If you were embarking on a journey, you would start out with a destination in mind.
You would need a map, directions, and a compass. You would need a functioning vehicle, as well as fuel. You would need to understand the terrain.
It would also be nice to be aware of any detours, roadblocks, and dead ends you may encounter in the journey so that you could overcome them as they arose.
In the case of the journey of life, lasting happiness is the destination. Soul Purpose is the compass, the spiritual realm is the mode of transportation. Spiritual disciplines are the fuel.
Soul Purpose Roles are the directions, and the Four Stages of Living Soul Purpose represent the terrain.
Understanding this whole picture is your map.
Happiness: The Destination
The ultimate goal of all human beings is lasting happiness. Happiness is what drives and motivates us.
Without an understanding of the purpose of life and how to properly navigate it, most of us seek happiness in counterfeit and deceiving ways. While we have an intrinsic desire to seek it, few know how it can actually be found.
Hence, short-term pleasure often prevails over long-term joy. False security, based in external factors such as corporate and government benefits, is confused for the true security of Soul Purpose.
Selfish greed replaces selfless service, pride trumps humility and true confidence, and stifling fear crowds out the beauty of love.
All of these counterfeits are a result of living from the ego-self, rather than the God-self. Finding happiness requires an understanding of who you really are—that you are a spirit in a body that has a mind. You are not your body, nor are you your mind.
The vehicle in the journey of life is your body, while your mind is the on-board computer. Your spirit is you, the driver. Living a life that is driven by physical urges and/or mental calculations is like a car attempting to drive itself.
True happiness is found by connecting with your God-self and bringing your Soul Purpose to the world in the most meaningful, powerful, and sustainable way possible.
The Spiritual Realm: The Mode of Transportation
There are three realms that we choose to live in and to take our mode of being from: the physical realm, the mental realm, and the spiritual realm. The physical realm is obviously the purview of the body—those operating from this realm are controlled by physical appetites such as food, alcohol, drugs, sex, etc.
In the mental realm we raise our consciousness slightly by using our reasoning ability, yet we are controlled by the mind.
In the spiritual realm we access the highest plane of reality, the realm from which we can control both the body and the mind.
Suppose you lived in New York and you wanted to get to London. Obviously, the only way to do so is to fly.
Operating from the physical realm is like having a bicycle to take that journey, while the mental realm can be compared to having a car. Although a car is definitely better than a bike, in either case you’re unable to reach your destination.
Operating in the spiritual realm is like gaining access to a jet: not only are you able to make the journey, but also your altitude, and thus your perspective, are dramatically improved. In the physical and mental realms you do have certain parameters of mobility, yet you’re navigating in the wrong places.
The “jet” of the spiritual realm allows you to fly over the prohibitive ocean of the ego-self in all its manifestations.
You cannot reach the destination of happiness through Soul Purpose in the physical and mental realms. It is impossible. The only way to reach your desired destination is to get into and stay in the spiritual realm.
By doing so you transcend the limitations of the body and the mind and access infinite power, a power that few even know exists.
Spiritual Disciplines: The Fuel
What would happen if you tried to put automobile fuel into a jet engine? It wouldn’t operate, of course. Having the spiritual realm “jet” is not enough; you must also have the proper fuel to make it fly. The vehicle of your soul simply cannot fly without the fuel of spiritual disciplines.
While Soul Purpose is who you are, spiritual disciplines are what you do to become your best self. They are daily routines that must be diligently performed in order to reach the spiritual realm.
Although there are many more than these, we will focus on five core disciplines from which all others flow: Awareness, Pattern Interrupt, Reality Statement, Instant Prayer, and Love Meditation.
Notice that these five form the acronym A.P.R.I.L.
Spiritual Roles: The Directions
In my research I have identified twelve core Soul Purpose roles. Although there are infinite manifestations of each, every individual has one of these roles as their primary Soul Purpose theme. The roles describe how individuals view the world and interact with others, with whom they like to associate, the suffering that they alleviate, and the way that they serve.
Learning your role is similar to taking a personality or aptitude test, only with much greater depth.
Suppose you are a resident of Chicago, a city with a population of nearly three million. All three million residents have a map and they all have the goal of getting to City Hall. Even though they have the same map and are going to the same place, would they not all use different directions and take a different route to get there, since they’re all coming from different places?
