The other week I was listening to a telecast interview with Neale Donald Walsch, author of the Conversations with God books. The telecast was called “Living from Your Soul,” and he gave three steps for doing this:
1) Become aware of who you are – your authentic self, your soul self.
2) Find out why you are here – your soul’s agenda.
3) Live from this agenda in every part of your life.
This idea of the soul’s agenda struck me powerfully. He suggested that our life’s purpose has nothing to do with our external situation, but rather how we move through life: our two-fold purpose is to express and experience every aspect of divinity that flows through us, and to awaken others to their souls simply by being awake to our own. He said that no matter what comes up in our life, we can ask ourselves, “What does this have to do with the agenda of my soul? What is my purpose for this moment?” in order to go deeper and find clear answers.
Personally, I have found this to be powerfully true. From relatively small annoyances and frustrations to large, confusing problems, relationships, or personal challenges, recognizing the big picture of my soul’s agenda puts everything into perspective and allows me to let go and focus on what truly matters.
I was reminded of another concept that ties right into this when I read a quote the other day from the screenplay, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: “It’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be…. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing” (emphasis mine).
There are no rules to this thing, this thing called Life. As people, we are very good at making up rules and adopting rules. We build whole societies, religions, and civilizations on these rules, these narrowly-defined “norms.” We love rules because they give us a sense of safety and control, of predictability. What we don’t realize is that, sometimes, these self-imposed rules also severely limit us. If we depend more on the rules and norms than on listening to our own soul for direction, then we become disconnected from our Divine Source. The result is a half-life, because we cannot be fully alive when we are disconnected from our Divine Source. A soul-centered life is free, spontaneous, and fearless. It is the experience of mind, body, and spirit working together in sync, exactly as they were designed to work.
I was brought up in a strict religion with the teaching that I should not trust myself, that I should not trust my thoughts, my feelings, and especially my desires. This religion taught that my mind and body were sinful and that my heart was deceitful. As a result, I developed a rigid “rules” mindset very quickly. During that time and even for a while after leaving that environment, I remember being paralyzed if I had to make any type of choice or decision for which there was no hard and fast rule. Without a rule to tell me exactly what I should do, I was simply incapable of deciding for myself. I believed that if anything I thought or felt might be wrong, I was sure to make a terrible mistake and live to regret it.
I had not yet learned that in actuality, all the answers I needed were within me. I had yet to meet my inner wisdom (I hadn’t been taught about that), which is not the same thing as your thoughts and feelings, but does speak through them, as well as your physical body. It took some time, but the intense healing and freedom that I experienced when I realized that my soul, and not any external “rules,” was my ultimate trustworthy authority, was incomparable. When I learned that making a mistake – what I feared so much – was simply an illusion, I was able to start really living.
Directly connecting with my soul transformed my entire life, but I still find myself being influenced by the “rules” mindset sometimes. It is all around us, and the majority of people have this mindset, so it’s easy to get swept along. It is important to learn and be very intentional about listening to your own deep inner wisdom and trusting its voice, not the thousands of external voices around you. Ultimately, no one person possesses absolute truth. Each experience is unique, and we each see and understand different parts of life. Value and honor your own experience and your own truth – it’s a beautiful thing.