"the untethered soul" EXPOSED
The reasons for this critical analysis of “the untethered soul” (TUS) by Michael Singer are, firstly, to expose the book for what it is: It is antichrist. TUS replaces the Christian faith with a New Age panentheistic religion, and denies every aspect of Christian theology. Secondly, I want to bring to light that Fr. John Nosal is, and has been for years; studying, practicing, teaching, and giving sermons based on this Non-Christian book in direct contradiction of his responsibilities as an ordained Orthodox priest. For many years I have shared my concerns with Fr. John about his infatuation with eastern religious thought, while ignoring the study of the Word of God. As far back as 1997 I argued with him about his use of Deepak Chopra’s books for his personal growth, and in his ministry in the church. A little over a year ago (Fall 2014) I sent him an email outlining the falsehoods of TUS in hopes he would desist in using the book personally, and in ministry. His response was, this past winter (2014-15), to begin to do a weekly chapter-by-chapter study of “the untethered soul” in the nave of the church. He continued using TUS in counseling sessions, and in catechism instruction. His sermons for a very long time have been filled with doctrines directly from TUS, all the while deceptively cloaking those false doctrines in Christian language. I cannot sit back any longer and let people who need the Word of God, and Orthodox Christian catechism be neglected, and worse, be taught error. If John Nosal wants to read, study, and live by TUS, that is his prerogative. But if Fr. John Nosal wants to use the TUS as a basis for his life as an Orthodox Christian priest, and for the basis for Church ministry, that is not his prerogative. Due to Fr. John’s extensive use of this non-Christian book it is extremely important to examine its content and teachings. In the following pages I present an analysis of this book in light of sound Orthodox Christian doctrine.
The book, “the untethered soul”, is antichrist in every respect. Antichrist by definition means “in place of Christ”, not just “against Christ”. The teachings of Michael Singer’s, “the untethered soul” (TUS), replaces the Faith of Christ with a false belief system. TUS replaces faith in the Christian God with a panentheistic worldview: “When the drop of consciousness that knows itself as an individual drifts back far enough, it becomes like the drop that falls into the ocean. The Atman (Soul) falls into the Paramatman (Supreme Soul). The individual consciousness falls into the Universal Oneness. AND THAT’S IT” (pg. 176). TUS reduces Christ to just one of many enlightened sages who Singer says taught that, “You can move from the finite to the infinite. Isn’t this what they’ve been trying to tell us – Christ, Buddha, and the great saints and sages of all time and all religions”? (pg.38). TUS misrepresents Jesus and his faith, and pours New Age meaning into his words (pg. 176). TUS deceptively subverts the faith of the ill-informed Christian, leading them away from Christ, and the God of the Holy Scriptures, the Triune God revealed to the world by Jesus (Mt 3:16; Mt 17; Mt 28:18-20). TUS guides the reader to not rely on Scripture (pg. 142, 177), and instructs the reader that they have no need to “renounce the world” (pg. 142), nor does the reader need to repent (pg. 180), nor does the reader need to feel guilt and shame, they just feel that way due to being taught wrongly about God (inferring Christianity). TUS is completely committed to the ideal of syncretism, the unification of all religions, and strips the Christian faith of its uniqueness and exclusive claims as the “One True Faith”. TUS lumps Christ and His faith in with the religions and spiritual practices of Hinduism (pg. 53); Buddhism (pg. 128); Taoism (pg. 165); Yoga and Yogic teachings and techniques (pg. 22, 23, 32, 43, 53, 145, 147); and meditation (pg. 47, 145). Throughout TUS Singer makes one “truth claim” after another, using subtlety to deceive the reader that what he is preaching is the ultimate truth. TUS presents an antichrist anthropology. TUS is an absolute refutation of the Christian faith, teaching that your own actions can lead to liberation. TUS teaches that there is no need for a Savior, and there is nothing to be forgiven. You are the answer to your own dilemma.
