The Untethered Soul : Book Review

This beautiful book was recommended to me by a dear friend @Sabah who has introduced me to so many new aspects of life, the journey within is one of them. The Untethered Soul is written by Michael A.Singer. The book comes from Michael’s years of spiritual experience. The book is divided into five sections: Awakening Consciousness, Experiencing Energy, Freeing Yourself, Going Beyond, and Living Life. Each section has three to five chapters under it from The voice in your head to Infinite Energy to Stealing freedom from your Soul to Contemplating Death. 

“This above all: to thine own self be true,/ And it must follow, as the night the day,/ Thou canst not then be false to any man.”  

The above lines from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet are the lines that the author uses to give you a glimpse of what the book has in store for you. The deciphering of the above lines by the greatest playwright goes like this: To maintain an honest relationship with others we must be true to ourselves. And from here the author leads you into the first question room of the book. Which “self” is the great author talking about? The one which comes surging high when someone throws dirt on us and we contemplate on taking revenge or the one who gets humbled by the outpouring love of strangers when we speak up the truth. So with this, you begin your journey in the book. 

The author doesn’t pour you with statistical data nor does he call upon psychology experts. There aren’t any religious views or philosopher quotes. He in fact turns to a single source that has phenomenal direct knowledge on the subject that is you. 

In the first few chapters I had a lot of questions but as I moved in the question receded and the understanding of the author’s words started playing its magic on me. I was reading this book along with my cousin @prashant with whom I had a long discussion on the initial section. But then I remembered my friend’s advice to always go with open arms into a subject, the more you open yourself the more wisdom you will find. So after the initial hiccup in the first section, I found myself finding peace and some workable advice on improving myself. There are things that you might already know and there are things that you might have no idea about, this book is an amalgamation of the known and the unknown and bringing it to the forefront. Once it hangs in front of you, you can’t escape to Netflix and chill. You will want to implore and work on yourself. 

The last chapter of the book is “The loving eyes of God” where he talks about our deep direct connection with the Divine which is beyond the personal self. And Michael gives a beautiful analogy here saying that the connection with God is just like your connection with the sun, you might hide from it and live in dark corridors for years but it doesn’t stop from shining and the moment you decide to look for it, you will see it’s there, shining for you.

The writing is very simple and very connectable and the chapters are small, each giving insights on different aspects of self. The book doesn’t boggle you down with information about what generally happens when you are reading spiritual books. I have been recommending this book to everyone who has asked me about a reading suggestion in the past week. More than ever the time requires you to go deeper within, and once you do so you will see the ecstasy you have been searching outside has been there all along.

PS: Please buy the hardcover especially if you are buying from Amazon India a lot of spell check-off in the paperback version. Also as per me, this book is a keeper, so it’s good to buy a Hardcover.  

Writerly things…

Some days are just disappointing as a writer, and you will have to accept these days when nothing comes out of you. There will be thoughts, maybe too many of them or only one, but they won’t strike you hard, and you will be left with a blank paper. And on those days you will have to accept that writing too needs patience. A lot of patience, first to think, then to unleash those thoughts on paper, then to edit that work a thousand times, before it becomes publishable. You as a writer try to cling to your work until it reaches the intended readers. But just as a drop freely falling in the ocean, your story too falls in the pool of other published stories. You become one with other writers and their work. Yet we know some drop fills the empty shells with pearls while others just remain as water drops. So, so many factors will decide what becomes of you. But then why do we write or should we write? 

The journey begins with the craving to create something of your own. Imagine millions of words floating in the wide universe. You sit on your desk, and slowly pick these words one by one and gently thread them together into beautiful jewelry pieces. Sometimes some patterns will not make sense and you will have to remove a few or all of them from the thread and start anew. While other times while in making you will realize that the design is taking a new shape, very different from what you intended, and you let it be. It’s then the magic of storytelling begins, when a story starts moving you instead of you moving it. The writing becomes instinctive, only the thread basics remain constant. It is for this very moment where you are fully immersed in the act, not worrying about the what-ifs, that you write or should write. 

I think our writing just like us evolves over the period. A lot of it has to do with the outer world. The world around us changes, and slowly this outer change seeps deep within and we start changing first subtly but then evolutionarily. The evolutionary changes shift the lens of our inner eye, And these changes of our inner self are reflected in our writing. Isn’t the main aspect of human life is to evolve every single day? Each day should bring something new in you, beautiful, ugly whatever it may be but it should lead you towards a better version of yourself. Our writings are reflections to our soul. A writer has to be truest to oneself when writing, otherwise, you are no longer serving the very purpose of writing. It is for this you write or should write. 

