Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: Is it normal for a person to have several dreams and desires and—with the power of desire and intention—receive them all? Are we born with a spiritual or divine assignment to fulfill on earth? If we are, what happens if we don't fulfill it? What is the difference between a spiritual or divine assignment, a purpose and a calling? Can one miss a divine assignment or connection? If so, is that it, or do you get another chance to meet that divine assignment somewhere down the line? Will there be a new divine assignment waiting in the wings?
— Athena A., Houston, Texas
What stands out about your letter is what it doesn't say. You ask not one question, but a twisted tangle, and the thread that runs through this tangle is self-doubt. I imagine you find it hard to find a purpose, or to feel engaged. You easily drift away into speculation, and by seeing so many sides to every question, the urgency to do anything evaporates. My basic issue, then, is whether you really want an answer. Are you happier spinning out unanswered questions? Some people are. They prefer fantasy, daydreams and passivity to staking a claim to real life.
As to the specifics of your question, some spiritual teachers declare that we make a soul bargain before we enter a new incarnation, and that fulfilling this bargain becomes the focus of our existence. How is such a purpose discovered? By following your natural inclinations. What is right for you won't be hidden if you are connected to yourself and willing to follow where your desires lead you.
But many people find this a hazy and untrustworthy notion. They flirt with having a unique purpose while, at the same time, maintaining a safe existence based on conventional norms. No higher power is going to punish you for this. A soul bargain, if such a concept is valid, is nothing more than an agreement with yourself. Can there be more than one dream? Certainly. The real question to ask is if you have disappointed yourself. Does anything else really matter? If you aren't disappointed, then you are following the right path. If you are disappointed, you face a choice. You can continue to live with your disappointment, or you can retrace your steps and pick up your heart's desire where you abandoned it.
I know what I would do in such a situation, and I think you do, too.
Next question: What should you do if you feel depressed and hopeless about your child's future?
Every week, Deepak will be answering questions from readers just like you—ask your question now!
Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, which are available now. You can listen to his show on Saturdays every week on SiriusXMChannels 102 and 155.
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Published on April 28, 2010