Personal Growth

How Passion Activates Purpose

Home gardening at balcony
Home gardening at balcony

“Always go with your passions. Never ask yourself if it’s realistic or not. Find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible” - Deepak Chopra

Passion is defined as an intense driving conviction. It’s a powerful feeling of enthusiasm towards someone or something. Passion is the feeling that nothing else exists. It’s loving yourself as if you were a rainbow with gold at both ends. Passion gives you a reason to keep learning and working towards your mastery. It brings the opportunity for new experiences and new adventures. Passionate people live their lives fully making the most of every moment. As the American writer and humorist Erma Bombeck said, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.”

In the Vedic tradition there are three energy qualities or tendencies which we all have. They are known as the gunas. Tamas brings stability but when out of balance, creates dullness and lethargy. Rajas is action but in excess leads to anger and hostility. Sattva is purity and truth. Rajas is the quality that gives each of us the passion to overcome tamasic tendencies and embrace a more sattvic lifestyle.

What do you feel passionate about? Ask yourself, is there something I already love doing? Is there something I love consistently? What gives you that feeling of excitement whenever you think about it? What gets you out of bed early in the morning? Passion is what makes you willing to take risks, keeps you focused and optimistic. Passion gives you something in common with other people, which fosters social bonds. When I train people to be teachers, I always tell them that the first requirement of being a good teacher is to be passionate about the subject. This also works for anything in life. Most people will only remember about ten percent of what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel. This feeling comes from your passion. Your enthusiasm about the things you love, acts like a magnet attracting people to you.

Finding your passions

What you're passionate about is too important to leave to the mercy of fate. Passion like love, is a feeling worth pursuing. Finding your passions will help you live a full, happy life. Remember what you used to love in the past. As we grow and get caught up in worldly activities, it’s easy to forget the things that excited us when younger. Don’t sit around waiting for your passion to appear. Look for it, remember it, create it. Be prepared to step outside of your comfort zone. Your own soul is the only one who can teach you passion. Listen to what lights up your soul. The French general Ferdinand Foch said, “The most powerful weapon on the earth is the human soul on fire”. This soul on fire is your burning passion.

Passion gives you purpose. We all choose to do things because we enjoy doing them, because they make us feel good. Passion is the emotional drive to do these things. It’s the emotional spark that gets you moving forward with what you want to create for your life. It is the force that drives you forward. It energizes you, gives you focus and the willpower to overcome distractions, obstacles and frustrations. Passion is the compelling emotions behind your dreams and you’re never too old (or too young) to set a new goal or dream a new dream. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, was a very passionate person who told us, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know it when you find it”. Follow your passion, find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day again in your life.

Passion knows no boundaries and being passionate about something which is boundless can be sometimes create challenges. Being fully focused on one particular thing and forgetting about all others isn’t always the wisest choice. Beware that your passion doesn’t become craving or harmful in some way. As with everything in life, there has to be balance.

Spiritual passion

While our worldly passions can bring us a level of happiness and success, true fulfillment comes when our passion turns inwards. This doesn’t mean that we give up worldly passions, they now begin to move in a direction to support our spiritual goals. What’s in it for me morphs into how can I serve. Selfless service becomes a new passion. There’s a story about a very pious and humble man, whose passion was to serve others. One day God appeared to him and said that he wanted to reward the man with any gift he chose. At first the man resisted, saying that he lived simply and had everything he needed, but God insisted. The man relented and said, “Then please make it so that everyone I meet is healed or uplifted in some way, just by my presence, but they don’t know that’s it’s because of me.”

Our passion now centers around our spiritual practices. Spiritual practices lead us to higher states of consciousness and spiritual awakening. We can talk about these practices, read and attend lectures about them, but unless with do the practices, we will never reap their benefits. Dedication to these practices comes from spiritual passion. Our passion now is to rediscover who we really are and to find our deepest Truth. Passion becomes a yearning to awaken our inner Divinity. The Sufi poet Rumi describes it thus, “There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you? You feel the separation from the Divine. Invite it to fill you up, embrace the fire. Remind those who tell you otherwise, that Love comes to you of its own accord, and the yearning for it cannot be learned in any school.”

Detachment and dispassion

As we progress on our spiritual journey we realize that we are not the doer but that through which all things are done. We may still be passionate about our desires but become detached from their outcomes, knowing that everything is part of the Divine Plan. As Rumi told us, Divine Love will fill us when we are ready to receive it. Worldliness ceases to have the same attraction for us, our only desire becomes to merge with our Higher Self, the realization of Atman or eternal Pure Consciousness.

For the final steps of our journey even the desire for enlightenment dissolves. Desire and passion are no longer necessary, there is no going back. Dispassion now brings supreme satisfaction, incomparable joy and bliss and the illumination of Enlightenment.

The gift of the Divine is to make this available to every one of us. There will be bumps in the road, distractions and moments of doubt but find your path and keep going. The mystic Osho tells us, “Stand alone like a lion and live your life according to your Light. Find the Light and it will show you the path. The path that is shown by your Light is the only path that is right for you. What others have been telling you may be right for them but it cannot be right for you.”

To be born in a human body and to have begun to awaken spiritually is a great blessing. You’ve come a long way already. Listen to the wisdom of your heart, listen to your soul, find your passion and follow it. Your time is now, don’t wait another minute.

Discover more tools for exploring your passions on the Chopra App, available now.