By Suzanne E. Harrill
"Here is a test to see if you have completed your life purpose. If you are alive you haven’t.”
Illusions by Richard Bach.
Our well-being depends on our body, mind, and spirit being balanced and working together. Many ignore the messages of the body not realizing that it is just as important a spiritual practice to communicate with our body as it is to meditate or pray to develop our spiritual nature. Learn how to expand your understanding of the body-mind-spirit connection by developing rapport with your body. Contribute to your own healing and well-being by learning the language of the body. As you learn to strengthen your body awareness it supports living your divinity. Life happens unconsciously at first for most of us and gradually we learn the importance of self-awareness. It is a gradual process of waking up to how life works and learning ways to support this process.
We improve the quality of our lives once we understand the importance of expanding our awareness, healing our past, and actualizing our goals and intentions. The more self-aware the easier it is to relax into living what we came here to do. At first, we are in the dark, not realizing there is a path or a purpose. We just walk, stumbling around, usually feeling like a victim when someone or something prevents us from getting what we want. Decisions are repeats of our parents and society’s expectations, or an attempt to do the opposite. Many choices are randomly played out. The good news is, the feedback from these unconscious choices builds awareness. The more pain and suffering we experience from unaware choices, the more we look outside our frame of reference for new information. We notice people doing better than we are and become curious about them. We find teachers showing us a new path. New ideas are introduced, such as, we have something to do with what happens to us. Another is the importance of loving ourselves unconditionally. Discovering how we feel about ourselves influences our choices and how much good we can accept. Most of us need to upgrade our belief system to incorporate higher truths than we were taught. Once we navigate the self-discovery path for a while we almost always want to know more about life and why we are here.
My intention is to help you take the next step on your journey, whether it is developing body awareness or soul awareness or both. Let us begin with discovering how to decipher your body messages and then how to listen to your soul messages. As we learn how to communicate with the body’s intelligence we create an improved instrument to receive clear guidance and actualize our spiritual purpose.
Receiving information from your body wisdom requires a new language. This language is very subtle and not as concrete as using facts and data that we are accustomed to with our linear mind. Intuition and inner rapport are developed by connecting to your higher mind. Quiet time is needed when developing this connection. Here we can ask for information while pondering issues, journaling, paying attention to dreams and daydreams, meditating, praying, or just simply being. This language is about receiving insights from your greater Self. Deep listening is a skill needed to help us uncover hurts and inner conflicts buried in the body that affect our health and well-being. These emotional hurts can be made conscious, understood, grieved, forgiven, and integrated into your mind-body system, thus creating a sound vehicle in which to express your spiritual purpose. It takes practice to develop this type of listening.
Many need a jumpstart to learn about their inner world and to communicate with their bodies. How might you begin? With quiet time each morning. It can even be when the alarm goes off and you have a few minutes to enter your day. Ideally you sit quietly for 5-15 minutes each day with an intention to connect with your body. As you sit calmly, deep breath, feeling your body relaxing on the outbreath. What do you notice about your body? Maybe you feel tension or pain somewhere. While in this relaxed state ask your hurt foot, or head, or stomach what it would like you to know about this pain at this time. Then ask what it needs from you now.
You may receive information about this issue currently or in the future. Messages come in many ways. Some people see symbols or pictures, some people receive feelings, while others hear a quiet still voice. You may get a flash of insight and simply know the answer. Thank your body for this information. If you do not receive any messages, respect this. You may first need to address other issues such as negative self-talk that says, “This will not work for me,” or “This is too hard.” Know that your answers are coming in the right time and in the right way for you. Stay conscious of messages shown through dreams, daydreams, words of wisdom from another, chance encounters, sermons, lectures, you tube talks, book passages, or TV shows that catch your attention and speak to you. Remember when you ask for information the answer is near.
To go deeper with your inner work, consider that the body is a recording of your history. It is common to think that imbalances in the body result from toxins in the environment, poor diet, bad genes, or bad luck to name a few. These do affect the body. It is not generally understood though that there is also a mind-body connection and that emotional and thinking components affect the body too. All faulty beliefs, hurtful events or words from others, and denied emotions get stuck in the body. You can also be carrying unresolved emotional pain from your family lineage. When there are too many unresolved issues it usually shows up as pain, illness, and injury. Since we have more control over our own consciousness, this is where much of our power to heal results, learning to uncover hidden issues and listening to the body wisdom. The healing journey requires digesting these issues in order to improve our health and well-being. A balancing process is admitting the pain and disappointment we have experienced when it comes into our awareness. We may need to grieve, feel our feelings, admit our problems, or love ourselves unconditionally. Practicing self-compassion is of great importance also. Why? The younger parts of us that were wounded get internalized many times as something being wrong with us. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You are a beautiful expression of Source with a special reason for being here.
Besides listening to your body so you can do the inner work necessary to heal, it is just as important to talk to your body kindly, as you would to a young child or a close friend. Gratitude, encouragement, acceptance, and forgiveness heal the body as well as cracking the code of what the body wants to tell us. Following are some positive statements to help you get started talking to your body. Affirmations are intentions that move you in the direction you want to go. It is important to talk this way to your body even if you do not believe some to be true yet.
