If you are feeling unhappy, or worse, riddled with depression or anxiety, then you are getting a wakeup call from your soul. These feelings are letting you know that you have strayed off the path of who you are meant to be. This is certainly true for me and lots of clients I have worked with over the years. Now, I’m not talking about an afternoon where you feel a little blue — we all go into funks now and then. But if you are experiencing an extended period of this funkiness (more than 2 weeks), it’s time to reconnect with your inner knowing to discover what has gone askew.
It’s possible that you already know. Sometimes, all it takes is for us to acknowledge that something is off, and we instantly know what it is. Like my soul sister, Monica. She is deeply connected to nature and whenever she is in a funk, it’s almost always because pressing deadlines have her forgoing her daily hike or beach walk. Any given day, it’s not noticeable, but as soon as enough days string together, she feels it and has to recommit to her nature connection.
Sometimes it’s not so obvious. This is when it’s imperative that you carve out some time to explore what your soul is trying to tell you. According to Rod Stryker, our soul actually has four desires that are part of our life’s deeper purpose. In his book, The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity and Freedom, Stryker describes the history of this Vedic tradition and how these four desires are interlinked and directly connect to our feeling of happiness. The first desire is called dharma and is about who you are meant to be in the world — your unique contribution you are here to make — your life’s destiny (big stuff). The second desire, artha, is related to the things you need in order to fulfill your dharma, such as safety, health, and financial abundance. Sometimes you need stuff to accomplish your big stuff, and that’s OK.
Kama is the third desire and it’s all about pleasure and our soul’s need to seek pleasure in all forms. I like this one because I know that when I am indulging in my dark chocolate fix, I am actually fulfilling one of my soul’s desires. As is Monica when she is out in nature. And finally, the fourth desire is for spiritual enlightenment, called moksha, and is the highest state of the four — it’s beyond the human level of our participation in this world but the other three serve us in getting there.
Our soul is driven to fulfill these four desires and uses the language of discontent and longing to guide us. So if you are feeling discontent (in other words, sadness, depression or anxiety), it’s important to stop and heed the message, rather than distract yourself from it or medicate it away.
But don’t despair. The cool thing about our soul is that it is on our team! It wants us to be happy and is pretty persistent in getting us to listen. So do that — listen. Find a place to sit and be quiet so that you can tune in. You might want to start by journaling on the things in your life that feel out of balance. If you meditate, you can focus on what your soul wants to reveal to you. Ultimately, you want to answer the question, “Which one of the four desires, if it were to be fulfilled in the next 6-18 months, would best serve my highest purpose, or dharma?”
You will get a clear message and it may not be what you think. For example, you might think that you need to get a new job, but your soul may let you know that you first must address a health issue (artha), take a vacation (kama), or develop a meditation practice (moksha). It’s really important that you not argue with your soul — it really does know best. Then set your intention for that area and give it the attention it deserves.
Listen and your soul will tell you — it will hand you the key to happiness.