Yesterday I announced that Soul Interpreter, Chris Dierkes will be sharing a regular post here on TinaOLife. If you missed it, here is what I’m so thrilled about.
Today we launch Chris’ column “Dear Soul Dude” and he’s chosen to nail a biggie: the soul and your life’s purpose. Oh boy. How many sleepless nights have you had rolling that question around over and over and over and over and over…? It makes my stomach flip just thinking about it. A few years ago I would wake up between 3am and 4am almost every night just twitching with this question. I would sedate myself with netflix in order to go back to sleep, usually by 6am, just when my ‘duties’ as mom was starting.
I love that we’re opening up Chris’ column with this delicious topic. Have a read. What are your thoughts? What are your questions? We’ll be sure to respond just as quickly as time allows. Ready? Let’s dive in!
I want you to help me find my purpose.
I want to discover my purpose in life.
When I talk to individuals considering entering into a soul work process this is the most common complaint and desire they bring with them.
I empathize with the sincere desire that underlies the statement. I think framing the the issue as finding or discovering one’s purpose is causing people huge amounts of unnecessary suffering and pain.
I believe wanting to discover your purpose in life is really problematic. But please hear what I am and am not saying in that statement. Undoubtedly the desire to express your soul is genuine. Conceiving of and framing that desire as finding or discovering your purpose is very bad.
Why? Seems sorta nuts to oppose people finding their purpose in life no? It might be a foolhardy quest but I’m going to try to persuade you that trying to find your purpose is an unhelpful approach to life. In order to get there however we first need a little background on the nature of the soul and its desires. Once we do that I hope you’ll understand why I’m arguing against looking to discover or find your purpose in life.
Be Careful (How You Frame) What You Wish For
The soul works through irresistible impulse, deep desire, and profound pull. The soul is a kind of generative germinator, a locus of longing. The soul is tidal; it’s energies build and gather intensity like the ocean’s waves. The passions of a soul incite it to movement and motivate it to action. The soul’s surge is an impulsion; it is kinetic, charged, dynamic.
Impulsion, drive, longing, these are the urges and surges of the soul.
Now the next step is to learn the fine art of creatively and judiciously beginning to ride those tidal impulses of the soul, to put those soul impulsions into concrete language. This path involves giving voice to these deep urges of the soul by letting them coalesce into intentions.
Intentions act as frames, as containers for these deeper-than-words groanings of the soul. Intentions give shape, consistency, and meaning to the soul’s sighs.
Intentions then are crucially important. There is a sweet spot where an intention has enough concreteness to give tangible shape and profile to a soul longing and yet is not so dense that it flattens the soul’s desire. This process of moulding a soul’s instincts into a life-giving intention is an art not a science. In other words, not all intentions are created equal. Some intentions, some containers are more congruent to the subtlety and power of a soul desire. Some less so.
The soul is more like an inclination. Soul longings incline in certain directions. They incline away from other directions. But these inclinations, these urges are not yet to be so narrowly defined as to efface the multiple ways that these longings can be practically realized and expressed.
The soul is more like an inclination.
As it comes to this particular topic of life path, the deep longing, the primordial urging of a soul, is to express its true nature, to irradiate the world with its singular light. This is universally the case for all souls.
That impulse is deeply felt by people. It’s a beautiful one. It’s very real.
Here then comes the mistake (in my view). That beautiful impulse of a soul is then interpreted and framed as needing to “find my purpose in life.” In naming the deep soul longing as such the person has inadvertently already begun to lose touch with the deeper impulse. They accurately sensed it but they have unfortunately mislabeled it and badly framed it.
The impulse is valid. The framework of interpretation is not. The latter distorts the former. What is needed then is the felt sense of the underlying tidal surging of the soul AND a more adequate frame to understand it, to seek to concretely surf it.
Finding Means Something Is Lost
If you begin with the proposition that you want to find your purpose you are describing your purpose as lost. When people say to me “they are looking for their purpose in life”, I’ll point my eyes up to the ceiling or look out the window or under the chair I’m sitting on. Looking for your purpose? Where? Where would a soul’s purpose happen to be?
I hear people describe finding their soul’s purpose or locating it like it was a buried pirate treasure. Unfortunately far too many practitioners (in my experience) play into this problematic dynamic. They sell themselves as helping someone “locate” their lost purpose as if it were indeed some kind of buried treasure. Practitioners will even claim they have some special map to their client’s purpose, complete with an X to mark the spot of the (other) soul’s inherent desires. Once someone becomes the expert on locating your lost soul purpose, they can immediately sell you this fanciful dream (or is it a nightmare?).
Looking for your purpose? Where? Where would a soul’s purpose happen to be?
The central error here is that the purpose of a soul is intrinsic to the soul itself.
The purpose is not somewhere else. Consequently you do not need to go on a journey to locate your supposedly lost soul purpose. You need not look outside yourself. There’s no reason for you to adopt some formulaic three, four, five, or ten step formula to activating your soul’s growth, potential, and purpose.
There’s the old saying of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” In this case it would be “if it ain’t lost don’t find it.”
Your soul’s purpose is not lost. It’s inherent to the soul of you, to the soul of anything or anyone. The philosopher Aristotle described the soul as the animating principle, the essential mover of a being. In other words, that deep generative longing. That is inherent to you as an incarnate soul.
So there is no need to bring in some outside set of actions in order to “locate” your soul’s purpose. All that needs to happen is to let your soul out. What people call their purpose is really just the unfolding of their soul.
Consequently there’s no reason to abdicate your soul’s sovereignty to someone else, to some expert (self-proclaimed, valid or otherwise). All that is needed is learning to attend to the generative impulses of your soul that are always already motivating you from the depths. And then from there learning how to let them move, form, and solidify into life-giving, creative, loving action.
If you say you are looking to find your soul purpose then you will seek outwardly in vain. You will seek elsewhere than directly where you need to, namely the core animating tides of your soul. I use words like tides, urges, impulsions to describe this mysterious quality of soul because they speak to the subtle nature of the soul, to the soul’s fluidity.
Looking for your soul’s purpose is disempowering. It’s meant to be empowering but sadly it’s the exact opposite.
That’s the main reason I believe looking for your purpose is well-intentioned but nevertheless flawed. There are a few other major reasons as well, which I want to mention just briefly.
Such as, the soul is not bound by a or any purpose.
The soul doesn’t have a purpose. The soul is purposeful.
The key is to express the nature of your soul as it is. That is intrinsically meaningful, purposeful, and creative. It is so much simpler and more heartfelt than “finding your soul’s purpose.”
Chris is a long time spiritual practitioner and teacher. Raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, he has had a lifelong love affair with the Christian mystical tradition, however he is also well versed in a diverse range of lineages and teachings. He’s a strong advocate for shamanic forms of healing work and consciousness, as well as being a Reiki Master in three lineages of Reiki.
He works with with clients from a variety of backgrounds: from different religious traditions, spiritual but not religious folks, agnostics, seekers, and atheists.
He spent four years living as a monk in his twenties and later worked for three years as an Anglican priest in Vancouver.
He is a soul interpreter and an energy healer.
Chris lives in Vancouver with his beloved wife Chloe (a doula) and their daughter Sage.
Have a question for Chris? Want to check out his blog? Want to find out more? Check out his website and be sure to leave him a message below okay?