Discovering your Soul’s purpose is not a linear process.
Don’t expect to find a “step-by-step guide” or “7 quick tips …” listicle here.
Your Soul is not logical.
Your Soul has its own bone-deep, ancient, wordless wisdom – and it doesn’t conform to what your mind wants or desires.
Think of your Soul like a vast, primordial cosmos within you. Your mind, on the other hand, is like a little angry red-faced man, waving his fists to the heavens, demanding it to rain already.
It just won’t happen!
There is a kind of reverence we need to bring to discovering our core Soul purpose.
Just as we would enter a church or temple with quietness and humility, so too do we need to approach our Soul with a sense of holy veneration.
Our Soul is the center of who we are: it is the fiery core, the illuminated essence, the crystalline deep sea, or the unique spark of Divinity we all carry.
As such, to really and truly find our Soul’s purpose, we need to move out of our Instagram-scrolling, Netflix-binging, distraction-loving “monkey mind” and into a space of sincerity, slowness, and devotion.
Table of contents
- What Does Soul Purpose Mean?
- Soul Loss & Soul Retrieval
- Qualities to Cultivate in Preparation For Finding One’s Soul Purpose
- Soul Purpose: How to Discover and Fulfill Your Destiny
- What to Do if You Feel Like You’re Wasting Your Life
What Does Soul Purpose Mean?
The purpose of our lives is to give birth to the best which is within us.
– Marianne Williamson
One’s ‘Soul purpose’ can be thought of as one’s ultimate purpose in life. Soul purpose can also be used interchangeably with “destiny.”
Everything in existence serves some kind of purpose. A tree’s purpose, for instance, is to provide us with oxygen and reduce pollution – but overall, its true ‘Soul purpose’ can be described as a protector of our ecosystem.
Bacteria, on the other hand, have the true purpose of breaking down debris within our ecosystem – they provide the space for new life to flourish.
As humans, we’re a little tricky. We have a biological “purpose” which is to eat, breed, and colonize. But we also have a deeper, individual purpose.
This individual Soul purpose could be anything from finding the next cure to a rare disease, to building an animal sanctuary or promoting racial equality.
Your Soul purpose is completely unique to you, and only you can carry it out.
Soul Loss & Soul Retrieval
When we experience Soul Loss we begin experiencing feelings of weakness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and emptiness. We just know that something is missing from our lives, but many of us struggle to discover what exactly that is.– Mateo Sol
In the vast majority of cases, the reason why we struggle to reconnect with our Soul’s purpose is that we aren’t connected with our Soul to begin with!
Put another way, we have contracted something called Soul Loss.
We have lost touch with our Souls due to trauma, childhood conditioning, abuse, self-neglect, inherited toxic core beliefs, and a lack of Soul-centered education.
The Soul, once something found within the earth, connectedness with others, and through a sense of sacredness and connection to a deity, has now been replaced with mechanistic and materialistic possession.
Science and rationality are absolutely needed, don’t get me wrong. But when we focus too much on the “yang,” on the masculine-driven values of success, advancement, and conquest, we lose our Souls.
To find our Souls again, we must practice Soul Retrieval. We must connect with the yin or the divine feminine (which is a genderless force) within us.
There are many ways to practice Soul Retrieval. For brevity’s sake (and because this article isn’t about that topic), I’ll list some below:
- Meditation and visualization journeys
- Working with inner archetypes
- Entering altered states of consciousness
- Practicing self-love and compassion
- Inner child work and shadow work
Read more about these Soul Retrieval methods.
How do we know when we’ve successfully ‘retrieved’ our Soul? This is a good question, and my first response is that you will sense it intuitively.
For example, instead of feeling dull and flat inside, you’ll feel more vigor and life within you. You may feel a spark of passion suddenly ignite within you, life may seem more awe-inspiring, or the world may seem to regain its color again.
In essence, you’ll feel more energized, refreshed, dynamic, inspirited, inspired, and perhaps even as if you have been “reborn.”
Qualities to Cultivate in Preparation For Finding One’s Soul Purpose
To enter the gateways described in the next section, it’s vital that we, even after retrieving more access to the Soul, hone the following qualities:
- Honesty – focus on being honest with yourself, be truthful
- Gratitude – attune to what you are thankful for in life, this will help to open your heart, which is a gateway to your Soul
- Openness – be willing to invite in new experiences
- Trust – learn to trust your insights and discoveries
Engaging in a regular spiritual practice will help you to grow or strengthen these qualities within you. (For more guidance on developing a spiritual practice, read: What is Spirituality?).
