For many people, change is a source of fear — fear of added stress, fear of discomfort and fear of the unknown. Yet, change is an inevitable part of life, so those who view it with fear tend to spend far too much energy trying unsuccessfully to avoid it. Michael Singer, author of “The Untethered Soul,” believes that this avoidance causes you to lose track of your life’s purpose.
The first step in learning to deal with change is to understand exactly why people fear it. As Singer explains to Oprah on an episode of “Super Soul Sunday,” change seems frightening because it threatens the comfort we have constructed for ourselves.
“We try to create situations that we think will make us be okay,” Singer says. “When things start changing that don’t match that model, we get scared.”
In “The Untethered Soul,” Singer says that one thing most people don’t know about fear is that it’s a thing. As he puts it, fear is just another object in the universe that we’re capable of experiencing, and there are only two ways to deal with it.
“You can push it away, or you can let it go,” Singer says simply. “You can either avoid it and be scared of it, or you can let it pass right through.”
But is letting go of fear the same thing as just giving up, Oprah wonders? Not at all, Singer tells her. “You don’t [give up] in any way, shape or form,” he says. “Life is a natural unfolding of reality. You’re supposed to harmonize and work with it. You don’t give up and let it take over.”
As an example, Singer says to imagine being scared of riding a horse. “You don’t have to be a very good rider, but that doesn’t mean you let the horse go wherever they want,” he says. “You learn to interact and interface with life in a wholesome, participatory way. Fear doesn’t let you do that. So, letting go of fear is not letting go of life.”
Also in the video, Singer shares his practical advice for handling difficult situations and reveals when not to trust the voice inside your head.