Like a wallflower you listen to the humdrums of the world. You soak all that surrounds you and slowly in the form of a fictional world you unreel the real world. You warmly showcase the truth, and give voice to voiceless or the misheard ones. In your own way you are able to touch the lives of those who can decipher the truth from your writing. By writing you bring focus to the unseen and the invisible ones. And this act of yours might give them the courage to have a voice of their own. So there might come a moment when someone would walk up to you with a copy of your story and say “Your words healed me” and it is for this you write or should write.

They say not everyone can write and be a writer. And I say they are not fully correct, everyone can write and be a writer only if the reasons to pursue are well framed and correct.

Monday Musings

In the looming darkness of a winter night, I am sitting on a red brick at the rooftop, wondering about the universe. When I look up at the blackness of the vast sky, a single shining polar star catches my attention. I find it amusing or rather bold that a small star had taken upon himself to shine when the moon had decided to hibernate in a corner until his time arrives. While I am still admiring the polar star’s boldness, I notice a small blinking light in the sky. Then I see another one coming from an opposite direction, and the way they are moving, it feels they will intersect at some point, at least that’s what my understanding of geometry says. What if they meet, and what if they don’t?

Slowly the two lights are moving in a direction where they might collide. I wonder what does a person feels in a crash. Do they get the chance to decipher what happens at that moment? Or is it in a blink the light turns off, and you wake up in the bardo? As if suddenly changing their fate from landing on a place they wanted to be to a place where no one wants to be. Avoiding the collision isn’t that difficult in the sky, yet they keep occurring, not with flights but with other celestial bodies.

While I was sitting on my roof, wondering about a possible collision, somewhere from far off a distance, an asteroid is approaching the planet I am inhabiting right now. Yes, I am not fictionalizing it; yesterday, an asteroid named 2020XK1 of approximately 2-4 meter in size and 30 Magnatitude in height closely approached earth. What should I call it? When I think about a celestial body collision at one part of the planet, in another part of the world precisely at the Mt Lemmon Survey, they find an approaching asteroid. I don’t know about you, I find it interesting, and in a way powerful enough.

When I break away from my musings, I see a stalled flickering light in the sky, and I know that they have taken the precaution to avoid the collision. Now the two blinkings move away in their separate directions taking their awaited customers to their desired destination.

Writers Dilemma

I have a question for the writers in our community? Do you feel unease in finishing your work? I mean, does your heart starts fluttering when you know you are nearing the end of the story. I know this doesn’t happen when you write a story of 1000 words, but what happens when you are writing a novel? or a novella? or a short story of 20 pages or more? Do you procrastinate in writing the final scene?

I have not written much till now, and whatever I have written so far is not that long. I recently started a journey of writing in longer formats to test the water before I turn into a full-time writer. I wanted to see whether I have the patience and discipline to follow a routine to write every day and on a single piece of work.

Last year, I published a short story of 3500 words coming approximately to 16 pages, and it was where the journey of writing a longer format started for me. Writing a blog isn’t a challenging task, I mean, it is not easy, but it is not tough either. But when you are working on something you want to publish, it is a different ball game. You have to think of a plot big enough, your character has to be deep enough, and most importantly, you need to inculcate a discipline to write every day. And let me tell you that the last task is the tough cookie to crack from my personal experience.

You read so many writers’ interviews, blogs and sometimes talk to writers directly, and most of the writers would tell you that story evolves on its own. Very few writers have elaborate plans and use a storyboard concept for their writing; generally, these are fantasy writers. But if you ask anyone who writes literary fiction, they will always tell you they only had a seed, they watered it through their pen, and it bloomed into a book. Yes, there are still exceptions, a black sheep who might use a very different method.

So enough of my jibber jabber and pouring of my knowledge container on you. I want to listen your story. Did you ever procrastinate in ending your story? If yes, then why? And if your answer is No, then I must say you have nailed the game of abscission, my dear.

Please share your views and interesting stories in the comments. I am listening.

