Human beings are gifted with the potential to create meaning in our lives. Integrating the wisdom of our soul lessons helps us evolve, become more fully awake, and co-create our lives with an intelligent universe.
Soul lessons arise when we pause and create space to integrate the meaning of an experience in our lives. When we consciously ask, What did I learn from that experience? What happened to me? In the post, How To Determine Your Soul Lessons In This Lifetime I provide a practical way to identify your key soul lessons based on the major challenges you’ve experienced in your life.
Soul lessons constantly expand our hearts and cultivate love, self-compassion, inner peace, and other life-affirming expansive states. We know that soul lessons are integrated into our lives when we experience more authentic happiness.
One summer, I had the most profound experience with my little Granddaughter, Brooklyn, which showed me that we are meant to create meaning around what happens to/for us. Even two years olds naturally feel the need to integrate soul lessons.
Our family was out in a boat in the middle of a lake. Little Brooklyn was nestled in my arms when a huge wave engulfed the boat. I held her tight as the water threatened to either sink the boat or toss us out. I knew we were OK within seconds, and Brooklyn started crying from the shock. After some reassurance and snuggles, she quickly settled, and we marvelled at what a “great adventure” that was!
I’ll never forget what happened after the initial shock wore off. For the next few days, Brooklyn repeatedly asked me the same question: “Nana, what happened to me?”
She had an instinctual need to create meaning around what happened to her. It’s like her little soul knew what it needed. She needed to make meaning to integrate the experience and then move on.
A few days later, she hopped back into the boat and courageously sat upfront again where the incident had happened. She had processed the experience and felt safe. She could move forward.
This instinct to create meaning exists in all of us!
I feel like the last ten years have been nothing but soul lessons. It’s like I had to make up for all those years I lived pretty mindlessly. But once the soul starts to awaken, there’s no turning back. Although challenging, I wouldn’t trade one of my soul lessons.
Here are my top 10 soul lessons:
Spiritual awakening means we’re beginning to see glimpses of our dual nature.
Awakening is a pivotal time in the evolution of our consciousness when we realize that we have a lower nature, our personality, and a higher nature, our soul.
Our personality, or the conditioned self that I often call it, is made up of our body, emotions, and mind. It’s the container that houses our soul through which our life force energy flows. For many incarnations, we live like we’re sleepwalking through life. We’re like a machine being animated by our personality that we assume is who we are.
When our soul starts to awaken, we wake up from our trance and realize that we have a personality but are not our personality.
If we’re not our personality, then who are we?
We’re a soul that is connected to an intelligent life force that’s housed in a personality.
Many of us experience struggle and suffering due to not having the right relationship with our personalities and soul. Awakening is about getting into the right relationship with our lower and higher nature.
Physical and emotional symptoms are indicators of our spiritual health.
This lesson goes way back to the ancient wisdom we gained from philosophers like Plato, who said,
Before all it’s necessary to look after the soul, if you want the head and the rest of the body to function correctly.
This lesson awakened me to a more profound sense of myself and the resulting healing. I wasn’t listening to my soul and following my path, which manifested in physical issues – my stress hormone, cortisol, was the symptom of a misalignment with my soul.
Cortisol was a physical messenger that, from a medical perspective, was to be diagnosed and treated. From my soul’s perspective, it inspired me to change my life. It led to my meditation practice and the realization that when our soul awakens, we’re called to serve something greater than ourselves. Our physical and emotional health will suffer when we don’t respond to the call.
Living a life that is true to our soul requires courage.
When we’re following the soul nudges in our lives, it often requires that we go against the norm and our conditioning. This call to live in alignment with our deeper truths feels right AND often uncomfortable.
When we’re following a life that feels true to our inner North Star, it may not be readily understood by others who may have different values.
It’s helpful to learn how to navigate fear and to know that there’s a difference between the fear that keeps us stuck and the fear that serves the growth and becoming our true selves.
One fear keeps us tight in a bud; the other enables us to blossom.
Relationships are meant to help us grow, not complete us or make us happy.
