How to evict the obnoxious inner roommate

Image: Antonina Bukowska

I’ve been reading The Untethered Soul lately (if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend checking it out: here’s a link). The book has been an inspiration for the last few posts of mine (I thought I linked to it, but it seems I didn’t).

What Michael Singer says (among many other profound things) is that this world is unfolding and has been long before you and I were around. In proportion to the world at large, our thoughts have very little influence.

But we go around with the ‘weight of the world’ on our shoulders. We worry about Trump and his antics. Then there’s North Korea. And Syria. And the thing on Facebook.

It’s hard to even get that TPS report done by 2:30 for accounting let alone keep the free world in check…

It’s nuts. Really is.

This is what the voice in our head — often called the ‘inner roommate’ — does. It works on the grounds that it’s trying to protect us, but in reality, it drives us mad.

What have been the fruits of its ‘protection’? No matter how safe we become, no matter how much wealth we accumulate (and if you live in the US, and you have access to Taco Bell, a TV, and a cell phone, you ARE among the wealthiest in the world), we still feel a constant sense of dread and not-enoughness.

The point of spiritual development is to transcend the inner roommate: the part of ourselves that’s constantly not-okay and needs protection.

When’s the last time you had nothing to worry about? There’s always been something, right? It’s easy to see that, according to this schizophrenic inner roommate, there will always be something wrong.

The bottom line is, you’ll never be free of problems until you’re free from the part within that has so many problems. 
 — Michael Singer

Therefore, we have no choice. We have to deal with this inner voice first and foremost. We achieve clarity by noticing, separating from, and then evicting the inner roommate. We have to slap an eviction notice on the inner roommate’s bedroom door. We have to send his ass packing (yours might be a female, but mine’s a dude — whatever though, same difference).

This is how we clean our inner house. Then, without that asshole around, we can blast our music, walk around naked, and drink the milk straight from the carton. We can live again. We can be free.

Here’s a simple two-step solution to evict the inner roommate…

  1. When a problem comes up, we shouldn’t first ask what we can do to alleviate the problem. The first thing we should do is ask, “What part of myself is bothered by this?”
  2. We follow that up by asking ourselves, “Who is it that sees and notices this inner disturbance?” That’s how we make it back to ourselves. When we can see the roommate, we prove to ourselves that we’re not it.

Awareness of the inner problem (the roommate) is way better than losing ourselves in an outer problem (which is an illusion of the mind to begin with).

Think of it… Nobody has ever become okay for long by changing things on the outside. Because there’s always the next thing.

Get this… The only reason the inner roommate has persisted is because we’ve permitted him to. We’ve heard his complaints and gnashing of teeth and we’ve claimed them as our own.

We must be able to step back and objectively witness our problems instead of getting lost in them. No solutions exist when we’re stuck in whirlwind-like energy of a problem. When fear hits and we’re scared, anxious, nervous, jealous, enraged, etc., we’re severely limited as to what we can do.

Even if/when we evict the roommate, there will come a time that he comes back. At least when he does, you won’t identify with him for long. You’ll be able to love him, pour him a cup of coffee, watch him with a warm grin, and welcome his ass back to his car when he’s done.

Well, right now, mine’s not here. I think I’ll box up his stuff while he’s away.


Jonas Ellison is a spiritual writer, teacher, practitioner, and an interfaith minister-in-training. He helps people deepen their lives through applied spirituality while documenting his journey along the way.

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