Four Questions to Access Your Highest Passion!
By Patrick Harbula
After the publishing of The Magic of the Soul, I have done countless radio appearances, church lectures, workshops, seminars and classes on the subject of the book. I started out focusing on meditation training, emotional healing, and one of the primary themes of the book—profound acceptance. The last two years however, my focus has shifted almost primarily to the topic contained within the last chapter of the book—Life Purpose.
Through experimentation and testing the market, I have found that across the board people everywhere are interested in a deeper sense of purpose, mission, and passion in their lives. The exercises and theories I have developed along this subject have captivated audiences of hundreds of thousands through radio appearances and have intrigued individuals across all psycho graphic categories including age, cultural background, economic status, and spiritual persuasion or experience. I have had people with no metaphysical experience and spiritual teachers of several decades who all respond ecstatically with the insights gained from the four simple questions this article will elucidate.
I developed this set questions to quickly help people define their life purpose and to illustrate how using the definition as a mantra or affirmation can dramatically increase the quality of life for the individual and for those they influence in their daily lives, as well as lead to the greatest success imaginable in career or vocation. It has only been recently, since beginning the pilot program for my Life Purpose Coaching Certification Program, that I began teaching this system to others with phenomenal results.
Whether you are a minister, practitioner, counselor, coach, or supportive friend, you can use these four questions to empower the people you wish to influence. I use this process in coaching sessions, at the beginning of church board retreats, and in corporate consulting. The goal is to come up with the most succinct (I recommend five or six words and no more than 12) and powerful definition of life purpose.
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to present this process at a workshop at the UCRS Gathering in San Diego. I asked the participants to work with a partner and ask the four questions. The results were phenomenal. One minister said after the program “As we were going through the process, I kept saying to myself, it couldn’t be this simple, but it worked. It completely clarified life purpose for myself and my partner.” And it worked for all forty people in the room. I had a similar experience in facilitating the same process at the joint practitioner’s conference in Simi Valley a month ago. 140 practitioners and ministers walked out of the building buzzing with the passion of their life purpose. Here is how it works.
What do you love to do that makes the world a better place, or in some way contributes to the lives of others?
The point of this question is to determine a purpose that is general enough that it can be applied through any career, vocation, or service project. It can in fact be applied at any moment in time. It is not an activity, but an intention that is fulfilled through any possible activity. For example, if someone is a writer, they can’t write all the time. But they can fulfill their purpose, which could be to inspire, or to move people, or to open hearts.
In The Magic of the Soul, I write:
“If your purpose is to teach love and your occupation is to make bombs, it will be difficult to reconcile your purpose with your career. Begin by teaching love in every way possible while making bombs. Share love with the people with whom you make bombs. Inspire a vision of a world where bombs are not necessary. It is much more effective to fulfill your purpose where you are rather than trying to get to a place in the future where you can begin to fulfill your purpose. As you teach love more effectively while making bombs, the path to your ideal career will automatically become clearer. As you become more proficient at fulfilling your purpose, doors open magically, allowing you to increasingly fulfill it with greater influence, results, and rewards.
How often have we thought that if I could just get another job or if I only had enough money, then I could really fulfill my purpose. But if we project into the future, we may never realize it, because the future doesn’t really exist. There is only the ever present now. So now is the only viable place to start.”
The second question is really a follow-up question to the first. Because many people will answer question one with an activity or job.
What is the most profound experience you would like someone to receive as a result of experiencing your service or through any interaction with you?
If the answer to the first question is something like, “I am an artist, I love to paint.”
Then the second question can be, what is the most profound experience you would like people to receive when they view your art? Or, what is the most profound experience you want people to receive from any interaction with you? This helps make it more general and fit the criteria of what we love to do that makes the world a better place and can be applied at any moment in time. If you haven’t answered these two questions for yourself. Stop here and take a moment to answer. . . .
Once life purpose is defined, we can use it as a mantra to access our highest passion consistently in the moment. By doing so, we access our soul power and become the best we can be in that moment. Every one of us is already fulfilling our life purpose whether or not we have defined it. It is what we do naturally.