The Syncretism of "the untethered soul"
Syncretism is the reconciliation or fusion of differing religious beliefs. Singer deceives the reader when he describes the “flow of energy” inside you. He writes, “It’s been called by many names. In ancient Chinese medicine, it is called Chi. In yoga, it is called Shakti. In the West, it is called Spirit. CALL IT ANYTHING YOU WANT. All the great spiritual traditions talk about your spiritual energy; they just give it different names.” (pg. 44). In chapter 4, “The Lucid Self”, Singer writes, “You can move from the finite to the infinite. Isn’t this what they’ve been trying to tell us – Christ, Buddha, and the great saints and sages of all time and all religions”? (pg. 37, 38) While explaining ”your center of consciousness” Singer pushes syncretism, “That is the seat of the Buddhist Self, the Hindu, Atman, and the Judeo-Christian Soul” (pg. 29). Singer, while explaining the Hindu doctrine of chakras, energy centers, writes “This energy flow has been referred to as Shakti, Spirit, and Chi, and it plays an intricate part in your life” (pg. 50). In chapter 18, Singer opens by promoting Taoism, describing it as “one of the deepest of all spiritual teachings” (pg.165). He ends the chapter making this claim, “All the great teachings reveal the way of the center, the way of balance” (pg. 172). Jesus is not one of many ways. Jesus said, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father (God) but by me” (John 14:6). Then finally, in what is utter blasphemy, pouring New Age dogma into the words of Jesus, Singer writes, “In the mystical Gospel of John, Christ says, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us…I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one…” (John 17:21-23). So it was taught in the Hindu Vedas; so it was taught in the Jewish Kabbalah; so it was written by the great Sufi mystic poets; and so it was taught in all the great religious traditions of all time. Such a state exists; one can merge into the Universal Absolute. One can merge into God” (pg. 176). How can an Orthodox Christian priest accept this book as a source of spiritual direction? How can an Orthodox Christian priest use this blasphemous book to instruct his flock. This priest should must be defrocked if he does not repent of his heretical teachings.
The Foundational Religions of "the untethered soul"
Singer teaches the Yogic tradition of Hinduism introducing “chakras” (pg. 50) and “Samskara” (pg. 53-58). Singer writes, “In the yogic tradition, that unfinished energy pattern is called a Samskara. This is a Sanskrit word meaning “impression”, and in the yogic teachings it is considered one of the most important influences affecting your life” (pg. 53). Singer says of yoga, “Yoga is not really about getting your body healthy, although it does that too. Yoga is about the knowledge that will help you out of your predicament, the knowledge that can free you” (pg. 22). In the concluding remarks of her mini-book, “An Orthodox Posture on Yoga”, Christine Mangala Frost writes “Christians undertaking yoga should be fully aware that its Hindu-Buddhist spiritual ethos is incompatible with the Christian faith” (pg. 13). Frost continues, “Even greater caution is necessary with what is taught as “meditation.” Some advanced forms of meditation exercises change one’s brain rhythms and lead to a sense of euphoria which can be addictive…Breathing techniques aimed at rousing what is called kundalini, dormant sexual energy which is then sublimated into spiritual energy, are particularly dangerous, as they expose one to psychic forces beyond one’s control”. Singer writes, “Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950), is a great teacher in the yogic tradition, used to say that to attain inner freedom one must continuously and sincerely ask the question “Who am I?” He taught that this was more important than reading books (think Bible), learning mantras (think Jesus Prayer), or going to holy places (think Church)” (pg.23). Singer writes, “Fortunately, the nature of consciousness has been studied very closely in deep teachings such as yoga. In fact, the ancient teachings of yoga are all about consciousness” (pg.32). Singer happily sings, “If you take on this path of unconditional happiness (chapter 15), you will go through all the various stages of yoga” (pg.145). And Singer continues his teaching of Yoga, “One of the ancient names for God in the yogic tradition is Satchitananda – Eternal, Conscious Bliss. God is ecstasy” (pg. 147). In chapter 13, “Letting Go of False Solidity” Singer teaches Buddhism. “The Buddhists have a term for this: “clinging”” (pg. 128). This entire chapter is dedicated to this Buddhist doctrine. And Singer sings the praises of Taoism, “No discussion of living life as a spiritual path is complete without addressing one of the deepest of all spiritual teachings, the Tao te Ching” (pg.165).
