinced that Amazon’s share price run-up is entirely due to my activity. Somehow, somewhere, something had made enough of an impression on me that I actually ordered the book. Twice.
I can recognize when the Universe is nudging me.
I read the book. It instantly made it to the ‘life-changing books’ section of my syllabus. I have since recommended it to many. Andre Vogtlin, an executive recruiter based in Basel who is also an alumnus of my program, called it ‘spiritual TNT’. I concur.
‘The Untethered Soul’ is not a book to read. It is something that you have to let seep into you so that it permeates your entire being. When and if you do, a transformation will occur that cannot be described. It can only be experienced.
Two weeks ago I got on a plane to Gainesville, Florida. I just had to meet Michael Singer. Mickey, as he prefers to be called, had graciously agreed to a private meeting. Afterward he took me in his car to show me around the Temple property and we talked about many things and he acquiesced to remaining in touch.
He has a way of driving home the ridiculous predicaments we are all stuck in and the ridiculously easy way to get ourselves unstuck.
The paradox is that it is both supremely easy and exceptionally difficult at the same time.
Here is one of the game changers he threw out in his talk at the temple on the Sunday I visited.
You are driving and stopped at a red light when your smart phone vibrates. You take a quick glance at it and your brain registers that it is a message you have to respond to. Even as you do this there is beep from the car behind you. The light has changed.
You shake your head and move on. “Geez,” you think. “What’s with that guy? Where the hell does he think he’s going and who the hell does he think he is? People are so impatient these days.”
When he pulls up beside you at the next light you glare at him. He studiously avoids looking at you.
That beep bothered you. It threw you off your stride. It colored your day and made it a little worse.
It’s just a trivial beep. If you let that upset you, what will happen when you have to deal with your ex-husband or your contentious son or your irritated boss?
No wonder we are all stressed out and desperately seeking to meditate or be mindful or practice Yoga as a way to hold it all together.
There is an astonishingly simple way out. There is a brief moment, when you hear the beep when you can decide “Am I going to let this disturb me?”
You can decide that you will not let it disturb you and relax into the entity that hears the beep and watches you decide to let it go.
You can also decide not to let your irritated boss or your contentious son or daughter or your ex-partner disturb you.
This does not mean that you don’t do what you have to. It does mean that you do it from the knowledge that you are doing what you can in the best way that you can and you are at peace with the outcome, whatever it may be. It does not disturb your equanimity because you have decided that it will not.
It really is that simple.
It is ridiculously easy.
It is unbelievably hard.
There is one thing you can do, starting right away, that will help you practice letting go. I will tell you what it is in my next post.