The journey beyond yourself, by Michael Singer (a summary by Pat Evert)
Let’s take a journey of self. What is it like to be you? Let’s take an honest look. You will not only find yourself, but you will see how to free yourself.
Part 1 – Awakening consciousness
The voice inside your head – Step back in order to see this voice is not you. It even takes both sides of the conversation. It never shuts up. It’s nervous chatter, it is irrational and irrelevant. It poses as me. You are the observer of it, not the voice. There aren’t any problems in life, only the commotion the voice makes out of it. This inner world of thoughts are under my control, it buffers and forms my reality. Reality is just too real for most of us. We use our mind to protect us in our insecurity. I, the observer, will be the one to set me free.
The inner roommate – The ‘I’ inside will never be content. When you suspect a problem out there, ask what part of me is being disturbed by this? Asking what shall I do about this is to have fallen for the idea that there is a problem. The problem is inside, not outside. It is how I am viewing the situation, my own reaction. Be aware of what is going on in your mind. Your mind can ruin anything with its constant complaining. This inner voice can get away with telling you anything and you pay attention. It is one seriously disturbed person, emotionally overreactive. How many times has this voice been entirely wrong? And you don’t hold it accountable! Maybe you ought to stop listening to it. Up to now your life has not been your own, it has belonged to your inner roommate. Reclaim it.
Who am I? – I am not my label, not my history, not my physical body, not my dreams, not anything in the outside world. Who is consciously experiencing my life? Who feels my emotions? Who is using my mind to form judgments? Who is aware of my thoughts? I, the observer, has a certain quality of awareness. Consciousness is pure awareness. If your awareness is removed, you no longer exist. I am beyond form, thoughts and emotions.
The lucid self – Lucid dreaming is to be awake in your dream, not emersed in the dream. Consciousness has the ability to focus its awareness. In our multitasking our focus can go from one thing to another. When not centered we can get lost in thought. We do this when we watch a movie. We get lost in objective thought such that we lose touch with subjectivity, ourself. You think of yourself as just another object. Recenter yourself, refocus your consciousness. Contemplate your consciousness, this is meditation. Be aware of being aware, aware of who you are; awake, no longer in the dream. This world then becomes what you are watching. You’re not even a human being, you are watching one. Pull back and see the bigger picture.
Part 2 – Experiencing energy
Infinite energy – Everything that happens within you is an expenditure of energy. Thoughts and emotions are the result of energies from an inner source, an enormous shift of energy that doesn’t come from food. The only reason you don’t feel it is when you block it. You can close these energy centers (chakras) within, like when you close your heart. Chi, shanti, spirit is a wellspring of limitless energy. Openness is its only requirement. Are you willing to stay open? We tend to close because of past experiences (fear/protection). Learn to stay open to the love, joy and peace which are your birthright. Don’t let anything in life be important enough to close to. You’ll always have all the energy you want. You have complete control over this. So much will be overflowing out of you. Keep open, don’t close. Be ever inspired, love life – nothing is worth closing over.
The secrets of the spiritual heart – The heart can create vibrations beyond all musical instruments. But I am the experiencer of my heart. It can allow or restrict the flow of energy, it is a valve. Unfinished energy patterns are what make blockages. If one creates a disturbance you react and don’t allow it to pass through you. We are experiencing all the outside world. We are moved by an experience one after another, until one disturbs us. This impression or blockage doesn’t sit in there quietly. The mind takes these events and builds them into stories from your past. All these impressions of the past are stored in the heart. You may have forgotten such impression and suppressed it, but it is still there blocking your energy. These impressions are stored with details and vibrational memories. Past impressions get stimulated and effect our lives. Some impressions are positive and we try to cling to them, the negative we push away. Release these impressions when they come up. Open your heart, endure the pain and be free to experience the best of life. Leave your heart open, relax and release. Keep letting go.
