KATY KOONTZ: You teach that the
goal of spiritual growth is freedom
from yourself rather than freedom for
yourself. Can you elaborate?
MICHAEL SINGER: The reason we
have desires and fears is because we’re
blocked. The psychological aspect of
our being, our self-concept, is what
blocks the energy, the spirit, the
shakti, the chi— whatever you want
to call it. We feel unfulfilled, lacking,
needy, lonely, scared—whatever
it is—and we try to compensate.
Almost everything we do, in fact, is
a compensation for that. What we do
isn’t wrong, but it’s a compensation
for something that’s wrong and it just
Maybe you want to go to Hawaii,
change spouses, get a new job. That
might temporarily help you get
around the blockage, but your stuff
comes back up. Your solution wasn’t
permanent. So that’s what we call
freedom for yourself—doing what
your personal self wants.
Freedom from yourself, on the
other hand, starts when you think,
Something’s wrong, and I’m trying
to compensate for it with something
outside myself. Why don’t I fix what’s
wrong inside instead? Learning how
to let go of what’s blocking your
energy becomes the spiritual path.
Freedom from yourself always leads
to something beautiful, while freedom
for yourself leads to addiction—you
have to keep doing more and more,
and you’re never satisfied.
KK: I love your teaching that we don’t
have souls, we are souls. Moving
through your day as a soul rather
than as someone who has a soul really
MS: If you’re putting out effort to
find your soul, you’ll never find it
because it’s you who’s putting out the
effort. And so what’s required is this
constant process of taking a step back,
relaxing, and releasing the personal
until you’re established in the core of
KK: What about those personal
qualities that make us clever,
endearing, or somehow useful to
society? Do we have to release
MS: The personal is of no use. It’s just
garbage from your past. I’m pretty
much the only one who’s daring to
say that. If you let go of the personal
self, what is left is your greater self,
which has tremendous inspiration,
love, compassion, and passion for
everything. When each moment
unfolds, initially it’s going to hit your
personal self and you’ll react with like
or dislike. Those are just your past
patterns. If you let go of that reaction,
you’ll find out you’re still in there.
You’re the one who let go, and now
you’re interacting with the world from
a deeper, nonhabitual, nonreactive
place in a way that serves instead of a
way that makes you feel better.
KK: What can we do to make it easier
to break our conditioned reactions?
MS: It’s not a question of going in
there and repatterning the neural
pathways. You’d be there forever. Just
relax in the face of whatever is coming
in front of you. Eventually, you’ll see
those patterns have nothing to do
Now, if those patterns pull you out
of your seat of awareness and you
are able to come back to center, that’s
real growth. Can you reach a point
where you never get pulled out of
that awareness? Of course. It’s called
becoming established in the seat of
self, where the patterns that unfold—
anger, fears, insecurities, desires,
whatever—are merely things you
notice, and you’re always aware you’re
noticing them. Therefore, they have
no power over you.
KK: How do you get to that point?
MS: Practice. It’s too late to become
established in the seat of self when
you’re freaking out about something
big, so start with something small.
Let’s say you’re driving, you’re in a
rush, and you’re behind somebody
going 35 in a 50-mile-an-hour zone.
Your mind is talking to the other
person, and all it’s doing is bringing
neurosis into your life. The other
driver is not doing that. You’re doing
that. Why not just wait until you can
pass and be at peace?
You can’t stop the reaction from
coming up. Don’t take that on or
you’ll go crazy. Just ask yourself,
Can I handle that a person is driving
15 miles below the speed limit and
my personal self is having a major
problem with that? I’m sitting on a
planet in the middle of nowhere and
my little personal self is freaking out
because somebody is driving 15 miles
an hour below the speed limit.
The “Can I handle it?” question
is rhetorical. The answer is always
yes. Just relax and lean away from
it, and the situation will become
easier to deal with. Every moment
of every day, relax and release
behind the noise the personal self
is making. When you can stay
above that energy, you’ll no longer
be feeding it with the power of
KK: What does that look like?
MS: As these lower energies come up
to your higher consciousness, they are
transmuted into something positive.
What was anxiety can become peace.
What was anger can become love.