Here we are! The first Curiosity Counseling Book Club discussion! This month we are discussing The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. Feel free to add any input, thoughts, and/or questions you have about the read. I’ll start off just to give the discussion some momentum.
I found Singer’s book a great reminder of how much power and control we give our thoughts.
“It’s the commotion the mind makes that really causes problems” (p. 10).
How true is this?! It is incredible how much suffering we create for ourselves with our thoughts. We believe our thoughts and regard them as truth, regardless of their foundation in reality. Common things we tell ourselves that create suffering are I am worthless, I am bad, nobody will love me, I am stupid, etc. I appreciate how Singer explains that our thoughts, or our inner roommate, despite what it is saying is all the same.
“No matter what the voice is saying, it’s all the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s saying nice things or mean things, worldly things or spiritual things. It doesn’t matter because it’s still just a voice talking inside your head. In fact, the only way to get your distance from this voice is to stop differentiating what it’s saying” (p. 9).
I found this interesting because you often hear about positive self-talk and how it’s a strategy in building self-esteem and decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety. It makes sense that saying nice things to ourselves, as opposed to mean things, would be better, but what I’ve noticed in my work as a therapist, and in my experience as a human, is that positive self-talk is just not enough. It can often be easier to believe the negative things we are saying about ourselves as opposed the the positive things, especially if we are experiencing depression. Depression LOVES negative self-talk thoughts and will latch on to them with all its strength. Then our positive self-talk thoughts have A LOT of work to do, which takes A LOT of energy. Singer explains later in the book that all thoughts and emotions require energy. So, if we are putting effort into thinking a certain way, we are using our inner energy to do so. And let’s face it, depression leave us feeling pretty low in the energy department, so positive self-talk may not be the way.
Rather, Singer suggests gaining distance from all these thoughts, positive and negative. That is where our real freedom lies. This is one of the main reasons why I integrate meditation into therapy with my clients (and into my life!). Meditation helps gain distance from that inner roommate who is alwaaaaays talking, telling us a whole lot of nonsense!