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  • Writer's pictureHallie Swan

Common challenges to soul-activation (A social justice perspective)

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

We will all manifest our soul purpose to some degree, but the degree to which we do depends on how much support we receive.

We are all born with the innate potential to be masterfully powerful and vibrant. That being said, some people are born with more privilege than others, and this privilege can support a stronger connection with soul. This privilege includes emotional support, attention, encouragement, unconditional love, and empowering messages from caregivers, exposure to elders, a spiritually-developed community and resources, the safety and freedom to explore one’s surroundings and inner world, emotionally intelligent family and community members, key relationships such as friendship and mentorship, and access to nature.

I am of the opinion that a certain degree of hardship is actually beneficial in catalyzing one’s encounter with soul. Challenging life circumstances such as being underprivleged in the areas of race, gender, health, sexual orientation, etc, and experiencing the associated prejudice and oppression can dismantle the illusions that keep us cut off from our true nature. Under such tests, what is false falls away, and what is real survives. Someone who is gay and has had to put up with the abuse of homophobia will have an opportunity to get to know themselves and the nature of reality that someone who has always fit into the dominant group will not. Someone who has always been in the dominant group will hardly be forced to examine their assumptions, who their friends are, what they are made of, etc. That being said, hardships must be held in a large context of support if they are to be beneficial. There is a point of diminishing returns where too much hardship without support can overwhelm a person and damage their connection with Soul.

Some people with extreme disadvantage spend so much of their lives dealing with the abuses and hardships of their reality that they hardly get a chance to introspect and hear their soul’s song. They are caught up in surviving and managing their stress, that there isn’t time or space for much else. Under these circumstances it is vitally important that we find lifelines that tether us to our souls in creative ways. Examples of lifelines or saving graces that sustain us through intense hardships include a relative, teacher, mentor, or elder who

“sees” you and your spirit even when it is lost on everyone else. It can include a safe space, which may be a physical respite where one feels free, an activity where one can engage in his or her passions, an online chat room with like-minded individuals, or even a magical place in one’s imagination where dreams can endure. Saving graces can come in the form of role models… even people on TV who exemplify what we want to be. Another powerful lifeline is the innate connection to one’s soul/ the spirit world that one is born with. Some people are born with a more dilated opening between themselves and their soul. We hear about people who even amidst the harshest persecution followed their vision to freedom. Humans are resourceful, and we find life-affirmation in the humblest ways. These small things can be incredibly powerful.

So, it is not that some people have by nature a weak life force energy, and others have a strong one. Everybody is one and the same at this ultimate distillation. However, people can have a strong or weak relationship with it. Another way of thinking about one’s relationship with his or her soul is to say that one can have a weak character that surrounds his or her central, preeminent, infinite, and Divine wellspring of life-force energy. Character is a central concept in the Ifá religion, which originated in West Africa.

The word for character is Iwa. It refers to one’s behavior, choices, actions, and decisions. That is to say, one’s behavior can either aid or hinder the free flow of life-force energy and the fulfillment of their soul’s purpose. There is an Ifá saying that translates to, “May my character not spoil my destiny.” One’s behavior too is no doubt, informed by the circumstances of his or her life. If someone had a particularly difficult life with a lot of acute abuse, systemic abuse, poor role models, disempowering messaging, etc, they are likely to take on a character which does not support, and in fact hinders the expression of their soul’s purpose. This is to say that on the one hand, individuals who are at odds with their life force energy are not to blame for their estranged relationship with their soul. It is understandable how one could become an abuser if they were chronically abused, a crook if they were always told they would never amount to anything and that they were “bad” by nature, etc. But on the other hand, they have the ability and responsibility to make choices that go against their disempowering conditioning, and align them with their soul’s purpose. This is empowering! It means we are not victims of our circumstances. This ability to overcome the odds of our circumstances starts with enhanced awareness, and if you are reading this post, you are on the right track.

Each soul chooses a specific incarnation because the unique challenges it presents offers opportunity for the particular kind of growth it seeks. Certain underprivileged conditions can catalyze a soul’s development to new levels of enlightenment. The key is not to get so devastated and overwhelmed by our hardships that they destroy us.

Instead, the goal is to harness that everlasting sou strength within ourselves, so that our challenges become like a razor that shaves off any hardness of our character, revealing the diamond of truth within. I love the following quotation by Pema Chodron: "Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.” With the strength and vision of our souls, our struggles become tools for our personal evolution. Of course, this is a social justice issue, as society makes it near impossible for some populations to be resourced enough to locate that basic and fundamental resilience inside of them. We all have a responsibility to take care of one another to the point where our basic survival needs and needs for support are met, so we stand a chance at manifesting our soul strength. This is not a matter of pitying, which is energetically disempowering to the other. Instead we must offer from a place of strength and wholeness within ourselves, in a way that inspires wholeness, and the invincible power of soul -activation in the other. I have heard the saying somewhere that, “God never presented me with a dream for which he did not also provide the means to fulfill it.” I am not sure whether or not this is true for everybody in this modern world, but I can say it has been true for me. I think it is helpful and empowering to consider it.

If you want to engage with this material, here are three prompts for you:

1) Think of one thing that has been a resource for you in kindling your relationship with your soul. Think about how this resource helps you beat the odds of your disempowering conditioning. Really recall in full detail this resource and the continued warmth and gratitude you have for it.

2) Think of a way that you are a lifeline to somebody else. How do you fan the flame of someone else’s relationship to their soul power?

3) Evaluate the strength of your relationship with your soul. One good yardstick to measure this is to look at how much self-doubt you have. Have you noticed that little insidious critic inside? Its voice is probably so flesh with your own sense of reality that you don't even notice it! But the stronger that self-doubt or criticism is, the stronger indicator it is of an estranged relationship with your soul. The first step is to just observe the doubt, notice how it comes in, and let it inform you about whys you are cutting yourself off from soul. When you change your relationship with your doubt/ critic, you will change your relationship with your Soul. Another thing you can do is take an honest look at your character. How does your character (your behavior and the way you act in the world) support or undermine your soul purpose?

Blessings for now. More to come. Love,




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