Trans4mind Home Page

Passion And Soulfulness

By Dr. Nathaniel Branden

When I think of nourishing the soul, I think of nurturing the ability to respond positively to life that is, the ability to sustain passion for our interests, values, and projects. I believe that the worst of all spiritual defeats is to lose enthusiasm for life's possibilities.

Every life has its share of setbacks and disappointments of tragedy and loss. So the question we all confront, in the face of negatives that may assail us, is: How do we keep our inner fire alive?

Two things, at minimum, are needed: an ability to appreciate the positives in our life.and a commitment to action.

Every day, it's important to ask and answer these questions: "What's good in my life?" and "What needs to be done?"

The first question keeps us focused on positives; the second keeps us proactive and reminds us that we are responsible for our own happiness and well-being.

Another aspect of focusing on the positive, and thereby nourishing the soul, is to stay focused on the inquiry "What in my life do I most enjoy? What most stimulates me?" Someone once said that you can know who a man is if you know what wakes him up.

The pleasures that nurture me personally may be as simple as enjoying the view of the city and the ocean from the window of my living room, or spending time in the garden, or appreciating good health. Of course, one of the greatest joys that nurtures me is that I have a loving relationship with my wife. In addition, when I think of nurturing the soul, I think of listening to music and rereading books that have meant a lot to me. I also think of the act of writing. When I spend time at my computer, writing, I almost invariably experience a tremendous sense of appreciation of how wonderful it is to be alive. If I am away from writing too long, I feel discouraged, or at least dispirited. Writing takes energy, and it also creates energy.

For all of us, the key is to pay close attention to which activities make us feel most alive and in love with life.and then try to spend as much time as possible engaged in those activities.

Even when our life is most difficult, it is important to remember that something within us is keeping us alive.the life force.that lifts us, energizes us, pulls us back sometimes from the abyss of despair. True spirituality does not exist without love of life.

If we feel unhappy or unfulfilled, the most urgent question is, "What needs to be done?" Or one might say, "What's missing in my life.and what can I do about it?" The sin is to suffer passively. We must never forget that we have the capacity to act. So we must always be concerned to know "What avenues of action are possible to me? What can I do to make my life better?"

If we stay oriented to the two basic questions."What's good in my life?" and "What needs to be done?".and strive to respond to those questions appropriately, the predictable result is that we will be happier human beings and get far more of whatever it is that we want in life.

Some writers.Erich Fromm, for one.contrast a so-called "being" orientation with a "doing" orientation. The implication is that being and doing are in some sense antithetical. Of course, they are not. Doing and being, action and stillness, are dependent on one another. Without action, we would cease to exist, and without stillness, we would neither be able to appreciate our existence nor have a foundation from which to act. We need stillness, we need the pure experience of being, in order to fully realize ourselves. Out of that stillness can come the motivation to act and also the awareness we need to act wisely, not to lose perspective. When being and doing are in harmony, when stillness and action are friends to each other, we create an integrated, satisfied soul. We are then in the best position to truly enjoy and appreciate life and not be destroyed by adversity.

Another aspect of nourishing the soul is the ability to stay focused on the present, to live in the present. Many years ago in the 1960s, I was writing a book called The Psychology of Self-Esteem. I was a young man at the time, in my thirties, and one day I was sitting at my typewriter, impatient for the book to be finished, thinking that my life would really begin to unfold only when this book was finished. Yet I intuitively knew that something was wrong with this line of thought. So I asked myself what I thought I would be doing when the book was finished, and I immediately answered, "Planning the next book." And when the next book was finished? "Planning the book after that." I saw that my life, first and foremost, was about writing: that was and is my passion. So, in the middle of writing The Psychology of Self-Esteem, I finally realized "This is it. This is my life. If I can't enjoy it now, every day, there is no reason to believe I'll be better able to enjoy it in the future, after the seventh, eighth, or ninth book."

That realization was a turning point for me. The impulse to focus on the future can be quite strong. It's natural to look ahead. Yet I realized that the key to happiness lay in enjoying the process, not just the final result.because the greater part of my life was going to be spent at the level of process and not at the stage of contemplating the finished product. So now I bless each day I can get up and go to my computer and sit down to write and know and love the fact that this is what my life is about.

I believe that earning your living doing something you enjoy is one of the very best ways to nourish yourself. But even if you are employed at something that is not your ideal work, it is important to find ways to take as much pleasure in it as possible. Living in the present moment can make ordinary activities more interesting and joyful, you may be surprised, if you only look, at what you will find. If you try to stay connected with why you are doing what you are doing, for example, then even the parts of your life that aren't especially exciting can become more meaningful. Sometimes I have to go to an event that doesn't especially interest me. I've learned to tell myself, Make this experience as happy for yourself as you possibly can. Once that becomes a conscious purpose, it's amazing how imaginative one can become. Life becomes infinitely more interesting.

Nothing I am saying about the importance of living in the present denies the value of being concerned with the future. We want to keep in mind our goals, what we're moving toward, and to see the progression and direction that underlie our activities. We need to be able to plan for the future without sacrificing the present, and enjoy the present without making ourselves oblivious to the future. Obviously, we cannot control every single aspect of our life. We are not omnipotent. But we do have an enormous degree of responsibility for the shape our life takes. We have many options about how we will respond to events. We are not passive spectators, but active contestants in the drama of our existence. We need to take responsibility for the kind of life we create for ourselves.

How do we nurture the soul? By revering our own life. By treating it as supremely important. By reaching for the best within ourselves. By learning to love it all, not only the joys and the victories, but also the pain and struggles.

About The Author
Dr. Nathaniel Branden, author of 20 books, including "The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem" & "The Art of Living Consciously," is a practicing psychotherapist in Los Angeles with a Ph.D. in psychology and a background in philosophy. He also does corporate consulting and offers seminars, workshops, and conferences on the application of self-esteem principles and technology to the problems of modern business.

Click on link below for more information about Dr. Nathaniel Branden

From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

The New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
We think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
Copyright © 1997-2018 Trans4mind Ltd