Searching for purpose clues
The pull to transcend your default purpose can become increasingly insistent and forceful. Rising from the depths of your innermost self, a persistent whisper intrudes on your comfortable life, and you find yourself contemplating things like …
- The life I am living is not the life I was intended for
- There is a deeper story, which I sense has been guiding me all along
- This soul force, or evolutionary impulse, is calling me to step into a new life
The same voice whispers to you as if from the outside, too, when you hear about people exceeding what they thought they were capable of accomplishing.
A sense grows within you that a greater impact is possible and you wonder, ‘Maybe that could be me? Despite the voices of resistance telling you the chances of success appear slim, eventually you can no longer deny the urge for transformation. You find yourself pulled from the familiar shelter of your former life, and compelled to walk the road of adventure, to seek a new story and a bigger vision.
If you hear the call, you have three options: 1) refuse the call, 2) soul encounter, or 3) deductive purpose discovery
1) Refusing the call
You can ignore the call to something greater, and continue to live from your default purpose, even though you don’t like it.
Some people never become aware that living solely from their default purpose is actually optional. Other people experience fear at the very notion of co-creating their own destinies. Many of us do our best to accommodate ourselves to a life that is not fully our own. Symptoms of sticking with a default purpose, when we are actually ready to let it go, include dullness, boredom, demotivation or despair. Home remedies for numbing the pain of living from an outgrown purpose include drugs, alcohol, shopping and TV.
2) Soul encounter
Every person has a unique gift to bring to his or her people. Every person – and that includes you – has a unique soul identity that can help them navigate through life. Later in the journey, we’ll start discovering your soul’s purpose through soul encounter: moments of direct communication from Soul. But this week is about a different pathway to purpose, called deductive discovery.
3) Deductive purpose discovery, a.k.a. searching your life for purpose clues
You don’t have to create your purpose, because it already exists. Think of discovering your purpose as ‘awakening to the purpose and meaning of your life that was there all along’. You open up to a dimension of you that is already within you, but you just haven’t noticed it was there all along. A human entering puberty doesn’t discover their sexuality, so much as awaken to an aspect of self of which they had previously been unaware.
So how to start getting clear on your purpose? If you’ve outgrown the purpose you are currently living, but haven’t yet discovered your soul purpose, one option is to ‘deduce’, or figure out, your purpose by searching for clues from your present life and history. At the end of this assignment are in-depth exercises to guide you in doing this.
To help you get clarity on the different parts of purpose you’ll need in order to express it in your life, we are going to divide ‘purpose’ into eight dimensions: Vision, Values, Powers, Essence, Giveaway, Task, Message and Delivery System.
This ‘Purpose Octagon’ is a clear way of visually representing the eight different facets of your purpose. At the centre is your ‘soul image’, sometimes called ‘mythopoetic identity’ – who you are at a deep soul level. We’ll talk about the soul image later – don’t worry about it for this exercise.
Using the deductive process in this activity, you’ll be able to find clues or hints about what your purpose looks like, through in-depth reflection on your life history, your passions and your beliefs. There’s a lot to learn from this method. It’s a direct, logical, and reliable way to come to some understanding of your purpose.
Deductive purpose discovery vs Soul encounter
|Deductive purpose discovery||Purpose discovery via soul encounter|
|Archaeological (excavating your past and present life for clues)||Present moment and timeless|
|Indirect (uses different methods to ‘deduce’ your purpose)||Direct (communicated via Soul)|
|Happens in the mind||Bypasses the mind|
|Implied or suggested||Revealed|
|Purpose hints||Purpose epiphanies|
Exercises for deducing your purpose
If you search the web, you’ll find lots of different versions of the same exercise for creating your purpose. They all share the same foundation, in that they are deductive pathways for discovering a life of purpose.
Deductive purpose discovery doesn’t require a direct connection to your soul. Deductive discovery is like following the hoof prints of a horse. Soul encounter is like seeing the horse in the flesh.
Think of deductive discovery as following the scent of purpose. It’s the activity of reaching out with your mind to scan the terrain of your history, whereas in soul encounter, you allow Soul to reach out to you. Because the terrain of your history is covered with soul-print hints, the deductive discovery method guarantees that you’ll learn something about your purpose, whereas on any given day when you open yourself up to soul encounter, there is no guarantee that you will have the mystical experience of Soul. So relax, and have confidence that the way you have lived your life up to now contains scents and perfumes of your life purpose.