To expand the influence of our purpose, however, look at the areas in your life where you aren’t applying it. What would happen if when you have a conflict with your spouse or someone with whom you work, you were able to stop and ask “How can I fulfill my life purpose in this moment for myself and this individual.”
How would the quality of your life shift if you applied your life purpose in the mundane moments, when you are board or irritable? Imagine that you are standing in line at the supermarket and there are nine people standing in front of you, and the first person in line pulls out about 70 coupons—and you are late for a meeting. Usually not the time you are most likely going to think about fulfilling your purpose.
But if you do, think about how the situation might shift. Imagine that you notice the person in line next to you and start a conversation with the intention of fulfilling your purpose in that moment. Imagine that you touch that person’s heart and empower their day and also receive the fulfillment of their purpose. When we serve others with our best, we naturally bring the best out of them.
Two important things happen when we fulfill our purpose in the moment. 1) We connect with our passion and our soul power. This is a spiritual practice of course, and I have discovered that it is the most powerful spiritual practice we can apply. Our purpose mantra is not an affirmation that we have pulled out of the air, it is the most powerful statement about who we are and why we are here. As I state in The Magic of the Soul:
“When we embrace and empower our purpose through our careers, through all of our activities in life, a wide channel opens from the heart of the soul allowing its magic to flow into our lives and all those we touch.”
I would now add: When we are living our purpose, we are in a state of grace. We move into the realm of the extraordinary where synchronicity is the norm and miracles are commonplace. When we are connected to our passion and purpose, we are emitting the most powerful and positive magnetic field of energy of which we are capable. There is also no greater force for clarifying direction. This is why I start with defining purpose with anyone I am coaching to reach a great dream. The more consistently we apply our purpose in our lives, the more clear we become about how to apply it in increasingly effective and successful ways.
A woman who took my workshop, Life Your Passion: Life Purpose in Career, later signed up for my Life Purpose Coaching Program. At the first session of the coaching program she said, “I have been applying my life purpose as I defined it in the workshop to my job (she is a career guidance counselor for under privileged children going into the workplace), which is to connect people with their spirit. I found that I have become so much better at my job, and I now feel that I have no choice about moving forward and expanding my ability to help people touch their spirit in more direct ways.”
2) When we are living the passion of our purpose, we create opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be there. You never know who is going to be standing in line next to you at the supermarket. There are countless times when I have walked into a room and asked the question, “How can I empower others in this moment?” and an opportunity to serve in some meaningful way in the future presented itself, sometimes very lucrative opportunities, that wouldn’t have come up if I had not had that clear intention.
QUESTIONS 3 AND 4
These two questions can be asked one right after another. Question four is a quick follow-up to question three.
What is the most important quality or guidance that you did not receive enough of as a child?
How does it feel when you create or share that quality or guidance with someone else?
About a year ago I was presenting a one-hour lecture on Living Your Passion at a small library in Tahoe, California. After doing an exercise to clarify life purpose, a woman in the third row raised her hand and said,
“I don’t know what my purpose or my passion is. I’m really confused.”
“What do you love to do that makes the world a better place or contributes to the lives of others?” I asked.
“I’m not sure. Nothing has ever really worked out for me.”
“What did you not get enough of when you were a child?” I asked.
“Safety from my brother’s abuse,” was her immediate reply.
I paused as a deafening silence filled the room.
“How do you feel when you create safety for others, when you inspire or empower someone to feel safe and secure?”
Her face lit up with a brilliant smile. “Yes. I love to do that,” she said. But I have tried working for some centers for women, and I don’t feel I have been successful at empowering others to feel safe.”
I paused again and then asked (with some tears welling up in my eyes),
“Are you aware that you just created the safety for everyone in this room to go deeper into their process by taking the risk to share something so intimately personal?”
Everyone in the room nodded their agreement.
I will never forget the courage of this woman and the effect she had on the room. I have had the opportunity to witness thousands of people light up when answering the question, how do you feel when you create for someone else what you didn’t get enough of as a child. It has become crystal clear to me that there is a universal and intense connection between the most important guidance or quality that we didn’t receive enough of as a child and what drives our passion.
hat we didn’t receive enough of is what we most want to create in the world. It is what excites us beyond all else in life when we demonstrate it in the world or facilitate its realization in someone else. It is also what we most aspire to heal within ourselves, what we struggle with, and in fact, often what we think is holding us back from being the best we can be, from accomplishing our highest vision for our life.
