I always thought that spirituality is self-development. I associate it with our psychological growth. It is just being in harmony with yourself, exploring your thoughts and empowering them, delving deep into what you want and not being led by the so-called Gurus. It only comes with understanding people and the world. It is being kind, tolerant and forgiving, which may lead you to inner peace.
Till I came across this book, which confounded me with a lot of questions though it claims that “‘The Untethered Soul‘ offers simple yet profound answers to these questions: What would it be like to free yourself from limitations and soar beyond your boundaries? What can you do each day to discover inner peace and serenity?”
This thought-provoking book speaks the language of the usual yogis or so called “Religious Gurus” and inspires you to live in harmony, avoid extremes, contemplate death to learn from it; it takes you round and round, offers no solution but repeats three messages time and again, which are:
Leave your comfort zone.
Break the boundaries you’ve set for yourself and look beyond.
I am sure we’ve heard these messages a thousand times yet we don’t “Let go.” Why? Because we all know how challenging it is to let go of our worries, stressful moments, emotional hurts, failures, haunting memories, betrayals etc.
Singer takes very basic examples of letting go and doesn’t mention the real issues like – How can a successful person who has been laid off not get stressed?
What about the parents who have lost their young child in gun violence? Will they ever be able to let go? It might take a struggle of lifetime for them to see light within them.
What about a woman who has to live with an abusive husband and her cultural compulsions don’t let her move an inch without his permission? How can she break the boundaries?
Healing takes a long time. Spirituality is a long, meandering process but there is no such warning in this book. It makes it sound as easy as accomplishing a simple task of making a cup of tea.
Give this book in the hands of a 20 year old and he would scoff at the possibility of letting go. He is eager to experience life, absorb the impressions and take all the risks.
Give it in the hands of a 30 year old and he would shove it in one of the book shelves, as he has no time for “untethering his soul.” He would like to explore all the possibilities of reaching the zenith. He doesn’t believe in boundaries.
Give it in the hands of a 40 year old and he would say – ‘easier said than done’ because by now life has taught him many lessons. He has found his comfort zone. He also knows from his experiences that it is only when we struggle with ourselves, only when we try to make peace with an unfortunate event, only when we use all the available energy that we can remove the weight, that blocks our heart and mind. Untethering the soul is a far cry.
Then Singer talks about unconditional happiness. The most shocking part is and I quote: “Do you want to be happy from this point forward for the rest of your life, regardless of what happens? Now if you say yes, it might happen that your wife leaves you, or your husband dies, or the stock market crashes or or your car breaks down on an open highway at night.” Then he says- just “let the events come and go.” “Don’t allow events to leave impressions inside of you.”
Really? Can you control the impressions that harrowing events leave on your heart and mind? Another shocking quote, “No matter what happens, you choose to enjoy the experience, if they starve you and put you in solitary confinement, just have fun.”
Though I didn’t dislike the book but it didn’t offer anything new. It is quite elementary.
I have given 3 stars to this book though it is said to be the bestseller.
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33 thoughts on “#Spirituality #BookReview”
Balroop, your review is excellent and makes me listen carefully. I do get take. In by the book cover and the stones. However, I am with you on the feeling of how we react to pain – be it
Physical or emotional. It seems to me that we can go through pain and sorrow and come
out calm on the other side. Each event as its own lesson .
We can still be spiritual but not neutral.
Thank you for understanding the core of my reflections Miriam. Pain can only be mitigated by letting it pass through our veins. Pretense doesn’t help.😊
Dear Balroop, each book has a bit of truth and is giving us the chance to reflect on our life and the way we live it.
But sometimes it’s a bit too much or we learn nothing new. Or maybe as you say, it’s depending on how old we are and what life was made of for us.
Thank you for your review and wishing you a nice day!
So true! Our reflections play a significant role in molding us at various stages of life. Thank you Miriam for such a thoughtful comment. Wishing you too a wonderful day.
Good review, Balroop. I appreciate your analysis. His three takeaways are good, maybe obvious, but it’s always nice to have the reminder.
Yes, reminders do help. Thanks for sharing your thought Jacqui.
Very interesting approach from the author. Too simplified for my taste, though. I am still trying to let go of past betrayals. To be fair, they are unresolved (legally) so it makes it hard to just ‘move on’ when I’m still ‘in it’. My way of dealing with the roller coaster of life is to stay tethered to my gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for everyday. It isn’t exactly the same as moving on but it works for me. Thanks for sharing you honest review, Balroop. It’s important to share our opinions that may differ from the crowd.
Exactly Lisa, I found his approach too simplified. Whether a problem is solved or not, it does leave a mark on our hearts, it gets stored in our memory bank, it resurfaces to remind and avoid the pitfalls. Then I think, it’s his perspective! 😊 and I dismiss it!
That’s a very insightful review, Balroop. I have my own approach to joy and happiness in the face of adversity. I don’t think there is every an easy answer. I really appreciate how detailed your review is!
I agree with you Mae, we have our own parameters of processing emotions. This book emphasizes letting go, without absorbing any impressions of an event and I found this expectation so illogical! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Balroop, thank you for your thoughtful and in-depth review of a book that seems to want to shock to get its message out there! You’re spot on with the reaction of the various age groups to such a book and a great way to highlight the different areas of a book. The three messages of the book are ones to aspire to and hopefully one can achieve these a lot of the time but events happen when I would find this impossible. But how can one not expect to leave an impression on one – isn’t that life?! I’m astonished that anyone would write ‘ if they starve you and put you in solitary confinement, just have fun.’ What??? A great post and book share, Balroop!