Soul Purpose: How to Discover and Fulfill Your Destiny
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
– Mary Oliver
Once you have retrieved access to your Soul, it will be infinitely more simple to unveil your Soul’s purpose.
But it won’t be straightforward, lemme tell you!
I’ve rarely heard, seen, or met someone who “immediately” knew what their Soul purpose was – as if it suddenly and angelically descended upon them from the heavens.
There is no recipe here, no 1-2-3 hey presto series of instructions.
As I said before, your Soul is nonlinear: it pre-dates the mind and also transcends it in every possible way.
All I can do as an experienced Soulworker who has made ensoulment my priority is to offer advice for this ebbing and flowing spiral-shaped path.
It has taken me years and years to gain some semblance of my ‘true path,’ and even then, I’m still learning!
So here are some gateways, humbly offered to you on your mystical journey of self-actualization and self-realization:
Gateway 1: Catch Those Ghostly Wisps of Joy
Magic exists. Who can doubt it when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars?– Nora Roberts
We’ve all had those bizarre moments and whimsical experiences that suddenly spark a sense of curiosity, awe, love, magic, and inspiration inside of us.
Most people just ignore them and carry on with their day, assuming that such moments were their mind ‘imagining things’ or perhaps they’re simply in a strange mood.
My advice is to tell those mental justifications to kiss it! Take such ghostly wisps of joy seriously. They mean something!
Perhaps it was a nostalgic song that put you into a state of reverie, or a butterfly floating on the wind, or a raindrop sliding down the window that sparked a mystical moment of pure delight.
Whatever that wisp of joy was, don’t let it float away into the ether. Pay attention! Contemplate it. Better still, journal about it and what it meant to you.
These odd moments often carry surprisingly deep messages. Take an experience I had the other day for instance:
I was in a funk, feeling down and overwhelmed. But as I watched the green swaying bushes outside, my Soul was slowly uplifted. I realized that like this bush, I was being tussled by life to strengthen me. A plant doesn’t grow deep roots without being weathered.
Gateway 2: Unearth Your Core Bones
Your core values are the deeply held beliefs that authentically describe your soul.– J. C. Maxwell
Your personality is the topsoil of your life – it’s the face you present to the world, and the typical self you operate from and within, in public.
But we are so much deeper than our personalities. Think back to when you were 5 years old, 15 years old, and 25 years old. Think about how your personality changed!
There are certain ‘core bones’ within us, however, that do not change. And to find your Soul purpose, you’ll need to do some Soul searching to unearth what these are.
There are three main layers to uncover within us, and these are our:
- Core Values or what principles we hold onto so strongly at our center that they are absolutely non-negotiable – we could never abandon them.
- Core Gifts or the natural talents and abilities we were born with that contribute to our Soul’s maturation and that we are exceptionally good at.
- Core Wisdom or the mysterious knowledge we know without knowing how – most intuition comes from this core wisdom that we’re born to manifest.
How do we unearth these core bones?
There are many routes, but some examples may include reading books, meditating, going on shamanic or visionary journeys, going to therapy, doing some journaling, following our passions and experimenting with ‘new things,’ and practicing self-observation, self-analysis, and introspection.
Gateway 3: Stillness, Silence, Solitude, and Nature
In solitude is healing. Speak to your soul. Listen to your heart. Sometimes in the absence of noise we find the answers.– Dodinsky
The ego, which is the artificial mask that obscures the Soul, generates so much busyness, loudness, and commotion in our everyday lives.
I’m not here to make an enemy out of the ego – we need it for survival. Those to-do lists, face-saving actions, and strategic payment of the rent help us to thrive. But the ego does have a tendency to get in the way of our deeper needs and desires.
To find your Soul’s purpose, you need a break from the ego. You need to get away from other people’s egos as well (because they tend to reinforce your own). So, naturally, solitude is the easiest way to open a gateway to the mystery of the Soul.
If you have the luxury of taking a break or retreat from your life, go into a wild place somewhere. Retreat from busy city or suburban life, and surround yourself with the howls of wolves, the coo of birds, and the rustle of tree branches around you.
