Is there really someone for everyone? Does every person find that piece of the puzzle that seems to make the picture complete? Are we really halves of a greater whole? I always believed in soulmates. I actually think that people probably have more than one soulmate in the world, though finding just one is usually missed. Many people simply decide to get married at the appropriate time and if they aren’t dating their soulmate, they compromise and marry someone else. Some people don’t even believe in soulmates. Since they do not believe in a love that transcends all others, they don’t realize that their impatience created an inferior solution.
It takes courage and determination to wait for the “right” person when there is no guarantee that a soulmate will be found. Jenna, a close friend of mine, never believed she would meet her soulmate. “I’m not as confident about soulmates as you are,” she said to me over coffee. “Even though I believe that soulmates exist, I don’t think that I will meet mine. I just need to get married. I can’t spend my life alone so even though I know my boyfriend isn’t my soulmate, I may marry him anyway.” I begged her to be patient, but she wouldn’t listen. Jenna unexpectedly ended the relationship with her boyfriend, and ironically, she met her soulmate only two months later. I’ve never seen two people more in love with each other. Together, it seemed that they had found a secret that nobody else knew about. They were engaged a month after their first date. Even during the struggles of marriage, they were always happy with each other. They loved each other unconditionally.
Soulmates share a special magic between them. Often they feel that they have known each other forever, even if they just recently met. Certain glances, body movements, harmonized gestures or smells seem to ignite feelings of warmth and recognition. Neither person is perfect but they fit perfectly together. When they come together, they feel like they are coming home; and when they unite as one, they feel like they are connected to God or some greater spiritual force in the universe. It’s truly magical, unexplainable and rare. Someone who has found a soulmate relates strongly to these words. Yet for most of us, these words just sound like a fairytale.
“I got married when I was very young,” recalled a business associate. “I never even knew about the concept of soulmates. Thirty years later, I met my soulmate and it was a bond that couldn’t be denied. I sacrificed my marriage vows because I had to be with her. We knew that we could never be married, but it didn’t seem to matter. Just being together was enough. She fulfilled an emptiness in me that I didn’t even know existed. Even though we ended the relationship, I know that I will love her forever. A part of her is always with me.”
The women that I know who strongly believe in soulmates are usually the ones who are still single. Is it because they are waiting for someone who doesn’t exist? Or is it because the real test of waiting for a soulmate is whether a person has the patience to avoid compromise? I think a belief in soulmates requires a comfort with being alone. If the fear of being alone is greater than the perceived benefits of marrying a soulmate, the person can’t survive the hope of delayed gratification. If individuals choose to wait for a soulmate, they may be choosing the fate of being alone forever.
Carmen Harra in her book, Everyday Karma, describes soulmates in the following way: “Before you can find a soulmate, you should understand what a soulmate really is… all of life is a circle and energy flows and transforms throughout the circle. The theme of the circle is also true in our relationships. Each of us is half a sphere and the only way to complete the sphere is through an intimate relationship with another person. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, ‘She or he is my better half.’ We are each halves of a whole and our soulmate is our destined other half. To feel fulfilled and alive, to learn some of your greatest karmic lessons is to have a relationship with another person who melds exactly into your circle, who has the same level of karmic energy, and helps the energy flow within you. The energy of the two halves merge together and have more room to flow; the energy mingles and each of you is given the opportunity to evolve and grow. Finding your soulmate can be a long process. Some people do it at a young age, but for others it can take almost a lifetime. A soulmate is someone with whom you develop a strong affinity because you share the same life purpose. A soulmate is someone who complements you and vice versa. They are a reflection of the things you need to learn, the things that are missing in you. Soulmates are karmically in tune with each other. Within each of us there are pluses and minuses that exist in our souls (our positive energy and qualities and our negative energy and qualities). A soulmate complements and balances the energy you are missing, and you do the same for him or her…Before you can find a soulmate you must do the work to know yourself better. You must identify your road in life, know who you really are, see the good and bad in yourself honestly, and know what your goals and needs are.”
Even though soulmates complement each other, we should not confuse the image of being “two halves of a whole” as being half of a person when we are not with our soulmate. The whole that is created is just greater than the sum of its parts. Each part is “whole” by itself but together they create a more magnificent creation. The unified whole that is created is symbolized by the relationship, not by the merging of two incomplete people. The relationship is a separate entity. Joseph Campbell says, “A marriage is not a love affair… When I have to make a sacrifice, I’m not sacrificing to her, I’m sacrificing to the relationship.”
