The Awakened Soul: Marching to a Different Drum

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The Awakened Soul: Marching to a Different Drum
By Jacob A Nordby

A nice definition of an awakened person: a person who no longer marches to the drums of society, a person who dances to the tune of the music that springs up from within. ~ Anthony de Mello

Within each of us is an inner orchestra and it is led by Soul, the invisible conductor of our life. We have trouble hearing this music in our modern world because we are engulfed in the clang and rush of external pressures. We often wonder why we keep mindlessly doing all the things which distract us from the call of purpose, but even this small, questioning voice is drowned out as we race to work, hack away at piles of obligation and drop exhausted into bed at night.

Does this sound familiar? Do you ever wonder how to stop the noise and re-discover the joy and harmony of your inner song?

First, it’s good to know you’re not alone. With almost no exception, everyone living in today’s first-world society struggles to carve out space in which we can remember ourselves.

I could spend a lot of time talking in generalities or bemoaning our stressed-out culture, but that’s not the purpose of this article.

No, I intend to strike a clear reminder bell: just that one ringing note which calls us back to mindfulness and peace.

Can you hear it in your imagination right now? It cuts through the clutter of voicemail and bills and ambition and depressing circumstances. It says, “Come find me. I’m your reason for living. I’m your purpose, your passion…your bliss. I will revive your joy. I will give new meaning to the mundane parts of life. I’m your north star and your guiding light.”

A practical sort of person is thinking, “…that sounds lovely and poetic, but what do I do with it? I want the magic back, but for godsake, man…give me something solid to put my feet on here.”

That’s a fair request. In fact, it’s more than fair. We have come to a critical point in human progress at which we are asking ourselves to bring together all the many centuries of higher wisdom and apply it. We know that we know better than we are doing. We know that we don’t need war and greed. We know that just piling up more stuff will never satisfy our essential questing selves.

So here we are. We live in this world. It does no good to wait for society to slow down or re-arrange itself around more meaningful values. We are tasked with finding balance for ourselves, but how?

Anthony de Mello gives us a clue in his definition of an awakened person: “…a person who no longer marches to the drums of society…”.

We’ve already talked about the drums of society: the expectations and obligations and death-by-a-thousand-cuts duties which demand our attention.

So, how do we silence those drums and start living life on our own terms?

Like any worthwhile journey, this one starts with a few simple steps. Here are some suggestions:

    1. Re-imagine. I invite you to sit quietly with a notebook and pen. For awhile, just doodle around the edges and write down whatever loose ends are nagging at you. Then, write yourself a letter. Tell yourself what is most important in life. Daydream about what you’d be doing and how you would be living if you could begin again with purpose. Don’t shortcut this step. Your quiet, inner voice needs room to play. Take care that the new dreams you write are your own…not the ones dictated by the “drums of society”. How does that feel?


    1. Start small. Do something every day to encourage your awakening. Just a short meditation, reading a good book, taking a long walk, or writing in a journal for twenty minutes can be powerful catalysts for self-discovery and transformation.


  1. Walk away. Remember that you have much more power of choice than you have been exercising. Can you turn off the television more often, cut out un-necessary expenses or compress your duties at work? We all end up carrying weights which are no longer necessary, and we often can’t remember why we agreed to pick them up in the first place.

In my own experience, when I got radically clear and honest, I found piles of extra baggage to shed. It wasn’t easy to de-junkify my life at first. I had to learn that saying “no” to stuff which no longer served me was a way of saying “yes” to my awakening purpose. People didn’t always understand my new path, and this is where I learned the value of listening to myself as never before.

Does this give you a bit more visibility on how to simplify your life and re-connect with your own inner music?

Want to learn more about how to re-engage your purpose and follow your destiny? Visit and download the complimentary e-book and MP3 titled: “Re-Mapping Your Life”. Jacob A. Nordby is the founder of, a published author and life-purpose coach.

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