The soul is the part (whole) of you which is already full and knowing, sometimes referred to as the higher self. It’s the higher aspect of our being from one perspective but can’t really be defined with human language.
To get in touch with this aspect of ourselves can be overwhelming, but it can also bring a lot of joy and fulfilment. The more we work on freeing ourselves from the control of the ego or shadow side, the more connected we’ll feel to the soul.
Even so, we aren’t separate from our soul, but it can feel like that at times. The soul is always talking to us and guiding us, even if we are unaware of its communication.
In this post I want to cover three steps to help discover your soul purpose, although you will find that working with the soul isn’t a linear process, it’s an ever unfolding journey.
Difference between soul purpose and life purpose
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”Mary Oliver
So, how is ‘soul purpose’ different from ‘life purpose’? Really these two can be one in the same, although if we don’t have a strong connection with our soul, we don’t bring that aspect of our awareness into it.
We might be swayed by outside opinion, material riches, and chasing things that feel good in the moment but aren’t healthy for us long-term.
So you could say that your soul purpose is your true purpose. Something that truly resonates, that gets you excited in the morning, and the uplifted energy you bring with you throughout the day as a result.
To find your soul purpose is to find your purpose on this Earth and beyond, to be primarily guided by the soul rather than Earthly or humanly constructs.
Life purpose: Your life purpose is what you are destined to do in this life. This could include being a parent, a dream job, an ideal lifestyle.
Our lifespan is limited, our (physical, mental, emotional) capabilities are somewhat limited. Therefore we might have set goals and time-frames with which to achieve certain life goals.
Soul purpose: Your soul purpose is the wider purpose of your soul, which can unfold over the course of several lifetimes. Our life purpose is part of our soul purpose, one phase within our soul’s evolution.
The soul is limitless, not easily defined by human language or understood by the human mind. Therefore our soul purpose is something that will shift and expand outside of our present awareness.
Why is soul purpose important?
I write this article not to imply we should go about chasing dreams aimlessly while ignoring reality, but rather to brings things back into perspective.
So many of us are living unfulfilled lives, self-sabotaging, people-pleasing, acting according to old patterns and ignoring our intuition. More and more people are coming to the realization that they do not want to spend the rest of their lives in an eat-work-sleep cycle.
Many of us know that we are here for something more, we might even have a idea of what that is and believe we are capable of it, but nevertheless push things aside for another day.
It has also become incredibly easy to become distracted, there are hundreds of sources and outlets vying for our attention at any one time – we have to be much more selective with what we pay attention to and what we do.
Coming to know our soul purpose is not necessarily going to change our circumstances rapidly or put us in the ideal place right away, but keeping a vision in mind and remaining open to possibilities will shift the way you do everything.
When in our soul purpose we feel more energized, focused and considerate of others. We feel truly in tune with ourselves and others, with the sense that we are doing what we are here to do.
How to discover your soul purpose
There are endless ways our soul can send us inspiration and place us on the right track, here are just a few of them.
The soul purpose is closely linked to the inner child; the aspect of our being that is full of innocence, curiosity and playful energy. These qualities can become distorted as we grow up and through the world, beginning to suppress this fun-loving side of ourselves.
To begin, allow yourself to get into a playful energy. Revisit some of the hobbies and interests you had as a child, go forward with curiosity, don’t place too many limits on yourself.
Where we might want to hand things over to our mature adult self is where we need a specific routine, plan or direction – we can’t operate in the world on whims. Take what you learn from exploring what your inner child has to say and apply logic, create a plan you can put into action on a practical level.
Notice what draws your attention
The first step to finding your soul purpose is to start paying attention to what you pay attention to. Not everything that draws our attention is right for us or will serve us in the long-term.
Be conscious of what draws your attention on a subtle level. What things come up as inspiration or insight that you push to the side in favor of more realistic or imminent needs?
You might notice that the same words or phrases have been coming up time and time again, you might be drawn to a certain community or person, or you might receive inspiration in relation to daily habits or routines you’d like to adopt.
What brings you the most joy, peace and excitement in life? For now, don’t be afraid to consider answers which might appear unrealistic or fantastical. Just get everything out into the open.
Things to take note of:
- Recurring phrases that pop up in your mind
- Noticing the same signs & symbols
- Randomly encountering people from the past
These are what we call synchroncities, events that seem like mere coincidence at first but later appear to have a deeper connection. Synchronicity is apparent when we are consciously co-creating with the Universe, rather than following others or repeating old patterns. A path lights up for us.