The truly transformational gestalt of this realization is that if the quality or guidance that we didn’t receive enough of is what inspires us to create it in the world—to fulfill our purpose—then it is not a liability. It is our greatest asset. As Robert Bly, the great poet said “My wound is my gift to the world.” This re-framing inspires the deepest form of self-acceptance. If what I feel is my greatest block is really my greatest strength, then nothing can hold me back from realizing my full magnificence.
Ahead is an example from my own experience regarding this dynamic. When The Magic of the Soul was first published, I began doing more personal appearances and media events (mostly radio shows) than I had ever done before or ever expected that I would. I approached these events with the intention of presenting myself as “an authority” on the subject of spiritual growth—after all, I had become a published author and therefore was expected to be an expert.
There is nothing wrong with presenting oneself as an authority, unless it is to the exclusion of other aspects of self. After a short while, I became depressed. I am not the type of person to get depressed very often, so I decided to employ one of the techniques I had learned and taught for years from spiritual psychology. I did some voice dialogue with the depression. I received an image of the repression. It was a sad child that looked like me at about six years old.
“What is wrong Pat,” I asked.
“I am afraid that no one loves me, which makes me feel unworthy.”
“Why do you think that know one loves you?”
“Because it seems like you don’t love me.”
“What makes you think I don’t love you? Don’t I tell you I love you frequently enough?”
“Yes you tell me you love me. But then you hide me from others, especially those who you think are important and who you are trying to help.”
“I see. So when I hide you during radio shows or lectures it makes you feel more unworthy, doesn’t it?”
“Yes,” the little boy said while crying (which was really me crying as I role-played as the little boy).
“I understand now,” I said filled with compassion for this unhealed aspect of myself. I want you to know that I love and value you and appreciate your sensitivity. In fact, I realize that it is your sensitivity that helps me to help others. I will commit to no longer hiding you. In fact, from now on I am going to celebrate you. I will share you with those who I am serving. How does that feel Pat?
“Yes, that is what I need, I feel honored now.”
I decided from that moment on that I would honor and celebrate the sense of unworthiness within me. I know this may sound a little radical, and in some ways flies in the face of new thought principles. “Isn’t that giving more power to something that is unreal?” some ask me.
In my experience (which I know is the experience of many other Science of Mind teachers), the wonderful principle taught in Science of Mind and other new thought systems of affirming and honoring our divinity is profoundly augmented when we equally honor our humanity. While we are perfect, whole, and complete, we are also imperfect humans unfolding the realization of our perfection.
When we honor our humanness, our imperfection, our weaknesses, we can appreciate and realize the perfection within our imperfection. When we do spiritual mind treatment beginning with the premise that we are perfect just the way we are in all our imperfection—loving and accepting ourselves with all of our appearing weaknesses—then realizing our divine perfection becomes a much simpler and more natural process. We are not treating to get or be more, but to recognize a continuing deeper understanding of our divine perfection.
The responses from these four questions can be used to create a succinct and powerful definition of individual purpose. Once the definition is created, it can be used as a mantra to access the full power of soul purpose in every moment. It can also be directed toward a vision of the most direct, powerful, and ecstatic expression of that purpose in the future—the dream career, vocation, or service project. There are three simple strategies that guarantee success at meaningful, successful service:
1. Apply life purpose in the here and now.
2. Have a clear and complete vision of the dream (two, five, or even 10 years down the line).
3. Have a practical plan for how to get there, and take the practical steps. One need not know all the steps, exactly how to realize complete success. As long as the first few steps are outlined and taken, the rest will become clear along the road to fulfilling one’s highest passion.
Live your purpose in the now. Move toward your dream. And enjoy the journey toward its realization.
To use a tool that will guide you through the process of defining your life purpose in about 10 minutes, click on this link www.purpose_form.htm.
For a complimentary life coaching session.
Living Purpose Institute
2593 Young Avenue Thousand Oaks, CA 91360