I lived with this question for years, but I didn’t know I was asking it. Later, in my studies of transformational tools and principles, I was told that “Something unique wants to express itself through you – something that only you can give birth to.” I thought this was, at best, a nice sentiment. It was very egalitarian as it left no one out, and it even made everyone special. But I had also heard the phrase often enough, expressed somewhat less loftily: You are special. There is no one like you. By the time I heard it again I was already seriously inured to it and perhaps even somewhat cynical. Of course, we’re unique; who isn’t? And that’s where, for me, the whole concept of personal uniqueness distilled itself to not having any significant meaning.
So, for quite a while, I succumbed to the enervating perception that uniqueness in and of itself is not unique. Since we are all uniquely distinguished from each other, what’s the big deal? You’re tall; I’m short. You’re muscular; I lack definition. You have red hair; I have black hair. Your eyes are green, and mine are brown. You excel in tennis, but I can sing. You’re great at math and I write more clearly than you. What’s to get excited about? Now, if you’re handy, I’m feeling some excitement. But I digress.
At some point it occurred to me that I was looking in the wrong direction, on the wrong concept, and that I was stubbornly myopic. I decided to challenge my habitual perception of uniqueness by changing my stance that uniqueness is a common attribute with no benefits. In a departure from my earlier pronounced state of jadedness, I asked: What exactly is it that is unique to each of us? In no time, a realization asserted itself with incontrovertible clarity: It is our soul’s longing and the agenda contained in that longing that leads us to our purpose. Our specific longings show us the paths we need to take and who we can become. So what makes us unique? What makes us who are we? So what makes us unique? What makes us who are we?
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV. 4.5 tells us that it is our deep, driving desire.
You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny.
Here is the beginning of knowing your soul purpose: identifying your deeper truths through your deep desires. Therein lies our uniqueness and our destiny: in our desires. In those things that awaken our passion. What comes of following our desires? Everything. When we base our actions on following our unique desires, we will feel compelled to seek what is correct for us. And what is correct for us also nourishes us. And there is even more to be gained from following our true desires: we will attract what we need so that we can become who we are meant to become. And the best thing of all is, by following our soul’s longing we will inevitably express our soul purpose, and there is no greater fulfillment.
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