3 Ways to Uncover Your Passion

Everyone these days is told again and again to “live our passion.” But what if you don’t know what you’re passionate about? With a little mindful investigation, your passion will start to reveal itself, because when you quiet the mind you can hear what your awareness already knows. Then, you can confidently make decisions about whether to pursue that job that engages you on every level or explore interests that feed your soul—you can feel in alignment with your very purpose.

Here are some tips for unearthing your hidden passion.

1. Clarify your values.

What really matters to you in life? What do you believe in? What brings you the most joy or lights you up? It could be exploring new places, family, justice, or supporting the arts, for example.

A Mindfulness Practice for Exploring What You Value

Think of an object related to your values and how it might be utilized in a job or hobby. Sit quietly, breathe in and out, holding the object in your mind, and see what arises. Don’t push things aside because they don’t make sense. Be open to what arises. Allow its story to unfold without judgment.

Does this story point to a new activity or direction for you? Don’t be discouraged if your first answers don’t reveal a fiery passion. Keep asking and keep listening.

2. Identify your obstacles.

What is in the way of living in alignment with your values? It could be lack of time, distraction, resources, or even a lack of imagination.

A Mindfulness Practice for Working with Obstacles

Contemplate this question: What’s in my way? How do I get around it? Listen for how to overcome your obstacles. You already know. Maybe it's through a supportive community, more research, overcoming conditioning. Keep asking. When negative self-judgments arise—I can’t start my own business because I don’t have the skills—try using the word yet. I don’t have the skills yet. Be honest, and then be brave.

3. Remember your superpowers and develop your skills.

What do you do really well? Is there space for you to do it? When you ask this of children, they can tell you without hesitation. My granddaughter Dahlia tells me: “I am a good artist—I just drew a portrait of McKinley (the cat). And I have a good voice—I can sing. And a good memory—I remember the words.” I wish I could see into the future and discover whether she brings those talents into whatever work she finds.

A Mindfulness Practice for Remembering Your Superpowers

Imagine yourself as a child. What did you love to do and what did you know you were good at? Let images arise. Remember how it felt. Is it still true? What else is true now?

Then identify the skills you’ll need to bring that latent passion back to life.

Find out about programs with Mirabai Bush at Kripalu.

Mirabai Bush, a senior fellow of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, is author, with Ram Dass, of Walking Each Other Home: Conversations on Loving and Dying and Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service.

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