A few years ago, I experienced what can best be described as the dark night of the soul. It’s a spiritual process of radical change and transformation whereby we return to our true selves.
After we’ve experienced it as an individual, we are often called to undergo a similar process in our relationships (marriages). My 30-plus-year marriage went through a similar dark night of the soul this past year.
It was challenging because we needed to shed outdated beliefs, conditioning, and identification with our roles to connect at a deeper level – the level of our hearts.
It required that we grow into a new way of being together and the emergence of a new model for our relationship.
The traditional relationship model is for completing each other, whereas a spiritual relationship is for growth and supporting the other to become their true, most authentic self.
With an increasing number of awakening souls, creating new models that propel us toward growth needs to emerge.
Focus on living a meaningful life, and authentic happiness will arise.
I’ve always been inspired by the Dalai Lama and have spent many hours reflecting on what he says about happiness and the purpose of life:
The purpose of our lives is to be happy.
For the longest time on my spiritual path, I felt like I was doing something wrong. I had gone through a period when I felt lost, confused, and like my life felt meaningless. Although I had no religious background, I could resonate with the spiritual process of the dark night of the soul.
As I began to pay attention to this, I could discern the difference between the happiness our conditioned self (personality) is forever seeking and the authentic happiness that arises when we’re in the right relationship with our soul and something bigger than ourselves.
Authentic happiness arises when we can feel the full range of our emotions and our hearts are open to life. When we’re in the right relationship with our souls, we’re graced with moments of authentic happiness.
Either authentic power or personal force fuels our life.
I first heard of the idea of authentic power in Gary Zukav’s book, The Seat of the Soul. Authentic power is what we use when we harness our soul’s will to bring our higher ideas into manifestation.
In contrast, we use personal force when our personality is running the show, and we’re trying to force or make things happen to meet the needs of our conditioned selves.
When we pay attention to how the different energies feel inside us, we begin to notice that power feels like we’re in the flow of life, and although it may be stressful, it feels like meaningful stress. We sense that something is meant to emerge through us, and we’re paying attention to our higher promptings.
When we suppress this authentic power, we feel like we’re not thriving and lose a sense of vitality.
Force feels like stress that saps our souls. It feels constrictive and is the type of force that causes stress that can negatively impact our physical well-being and lead to burnout.
The purpose of life is to discover and develop the right relationship with ourselves and life itself.
All spiritual traditions and ancient wisdom point to this truth. Because our eyes and focus of attention are naturally outward, shifting the gaze and developing the capacity to look inside ourselves is a new way of moving through life.
Unfortunately, this shift from the outer to the inner doesn’t usually happen when things are going well in our lives. When life feels hardest, opportunities arise to come into the right relationship with our personality and soul.
It is coming into the right relationship that honours our soul, and personality has many moving parts. It involves entering the right relationship with our work, relationships, money, health, past, present moment, and future potential. It must start, however, with the journey inward to learn about ourselves.
As with all great relationships, the first step is getting to know ourselves. Who am I? What makes me tick? What is holding me back from fully thriving in my life?
These questions are the beginning of creating a life that honours our unique path and most incredible gifts.
Change what’s happening inside you, and the outer aspects of your life will change.
For many years I had it the other way around. I subconsciously believed that when the outer circumstances of my life felt in control and pleasant, I would be happy.
Science and our souls are teaching us that it’s the other way around. My outer circumstances will change when I create inner alignment and evolve my consciousness.
For example, if I want to change my relationship with my spouse/partner, I must first work on changing myself. And the first step in changing ourselves is understanding ourselves. When we develop a healthy relationship with ourselves that honours our deeper self instead of our small self, our outer relationships with change, this doesn’t mean it will be easy; it just means it will be possible.
We must learn how to sift, shed, and shift to realize our soul lessons.
Our experiences aren’t just things that happen to us. This concept has been beneficial regarding the beliefs I carry around – conscious and subconscious.
