Discovering Your Soul Signature
by Panache Desai
We do not choose the work we are brought into this lifetime to do. That work is your soul signature—your unique expression. Your spiritual DNA.
It is who you are at your core—your singular contribution to the world. It doesn’t have to do with seeking fame or fortune—though it might—but rather with the accumulated essence of everything you have ever been, thought, felt, done, or experienced in your entire life.
There is no hierarchy when it comes to soul signatures. My soul signature has been a spiritual path. Yours might be inspiring children, coaching young people to fulfill their destiny, bringing your own unique set of gifts to bear on the world around you. Your soul signature is authentically your own. Only you can share your particular soul signature on this earth. It is as individual as a fingerprint. Your soul signature resides at the deepest core of who you are and permeates every aspect of your life.
Let me tell you how I discovered my own soul signature. As a very young boy, I spent every possible moment in the meditation room of my grandparents’ home in East London. If I was fussy or having a tantrum, I calmed down the moment I crossed the threshold of that room. I sat there each morning and watched my grandmother pray. She chanted the Guru Gita, a devotional prayer to awaken the remembrance of the light within. My grandmother had beautiful long black hair and wore a sari. She smelled of coconut oil. She prayed for every one of us: for health, well-being, abundance. She closed her eyes and counted her mala beads. She read from the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita. Devotional songs were always playing on a cassette player. The very air felt sacred in that room. Sacred, safe, profoundly loving, and strong. And though I didn’t understand it at the time, it was the one place in the world where I felt at home. For the first five years of my life, I existed in a pristine vibrational environment. The sole focus of everyone’s attention was on the Divine.
And then it was gone.
My parents and I left East London when I was five years old, in search of better schools, a better way of life. I was an only child, solitary and shy. I felt absolutely disconnected from all that loving abundance I had been exposed to and wondered if I was being punished. How had I ended up in this extended “time-out”?
We moved a number of times subsequently. I went to two different middle schools. During my high school years, we wound up back in East London, in a poor, working-class neighborhood where everybody was just trying to get through the day. It was my introduction to feeling pain. I felt everything inside everybody. I felt all the fear-based and survival-based energy swirling around me. And even though we’d visit my grandparents on the weekends, the meditation room no longer called to me. I no longer felt its magic. I was a teenager and didn’t really want to be spending Saturday nights meditating with a bunch of grown-ups.
The pain became great enough that I needed to find ways to numb it. I rejected my soul signature, moved away from my own unique expression of energy—and in so doing, I paid a price. In my late teens, I found my way into drugs and alcohol. I dropped out of university. I was like the proverbial frog in boiling water—everything around me growing hotter and hotter, more and more unmanageable, until I was dying, drowning without even knowing it.
I had a radio show, ran raves and events as part of London’s music scene, but the pain inside me was escalating. I had no interest in spirituality. I had completely stepped away from it. I stopped visiting my grandparents. The meditation room was like a figment of my past, an image from a long-lost dream. I couldn’t picture it anymore. I couldn’t possibly set foot in it.
In my early twenties, I was still longing for home. On New Year’s Eve of 2003, I was alone in my apartment. In this solitary, rootless place, I began to feel a wave of fear rising inside me. It was more intense than anything I’d felt before, and it wouldn’t go away.
Instead of receding, the fear was rising, rising. It felt as if there was another presence in the room, impossible to ignore. It seemed that all the terror I had ever felt in my life was inside me, washing over me in wave after wave. And along with these waves was something that felt like an electrical current. The more I felt the fear, the more the electricity increased. I now know that I was experiencing a complete vibrational overhaul, but I didn’t have the language for this at the time. All I knew was that it seemed my world was ending. Which, in a way, it was. The energy seemed to concentrate itself in my heart. I wondered if I was having a heart attack. I was shaking and shaking—my identity falling away.
Finally, I surrendered. I just gave up. And the moment I did, the entire room filled from floor to ceiling with a golden light. I felt pinned to my bed by a feeling of electricity washing over me in a huge, swelling wave. The light was everywhere, so golden that it appeared to be almost white. The feeling associated with it poured over me and through me. I recognized it as love, but it was beyond any practical definition of the word love. As much as it was all around me, it was also inside me. My fear and sadness were gone. They had been systematically dismantled. This brilliant light, this love—I understood this completely—made up the building blocks of our reality. In the absence of fear, this light, this love, is what we would see all the time. I got up out of bed and walked out of my apartment and onto the streets. Everything was glowing—and I mean everything: the litter, the cars, the graffiti-covered walkways, even the drunk mariachi singer who always badly serenaded me outside my window. Luminosity filled everything and everyone. I was suddenly starving and went to have lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Even my burrito was luminous.
I thought then of my grandmother and the language of my childhood, her soft, gentle voice reading from the Hindu scriptures. The incense wafting through the meditation room. The morning rays of sunlight beaming through the windows. “The universe is the outpouring of the majesty of God, the auspicious one, radiant love. Every face you see belongs to Him. He is present in everyone without exception.” It was because of those early years listening to her pray that I was able to decipher and understand that I was experiencing the infinite nature of God.
I was here to be a messenger, I now understood. This was the very essence of me. My singularity. My soul signature. I had very nearly lost my way, but my soul signature had been waiting for me to discover it. And now, I knew, I would be aligned with it forevermore.
Being aligned with your soul signature ought to be the most natural thing in the world. And yet so many of us struggle. So many of us are unaware of the very existence of our soul signature.
Being human, and filled to the brim with a complex swirl of human emotions, we tend to reject our true calling. We make it wrong.
Stop and ask yourself this question: Is it possible that somewhere along the way you have absorbed the message—whether delivered by your family, society, or your own insecurity—that you are not enough?
We turn our backs on the essence of who we are deep inside. And, in so doing, we step directly into the experience of suffering and scarcity. We disconnect ourselves from our truest source. We become like baby chicks abandoned in the nest—not yet formed, in a weakened state, unable to feed ourselves, unable to fly. But when we are able to access and inhabit our own unique soul signature, we become complete. Acceptance of all we are allows our soul signature to amplify to its greatest expression. This occurs as a series of subtle shifts. Most of us do not experience this as fireworks going off. Rather, it’s soft and surprising. The moment we are able to connect consciously with our soul signature—the moment we stop resisting the truth of our nature—our lives begin to change in ways we cannot even begin to imagine.
Panache Desai is a mentor and visionary whose work crosses cultural, ideological, generational, and economic boundaries. This article is adapted from his book Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33-Day Path to Purpose, Passion, and Joy. www.panachedesai.com
© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.