What is my soul? It’s one of those questions that we don’t often ask ourselves unless something feels off in our life. When we feel disconnected from something that we can’t quite put our finger on.

Who has time to reflect on matters of the soul when you’re on life’s treadmill?

For many years, whether or not I even had a soul, was not something I was thinking about.

All of this changed when I found myself smack dab in the middle of a really dark and confusing time in my life. When my life began to lack a sense of meaning and purpose. When I was living the “dream” and yet something was missing.

This feeling that I now call “soul hunger” threw me for a loop. It opened me up to explore what it meant to have and be a soul.

Not from a religious perspective, but from my own inner journey into the depths of my own soul.

It was a journey that might have looked like depression from the outside, but it was actually more like a void. Some call it the dark night of the soul. It was an emptiness that I had previously filled with material things, busyness, my roles, distractions and everything external to me.

All the things that kept me disconnected from my core essence and who I was meant to become.

What is the soul? It’s not an easy question to get your head around since it really has nothing to do with our thinking mind and everything to do with who we are at our very core.

I liked this short video, in which Oprah interviewed many spiritual leaders about their definition of the soul. Iyanla Vanzant described the soul as “the fingerprint of God that becomes a physical body” and she went on to say that the soul is “unique to everybody.” Deepak Chopra said, “it’s your internal reference point with which you should always be in touch.”

Having a definition of the soul is interesting, but my own experience with my soul grew from the inside-out.

I was grateful to not have preconceived ideas about what the soul was because it enabled me to explore it and connect with it in a personal and meaningful way.

The soul can only be understood through the mysteries of the non-physical world. Our core essence which includes a blueprint for our becoming. Much like an acorn will become an oak tree.

Neglecting and being out of touch with the non-physical aspects of ourselves and the spiritual laws that govern the Universe, will ultimately lead to “soul hunger.” An inner longing to know our core essence and live in alignment with it.

I created the graphic below to represent my understanding of the soul’s journey. It doesn’t mean it’s “right” it just attempts to capture what was going on inside of me.

Our Soul's Journey - Bev Janisch

The problem is that when we are disconnected from our souls we will inevitably suffer and will find it almost impossible to be happy, healthy and fulfilled. The greater the gap between how we’re living and our core essence the more we’ll struggle.

How can we possibly be happy when we’re not living in accordance with our unique blueprint?

In order to live in alignment with it, we need to become aware of it and understand who we are before the world told us who we should be.

We need to learn how to navigate the forces in our life- one force is fear/constriction and drives us to remain the same and in our comfort zone. The other force is love/expansion which urges us to become whole and in alignment.

I liken the process of “becoming” to what happens to a caterpillar who spins the cocoon and transforms into a butterfly.

Our soul’s blueprint includes our personality (I have found the Enneagram to be really helpful for understanding this) that enables us to fulfill our roles in physical form. It also includes our unique gifts which are meant to be developed and then shared with others. When you combine an understanding of your personality, with your unique gifts and life experiences, you become one of a kind.

Our soul connects with an intelligent Universe which gives us signs as to whether we are on the path that is aligned with our core essence and highest good.

Our intuition and the feelings that arise from our gut and heart help to guide us and keep us on track.

The dark nights of the soul, health issues, and relationship troubles that happen in our lives give us clues as to whether we are on our own path, or whether we’ve strayed.

To live in alignment with our souls and who we are meant to become, requires a great deal of self-awareness and “soul searching.”

Soul searching requires an inner journey that most of us are ill-equipped to take. We are not taught how to understand our inner worlds of thoughts, feelings, intuitive insights, connecting with an intelligent universe or how to connect with our souls.

This journey becomes the work of our life. To heal, grow, and evolve by living a life that aligns with who we are meant to become. When we do we begin to feel vital, connected and like our lives matter.

If you’re feeling called to do some soul searching and need guidance, you can also learn more about 1-1 Coaching HERE.

(Original post-May 2015; Updated-May 2020)