Eight questions for discerning your purpose
Set aside about 1.5 hours for this exercise. There are eight sections in total, one for each part of the Purpose Octagon. Spend about 10 minutes on each section. I suggest using a computer rather than writing long hand, as this will make editing much easier (and you will need to edit after 1.5 hours of writing!) It’s perfectly acceptable to write for an hour, then come back the next day and write more, etc. Do it however it feels right – no need to rush.
While the following questions are simple and straightforward, you’ll likely feel pleasantly exhausted at the end, not just from the mental effort, but also from observing yourself so minutely for such an extended period. The aim is to exhaust what you know about your deepest self, and thus become ready to dive deeper, into soul encounter.
Approach this with a completely open mind. Write down everything; not just options you like, or have previously considered.
|One question for each part of the octagon||Questions to help you with the part on the left|
|1. Vision – Make a list of everything you wish for the human species.||What causes do you strongly believe in? What issues do you strongly connect with?|
|2. Values – Make a list of your deepest values. All of them.||If you had the opportunity to share your ideals, principles with someone, what would you share?|
|3. Powers – Make a list of your strengths and talents. All of them.||Put another way: what are you naturally good at? (Skills, abilities, talents, gifts etc.)|
|4. Essence – Write down what you believe to be your essence. Do your best – this can be tricky!||What is the core, fundamental, essential, pure radiance or irreducible quality of your soul? What do you ‘transmit’ without even saying anything?|
|5. Giveaway (your unique transformational process) – Make a list of what you love doing to help others. Include everything.||What do people typically ask for your help with? What activities that benefit others make you lose track of time and/or make you feel great about yourself?|
|6. Mission – Make a list of all the essential missions, projects, goals or sacred tasks that you feel strongly about. All of them.||What service-oriented projects or missions would you regret not completing, were your life cut short?|
|7. Message – Make a list of all the messages you’d like to share with the world. All of them.||If you could get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be? Who would the message be for? What do you know, or deeply believe, about life/people/the world/something else that you wish other people knew/believed?|
|8. Delivery System – Make a list of all the vocations/job titles that would allow your purpose to flourish. All of them.||This is about the means you use to express your purpose in your daily life. What functions or activities would allow you to express your purpose as you currently know it? Think broadly. Include both ‘jobs’ and activities, e.g. ‘teacher’ ‘workshop leader’ ‘yoga’ ‘writing’ etc.|
Next, complete the exercises below. As well as being worthwhile in their own right, they can help you gain additional clarity about questions 1, 3 and 4. If you get more insights, go back to part a) and add them to your writing.
i) Deathbed exercise – Vision
Let yourself imagine a life well lived, to the hilt, to the nth degree. You are 100 years old, dying, in your home, surrounded by loving friends and family. Really put yourself in that place. You feel warm, happy, content, ready to release your hold on life. But just before you do, you look back at your life, remembering the friends you have made and the life lessons learned. Above all, recall the projects, efforts and gifts you offered your people. Recall the difficulties you overcame to bring your gifts to the world.
Now, write down everything you can recall from living a profoundly successful life, especially noting the success in serving your people. Let yourself write aspirationally, with complete free rein, without editing.
Remember, this is the best-case scenario of your life in which you lived at full strength!
Look over the answers you received from the emails to your friends (in Module 1) about the things you are naturally good at. Do they spark any new ideas or thoughts?
iii) Essence – imaginal essence exercise
Imagine that you illuminate each room you walk into with your unique light, a radiance that is unique to you. Describe how that light, that illumination, affects the people it touches. How would you describe the essence that shines from you? Examples from history might be: Jesus’s essence was love, Buddha’s essence was wisdom, Martin Luther King’s essence was justice.
Golden shadow exercise
Many people are familiar with the idea of the ‘shadow’, which we might think of as the ‘dark’ or hidden aspects of ourselves that we find unacceptable. We are less familiar with the ‘golden’ shadow – our disowned positive qualities.
Who inspires you?
1. Make a list of people you admire (they can be dead or alive, friends, or well-known leaders.)
2. Make a list of the qualities that you most admire about them.
3. Next, find a word that seems to sum up these qualities – do the best you can.
4. Finally, see that quality for what it is: a golden projection from your own soul onto other ‘like-minded’ souls. Now own it for yourself…it was in you all along.
Write at least one paragraph about your experience doing each of the practices above, and email it to me next week, by the end of the day before we normally meet on (send more than that if you would like. If you’d like to share the whole thing, that’s great too).