So, perhaps you’ve heard of mindfulness or meditation recently but don’t know what exactly it means or how it can benefit you.
How to Find Your Passion: 5 Mindful Insights
How do you find your passion? A question that is often asked. The question has a few variations too; ‘how do I find my purpose in life?’; ‘how do I find meaning in my life?’; ‘What should I do with my life?’ All fundamental questions in which the pursuit of the answer can leave us feeling stuck. Here’s a few observations from a mindfulness perspective which may help you to navigate this tricky question.
1. Passion is a felt experience
Passion is a felt experience; it is a particular combination of body sensations, emotions and thoughts. For many when they are doing something that they are passionate about they describe a feeling of being completely absorbed in what they are doing. They are filled with joy, to such an extent that often there are no thoughts and if there are they are positive; ‘I love this’, ‘This is great’. Time seems to fly when we are doing something that we are passionate about and we often forget ourselves. These reactions are very similar to flow states which have been described by other authors such as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Steven Kotler.
2. How to ’sense ‘ your passion may be a better question
If passion is an emotion, we can approach it as part of our mindfulness practice. The first thing we can do is to reframe the question; perhaps asking ‘how we sense our passion’ may be better. This question invites us to imagine a time when we have been passionate about something and then to notice the sensations, emotions and thoughts which accompany that experience. By getting a better understanding of this felt experience we obtain insight into the circumstances that bring about the passion within us.
3. Passions come and go
If passion is an emotion then, like other emotions, they come and go. This is one of the underlying challenges behind the question ‘how do I find my passion?’ Perhaps, it’s not so difficult to identify our passions, but how do we choose which ones we stick to? We can feel passionate about doing something but then as the passion fades we feel lost. Or another common situation is that we have ‘too many’ passions and we don’t know which ones we should pursue and which ones we should let go. These situations lead to the desperation to which the question of how to find your passion is often asked; we can get lost in the thought and rumination that the questions can lead us down. We realise that often we are reacting automatically to our passions, we are not responding to them.
4. We can respond to passion skillfully
So, how can we respond skillfully? By observing passion mindfully; with curiosity and interest. By stepping back from passion we can observe it in the context of our lives. The observation of our passion can become part of our ongoing mindfulness practice. And this is the key. By stepping back, we make a space for ourselves to see how we are reacting to our passions and we can decide what we will commit to and what we will let go. We can reclaim the agency in our life.
5. There are other questions that may give you a better sense of agency
In the process of answering the question ‘how do I find my passion?’ we can realise that sometimes it is the question itself which is challenging. Reflecting a sense of confusion and helplessness; leading you to reactivity. Here are some other questions that can help you to gain a higher perspective; that may give you a better sense of agency.
- How do I sense my passion?
- What can I commit to?
- What do I value?
- What is important to me?
- What ‘lights me up’ and that I can include more of in my life?
So, to find your passion. It’s worth understanding more clearly what it is at an experiential level. Perhaps noticing how the question itself can lead us down a path of rumination. If we can practice stepping back and observing our passions, we can make more skillful choices on how to best integrate them with our lives.
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Mindfulness and its practice can be hard to describe. For many it conjures up images of monks sitting in a monastery meditating, for others it