Introducing Soul Hacks: The Wisdom Daily’s New Feature

Introducing Soul Hacks: The Wisdom Daily's New Feature

If you are reading The Wisdom Daily, there is a better than decent chance you already know what a life-hack is, and you may even check out sites like lifehacker for concrete ways to make your life a little easier, happier or healthier.  But what is soul-hacking, and how is it different from life-hacking?  That is what I asked our editor, Elad Nehorai, when he first proposed turning an off-the-cuff phrase I had used, into a regular feature at on TWD.  He immediately responded, in typically TWD fashion, “You tell me”.

My answer?  Sometimes, there is no difference, so perhaps we don’t need to do what others are already doing well.  After all, if your life is made easier, happier and healthier, it stands to reason that your soul, if you think you have one, is also experiencing those same three things.

Sometimes though, a soul-hack will be different because it addresses what some folks think of as a specifically spiritual issue or need such as mindfulness, compassion, or forgiveness.  Personally, if those needs are part of your life, then I think that they are both soul-hacks and life-hacks.  But hey, that’s just from me, who has an allergy to most sharp dichotomies, including the separation of our inner and our outer lives.  It also opens the door to this feature, to reinforce that there is a spiritual dimension to all of life – at least if we are open to it – whether that means making dinner, making love, or making prayer.

And finally, a soul-hack might take its inspiration from a practice or insight that is rooted in one particular tradition, and help it find its way from that particular domain into the more inclusive domain of anyone interested in nurturing their soul.  Since a soul-hack can be any of the above, it might be easiest to give you an example of what we mean, and the kind of content we will be featuring in this new venture by the TWD.

The article The Top Ten Ways To Escape Reality And Relax provides a good example of a soul hack. When relaxation is connected to “escaping your life,” as it is in this list of ways that invites us to do both, I want to both jump for joy, and also to shout “Noooo!”.  We all have routines, and we all need breaks from them, but we never escape our lives, whether we want to or not.  As the title of Jon Kabot-Zinn’s work on mindfulness meditation reminds, Wherever You Go, There You Are.   We all bring ourselves to whatever we do, so there is no true escape.  And if you basically like who you are, or at least aspire to liking who you are, should there be?

But “no escape” doesn’t mean that we don’t need breaks, and the ones offered in that list above are all good ways to take one.  But here is how a solid life-hack becomes the kind of life-hack-plus which we call a soul-hack: find regular time to do anything which helps you feel that you are actually pretty good just as you are, simply because you are and not because of what you do.  And in allowing yourself to feel that about yourself, savor the feeling which often accompanies that i.e. the world is fundamentally a pretty good place, and that things are better than we often let ourselves feel.

Whatever you do to nurture that feeling – be it alone or with others, working hard in the gym or at prayer – that’s your soul hack, and the real art of it involves making regular time to practice it.  Not always as easy as it sounds, but that is the key to moving from occasionally escaping from your so-called real life, to making that life more one you really love leading.

Soul Hacks is one of many new categories that will be featured on The Wisdom Daily.  If you are a writer with wisdom to share, please check out our Submissions page for all the details.


Brad Hirschfield

Brad Hirschfield is the co-founder and co-executive editor of The Wisdom Daily. A rabbi, Brad has been featured on ABC's Nightline UpClose, PBS's Frontline, Fox News and National Public Radio. He wrote a long-standing column, "For God's Sake," for the Washington Post, and has also written for The Huffington Post and Beliefnet.com. He authored the book, You Don?t Have To Be Wrong For Me To Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism. Brad also serves as President of Clal, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City.

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