Furthermore, our partners may have qualities that we don’t have, but we cannot expect that those qualities will counteract our own weaknesses. Our problems cannot be solved by another person. We are the only ones who can develop particular character traits in ourselves; we can’t “borrow” positive qualities from someone else. Compensating qualities can enhance the relationship and they may help us evolve as human beings. Other people can be role models that allow us to develop more desirable personality traits or they may bring out the best in us; but we should never assume that the presence of a strength in one person negates a weakness in another. As a friend explained, “I dated someone who said he was looking for someone organized, which I thought was very strange. I could understand why someone may want to date a person who is compassionate, kind, intelligent and interesting, but why would someone want his partner to be organized? When I asked him about it, he said it was because he was disorganized and he needed someone to organize his life. I told him that if he wanted to be more organized, he should just correct the weakness in himself instead of looking for that particular personality trait in someone else. Silently, I was wondering why he didn’t just marry his secretary. Even though I am extremely organized, I told him that I did not possess that quality. It was just a “test” to see if he could get beyond what I called a ‘character trait possession anxiety.’ Up until that point, our dates were very enjoyable and he openly expressed his attraction for me. However, after that discussion, he never asked me out again. I can’t help thinking that maybe we would still be dating if he thought I was an efficiency expert.”
I wonder why I have always believed in soulmates. I have no personal evidence that they even exist. I have seen a few couples that seemed like they were with their soulmates, but how could I know for sure? Maybe it was just a strong infatuation. Hollywood movies don’t help in eliminating my belief in soulmates. Every time a “chick flick” is on TV, the girl who has given up hope finally meets the man of her dreams. Sometimes when we see fairytale repeated over and over, it feels that the fantasy could actually be real. Are screenwriters writing from their imagination or are they writing about an experience that just doesn’t happen very often?
The concept of soulmates is relatively new because marriages prior to the 20th century were not always based on love. They were partnerships between families and in the case of royalty they were partnerships between countries. Until the 1960’s, people got married when they barely knew each other. They may have thought they were in love but it is possible that the marriage was based only on infatuation and attraction. By sharing hardships, they learned to like and respect each other, which often turned into profound feelings of love and connection; but it was a different kind of love. If they also happened to be soulmates, it was only the result of luck or coincidence.
If Jenna had married the boyfriend who was not her soulmate, she would never have found the depth of happiness that she shares with her current husband. How many people really wait for this kind of love? Since it is so rare, it hard to believe that it really exists. Yet, there comes a point where there’s no turning back. If Individuals choose to remain alone, they eventually find themselves; and then they understand how difficult it is to connect with someone who can’t appreciate the beauty of what they’ve found.
There are many theories about soulmates. Plato believed they were split apart energy, and others believe that soulmates compensate for whatever is lacking in their partners. Plato’s story says that in the beginning there were circular creatures composed of what are now two human beings. There were three different kinds: male/female, female/female and male/male. The god Zeus then split them apart into two separate individuals (the evidence of the separation is the belly button). However, after they had been split apart, they became committed to embracing each other again in order to reconstitute the original entity. According to the story, we spend our whole lives trying to find and re-embrace with our other halves. In Symposium, Plato states, “man’s original body having been thus cut in two, each half yearned for the half from which it had been severed. When they met, they threw their arms round one another and embraced, in their longing to grow together again.”
In a trance, Edgar Cayce communicated the same concept. He said, “For we find in the beginning that …these two – which we shall speak of as ‘they’ until separated – were as one in mind, soul, spirit, body, and in the first earth’s plane…when the glory of the Father’s giving of the earth’s indwelling of man was both male and female in one. In flesh form in earth’s plane we find…both were confined in the body of the female in their first incarnation…Yet with the experiences as have been brought in that plane and period, we find then the separation of the body.” He then explained that these “twin souls” continually sought to find each other while they are incarnated on earth (interestingly, all fetuses start out as female until hormonal changes instigate physiological alterations that lead to the male anatomy).
Some people believe that soulmates are two individuals who were close in a past life (as spouses, friends or family). An interesting case of this type of soulmate relationship was reported in Brian Weiss’s book, Only Love is Real. He had two separate patients who were using hypnosis to recall past lives. After months of sessions with both patients, Weiss finally realized that details of two of their lives were identical. For instance, the woman recalled her father’s death by being dragged from the back of a horse. The man recalled a life with the exact same geographical descriptions where he was a man who was killed by being dragged by the back of a horse as his daughter watched. Weiss did not want to interfere with “fate” but decided to book these two patient’s appointments back to back so that they would see each other in the waiting room. They met but nothing happened and Weiss thought his experiment failed because the man was planning to leave the country forever. To his surprise, however, the two were traveling on the same day and the woman’s flight to Boston was cancelled and she was put on a plane to New York. This was the same flight as the other patient. When the two patients saw each other in the airport waiting area, they started talking and decided to switch their seats so they could sit next to each other. They ended up changing their plans so they could spend time together and eventually got married.
Another view of soulmates was expressed in the book, God and the Evolving Universe. The writers quote the 16th century Jewish mystic the Baal Shem Tov who said, ”From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven, and when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, the streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from that united being.”
