Soulmate Myths: I Blame Richard Bach

Image result for twin flame chakra

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.”






The Facebook Fast

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I signed in to Facebook 10 years ago. It was the newest thing and the best way to share my baby’s pictures with family and friends. Over time, I connected and reconnected with people I had known. With one of my jobs, it was desirable for us to spend time on social media. So now I am on it six to ten times a day. 

My spiritual practice promotes different forms of fasting so this year I decided to do a Facebook Fast. One of my areas of spiritual growth is facing my Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). So letting Facebook go is big. 

What have I experienced? More time for me. More time connecting in real life. More projects getting done. A new recipe every night. More satisfaction in my day. More time to meditate. More research on interesting things. More time to do art. More of pretty much everything. 

And no FOMO. Not a bit. 

While I value people in my life, Facebook is a false economy of relationship. What I value is my Facebook interactions with people I really like. I value growth and support. Sharing. Deepening. Facebook doesn’t do that. 

The fast will evolve into new choices when my 2 week fast is over. I intend to stay connected to connecting. 

My beautiful eyes, my innocent eyes

“You are quite naive,” said the Face reader. “You are easily taken advantage of.”  Face reading is a pseudoscience that predicts personality from physical characteristics. It can be insightful; it is at least interesting.  In this case, the reader believes my eyes are shaped and sized in a way that reflects being naive. 

I walked away, incensed. I am a talented negotiator and always leave the table with my goals met. I assess people for a living. How could I be naive?

Mental flash: despite my confidence in life, I have had a history of intimate relationships where I was easily deceived of the nature of my partner. In fact, in all cases of major relationships, my family warned me off each of them. I dismissed my siblings, believing I could see something they could not. In fact, the opposite equally was true. And how many times have I hired staff that were good performers but challenging personalities?  I even have at least two roles where I was not a fit with an organization but I accepted the job anyway. 

So I looked up the word. Naive means innocent, natural and unaffected. As an empathic and a highly sensitive person, I feel pain when I lie or act untruthfully. A line from Tolkien always stuck with me: “the Men of the Mark do not lie, and therefore they are not easily deceived.” 

When it comes to people, I believe I tend to see the most beautiful perfect parts of them – I see the Divine in people. Even when a person is mean or selfish, I see the parts of them that are kind and generous. The difficulty with that in a long term relationship comes when the balance between selfishness and generosity is not there. Or when the balance is tipped away from what is best for me. 

I am naive. I have big, beautiful and innocent eyes. I have a big, beautiful and innocent heart. My spiritual path is not about finding ways to protect myself from others. That would mean my goal is to control circumstances and people – folly. My path is to experience without attachment. My path is to be open to all that is, without Self protection or fear. 

My eyes, my beautiful innocent eyes truly are a window to my soul. 

I Blocked You: Boundaries Are Healthy

I am one of Those people: I delete people on Facebook, I block people in WordPress and I don’t accept LinkedIn invitations from people I don’t know. I see social media as a mirror of human social dynamics and I apply the same rules. 

In real life, if I don’t see you or connect at least once a year, I stop inviting you to parties or sending you cards. If you don’t treat me with respect in real life, I don’t interact with you. So why do we take offense when these things happen in social media?

Simon Senuk has a unique view on this. He suggests that when we get attention on Facebook, or receive a text, we feel positive and rewarding emotions. Over time, our society begins to go to these sources for more instant gratification. A generation may be growing up without the skills to build relationships. 

So why do people get more put off when these things happen in the virtual world? Is it because it occurs more subtley in reality – I am less likely to tell a person we are moving into acquaintance status in real life, we just drift apart. Does Facebook create a new tool of subtle social control – I will make you feel good so you can make me feel good? 

I know one thing: I notice I pull out my phone when I am waiting for a meeting to start and as of today, I will use that time to begin a conversation with my colleagues. I am on a Face fast right now and the difference in my quality of life is surprisingly big. I recommend it. 

Watch the Simon Senik video here:

Gratitude: Keys to Happiness and Wisdom

A friend and I went to see a lecture on the secrets to happiness (The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything by Neil Pasricha). His research suggested five practices that lead to greater happiness. One of those is the practice of gratitude. This is supported by other research too. 

My 9 year old and I share our gratitude list every night. It is the cornerstone of our connection time. It is also when she is most likely to tell me what spiritual truth she has discovered, independent of any teaching. Here are a few:

*If you work against the universe, it goes bad.

*All this feels like a video game

*We don’t need labels like rich or poor, popular or unpopular. They aren’t real.

*What if we lived in harmony with nature? 

*Why do people let their thoughts make them unhappy?

Is it possible that gratitude opens you to wisdom? Most likely, it opens you to being in alignment with the Divine. From there, everything else can flow. 

New Year, New You? That’s Not What It’s About

For the last few years, I begin my year with a numerology reading. I am an 11, and most of my character is about deeper spiritual pursuits and enlightenment. No surprise there. 

Everyone asks what your New Year’s resolution is. When everyone else is setting goals about weight loss or fitness, spiritual people often set goals like being more present, doing sunrise yoga or switching from vegetarianism to raw foods. 

But, those types of resolutions, more politically or spiritually correctly relabled as intentions, are ways of recreating a more acceptable ego structure. That too must fall away. 

I have heard Adyashanti say that he sat on a bus bench, and told the universe he would accept anything the universe put in front of him that would help him achieve enlightenment. If that meant he would be rich and famous, so be it. If it meant he would be homeless and face challenges, so be it. No more conditions.- Huffington Post 

Could you do that? Could you completely accept what is with no conditions, no meaning, no judgements? I am poignantly aware that Neale Walsh and Byron Katie hit rock bottom as part of their turning point. 

 So how do you begin a New Year in alignment with Consciousness? I find the answer in these words:

“Once we come back to our Self, then whatever is created is happening not so much from a perspective of “What do I want?” but from a pure intention. Not an individual intention, not a collective intention, but the intention, the primal intention. It’s not an intention with a choice or a chooser. It’s a primary creative energy that comes from the Source.

When we really have returned to the Source, creation is no longer distorting itself through our wants or desires. That’s when we’re seeing, “What is? That’s what I want. What is actually happening? That’s what I desire.” And I’m no longer interested in creating anything, because I realize that everything, as it is, is what I always wanted it to be. It was always my intention; I just didn’t know it. I didn’t really want to manifest my individual intention, I wanted to come into the purity of intention itself.” – Adyashanti

Wow. What if I wanted exactly what is? How do I move into intentionality itself?

Ironically, despite everything I have said, moving into intentionality is my intention for 2017, for life.