Sifting involves the process of contemplation and the ability to observe ourselves and our lives in action. It lets us discern what we’re meant to “see” and sift for the lessons before letting them go.
Shedding involves releasing beliefs, resentments, people, patterns, habits, etc., that prevent us from moving forward and evolving.
Shifting means changing how we behave, think, feel, and our energetic footprint.
We get stuck because we can’t visualize an inspired future version of ourselves.
This soul lesson came into my life after meditating for several years. In addition to daily spiritual practices, I had done the work in therapy to integrate my past and had developed what I would humbly say was a personality that functioned pretty well. And yet even with all this “work,” I was feeling stuck in fulfilling what I was starting to see was my soul’s calling.
That’s when the wisdom of the Enneagram psycho-spiritual soul map came into my life. The Enneagram provides a path and the insights necessary to develop the right relationship with our personality and soul.
Armed with this self-awareness, we know exactly how to integrate intentional practices to become our future best selves.
I invite you to spend some time reflecting on your top soul lessons. What is your life trying to teach you?
If you feel called, please comment below. Our community would love to hear from you!
Beautiful, very insightful article. Thankyou for this information. However I want to ask you if one experiences inconsistency in jobs and relationships, what is the soul trying to tell us. I’ve been struggling to understand that why do I feel unsettled in any work environment (is it the workplace or my career choice?). Despite an honest effort to make relationships work, I’ve only seen betrayals. What’s that supposed to mean?
You’re so welcome! I’m grateful you found the article insightful. You really have asked some meaningful questions that point to both the challenges and opportunities of the awakening journey. When things outside of us, like relationships or our careers feel off, the soul is giving us a loving nudge that we are not aligning inside with our higher selves and therefore these opportunities have presented themselves as opportunities to grow.
The first step, as ancient wisdom tells us, is to “know thyself.” As you begin to know the difference between your personality and your soul things will begin to shift inside of you. As you shift inside, things outside will also shift. You’ll be better able to answer these questions and make soul aligned choices. Much love, Bev
I feel emotional reading this as I see my own meditation practice and personal development journey last 2 years more intensely, reflected in your personal story to some extent.
I have been misaligned for 51 years to a huge extent, though seemingly following my passion for creativity. I’m noticing that there’s still a refusal to let go of old stories and voices that knew better.
I’m in hospital as I write this, on IV steroids to force a few feelings back into my body that has shut down on one side and my pelvic area: all numb and refusing to function. My MS is in overdrive!
So yes, my Soul is screaming for awakening. But I’m noticing how chronically I hold on to what I know.
I too feel emotional hearing how this post resonated with the deepest parts of you. As a former nurse who focused a great deal on “healing,” I now view healing from a deeper spiritual perspective. You spoke about misalignment and I have come to believe that healing is really about alignment and coming into the right relationship with ourselves (personality and soul).
Thank you for sharing courageously from the hospital. I and everyone else that reads this are sending healing and loving energy your way. May you let go of who you are not and fully embrace who you’re meant to become. Much love, Bev
So needed right now as i’m setting out New Year’s Resolutions… Thanks and Happy New Year.
Hi Sophie- I’m so glad to hear that you found the article inspiring for setting your 2021 intentions. Happy New Year to you as well!!
Thanks for sharing Bev. Love your insights:) Happy New Year!
Hi Carleen- Thanks so much for your feedback. I’m glad the blog resonated with you. Happy New Year to you too!!
An exceptional piece of writing Bev, thank you SO much!
I especially love that to shift we need to work on changing our energetic footprint. I’ve never really thought about it in that context and it’s very helpful. It really explains why simply changing what we eat and how we move, or meditation has such a profound effect.
I find I definitely get stuck because I have trouble visualizing my future self. It’s a stumbling block I have been consistently facing in mid life. I will continue to give it my attention.
I will read this blog many times this month as it encourages great contemplation, thanks!
Hi Donna- Thanks for sharing your insights and the area in your life that you notice you get stuck. I know this will resonate with others as well as I hear from SO many that visualizing their future “true” self is challenging. Much love to you!