Blethering Away

The brisk wind is swashing away the tiny particles from your memories. I often pick up my magnifying glass to watch these small particles move. Sometimes they collide with each other, exchanging information; other times, they maintain their safe distance, watching others’ movements. I often feel that human interactions are the same. We sometimes collide with other people, exchange feelings, comprehend them, and enjoy those rendezvous. And when the forces that were gluing us become weaker, we move our separate ways. Amongst this all, there are watchers, who witness other people’s lives, from a faraway place, never being part of it.

These particles are the watchers of our life, who remain interested in us, but never get the chance or the courage to have a conversation. All their life, they remain an arbitrary object in the life of the admired. The sun rises and sets; the withering leaves take the place of hot summer days, and decades pass, but they remain there, as a constant. Their interest in you might not necessarily be romantic; you just have piqued their curiosity. Now they move across social platforms to catch glimpses of your fleeting life.

If you are a celebrity, you might call them a fan or a follower, and if its BTS, you say army. But if you look deeply through your lense, you will realize we all have a bunch of watchers in our life. If you are Indian, you always have neighbors, some long lost distant relatives, who tend to follow you across social media, and know more about your life then your parents. And if you are not social media friendly, they might keep an eye through human chains. They are unknown faces, who coincidentally came across you, and now hold a little interest in the ongoings of your life. They might be your anonymous readers, your art collectors, a view on your not so famous youtube vlog.

As the day turns grey, you walk into a coffee shop for your fill, and you stumble into a stranger who looks familiar yet unfamiliar. Maybe they are your watcher, looking furtively at you, as your admirer. Or perhaps they are still contemplating your importance in their life. Sometimes the watcher particle might lose interest in watching you. The reason could vary from too many to watch in their list to gluing with some new particle.
They silently enter and leave your periphery, leaving absolutely no footprints.

Then someday, some random persons tell you about the existence of these particles. You are initially surprised, then slowly absorb the laid information. Now a new desire has spurt in your heart to know this stranger, who has left your orbit. Stealthily, you walk into deep dark woods, cleaning up the hung webs, and plunge into the ecstasy of walking into a fresh stream.

Steadily, you leave your elliptical orbit to ramble into another’s. The watched becomes the watcher. And so they say, the life moves in circles, it seems they might be right, after all. The number of particles in the universe remains constant; they might just be changing positions.

Yugen

When the wind keep rushing and the plant slants in the direction of gushing rain, a fog surrounds you. As far as your vision takes you, there is only fog, and beyond it, a world untouched by these tiny droplets. You slowly take your palm out of the window and let it soak the weather. But that is never enough, gradually you take your face out. The lashing rain takes the burning heat away from your body. Relaxing the furrowed brows and turning the corner of your mouth upward. An electric wave of calmness starts enveloping you. Now you can focus on things beyond the heat of the burning summer. You see, the drops fly foxing on the black wires from one transmitter to the other. When you look up at the dark gray sky, you see a blank canvas. You wonder where did the flying beings go. 

Are they hiding beneath some shady surface, or still drenching themselves in the sky’s freedom? When you look out, below your window on an awning, you see a pair of pigeons, watching the rain’s dance.

They both are busy fluttering their wings. They don’t pay any attention to your cooing calls. You get lost once again in the beauty of nature and its various beings. 

Nature always has been an inspiration for writers, especially poets. Famous poets like Robert Frost and WB Yeats have written various poems on the beauty of nature. Nature can turn you into a more thoughtful and kind being. For me, nature has always been a force of calmness to my utter inner chaos. A walk in the woods has always decluttered my thoughts. The grass’s dewiness, the sun’s auburn beauty, and the brightness of the full moon in the sky are the zenith of zen. Yet there are times it so indescribable in words. I, at those times, start envying painters and photographers for capturing it to the nearest perfection. 

Nature has always been a healer. Whenever the inner conundrum drifts you away from self, take shelter in nature, but walk alone. Enjoying solitude while being in laps of nature makes you one with the universe. In the vastness of this world, you find yourself as a speck of dust. This realisation of being nothing makes you braver while strengthening your inner capability to accept the ever-changing real world. 

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” – Henry David Thoreau

PS: The Japanese word yugen refers to the awareness that the universe is so profound that the emotions we feel when we try to contemplate it are too deep and mysterious to convey. 

Also if you are interested in reading poetry on nature which soothes your soul, check out Nico’s blog. His poetry has always helped me.

Anecdote 1 !!