- I love my body and my body loves me.
- My body is my best friend.
- I am one with my body and we work together for health and well-being.
- I am grateful for my body.
- I love and accept my body today just the way it is, no matter what issues show up.
- I forgive my body for not being perfect, when hurting, or being ill.
- I appreciate and know my body is doing its best at all times.
- I often ask my body, “What do you need at this time?”
- I love each and every cell, organ, and system in my body.
- I am balanced and happy making choices that bring me joy.
- All that I need comes to me to support and heal my body.
- Every cell in my body is happy and works harmoniously with the whole.
- I feel safe because I have a strong immune system that protects me.
- I take good care of my body.
- I enjoy living in my body.
- I am healthy, whole, and complete.
Now that you have an idea of the direction to take in building communication with your body, let us look at deep listening to your soul’s agenda. In living our purpose, some of us are more yang about the agenda that we came here to accomplish and are driven to express our gifts and talents in specific directions. Others of us have a more yin experience of why we are here and do not have a clear picture, yet we do have a purpose, but with less focus. When we look back it usually makes more sense to us. Both types of missions are valuable ways to experience why we are here. It is just as important to give quality parenting or grandparenting to a child or bring beauty into expression through gardening, art, or cooking, as it is to write a book or to be an inspirational, mentoring supervisor in an organization. You and I have multiple purposes with a lot of agendas to explore.
I have experienced more passive missions at times and more active purposes at other times. I wanted to be a mother and a teacher at a very young age. Actualizing them felt more yin as I look back. I know now these were reasons I was here because it fulfilled my heart’s desire. Creating a family was a conscious intention and is still fulfilling – connecting with loved ones makes me feel full and content. Later in my life, after a lot of inner growth and spiritual practice, I experienced direct inspiration and was motivated to write books and give talks moving me to be a different kind of teacher. Looking back this felt more yang, like the drive was coming from somewhere else than my normal personality. I see this now as part of my soul’s mission – to inspire others through writing and teaching and counseling to grow in self-awareness and move in the direction of all they were created to be.
Some of you may resonate with how I currently see my purpose – to be of service, to stay mindful and in the present moment as often as possible, to steer through challenges with awareness and calmness, to connect often with people I care about, and to keep growing in spiritual awakening and self-discovery. I ask to be a channel for good and to use my gifts to help others know themselves and heal themselves. I jokingly say I am a secret agent for Spirit.
How do you figure out your current purpose and your Soul’s intention? The fastest, easiest way is to pay attention to what brings you joy. Move in the direction of your dreams and highest wishes. At the same time pay attention to things that do not feel right and things that feel good. I daily make choices from my highest preferences. When younger I did not have the conscious awareness that I was doing this, yet the following example will show you this was exactly what I was doing, going towards my highest preferences, moving towards my joy. Some would say I was divinely guided. Being a middle school art teacher did not give me feelings of happiness. My heart was not in it. I intentionally gave it my best, yet I was drawn to further my education and make choices that did resonate with me. I was much happier being in the counseling field and teaching self-discovery classes to adults. These preferences were my inner guidance system helping me actualize a bigger purpose than I would have known. This is an example of what I call my soul’s purpose.
Following is a life purpose inventory to stimulate your thinking about the spiritual direction for your life. Whether you are a seasoned traveler who is looking for what is next on your path or are just getting started asking what your soul’s mission is, these questions can spark your intuition. You may like to journal about some of the answers.
Life Purpose Inventory
1. What goals would you pursue if you knew you would succeed?
2. List your talents, interests, and gifts (you may or may not be using them). Write about one that you would like to nurture.
3. What are things you love to do when you have the time?
4. What are things you see others doing or wish you could do if time, education, and money were not issues?
5. What do you think or feel would make your family, community, or the world a better place? What part might you play to bring this about?
6. List the major emotional events, traumas, or challenges that have shaped your life. Write about any that tug at your consciousness and might motivate you to get involved in making changes in the world, in the awareness of others, or to help others with similar problems.
7. Write the most exciting future you can think of for yourself.
8. Who do you respect, admire, and wish to emulate? Explain. Write about the possibilities of doing some of the same things accomplished by those you admire.
9. List lessons you have learned so far in life. Write about the ones that are still in process. (Clue: where or with whom are you in conflict or dissatisfied?) What might you have to teach others working through similar issues as yourself?
10. What do others say when they compliment you? Use your imagination and explore how these complimentary traits could be used in a greater way.
13. Meditate, asking for insights about your spiritual purpose.
14. Sit quietly and allow anything else that your unconscious wants to express about your spiritual purpose to flow into your mind.
If any of these ideas have caught your attention or reminded you of what you already know, consider delving deeper. We all know the only thing we have control over in life is our inner world. Our choices, thoughts, and attitudes color how we experience what happens to us. We even influence those around us. Learning to enjoy our life, to treat our body as our best friend, to boost our communication with our body, and to live our soul’s purpose consciously are an inside job, nobody can give this to us. Deep listening to the body and building self-awareness is the key to living comfortably in your body and allowing your Divine Nature to live through you.