Great works of literature (like Walden by Henry David Thoreau and Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton) have been written in solitude. There is something about being alone that allows the whispers of the Soul to finally be heard.
Make sure you bring some kind of journal, notebook, or diary with you, you’ll need it!
Gateway 4: Journey into the Otherworld
A problem cannot be solved by the same consciousness in which it arose.– Albert Einstein
Another way of rediscovering your Soul purpose is to take an inner break, an inner holiday from your usual state of awareness.
There are many ways to experience an altered state of consciousness, and not all of them will suit you. So be mindful, and choose only what you feel comfortable and ready to experience.
Guided visualizations and spiritual meditation are gentle ways of journeying into the otherworld of your inner Self. You can find many free Soul journey or shamanic journeying recordings on YouTube and other platforms like the app InsightTimer.
Other more intense methods involve the use of plant medicines – also known as entheogens.
If you have access to a trustworthy and trained shaman or guide, you may like to explore plant teachers like Ayahuasca, Peyote, Psilocybin Mushrooms, and so on.
Even Marijuana, which is now legal in many countries, can be used consciously and with a strong intention to journey into the Otherworld of your inner Self.
But a word of warning: be careful when using mind-altering substances – they are certainly not suitable for everyone, especially if you have a mental health condition. Tread wisely, as the use of such substances can be more traumatizing than liberating if misused or taken by the wrong person.
Gateway 5: Embrace the Power of Artistic Self-Expression
Art is the expression of the artist’s overflowing soul.– Hans Hofmann
Symbols, images, metaphors, dreams, and sensations are the primary way the Soul ‘talks’ to us – and art helps us to directly tap into and interpret this inner wisdom!
You don’t have to have one artistic bone in your body to successfully use art as a doorway to your Soul. Even a stick figure or a squiggle can carry tremendous meaning and value.
My favorite way to ‘speak’ with my Soul is by combining traditional word-based journaling with the fluidity of art. I call it therapeutic art journaling, but some would call it ‘art therapy.’
To use art as a way of reconnecting with your Soul’s purpose, make a habit every day out of drawing how you feel – don’t think about it too much! Just draw what comes to mind or what you feel like. Then stop to reflect on what’s in front of you. What feelings do you get from the image? What do the shapes or colors mean to you?
Amazing realizations can occur when simply taking time to contemplate your drawings.
What to Do if You Feel Like You’re Wasting Your Life
Don’t worry if you struggle to find your Soul purpose. It’s totally normal.
Likely, it will take you years to fully contemplate your place in the universe, and that’s okay.
A flower takes its own time to blossom, a seed takes a while to emerge from the earth. Anything that is alive takes time to flourish.
Our Soul’s are dynamic and take time to mature and grow. We could call the desire to find one’s Soul purpose also the process of ‘Soul-making’ (in the words of poet John Keats).
Professor of anthropology Bonnie Glass-Coffin says it well:
As I have come to realize through my life’s journey, the purpose of our human embodiment is, actually, to grow a soul. Like the making of a body during nine months of gestation, soul-making is also a process. For, although we are born with it, our soul continues to develop with every life experience. Our sufferings are simply the secretions that add to its luster—like a pearl inside an oyster. Making soul is the process of a lifetime, or several lifetimes.
Besides, often, the frustrating, confusing, and sobering path of trying to find your Soul’s purpose is a lesson itself in disguise!
Any treasure worth finding will take some effort. But along the way, it will teach you so much about yourself.
So hang in there. Even the detours in your life have a purpose in that they contribute toward your ultimate destiny in life.
Humankind is being led along an evolving course,
through this migration of intelligences,
and though we seem to be sleeping,
there is an inner wakefulness
that directs the dream,
and that will eventually startle us back
to the truth of who we are.
~ Rumi (The Essential Rumi)
Whether your desire to find your Soul Purpose was due to a sudden spiritual awakening, fortuitous synchronicity, or turbulent Dark Night of the Soul, it is a call to adventure. It is a call from your Soul itself to grow into the shoes laid before you.
Some days you’ll feel like you’re making progress. Other days you’ll cast your hands up in despair, feeling like you’re lost again. But know that you can never go off course, because at your core, you are Life itself.
Your Soul purpose is one facet of the total diamond that is the Divine – and there is always, always, an ultimate place for you, and only you, in this world.
Have you found your Soul purpose? Do you intuit what it might be? I’d love to hear from you below.