Your Soul Purpose role is similar; although you share the same destination and map as everyone else, your particular path will be unique.
Four Stages of Living Your Soul Purpose: The Terrain
The four stages required to discover and bring your Soul Purpose to the world are 1) dissolving the ego, 2) living with an awakened spirit, 3) discovering and declaring your Soul Purpose value proposition, and 4) designing your business and Soul Purpose marketing plan.
It is in the four stages that the metaphorical rubber hits the road. This is the practical phase of the Soul Purpose process.
Understand that in any journey the map is different than the terrain. A road map can show you how to get from Los Angeles to New York but will tell you very little about the mountains, rivers, and deserts you will cross, nor will it tell you the condition of the roads.
The map can show you how to live your Soul Purpose, the terrain you will travel is different than the map. In the four stages you will learn how to successfully navigate the actual terrain by translating ideals into practical action.
Soul Purpose: The Compass
Although we’ve already discussed Soul Purpose at length, now you are able to understand this “compass” in its proper context and from a holistic perspective. Throughout your life’s journey you may stray by falling prey to the ego-self, yet Soul Purpose never wavers no matter what errant paths you take.
Buried by fear though it may be, it is always in your heart. It always calls for you to take one particular direction whether you’re listening or not.
Life’s Lessons: Detours
In His infinite wisdom the Creator has built detours into the journey of life in order that we may learn valuable lessons and become stronger, more humble, more submissive, and more capable of serving others and achieving our highest potential.
Detours are precessional.
Precession, a term coined by Buckminster Fuller, means the side effects of a system in motion. Precessional effects are the oft-unseen byproducts of your direct actions. They are like ripples in water from dropping a stone; although the stone goes straight down, the ripples flow outward.
With our limited perspective, we often focus solely on our direct actions, and crave direct results to flow from those actions. When we do not get what we want, or what we think we deserve based on our efforts, we feel frustrated by it.
But think of a honeybee: A honeybee can spend all day looking for nectar, go back to his hive feeling frustrated after a fruitless search, and yet, unbeknownst to him, will still be fulfilling a profound purpose, that of cross-pollination.
It is because of precession that submitting to the will of God, rather than imposing our ego desires, is absolutely critical. You may think that you’re supposed to do one thing, yet God has different plans for you. Some plans that appear to be taking you further away from your purpose in actuality get you closer to it in the long run.
The Ego: Roadblocks and Dead-Ends
While lessons and detours are placed in our path by a loving God, roadblocks and dead-ends are self-imposed limitations from the ego-self. These include fear, pride, complacency, hedonism, and selfishness.
Detours can be navigated fairly easily, especially with the right tools and understanding; roadblocks lead to an overwhelming feeling of being “stuck.” Detours are unavoidable and necessary for our progression; roadblocks are optional.
Many people ask why so much suffering exists in the world if we have a loving God, without realizing that most of our suffering is self-imposed.
Fortunately, if you’ve been stuck in the ego-self in the past, this is the helping hand that will pull you out of the rut and get you on your way. I myself was stuck in the ego-self for many years until powerful experiences and wise mentors set me straight.
This life is a journey that can be either joyous or frustrating, satisfying or disappointing, exciting or boring, full of love or full of suffering. What determines your outcome is your level of knowledge and conscious awareness and your discipline.
You now have an overview of the journey—a map, if you will—that can be used to successfully navigate the wilderness of earth life and arrive at the destination of lasting happiness. Now it’s time to expand your knowledge of each component of the map, in order to increase your motivation and therefore your discipline.
Steve D’Annunzio is the founder of the Soul Purpose Institute, the author of The Prosperity Paradigm, and a productivity trainer and life success coach to Fortune 100 executives, professional athletes, and high-performance entrepreneurs. For twenty years, he has been helping people identify their passion, develop it into a business idea, and deliver it to the world.
A member of the Transformational Leadership Council, Steve has shared the stage with world-changers like Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Jack Canfield, and Barbra-Marx Hubbard.
He uses principles of higher awareness to inspire others to be far greater versions of themselves than they ever knew to be possible. By combining scientific and spiritual truth, he co-creates inner transformations for people to experience more outer prosperity in their life.
He is an author and composer of many books, paradigms, and artistic projects that have the common theme of alleviating human suffering and enhancing joy.
Steve lives with his family in Rochester, New York.