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In this post, we’ll talk about finding your soul purpose, or living your dharma. This is also known as living your true nature. This is the process of gaining more understanding about where you are in life, where you’re going, and learning to respect the process as you go.
Living your dharma means living your true nature and expressing your soul on earth. Before we’re born, we exist as pure souls, full of love. Then we come to earth, forget our purpose and who we are. Our journey on earth is discovering our purpose throughout our lives. To maybe eventually conclude that there is no purpose to pursue. Those are the contradictions of life 😉
Your body is an excellent example of what it looks like to live one’s dharma. In your body, everything does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Your heart pumps blood, that’s its dharma; your lungs breathe air, that’s their dharma. As a person, you have talents, passions, and things that come naturally to you – that’s your dharma.
When you feel different from other people, you can feel isolated (even if you’re not). But this feeling is valuable because when you feel this way, it drives you to look inwards. That’s when you start to connect with yourself. A lot of people have to go through bouts of depression or burnout to start to look inwards, but that’s all part of the process as well.
Just because you’ve found your purpose for the time being doesn’t mean it’s necessarily forever. Just like you fall in and out of love over time and relationships can change and end, the same can be true for your life purpose. Remember, that doesn’t negate their goodness and purpose.
Life is always changing, and uncertainty is part of the natural ebb and flow of life. When we lead from our heads, we learn to think, analyze, and follow logic. When you live your dharma, you learn to embrace that things don’t always make sense in your mind, but your heart has its own logic. This allows you to find peace and a rhythm to life.
Once, I was sitting in a plant medicine ceremony, picking up on the vibrations of the room. Suddenly, my body started dancing – without me telling it to! It was amazing to experience (even though I eventually got kicked out of the ceremony!). When you shine in your true nature, you can disturb others. But the power is there when you still follow the music you feel in your heart, even when other people don’t hear it.
I’ve been judged a lot in my life because spirituality isn’t always rational or logical. Society doesn’t encourage us to laugh or cry a lot. It rewards people who are normal, average. It doesn’t encourage spirituality. But your nature is not average.
Where you live, what you do for a living, the friends you keep, and your romantic relationships become part of your identity. Letting go of this identity often has to happen before you can fully live your new self. Your new self is the unknown. It’s uncertainty. It requires jumping into a new path without seeing, only feeling that it’s time to take the first step.
The only constants in life are uncertainty. It’s always there, hovering over us. But the beautiful thing about uncertainty is that it’s a fruitful ground for possibility. When everything is uncertain, everything is possible. And remember, surrendering to uncertainty is part of your nature.
In life, we go through phases and stages as we come closer to becoming more of ourselves and our true nature. I like to think of this process through the lens of the Hero’s Journey. Many books and movies follow this script to show the cycle that life naturally follows. It can be very helpful for understanding your spiritual awakening.
You are in the ‘normal World’. Everything seems fine. You are not aware that there is a bigger potential inside of you that is sleeping.
It all starts with feeling a calling from inside yourself. Maybe you’ve felt this calling in your own life. Maybe you’re hearing it now.
This is a natural part of the process. Few people immediately hear the calling and accept it. Instead, they tend to think, “No, what will other people think of me?”, “I have to make money,” or “I already have everything I need in life.”
The calling continues to knock on the door of your heart. You start to see synchronicities and signals, coincidences that are too uncanny to truly be coincidences. These are signs from the universe pushing you toward your calling, toward your journey.
You may not even know what the calling is yet, since you’re still in your comfort zone. Still, your intuition is preparing you and inviting you to enter this unknown world. You may be fearful about this as you decide whether or not to embark on this journey. Here a mentor comes on your path to show you what is possible when you go beyond your fear.
Eventually, your comfort zone becomes so painful that you have no choice but to step into the unknown. This often comes about because of burnout, depression, a divorce or break-up, or moving to a new location. It can also be brought about thanks to someone else’s help.
What’s most important is that the status quo is no longer sustainable or desirable, so you finally take the plunge into the unknown in hopes of finding something better.
For me, my first test was doing ayahuasca for the first time. I felt called to make a huge change in my life and that was the first hurdle I had to encounter on my journey. I knew I had to go through a process in order to change. I felt like a caterpillar on her way to becoming a butterfly and a struggle was necessary to grow wings strong enough to fly. But at the time, I didn’t see as clearly as I do now that everything that happened was all part of the process.
I faced an identity crisis, which many other people also do. It’s common to feel fear as you face the different phases of the journey. In the end, I had to let go of my home, my old career, my city, and even my name. I heard my inner voice urging me to change my name and I knew that by doing that, I was emerging as a new person. It felt very vulnerable.
You may consider going back to your comfort zone, but then you realize you can’t turn back anymore; you’ve already changed who you are. At that point, resisting is the worst thing you can do. You can’t deny your destiny and your true feelings anymore. You can no longer live a lie after you’ve opened your heart.
A figurative death is a crucial part of this journey. It’s the point at which your soul completely transforms and your ego dies.
When I changed my name, I knew I would lose people in my life. But I didn’t realize that by losing those people, I was essentially weeding my garden, which left space for something new to flourish. When people don’t support you, it helps you dig deeper to examine your feelings. This is a great opportunity to check in with yourself and to make sure you’re actually pursuing what you feel genuinely called to do. It’s the ultimate test.
The moment you make your decision is the moment you are ready to receive the reward of your hard work. A part of your ego died and you librated yourself.
At the end of your journey, you’re able to look back and see how far you’ve come. You’re able to embark on a fresh new start as a revitalized, changed person. You’re also able to walk through life as your authentic self, knowing in your heart that you’ve done the right thing. You’ve gone through all these different phases, struggles, and hesitations and can now walk with greater self-assurance.
Ged faces the shadow that has pursued him since its release during his magical duel. By giving the shadow his own name, he is able to face it finally, merging with it. He is reborn, finally healed and whole from his previous injuries. –The Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
As you share your story, you can use your journey and past struggles to help others. This is how the spiritual awakening cycle works. You can’t become a teacher while you’re still in the middle of the ego-death phase. Rather, you must have completed your journey in order to help others through their journeys.
When you look inward, you’ll be able to know with confidence what your heart needs and what your dharma is. If you see yourself as already being in the middle of this process, you can look inwards to receive a sign that you’re on the right path.
When you learn to recognize these phases, you can also have more respect for yourself and the phases of your life. In the hero’s journey, you prove to yourself that you can trust in your heart. Society removes us from our heart and puts us more in our head. Your spiritual awakening undoes that messaging.
And as you travel, remember to take time for joy. There should be joy in the process of searching for your dharma!