Thank you for coming over to read my reflections about this book Annika. I am glad that you agree with me about how events are bound to leave impressions, which have to be processed. Yes, that is life!
I follow God and look to Jesus in the face of adversity. Yes, this can be difficult at times depending on circumstances. I have been through a lot in my life, and I am in a battle with trying not to worry. I am learning to Trust in God and lean on Him more. This has been easier as time goes by. And every time something comes up that causes worry, I remind myself to trust Him. Then I worry, then every thing gets resolved, then I laugh at myself for worrying when I shouldn’t have. I love God and every thing He is. He is with us and helps us through the bad times. However, we still go through the emotions created by that which we go through. That is ok. It is a battle that is not as easy as just choosing to be happy and you will be.
I liked your review.
I am glad your trust comforts you L.M. Life is all about learning and this curve is topsy turvy. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Actually, my comfort comes from God. We trust in Him and He gives comfort. I think they both go together.
HI Balroop, I agree with you that this book seems to make light of human suffering and pain. It is not simple to let go of some things, they etch pictures into your soul, mind, and heart. I have watched my sons undergo general anesthetics 40 times between them, seen my mother suffer through the treatments for breast cancer, assisted my father recover from 3 serious illnesses that have nearly taken him from us, and most recently, sat by my husband’s side as he fought encephalitis and a resultant blood clot and abscess on the brain. People are always telling me I am so strong and I cope so well, but these traumas do lurk in my subconscious and sometimes they emerge as nightmares. We recover from these things and even the pain of loss through death, but it takes time, patience and willful resolve. Thank you for your review and provoking me into such a fruitful reflection on life.
I know Robbie, the suffering you undergo when your dear ones are in pain leaves a deep impact and I can understand why you feel so strongly about “letting go.” I believe letting go is a process that passes through various stages and even after we have emerged from that process, we may be wiser but impressions do get embedded in our heart. Thank you for sharing your personal example to convey your perspective.
Your comment here is exactly right, Balroop. Hugs.
Great review and insight, Balroop. You ask the questions that are out of our control. Sometimes we aren’t meant to be happy but to learn.
You are right Denise… learning is an essential part of all experiences.
What an interesting and thought-provoking review, Balroop. I totally get where you’re coming from. The author’s three principles have a lot of merit, but as you point out, they’re dependent on context. Yes, we shouldn’t obsess over a misspelled word or a dry casserole – much better to let those silly things go, but bigger issues… that’s another story. I loved what you said to Miriam – “Pain can only be mitigated by letting it pass through our veins.” There’s such wisdom in that. I think we need to acknowledge our pain, understand it, process it, accept it, and forgive it before we can “let it go.” Otherwise, we may just be stuffing it, which is rarely helpful. ❤ ❤
Thanks for understanding my point Diana. Context is definitely what I am thinking about. When you take an example of being dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend, it is easier to say let go though I am sure, at that stage of life, it may seem the world is ending. Real issues that I have mentioned in my questions are not easy to deal with. They will leave impressions, they will stay with us, however hard we try. Despite that we can move toward spiritual path.
I thought this book was interesting and I’m glad I read it.
What a great, comprehensive review, Balroop, and I agree with your insight. Letting go is difficult to do, but the process varies; it’s not straightforward for all situations in life. Yes, we can control our emotions and choose how we react, but emotions play a big part. And to simply suggest to have fun in the midst of a tragedy or horrific circumstance sounds a little thoughtless and insensitive. Good, thought-provoking post.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts Lauren. How we choose to react depends on our personality but some circumstances elicit similar responses, as human emotions don’t vary much.
A great review and I too have read the book, Balroop. I found the book very inspiring but everyone has got their ways how they face life when something goes wrong with their family members so we all have to think what is right at that time though keeping prayers going and having faith in God works wonders for how we are coping with any situation.
I am glad you found it inspiring Kamal, it is but only at places. Probably you ignored the shocking statements and picked up only the inspiring ones.
The book perse was not bad but as i said each has their ways of handling experiences and sadness or happiness in life. He did not go in that aspect of life.
What an excellent review Balroop.. I think we all of us react and act differently regarding the methods of learning to let go, or not to let go at all.. For many people hang on to their pain, grief, bitterness etc… And its a hard one to define or make it fit every circumstance, for we are all individually unique and each of our stories do not fit into any perfect answers to heal..
Understanding no all are ready to let go too, for what ever reason…. We each have our own levels of learning and growing which go hand in hand with our experiences..
So your review Balroop I thought very good… Thank you for sharing ❤
Much love Sue x
Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts Sue. You understand life and people so well. Yes, learning and growing march together and we all have to walk through the same path of healing.
Balroop, I am a big self help, personal development, mental health books reader. Not only do I read those subjects but am constantly learning and studying all the new that is in my field, so that I can help my clients(and myself) better.
THIS book and many books in the self help category are too simplistic in their approach towards healing. Practicing for more that 20 years now, I can say without a doubt, each soul is different and no one size fits all. The problem with the self help gurus of today is, they just say stuff, without the HOW. That is limited help, and unfortunately many books today in this category are like that.
Over time I have gravitated towards reading only books that have credible writers who are Doctors or who I can learn MORE from. The same regurgetated BS is just sucha put off for me now.
That being said, these books can get someone atleast thinking in the right direction, but the work that goes into really healing still needs to be done.
Thank you for your thoughts on this topic. Spot on! ❤
Thank you so much Zeenat for coming over to read and share your expertise. You are right, each soul is different and all can’t be shepherded with the same yardstick. the problem with this book is that it tries to negate the impressions and the hurts. Letting go without healing is like beating the air. 🤗