Transcending the tendency to close – Survival is the most primary instinct we have. Psychologically we try to protect our identity. We close down our selves, protecting our ego. The disturbance we encounter is then over exaggerated by the mind. This only hides the problem, not resolving it. You stagnate in despair, you only become more closed. You can now look at all the impressions of your psyche, none of it is you. Don’t identify with it, you are free. Watch the part of you that tries to protect it and let it go. You no longer need to fear what others think. No need to defend yourself, let it go. Don’t get involved. When your thoughts and emotions begin to move inside, let them go, don’t go with them. ‘Isn’t that interesting!’ Don’t fight it or judge it, let it go. ‘That is not me.’ Thoughts and emotions grow in energy if you don’t let go. A moment of conscious effort will free you. You alone can free or enslave you. When you feel the pull, let go. What is more important? Being right or the freedom of joy. Remain centered.
Part 3 – Freeing yourself
Let go now or fall – How do we view change? It is the very nature of life. Fear is just another thing. Life becomes threatening. To resist these changes is a constant struggle. You have defined how things should be to be okay. Maybe it is okay the way life unfolds. Don’t try to protect yourself from problems. You are fighting with creation, life itself. You’ll never be able to live it. Life will push you to your edges, but this is to remove blockages in you (fear). Fear is one of the lowest vibrations, the root of disturbances. We then defend ourselves. Keeping my stuff is keeping me enslaved, life is trying to set me free. Let it go, allow the pain into your heart and let it go. When your stuff gets hit, let go right then. It will only get harder later. I am separate from my stuff. Let go immediately or you will attach to it. Watch or you’ll get lost in unconsciousness. Disturbances will attract your focused attention. When disturbed let go. Don’t do anything, no changes. Just let go. You don’t want to involve other egos. Release the blockage. Never look down, look up. Be the objective observer, don’t try to figure it out. Always let go.
Removing your inner thorn – The spiritual journey is one of continual transformation, embrace change. A thorn is a source of disturbance. The thorn runs your life. Protecting yourself from it is a bigger problem than the problem itself. Let’s say loneliness is your thorn. Removing these fears is the best solution. To be free to love. Stop playing with these thorns. Observe them, but don’t give them your attention. Notice who is noticing, the one who is feeling the loneliness. See yourself feeling these emotions. Experience this without getting involved. You don’t have to get rid of the emotion, just don’t get involved. Feel the disturbance without being disturbed.
Stealing freedom for your soul – We all carry the burden of suffering fear and pain, constant issues with our psyche. The pain of thinking about myself, because it is not okay inside. Your mind is constantly working to make everything okay, neurotic thoughts. Your mind’s advise is that of a disturbed mind, you cannot follow it. The root is I don’t feel whole within. Health is not having to worry about everything. You can do this, just stop worrying. Stop trying to control life. If it persists, don’t listen to it. Everything will be okay only when you cease trying to control it. Life knows what is best. Watch your mind, but don’t get involved with it. Relax and release, that is all. Throughout the day remind yourself you do not want to play the mind game.
Pain, the price of freedom – The pain of change is part of your growth. Avoiding the pain prohibits you from exploring the part of your being beyond what you know. Pain will run your life. You seek the approval of others which is another level of the same. Avoiding pain only brings more to you. What would it be like to be free from this pain? Don’t fear it, view it as a temporary shift of energy in your body. Learn to be at peace with inner disturbance, it is just a feeling. View it objectively, it cannot hurt you. Don’t pull back and close. Your mind will build a story and shape your future. Let it pass through you. See it only as energy. Keep relaxing and let it go. The pain will not go away if you resist, it will if you relax and release. You will feel the fire of yoga, the pain passing through you. Stay open. There is an ocean of love behind all the fear.
Part 4 – Going beyond
Taking down the walls – The longer you sit as a witness of consciousness you become aware there must be a way out to freedom. Can we become free from the personal self, beyond the confines of the mind? Imagine building a wonderful house in an enchanted meadow. But you become so attached to the house and it becomes a fortress or prison to you, you never go out any more. You no longer experience nature’s light. You even forgot of the natural radiant light outside. It was self luminous, omnipresent. Our consciousness is only aware of our life within the sealed walls we have created, ignorant of the greater part of life. This is our limiting beliefs. The walls are not protecting us from darkness and death, but keeping us from infinite light and life. Am I hiding inside, defending my creation? We went into the house for security, but now we won’t go out for fear.