Intuitive exercize: Get a small physical notepad or use a note app on your phone and write down all of the seemingly random inspirations, insights, synchronicities that you experience over the course of a week.
At the end of the week, look back on this list and see if you can identify any patterns – you’re likely to find that there is a common thread that links these ideas together. Looking at these ideas you might want to dismiss a few but do so carefully, notice what actually doesn’t resonate and what just feel intimidating or irrelevant in the moment.
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Ask introspective questions
The soul doesn’t speak in human language and so we have to get into a space where we are able to perceive communications beyond that. A space where we can take in the whispers of the soul, synchronicity, subtle guidance and interpret them clearly.
What happens is that the way our soul speaks to us is so subtle that we simply do not process it in the way we process ordinary thought or external stimulus.
Meditation is one of the best ways to get into a receptive state of mind. Meditation is simple in principle, but not always easy in practice. It’s simply remaining present, as thoughts, emotions and external stimulus flow by.
The difficulty comes in practicing this consistently; the ego will respond disruptively, it can feel like trying to bathe a cat. With practice we are able to sit with the ego and see that even when it is throwing a tantrum, we are still safe and can remain centered.
- Get into a meditative state.
- Focus on your breath for a few minutes.
- Place a hand on your heart area.
- Ask ‘What gives me purpose?’
- Tune into the response.
The response you receive will likely come in the form of raw emotion, phrases, gut feelings, other ways beyond the human language. It will be tempting to label every sensation you feel, but you just want to observe things at first.
Over time different patterns will emerge in how our intuition is coming through, and this will be slightly different for each person. With practice you’ll be able to take these sensations, put them into context and utilize them.
How to follow your soul purpose
It’s one thing to discover what your soul purpose is or gain a rough idea of what you want to, but another thing entirely to actually put that into action day to day.
Especially when our soul purpose appears unrealistic or beyond our current physical circumstances, cultivating faith is difficult.
Make a plan
Following our soul purpose is not always going to be glamorous, one of the best things we can do is to put pen to paper and outline where we’d like to go. Take the ideas and inspiration you have accumulated thus far and compile it onto one page as best you can.
What are the common threads?
When we are working with our energy it can be easy to keep it all internal, all in our mind, and forget that action is an important aspect of things too. When we feel inspired, allowing this to guide our actions.
Create a rough goal from this and break it up into smaller chunks. Most of the time we aren’t intimidated by following through on a goal itself, but by how imposing it looks all at once. Focus on the energy you need to bring to each day.
Cultivate consistent energy
Bring a different energy to the day to day routines you already have.
Working with our spirit doesn’t mean we have to push our existing obligations aside, even if it feels tempting to do so. Intuitive development is about being open to our heart, but bringing our brain with us!
What is inevitable after a spiritual awakening is that we will bring a different energy to our daily routines. We can view our spiritual life in contrast to our physical life and feel further discontented, or we can enrich the activities we do everyday with our spiritual awareness.
Walking to work can be a spiritual exercize, washing the dishes can be a spiritual exercizes, living in environments and with people who aren’t aligned with us can be a very enlightening experience.
Every goal we have will require a different type of energy in order to bring it to fruition. Identify what this is, whether you have to feel more open, empathetic or focused and bring this into your existing actions.
I like the idea that how we do one thing is how do every thing because it really brings things into perspective. If we bring a particular energy to our activities, it’s as though we are changing the nature of those activities themselves.
Be open to change
As I mentioned before the soul cannot really be defined in human language, we’re doing the best we can. The soul purpose cannot always be understood from a human or logical perspective, and so you have to be open to change.
The ego likes to put things into easy definable boxes, this makes navigating the world and protecting ourselves easier – but isn’t always how we want to live our lives.
The ego will often get in the way when our soul leads us down a specific path. We might feel fear, doubt, anxiety, all of which can sound like and come along our intuition.
The ego is likely to create stories around why you can’t accomplish something or reach a certain state. Consciously question these stories, feel them out and see if that insight is coming from your intuition or the voices of discontent you’ve internalized from others.
It’s sometimes difficult to discern what our soul’s motivations are; not all paths we are led down are going to feel good in the short-term, they aren’t always going to make sense on a logical level.
Following our intuition doesn’t always bring us immediate joy. Sometimes following our intuition means confronting difficulty, in order to grow and expand in the most fulfilling way.
When we are working with our intuition we might believe we have to find a completely new path, but more often it’s a case of revisiting the ideas that we have dismissed in the past. Retracing our steps and noticing the insight that was there all along.
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