Yesterday, over a cup of tea, my mom told me an anecdote. Something strange happened to one of her friends. A few months ago, she lost her sister to cancer, and within two days, her brother in law also died. After his wife passed away, he refused to eat and drink anything and eventually succumbed to dehydration. By the time help arrived and they took him to the hospital, he was already dead.

The story made me wonder, is it possible to die of heartache. Did the man die because of the loss of love or loneliness? Or was it fear of being alone for the rest of his life? Can you turn this lonely in two days? Does old age turn your heart a bit weaker, that losing someone can lead you to death?

And then, there is this Indian view of things on everything, where they proclaim couples who die naturally in a very short span of each other have an eternal bond. They say such a pair have true love and can’t bear the separation. They are declared as soulmates, leading them to leave their bodies almost together to rejoin each other in heaven.

I, on the other hand, have questions regarding this theory of love. I right now don’t believe someone could die of a love loss. I mean, if you start boozing or taking drugs in sadness to a level which can lead to death, then that’s another thing. There was a time when I was naive enough to believe in death’s theory due to love. Right now, I know it can turn you sad, make you feel like you are dying but believe me, you will not break. I have seen all kinds of people come out of it. It might turn you into a poet or painter or a lyricist; after all, there are artists whose first work came out of a heartbreak. And then there are established artists who create masterpieces from their losses.

There is one thing I truly believe in that love loss changes you as a person; something within you turns off like a switch which no amount of happiness could ever switch back on. Things might change, people might find love again, but the loss always leaves a scar, however small it might be. And from time to time, when we are alone, we dig deep inside to look at that scar. We try to rub, touch and feel the spot, sometimes to relive the moments and sometimes to feel the pain.

Love loss is not about losing a lover; love loss is about losing anyone you loved. It can be your friend, your pet, your child, or your parent. I know enough people who have lost someone very dear at a younger age, and they still carry that pain inside them. The void never gets filled. There comes the point where people even forget the face of the person they are missing, but they never forget the gamut of emotions the memories evoke in them.

Eventually, the memories dim, and you have to dust them up to catch up with the precious fragments. If you ever truly loved someone, the vestiges remain. Even an Alzheimer’s patient in the wake of consciousness could recall some precious ones.

“Love never get lost; it remains hidden in the labyrinth of human emotions.”

On another note, I am sharing a beautiful art, which came out of someone’s loss.

PS : Maroon 5 served tribute to their late manager Jordan Feldstein, who died unexpectedly in December 2017 from a pulmonary embolism with this beautiful song, Memories.

Sleepless in a city

Two big brown pair of lost eyes peer through the window. The dark blanket of the night covers the footprints of the city. Not a soul in the vicinity, only the silence of unsaid words hangs in the air. Even the usual whistle of the security guard is missing today. Maybe today of all nights, the city has once again decided to desert her.

She was out in the patio with soundless footsteps as if she has acquired the paw pads of a cat. She doesn’t know what she is looking for; maybe she is looking for an omen or something that will tell; she is not the only soul who is sleepless at night, in this city.

In the middle of this darkness, the lights from a few apartments make her feel a little less disoriented. Lights that tell that there are souls like her who are awake beyond the usual hours. People who are either productive or killing time because sleep has disowned them too.

It reminds you of the movie Sleepless in Seattle, where two people start talking because they are sleepless and alone in a city. Sometimes sleeplessness has nothing to do with loneliness. Instead, if you are audacious enough and try to dig deeper inside yourself, you realise that loneliness is one of the most beautiful things at times. It teaches you the most valuable lessons about life, but mostly it lets you crusade your vulnerability.

We all have sides that surface only when we are alone and in the dark. You pretend that it doesn’t exist inside you, or if you are brave enough, you learn to live with that side of yours as a second skin, which comes out at nights like these.

That’s why they say you might love someone with your whole being, yet there will always be parts of them that you never reach. Parts you will never know exist, until one day they come out like a punch in the throat or if they are careful enough, they won’t haunt you. That’s why they say we could love someone with all our might and yet never completely understand them. Because there are some calluses which don’t fade with time, we often learn a new technique to walk with them.

What you do when you are sleepless like her in a city, you read with piano music in the background. Most of the days, it works, but some days, like these, it doesn’t, so she let the darkness engulf her, and let them wash away the weariness of carrying them. And if it still doesn’t work, she opens a blank sheet and types whatever comes to her mind. Most of the time, it works, but if somehow it doesn’t. Then she simply waits for the sun to rise so that when everyone is up, she could peacefully lie down.