Far, far beyond – Not staying where you are is to go beyond, past your perceived limits. We have built all our beliefs to fit our model of reality. Something shakes you and your model to the core, you ask what was the motive of my model? Just try stopping what you are doing and your motives will become obvious. Your comfort zone is finite, and freedom is limitless. A tiger in the cage is safe, but confined. Fear will motivate you to live for safety, rather than liberty. You will never know what is beyond your limits. Decorating your cage is not the same as going beyond. Spirituality is the commitment of going beyond for the rest of your life. Just interact with what this day brings you.
Letting go of false solidity – Few have the clarity of what is going on in our psyche, especially with all the change within and without. What am I trying to hold on to, clinging? There is an aspect of me that never changes, my Self. Consciousness is a dynamic field of awareness. But it can focus on an object of finite attachment, ego identity. We build a conceptual self. You lose yourself in this new concept of yourself. We then live our entire life based upon this image. This is not who you are, only a sense of security, acceptable/unacceptable beliefs and behaviors. Am I exchanging my model/image for a new one, instead of exploring who I am? Be comfortable with insecurity? Objective observation. Watch the fear without protecting yourself. See what experiences you hold onto, this is a false image of yourself that you have built. You are so much more. The events that happen belong to the moment, not to me. Notice it without being disturbed. This is spirituality. Instead of asking, ‘how do I fix this?,’ possibly ask, ‘who am I?’ Is ego disturbed? Instead of clinging, let go. Instead of fearful security explore a universe of freedom. You will never worry again.
Part 5 – Living life
The path of unconditional happiness – You only have one choice in life. Do you want to be happy? It really is under your control if you release your preferences. Any condition you create will limit your happiness. Unconditional happiness is available if you want it. Are you willing to break your vow of happiness for something that happened? Events don’t determine your happiness, you do! Any condition has to go. Enjoying life is the only rational choice. Every part of you that doesn’t want to be happy, let it go. When your heart is open energy flows, decide not to close. What good does it do to close and be miserable? God is joy. Don’t listen to your mind when it tells you this is worth closing. Your mind will be purified. Do you, or God, prefer being around people that are happy or unhappy? God is eternal constant bliss.
The spiritual path of nonresistance – To resist life will create tension and stress within. Your will does this. If something has already happened, what good is it to resist? Or to resist something that might happen? We don’t want it effecting us inside, so we stop it from passing through us. We can stop this energy transfer, but it is a tremendous waste of energy from then on. It will only lead to a breakdown if not released. The problem is my resistance. How do I choose to let some things pass through me and others no? What and why does it matter to me? Past impressions causes this. Use life to let go of past impressions and you must be very conscious to ignore this voice of ego. Accept all daily events as events, not personal past problems. Relationships become simple and easy, allow them to be as they are. Don’t resist reality, peace, joy and love will be the result.
Contemplating death – At any time I could breathe out and the breath might not come back in. This could be the last time I see this person. My last breath could come at any time. We are that close to death. If all these things can be changed in a moment maybe they are not that real after all. You need not fear life. Life is precious, death gives it value. Live life fully, don’t take it for granted.
The secret of the middle way – Balance, moderation is best, when the pendulum has come to rest in the center. No forces are at work upon it. You can conserve a lot of wasted energy when not at the extremes. Don’t feed the extremes an you will naturally come to the center like a pendulum. Let go of the event. Live simply, keep centered.
The loving eyes of God – We all have a direct connection with God. By identifying with this part of us a transformation occurs. We reflect God more and more. Release the identification with lower vibrations. You feel more a distance between you and the thoughts and emotions that use to control you. Drift in and up. You identify more with spirit and less with form. As you let go more and more spirit becomes your state. We merge into the universal being. You can only know God by experience. Look through the eyes of love, infinite compassion. You cannot offend the Divine one. God looks upon you with ecstasy.