Your Right Livelihood and Your Soul Purpose
“Do What You Love and The Money WILL Follow”!
If you really want to be successful and you really want to be happy, don’t have a job, have a purpose… When you’ve got a purpose, the whole world is your office. – Robert Holden
So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning. – Morrie Schwartz (from the book “Tuesdays with Morrie”, by Mitch Albom)
Do you know what kind of work provides you with a heartfelt sense of satisfaction and fulfilment? Or what job or occupation gives you the greatest pleasure and a sense of doing something worthwhile and valuable?
To put it another way, what makes your heart sing with joy?
Pay attention to these signals, because they come from the deepest part of you. Listen to them and they will reveal your right livelihood – the way of earning money which is most in line with your deepest soul values.
These soul values take many forms, but they often manifest in qualities such as honesty, integrity, faithfulness, courage, offering support to others, working for the good of humanity, and so on.
As you discover your right livelihood, you’ll begin to see how it offers the best way for you to make money, perhaps even to make yourself rich. Because when you work in harmony with your soul, you naturally work with integrity for the good of humanity, and riches of all kinds – material and spiritual – flow your way in abundance. This is what some people call manifestation. But it is more about establishing a conscious flow in harmony with the universe, which requires a state of balance and harmony in yourself; this attunement allows the universe to manifest what you want. And this is soul work.
Video – the concept of right livelihood (Wayne Dyer)
Finding your right livelihood is not only a gateway to success and achievement. It’s also important because it’s probably the most important way in which you can express your life purpose.
Truth is, when you find your right livelihood, you’re well on the way to understanding your life purpose. Your life purpose, which is also called your soul purpose, represents the real reason you’re right here, right now, on this planet.
I explained this idea at a shadow work workshop I was leading focused on how to find your right livelihood, in 2012, and a young man called Tony stood up to object. “You’re wrong,” he said, “and I can prove it to you. I was a trader in the city money markets in 2008, and I made more money than you ever have or ever will. I hated the job, but boy, did I ever make a lot of money.”
And he was indeed wealthy. When I talked to him later in the break, I discovered his net worth was around twenty million pounds sterling. But as we moved deeper into conversation, it became clear that his arrogance was the defence of a deeply unhappy man against his pain.
He’d paid a high price for his money. His life had nearly broken him, with a serious stomach problem requiring constant medication, frequent migraines, an increasing problem with alcohol, a ruined marriage, and drug addiction (which, happily, he’d overcome). For many years he’d not been able to face his family, he’d been ostracised by his old friends, and his marriage had broken down.
Most telling for me, while doing this job, he’d lived with a nagging feeling that would never go away, a sense of unhappiness, a profound discomfort with his life. Not even his millions could make him feel better. His soul was in pain. The point being that his work as a city trader was driven by something in his shadow, not by his sense of right livelihood. And shadow? Those are the hidden parts of us, the unconscious parts, which can drive our behaviour, while we are quite unaware of what might be making us behave in a certain way. (The concept of the human Shadow is explained here.)
Sure, Tony may be an extreme example. But like many of the men and women I meet in my work, Tony had spent a good part of his life doing a job that was fundamentally incompatible with his basic moral values.
In fact, as we talked, Tony revealed why he was attending my right livelihood workshop. He wanted to find a job in which he could make use of his desire to help and support people trying to find a way of expressing their true creativity.
As he spoke, I realised that the concept of finding a right livelihood and being happy because of it probably applied more to him than anybody else I’d met for long time.
So would his pain have been worthwhile if he’d used his money to fund a new career which was in line with his basic values?
Perhaps. Only he could know the answer to that.
Just like Tony, each one of us has to solve this dilemma for ourselves. Only you can decide if the spiritual, emotional and physical consequences of doing a job which conflicts with your deepest values are too high a price to pay.
(If you want to know how allowing greed to overcome morality affects people, read the autobiographical book City Boy by Geraint Evans. It’s an extraordinary account of life in the London financial markets in the early years of the 21st Century. And it reveals in the most dramatic way how the amoral pursuit of wealth can make people lose touch with who they are, even lose touch with their soul.)
Because you’re reading this, I’d guess that your basic values, the foundation stones of your moral code, are important to you. Maybe, however, you aren’t yet living them in the way you’d like.
By the time you’ve read this book, however, you will have a complete blueprint for finding your right livelihood and expressing your soul purpose. And that can make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. What you want to manifest will appear, as if by magic. But to make the point again – what you want will only appear if you are in perfect alignment with your heart’s desires and your soul purpose.
For some people, a right livelihood might be about finding work which encompasses some ethical or moral beliefs about duty to wards other people or to the planet. For some it might be about building a community or running a business which focuses on sustainability. And for others it may simply be about finding a job which feels good and does not conflict with their moral or spiritual values. For others it is serving in a way which adds value to the world or perhaps changes people’s lives. Mark Manson has explained this in his own inimitable fashion.
Video – finding life purpose
But let’s be clear about this. Finding your right livelihood is not just about finding a job which makes you feel good.
Although feeling good is important, the real question is why you feel good in your job. The answer is that if a job is indeed your right livelihood, that’s because it fits you; you like it, you enjoy it, you get satisfaction from it, and it feels fulfilling and useful. And at some level it is in line with who and what you are at the level of your deepest values. In other words, it is not fulfilling or expressing the shadow parts of your personality. This will tell you more about what is the shadow.
And beyond all that, your right livelihood is the way in which you can express your soul purpose. For me, my soul purpose has been to bring men and women together in conscious relationship. For my consultant, who helped me with so many of the concepts in this book, it has been to work as a shadow work facilitator. And having fulfilled that part of his life purpose or mission, he has moved on to working with people who want to know how to train as a shadow work facilitator. With his help, we will look at the question of soul purpose more closely in the next post.