We are all born with a soul plan, imbedded deeply in the heart. We also intrinsically know that unless we fulfill our soul plan, we will not find peace. Our soul plan is our spiritual curriculum. It keeps us growing and learning from lifetime to lifetime on a soul level, just like we grow and learn from classroom to classroom on the earthly level. Each person creates their own soul plan and it has two facets: karma and purpose and the two are not the same.
Your purpose is found in those things you have learned, even mastered in past lives and have now come back to share with others. It is those areas where you have acquired talent and skill and in using them can contribute to the planet and make it a better more beautiful and joyful place. It's the areas where you are the teacher and guide to others.
Your purpose is discovered in your strengths, the areas in your life where you naturally excel and in what you love most; it's where you "give to give" which is its own reward. Purpose is not necessarily your job or profession. It can be but more often than not, your purpose is actually found outside of work.
For example, a young man came to see me because he had no direction or sense of purpose whatsoever. I could see that he loved and excelled at outdoor sports, skiing, biking and long distance running and doing these things made him supremely happy, which he admitted was true. "That," I said "is your purpose" which surprised him. "How can that make a difference in the world?" he asked confused, believing he had to save a rain forest to qualify as purpose. "When you do what you love," I said, "your personal vibration becomes peaceful and that vibration is contagious. The more peaceful you are the more peace you contribute to others. "
"It's true that when I pursue sports I have the most amazing conversations with people and it makes me happy," he answered. But, then, he scowled, "So how do I make money and survive?" "That," I answered "is not a matter of purpose, but rather of karma, which is an entirely different thing."
Karma, unlike purpose, does not reflect your strengths, but rather your weaknesses. It encompasses those things you have not yet learned, those areas in which you are a student and have come here to learn. It centers on those areas that were neglected while you were busy mastering your purpose in other areas. The word karma itself actually means "to learn." It is your soul's lessons, chosen by you in this life. Karma can be best summed up in those areas where you are inclined to say, "Why is this happening to me?"
When it came to my young skier, he had mastered physical prowess and strength, but had not yet learned to stand on his own two feet financially. In his past lives, he had come from royalty many times over and had been encouraged to become strong and competent in sports, which he was. Yet he had never been asked to pay his own way, or support others, his karma for this lifetime. And from the look on his face, he was not happily enrolled in the class at the moment. He still held vague remembrances of times past where others paid his way and supported him, and so spent a great deal of time attempting to recreate that experience again, only this time with no luck.
Though he was to enjoy his sports because the joy it gave him contributed greatly to the planet, it did not relieve him of the need to become self sufficient. In his case, the ideal solution was to become a sports instructor, (purpose) and in doing so, others could reciprocate in appreciation by paying him (karma).
"I always did want to become a ski instructor or a personal trainer," he said. I just didn't think it was a "real" job. Knowing his soul plan, he began coaching. Seven years later, he led three separate teenagers to state and national championships, and became in great demand as an instructor. More importantly, his soul plan was fulfilled.
To discover your purpose and karma, take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side write down all the things you love and never tire of, the things that make you feel more alive than anything. That is your purpose. Do one of these things every day and you will fulfill your purpose.
On the right hand side of the paper, write down the things you struggle with, the places where you keep repeating the same mistakes or believe the world is against you. This is your karma, your classroom, chosen by you. You do not have to master karma in order to be peaceful. You only have to be willing to learn. Our soul plan allows for everyone to be both teacher (purpose) and student (karma). We are all in this experience called life together, taking turns both giving and receiving. Only in undertaking our soul plan willingly and with great love, we will achieve peace both for ourselves and for our planet.
Sonia Choquette is author of the new book "Diary of a Psychic: Shattering the Myths" (Hay House; 2003; $14.95; www.hayhouse.com).