Your Best Life Is Waiting
Martha Beck shares her four-step process to get your life back on track. Stillness, truth, desire, trust...what area of your life do you need to work on the most? Take Martha's quiz!
Step Three: Feel Your Soul's Desires
Why is Knowing the Soul's Desires So Important?
Many people go through life unwittingly expecting other people to figure out what makes them happy, and then give it to them (anyone who's raised a baby knows that this is actually how we must care for our infants, and in some cases, the infant mentality never leaves). The problem is that others aren't mind readers, and even if they were, they could never fulfill your desires until you become fully aware of them. Again, many of us aren't aware of exactly what we want—we feel a vague sense of lack or jealousy about others' good fortune, or a kind of inner void that aches to be filled.
All of these symptoms are indicators that it's time to clarify and specify our soul's desires. My belief is that we already know these desires, and that recognizing them requires only one thing: We must stop listening so obsessively to our minds.
Obstacles to Knowing the Soul's Desires
The biggest obstacle to a recognition of our soul's desires is the mind. Our minds are conditioned to think in narrow little patterns, usually established by our families and our culture. The soul tells us what we want and need, while the mind tells us what we think we want and need.
The soul knows, "I want freedom from worry," and the mind thinks, "I want to win the lottery." The soul knows, "I want to feel connected with all things," and the mind translates that to, "I need the perfect romantic soul mate to make me feel connected." The soul is always right. The mind is usually wrong. In stillness and truth, we can tell which is which. The truth of the soul resonates with a deep sense of passion and conviction. The mind's desires feel frantic, clinging and grasping. Any hint of these desperate emotions is evidence that you're stuck on your mind's desires. Breathe deeply, let them go and dig deeper to find your soul's desires. Here's one useful method:
How to Know Your Soul's Desires
Get another piece of paper and write at the top, "Things I want." Then, list as many things as you can think of—a new car, a better job, thinner thighs, whatever. When you've listed everything you can think of, turn to a new page.
At the top of this page, write, "Things I yearn for." Then, start listing. You'll find yourself coming up with things that didn't appear on your first list, which was made mostly by your mind. We want cars—we yearn for freedom and mobility. We want hot sex—we yearn for intimacy. We want to be beautiful—we yearn for total self-acceptance. As you list the things your soul yearns for, let go of the need to figure out how they might be fulfilled. Your methods will probably not work (cars, sex and beauty don't automatically lead to freedom, intimacy and self-acceptance). Allow yourself to be okay with not knowing, for the present moment, how the universe intends to fulfill your soul's desires. The more you let go of the process, the sooner it will happen. And it will happen.