I’ve always thought that soulmates are like a symphony. For some reason, when the notes come together they are no longer individual notes; they combine to form a magnificent musical composition that touches the soul. When a relationship hasn’t lasted, I have realized that the notes are not in harmony with each other -- the music has no melody. The notes are fine by themselves, but together, the music is disconcerting. In a soulmate relationship, each person is more beautiful than they ever were alone. I know that when I am around certain people, the best side of me naturally appears. I am still the same person but I appear different to others. I think that when someone feels fulfilled, they have more to share with other people and it just keeps growing from there.
Soulmates also represent “mature” love. In The Art of Loving, Erich Fromm states that immature love is the statement, “I love you because I need you,” while mature love is the statement, ”I need you because I love you.” In a soulmate relationship, we do not see our partner as the sum of individual characteristic traits. Every person we love has parts that we don’t like but the undesirable attributes do not stop us from loving the totality of both good and bad characteristics. A soulmate relationship is based on an unselfish desire to share our lives with an imperfect person, rather than a belief that the person has specific qualities that “complete” us. The relationship, not the person, is what makes us feel more “complete.” We find ecstasy and bliss by expressing our love rather than by idolizing a fantasized illusion that no human being can live up to.
Idolatry is actually very common in a search for a soulmate. It happens early on in dating process. If we find someone that ignites an unusual ecstasy (or intense chemistry), we subconsciously attach our soulmate fantasy to that person. We place the person on a pedestal, perceive him or her as some sort of “god,” and we believe that the person is superior to us. Later, we find out that the particular person cannot live up to our idolized image but we never consciously disconnect the soulmate attachment. We have attributed “divine” qualities to someone who is not “godlike,” which is identical to the experience of idolatry in the olden days. Then every time we meet someone similar, the soulmate fantasy is automatically reattached to the new person. This is often the case for people who create patterns of always being attracted to the wrong people. If we do not disassociate the soulmate fantasy from a particular type of person, we keep recreating the drama. However, instead of automatically being attracted to that type of person, we need to recognize that the soulmate fantasy has been erroneously attached to the type of person who possesses recognizable personality characteristics. We need to be extra careful around these people unless we can go through the process of de-attaching the soulmate fantasy from a certain character type (which is very difficult to do).
What are we supposed to do if our soulmate doesn’t appear? Are our only options to remain alone or compromise? I believe that soulmates are broader than a special lover or marriage partner. It may be difficult to find a “romantic” soulmate, but that doesn’t mean that our lives don’t include other types of soulmates. Soulmates include members of a person’s family, friends or even animals. Some people find soulmates through music, literature or art. A soulmate is someone or something that makes us more beautiful or more complete. It is not limited to finding a person who we want to marry. Children can be soulmates for parents and good friends are soulmates to each other. For many people, God or Allah, Nirvana or the universe fulfills the requirements of finding a soulmate. If someone or something touches our soul and brightens its expression, we have found one of many soulmates that will eventually enter our lives.
The definition of Hell is being separated from the one you love. The Persian myth of Satan is that he loved God too much to serve man – he could only love God. In the story, Satan was sent to Hell, which is symbolized as a separation from God, or the object of his love. For many people, hell on earth is also a separation from God or a separation from love; and this unity with God seems to reappear when we love a soulmate -- whether it is another human being or God Himself.
The image of a soulmate is the basis of every good love story. Our romantic fantasies are idealized with a vision of perfect love -- but what happens to these fantasies in real life? Marriage can be fairly ordinary and filled with routine. The majority of singles are continuously frustrated by unfulfilled expectations. There is nothing more disappointing than believing we’ve found a soulmate only to discover that its foundation was made of sand. For some people, a soulmate is only a fantasy and for others, it is the discovery of paradise in this world. Sometimes, soulmates are actually disguised as friends. Without continual faith and a belief in the power of mystery and magic, soulmates could never be real; because if we believe that soulmates don’t exist, they never will.
Although dreams succumb to ephemeral love,
enduring endearments can still be expected
by sustaining the passion of ecstasy and bliss
for the soulmates with whom we’re eternally connected.
In theory, someone could have multiple soulmates,
though finding just one is usually missed.
If a person’s content with a partner that’s found,
they prematurely lose faith that a soulmate exists.
Since many need soulmates in specified time frames,
they focus their searches to lessen the wait.
Sadly they don’t know that escaping their destiny
is harder than waiting to uncover their fate.
Wanting a soulmate’s not a sign of weakness,
it requires much courage and heart.
It’s knowing that two people who are strong by themselves,
can be stronger together, than when they’re apart.
Life turns and twists with its mysterious trysts
until soulmates are meant to converge.
Then a predestined path unifies them at last
so that spiritual fulfillment can finally emerge.
Since mystical devotion guides timeless emotion
recognition of soulmates is instantly grasped.
Intonations, expressions, gestures and glances
make soulmates believe they have met in the past.
Impassioned affection is a euphoric connection
for soulmates who are destined to find
a heightened serenity and enlightened identity
as they unite with their partner’s heart, soul and mind.
This sacred salvation is a divine revelation
at the moment two souls recognize --
that this magical reunion of soulmates
is a union with God in disguise.