Michael Singer: Being Happy and the Untethered Soul

Why offer a review of Michael Singer, a spiritual teacher who’s focus is happiness and said that meditation in pursuit of enlightenment is “silly.” Because it would be a mistake for me to focus on those two points alone. Michael Singer is a dedicated spiritual teacher who walks the walk. He’s lived what he teaches. He presents easy to understand recommendations on how to side-step the obstacles our mind throws in front of us. Not that it’s easy or quick to do, but his teaching are the first steps in seeing the truth of what we are at core. His sincerity and directness may inspire you in ways more esoteric teachings would not. That’s why I recommend taking a look.

The mind builds a model of how the world needs to be in order for me to feel better and then you go out there and try to make it happen. That is a losing battle.

Michael Singer
Michael Singer

What I need to do is clean up in here. My way is you deal with these simple little things of life as they come up.

Despite his book The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself being a #1 New York Times bestseller, I was unfamiliar with Michael Singer until a reader’s recommendation. My first exposure was a video interview with Tony Robbins. Though the mere mention of Tony Robbins is likely a turn-off for some of you (like my brother, for instance), I give Tony credit for being a life-long learner. He actually took Singer’s online video course and candidly speaks about what he learned.

Below are a few of my notes from Michael Singer talking in the video with Tony Robbins about the foundational work of his practice. As soon as I read The Untethered Soul, I’ll update this review with further impressions.

“The first thing [you need] is a certain amount of self-control, but that’s not the answer. The answer is every single moment, it’s not the big stuff you work with, that’s too late, it already bothered you… there’s little things that create little irritations… it rains when you have to get out and deliver something… are you willing to say what’s the cost-benefit analysis of bothering myself about that? …Learn to work with yourself. You can neutralize it by saying something nice. You can get a mantra going inside so you pay attention to something else. Or, my ultimate teaching, you can relax. You sit there and say ‘I can relax and breathe. It’s ok this is happening.’ What you’re doing is allowing the energy to release. The whole idea is you don’t engage with it. You sit behind it… By backing off and letting go in this simple situation… it matters. It matters that you’re complaining about the heat… You’re giving a channel for your stuff to come up…. Instead you relax and release.”

“Put your consciousness on the noise or put it on the mantra. It’s a choice.”

“It’s not so much getting what I want, it’s seeing some bottom-line stuff, why am I doing that? It doesn’t make sense… Look at that low hanging fruit, the ones your doing completely yourself and say can I learn to not do this? How you go about it is a very personal thing.”

“How can I be happy if I make myself unhappy?”

“You can use all these techniques, but ultimately when you’re really getting there you just relax. Keep your hands off.”

“You have the right to relax rather than resist.”

“I don’t have to do this [resist experience]. What I have to do is be open, ready, in the zone, and participate in what is unfolding in front of me. My experience is if I do that it’s higher than me deciding what it all should be.”

“You have to build your muscle. You do it with the fact that someone beeped at you [while driving].”

“You have to be conscious, be committed, lean away from the noise.”

“When you let go of this lower stuff, you’ll start noticing love starts to come up.”

“Become established in the seat of self.”


You’re not the hurting heart, you’re the one who’s experiencing the hurting heart.

Michael Singer


“Surrender means the willingness to surrender that part of your being [that doesn’t want to surrender] so that something higher can happen. That’s ego, pure ego.”

“Who is this I? Who is the awareness of being?”

“You project your consciousness into the object of consciousness.” [Compare this to Franklin Merrell-Wolff‘s “consciousness without an object”]
“The consciousness gets absorbed in the ‘I’ channel. [like watching a TV channel]”

“The you in there is beyond your comprehension.”
“Love does not come from the heart. It comes from there [gesturing above his head] down through the heart because the mind lets it.”
“That which is watching is spirit.”

Perhaps some of the negative self-talk that weighed down my spiritual search could have been diffused if I’d had Michael Singer’s teachings as a guide. I might have had more mental space for the direct self-inquiry that seeks the source of awareness itself. I’m in favor of whatever helps clear the mental screen for direct looking (reversing the vector of attention). Michael Singer’s work will help clear that screen.

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