Soulmates, twin flames, spiritual partners…
I think nearly every spiritual online subscription I have posts some article on one of those topics. Richard Bach was the first writer through whom I was exposed to the idea of a Soul Mate. I was sitting in the University cafeteria, and one of my friends passed me his book on soul mates. I read it in a day – could not put it down. And so began my life long search for this idea.
“A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.” – Richard Bach
Then of course we began to hear more about twin flames. “There tends to be a lot of confusion about what a “twin flame” relationship really is. Unlike “soul mates,” which are our perfect matches (or our spiritual family) twin flames are our perfect mirrors. Relationships with twin flames tend to be on-again-off-again, intensely passionate, and sometimes intensely painful. Twin flames help us awaken like nobody else, and they ultimately serve to show us who we really are.” – Thought Catalogue Or another view is “twin flames, also called twin souls, are literally the other half of our soul. We each have only one twin, and generally after being split the two went their separate ways, incarnating over and over to gather human experience before coming back together. Ideally, this happens in both of their last lifetimes on the planet so they can ascend together. So you probably haven’t had many lifetimes with your twin.” – Soul Evolution
Finally, I was introduced to the idea of Anam Cara, which seemed more authentic because it was described as historical: “Anam Cara means “Soul Friend.” Anam is the Gaelic word for soul and Cara is the word for friend. In Celtic tradition, an Anam Cara is a teacher, companion or spiritual guide. With the Anam Cara you can share your innermost self to reveal the hidden intimacies of your life, your mind and your heart. This friendship cuts across all convention to create an act of recognition and belonging that joins souls in an ancient and eternal way.” – Anam Cara Therapy
I bought into the idea, or ideal. It became the measuring stick for each relationship. If a relationship was not this, then it was not good enough. If it was not this, then the Fear of Missing Out would kick in. I accepted and rationalized unhealthy relationships as evidence of soul work, or of the challenge that comes when twin flames are together. For the sake of this deep belief, I allowed myself to suffer and call it the price of such lofty relationships. It fed my egoic belief that I was doing something special and harder than the regular type of love and relationship.
The obvious reaction a person may have is that I am cynical, or because I have not experienced these things I am taking a view colored in bitterness. In response, I would note that Richard Bach told the world he found his soul mate, he also told the world that they divorced. I believe it was a growthful relationship, but not the soul mate relationship that he postulated in his books. Here is why: soul mates, twin flames or any idealized description of how love manifests is the ego attempting to make permanent the relationship that occurs between personalities. These are attempts at spiritual overlay to make identification with the self seem meaningful.
I have had deep moments of connection with people I am close to and people I barely know. I have had long healthy relationships. I have had long unhealthy relationships. The dynamic of the relationship is a function of the personalities in the relationship. I believe that the moments of connection are moments where I let go of self. I believe we look for these idealized romances to fill in for when we are trying to feel connected to the Divine. It could even be a vehicle for that spiritual path.
I rest on the koan “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him” and extend it to “If you meet your soulmate/twin flame/etc, keep looking.”