Friday, July 3, 2020

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, Book Review

“You are a great being who has been given a tremendous opportunity to explore beyond yourself. The whole process is very exciting, and you will have good times and bad times. All sorts of things will happen. That’s the fun of the journey.”
I chose the quote above to be the base of my report because it stood out to me while reading this book. This journey we call life is an opportunity that everyone has the chance of experiencing, but it’s truly the perspective we have on life itself that affects us day to day. Everything is a choice; at any moment you can choose to be filled with love and happiness or sadness and anger. I chose to review The Untethered Soul because this book helped to drastically broaden my perspective on life and it helped me take a baby step in aligning myself spiritually and mentally, especially during these bizarre times.

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it.” Simply put, you are not the thoughts/voice in your head. It is important to take a step back and observe this voice. Observe how quickly “it” can react to a situation and enhance emotions that drain your energy. 

Mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, arise from perceiving yourself as your thoughts and in an instant, you can be convinced you are your emotion. Yet, once you free yourself from this voice in your head, all stress and problems are released. 

A huge takeaway from Chaya’s yoga teacher training program is how it has taught me the importance, role and value of emotions. Emotions arise from pre-conditioned patterns from birth or developed over the years. When one appears, it shows an opportunity to embrace, feel, and release the emotion from your attention and it’s hold in the body and mind. These emotions can arise at any moment in life. You could be driving your car, journaling, practicing yoga, or even simply breathing and all of a sudden, the feeling appears. Cry, laugh, yell, dance. Let the emotion speak to you and naturally release it.

The year 2020 has been filled with an array of situations that have changed the perspective of “normal.” With a global virus pandemic and civil unrest and a revolution is occurring, and the universe itself is shifting. It has been a time to realign and truly reflect with oneself and the world. 

Change is hard and uncomfortable. It brings up anxiety and a cluster of emotions that have been waiting to be released. “The alternative is to decide not to fight with life. You realize and accept that life is not under your control. Life is continuously changing, and if you’re trying to control it, you’ll never be able to fully live it. Instead of living life, you’ll be afraid of it.” The Untethered Soul emphasizes that change is a part of life and denying it only makes life more difficult. Instead of dreading on the fact that everything around us will never be normal again, it is a time for inner growth. Change is where growth flourishes.

A powerful lesson I acknowledged from The Untethered Soul was accepting death. To this point in my life, I gratefully haven’t had to experience death of a close friend or family memeber. By all means death is inevitable and I know I will face it in the future. As stated in the book, “Learn to live as though you are facing death at all times, and you’ll become bolder and more open.” Realizing death is real helps individuals understand you truly only have the present moment, so live fully now. It is a time to reflect on what gives meaning to our lives and what we want to achieve with our experience here on Earth.

Do I want to live in a state of bliss and happiness? Do I constantly want to believe the thoughts in my mind that lead to stress and unhappiness? Everything is a choice; we as humans have the beautiful opportunity of choice. As Michael Singer stated in his book, “As you let go and willingly release the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of your being, Spirit becomes your state.” Releasing these from your mind and body ultimately leads to a state of bliss, nirvana, or enlightenment. 

There was a constant correlation between the insights I have gained from Chaya’s yoga teacher training and The Untethered Soul that truly enhanced my yoga practice, allowing me to dive deeper into understanding and working constructively with my emotions. Appreciating, loving, and accepting them as separate from myself. I choose happiness.

Reviewed by Alexis Hall
ChayaVeda Intern and Yoga Teacher Training Student