The Time Turner

Some time in the heaps of clutter on your desk are things hidden to your naked eye. Somehow they get lost to your current memory until one day while organising the stack you find them. Reminiscing the past, you walk down the memory lane.

Today, while dusting my desk, I picked up this watch box. Usually, I sweep the area overlooking the lying objects. But today, I felt the urge to open and see its contents. With dusting glove in one hand and some dirt on another, I opened the black box. And there it was, the old worn out, not in a working condition, the black beauty of mine.

This simple old watch was gifted to me by my father eight years ago on my birthday, as a birthday present as well as a gift for getting my first job.
It was unlike the shows we watch, where parents take their kids to a fancy restaurant and give them gifts. For me, it was like, I walked into a store with my brother and bought it with my own money and later took the paid amount from my dad.

I wore it for a very long time, or I must say till the time it worked. I don’t know why I chose a black watch. Black is not even my favourite colour, but I wanted a strap watch instead of a chain one. I used to have a beautiful silver chain watch as a teenager; my brother gifted it to me with his pocket money. That was one of the first expensive gifts he ever bought me. But I lost it, and that story is for some another time.

Now that I think of it, the big dial strap watches were in fashion then, and I have started working, so I wanted a watch that will go with all my outfits. So there it was a big black dial watch.

I don’t know what it is about watches, I have always loved them, and as a kid, I always thought of having a great watch as that next step of making your mark in the small world of yours. I still don’t own that watch, and it’s a constant reminder that I haven’t accomplished my dreams yet.

In a day and age where people wear watches as accessories, for me, the watch has always been a reminder of time.

It reminded me of the time when I was ecstatic, and the only worries on my mind were about my career. It’s a reminder that time changes, with it, you too. It tries to tell me that I will never be able to turn back the time, but at least for a few seconds, through this gift, I can surely rejoice the memory of happy times. So I pause, the present and go back to the past, to bring back the bliss; into my future.

And as they say, “The time never turns back, but memory does”. So cherish your time with people and create great memories.

Window Views

I sit by my window at night and look at the world below. I see a few puddles of water left by rain an hour ago. The garden seems so barren, not a single soul around. At least people in my area are following the Lockdown. 

The soothing breeze makes you shiver, and the chirping of the birds in this silence is like a call to your soul. You know birds are enjoying their freedom. They are enjoying the free blue skies, away from human intervention. But then I think of the pets who are confined to their houses because their owners can’t go out. Are they envious of the free animals, do they miss being free? Or Do they think that even though they are stuck with humans, they are better off? But of course, we will never know until someone makes an animal mind reading app.

Just opposite my window, I see three apartments, having the same size of TV in precisely the same position in their living room. Most of the time, I can figure out what they are watching. The funny thing is they are often watching the same thing. 

Then there is this fourth apartment, which has a balcony fully covered with lights. I am not sure from how long it’s like this; maybe they have turned their gallery into some kind of light up zone, or they just into fancy lights. But whatever it is, these lights prevents you from seeing inside their living room; maybe these lights are a fence up. 

Another apartment has a hanging chair in their living room, and I see some one’s silhouette on it, the light is dim, and I can’t figure them out. It is just a shadow to me. Sometimes a shadow is a relief enough that someone else is hanging up there, somewhere just like you in times of home quarantine.

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It’s been more than a month that I haven’t written anything at all on this blog. And it has been quite a journey in the past month. It’s a Lock down in India until April 14, and we are working from home from the last two weeks. Mostly I am very busy with household chores and office work, and the time I am free, I usually read or watch a show or movie. It’s not that I am in a writer’s block; I am not even sure what happens to me is a writer’s block or not? It could be a clear case of procrastination, or I am naturally lazy. 

So today, I decided to leave all the laziness aside and start writing whatever comes to my mind. Of course, I looked for some inspiration; I got my hands on a book. Yes, You Can Write by Brian Collins. The book has 101 writing prompts to bring you back in the zone. 

The first prompt was, “Look out the window. What’s happening outside, and how have things changed since you last sat here?” so if you too are dealing with writer’s block or not finding enough inspiration in times of quarantine, you can use these prompts to give yourself the required push.

After all, it is always to good to have more people giving their Window Views.