Singer Negates Holy Scripture, the Gospel, and Christian Theology
Singer writes, “If you try to read about God in a book, you’ll find five other books that say the opposite” (pg.177). In the middle of one of Singer’s most outlandish paragraphs he writes, “You don’t have to learn Sanskrit or READ ANY SCRIPTURES. You don’t have to renounce the world” (pg. 142). Christians should know that the Holy Bible is a unique and exclusive revelation of the True and Living God to humankind. That “all scripture (the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings) were given (to us) by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit”. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the words of God (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Revelation 19:10 ).
The Truth Claims of Michael Singer
Singer apparently writes TUS to subvert the Christian faith of those who lack a Scriptural-Mind. Over and over again Singer makes truth claims about his teachings and techniques. Using words and phrases like “true”, “in truth”, “ultimately”, “Now the truth is” and “The fact is”. When writing about “Infinite Energy” (Chapter 5) Singer says, “True spiritual teachings are about this energy and how to open it” (pg.44). He closes this chapter claiming, “The most important thing in life is your inner energy” and, “Through meditation, through awareness and willful efforts, you can learn to keep your centers open. You do this by just relaxing and releasing” (pg. 47). In TUS Singer is introducing the unsuspecting Christian reader to Gyana. On the very first page of TUS Deepak Chopra praises the TUS and Michael Singer saying, “In the book, The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer takes you step-by-step through the process of Gyana, the yoga of the Intellect, to the Source”. TUS is indoctrinating the unsuspecting Christian reader in Yogic processes that are antichrist, and antichrist spiritual practices. Singer writes, “After you’ve put years and years into this process, and learned to let go no matter how deep the pain, you will achieve a great state. You will break the ultimate habit: the constant draw of the lower self. You will then be free to explore the nature and source of your true being – Pure Consciousness” (pg. 67). Singer writes, “Ultimately, the word “beyond” captures the true meaning of spirituality”, and “in truth everything is infinite” (pg. 119). Singer in his deceitful cunning, in his antichrist craft and treachery, poses this question to be contrary to the Gospel, “Who are you that is lost and trying to build a concept of yourself in order to be found”? (pg.131) TUS contradicts Jesus, as Jesus taught that the Prodigal Son “was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:24, 32). And, “For the Son of man is come to save that which is lost” (Matthew 18:11).
"the untethered soul" EXPOSED
Chapter 19 – the loving eyes of god
Singer saves his most cunningly devised deceptions for the final chapter where he attempts to seal the deal that his brand of New Age religion is the truth, and the way, to experience life; to experience the Divine Force. In chapter 19, “the loving eyes of god”, Singer boldly teaches panentheism; expounds Buddhist thought; promotes syncretism; deconstructs Christian truth; champions the new tolerance (which is not tolerant at all); commits overt blasphemy against Jesus; distorts the teaching of Jesus concerning “judging others”; twists the gospel teachings of Jesus; distorts the Christian theology of love; and denies the God of Christian Orthodoxy saying that God is “Universal Consciousness”, the “Universal Absolute”. This list is derived from just the eight pages of this chapter, and isn’t even a complete list of the errors that could be found therein.
In Paragraph 1 Singer is saying there is NO revelation or teachings that truly reveal God. Singer is saying any “teachings...concepts…views about God” have been ruined by the touch of humans. The Orthodox Church would refute this claim. Jesus became incarnate, Jesus established the Church as the pillar and foundation of Truth, and Jesus inspired the scriptures of the Holy Prophets and Apostles.
In Paragraphs 2 through 10 Singer has me feeling feelings about how I feel! Singer is teaching about “Spiritual growth”, and that “there is a direct connection with the Divine” within us. We just need to practice the false religions of Hinduism, Yoga, and Buddhism so we can get our vibrations just right through disassociation with the physical and psychological parts of our being! Twenty three times (23) in these 9 short paragraphs Singer employs the words: feel, feels, felt, or feelings. This ploy plays into the weakness of the modern reader who has been trained to relate to what they see or read based on “how they feel about it” rather than “what they think about it objectively”. Singer is counting on the reader to not think critically or objectively about the material, but rather to respond emotionally, to be led by how they feel about what they are reading.
In Paragraph 11 Singer blasphemes the Word of God. In his zeal to promote syncretism, he describes what will happen to you as you practice his religion.
“You naturally begin to experience the vibrations that were described by the great saints and sages of different traditions. You realize that you, too, can have deep spiritual experiences and be “…in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10).
In Paragraphs 12 - 17 the reader is walloped with so much antichrist religion a book would have to be written to refute it all. Singer loves to plant antichrist seeds of doubt in his reader’s minds, saying, “Ultimately, how do you really know anything about God?” (The Christian knows about God through the incarnation of Christ, His Church, and the Holy Scriptures). Then in the next sentence Singer tells you that people “who have gone beyond have come back and said that the Spirit you’re experiencing is the doorway to God”. The true love and light that comes from God comes to humanity through the person of Jesus Christ (Read all 5 chapters of 1 John). But the love and light promised by Singer to his devotees is a false gospel, with a false spirit, that originates with the serpent that beguiled Eve through his subtlety (2 Corinthians 11:3, 4). The end result of Singers TUS spirituality is that your unique personhood is swallowed up into some “ultimate expansiveness”, and the person becomes “like a single drop of water merging into the ocean”. You are nothing more than a “drop of consciousness” that is hoping someday to be absorbed into the “universal consciousness”. This is pure panentheism.
Singer commits blasphemy when he contorts the very words of Jesus to teach his demonic spirituality. “When that happens (you, the drop, falling into the ocean), people say interesting things like, I, and my Father are one” (John 10:30) and “…the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works (John 14:10). They all spoke like that. They said they had merged and that there was no differentiation within the Universal Oneness of God…In the mystical Gospel of John, Christ says, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us…I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in me…” (John 17:21-23). So it was taught in the Hindu Vedas; so it was taught in the Jewish Kabbalah; so it was written by the great Sufi mystic poets; and so it was taught in all the great religious traditions of all time. Such a state exists; one can merge into the Universal Absolute. One can merge into God”. How can an Orthodox Christian priest stomach this book for one moment, let alone, read it over and over and over, then teaching it and counseling from it, and preaching sermons from it, and promoting it?
Finally, in paragraphs 18 – 35, Singer gives us a string of his doctrines, all the while attempting to deconstruct Christian faith that may be present in the reader’s heart. Those who possess a scriptural-mind will discern the falsehoods presented by Singer. Singer writes that you cannot know God by reading a book (he is inferring the Bible); Singer introduces “the Divine Force” as God, and says this Divine Force possesses a love that is without judgment, “We all know that true love doesn’t judge”. Referring to the Christian and Biblical description of God (God is love – 1 John 4:8) Singer seeks to define according to his religious views what “God is love” means. To Singer, God does not judge. And neither should we judge. He twists the scriptural ideals and ideas concerning love and judging. Singer “feels” that guilt, fear, and shame have no place in our relationship with God. He says we have nothing to apologize (repent) for (para. 32). All we need to do is practice all the processes and techniques that Singer writes about. Then, everything will be okay as we “let go”, “get centered”, “fall behind”, and “drift upwards”.
I am calling upon Bishop Thomas to censure Fr. John Nosal for his use of TUS in his ministry to the parishoners at St Michaels Orthodox Church, and to publicly inform the parish members of the dangers of this book, and to compel Fr. John Nosal to completely cease his personal use of TUS, and his use of TUS in his ministry.