With a soul mate standing beside you, many of life’s possibilities seem more achievable. Taller mountains may be climbed when you share the path with someone who loves you. The views from mountain tops are more rewarding when shared with your soul mate and it is reassuring.
Many of us, despite successful careers and rewarding challenges, yearn for someone who’ll understand us on a deep level. We search for someone who will soften the way when we face life’s hardships. The search for a soul mate is often the search for understanding. For many people a soul mate relationship represents a chance for unconditional love. It offers an opportunity to be loved; warts and all. When we find a soul mate, the yearning subsides and we experience stillness. This deep, peaceful sense of being still engulfs us, and we are content. We remember what it feels like to be profoundly nourished, emotionally and spiritually.
After years of trying to make the wrong relationships into the right one, Kristy sat slumped into the chair. For 18 months she had focussed on the possibility of a relationship with Michael, who wasn’t interested. As a result of Michael’s disinterest, Kristy began to doubt if she had anything worthwhile to offer a partner. Her social life faltered and work became her only source of happiness. During a week long annual work conference, one of her work related clients asked her to dinner. She reluctantly accepted and was surprised with the results. Doug showed her around the old town, and as they crossed the ancient bridges and walked beside the canals, conversation between them flowed naturally and easily. They laughed and talked into the small hours of the morning, then Doug walked her to her hotel room and gently kissed her goodnight. Over the following weeks she spent more and more time with Doug, discovering his circle of friends and feeling at home amongst them. She hadn’t simply found her partner, Kristy had found her tribe. Finally she was socialising with people who shared common interests and long term goals. Instead of being the odd one out, Kristy began to thrive.
On a deeper level, our desire to evolve emotionally and spiritually includes the recognition that some of the steps on the path in life can be shared. A part of you remembers that you are more than your physical body and that there are lessons to be mastered. That deeper part realises that you have chosen a physical body which increases your restrictions and makes the lesson more difficult, but it is also a more valued prize.
Imagine for a moment that you are given an enormous, but rewarding challenge. To make that challenge more difficult, you are also given some basic restrictions. You are given a physical body that requires food, water, sleep and it has to be kept within a certain temperature range for survival.
To further complicate the challenge, you agree to consciously forget the task set for you as you come to grips with mastering the mechanics of the physical body. By the time you have slept a thousand nights, you have learned to walk, talk and communicate on a basic level with your species. Much of your waking time is spent feeding and maintaining your physical, emotional and mental bodies. When you feel that life is perfect, along comes a
young brother or sister, and the adults at home suddenly have less time to devote to you. Although your emotional needs are foremost, you soon realise that you can fulfil many of these needs with people the same size as yourself, at day care or kindergarten.
Without your parents or other adults to remind you that you are more than your physical body, and to give you a hint of where you fit in the universal scheme, you may reach adulthood having ignored the challenge set for you before you entered your physical body. Then as an adolescent or a young adult, you fall in love. You have great hopes and plans that this love might ease that dull ache within. Love or the yearning for love awakens you to part of your purpose, and reminds you of a time when there was no yearning. Unconsciously, your challenge presents itself and then you meet people who can teach you what you need to reach your goal successfully.
This is similar to the tale of the Sleeping Beauty. In the story she falls asleep for a hundred years (asleep to her spiritual purpose) until her prince (her soul mate) arrives to remind her of her true purpose. No doubt she reminds him of his own purpose, for his quest is to find the person who remembers his spiritual purpose. It can be a lonely path, living life in a human body. There are many diversions from loneliness such as entertainment, travel, films, books, computer games, drugs and alcohol, but when these diversions have subsided, you may still feel alone. The search for a deep, loving relationship with someone who can alleviate that loneliness is often long and painful. Partners may dispel that dull ache for a week, a month or even years, but unless you recognise your spiritual purpose and follow that purpose, you continue feeling alone.
Soul mates often enter our lives to remind us of our purpose. They are fellow travellers on the path and all of us need occasional reminders. They may appear not only as partners, but also as good friends or work colleagues. Years ago after the conclusion of a love relationship, I sank into a depression. I lost motivation for social events. I ignored my friends and sat around staring at the walls. A good friend who worked nearby appeared at the front door one afternoon and invited me snorkelling.
We drove to the beach, and stood at the top of 100 sandy wooden steps, gazing out across the glistening bay beneath us. Small cottages and grand homes nestled together sharing the view of a tiny cove, extending out to the Pacific Ocean. Chris handed me a snorkel and a face mask and we slipped into the cool water from one of the large rocks dotted around the bay. Crabs scurried out of sight as I eased myself into the water, and the cries of seagulls were muted as soon as I put my head down. Despite the chill factor of the water, within a few minutes I had forgotten my own problems, as I discovered a whole new world beneath the ocean’s surface. The seaweed swayed slowly on the seabed as schools of colourful fish darted in every direction. After a few minutes I spotted a stingray gliding across the sand below and I noticed that if I was still enough, some of the smaller fish approached me, studying me curiously.
Three or four times a week that summer, Chris knocked at my front door and together we snorkelled in the late afternoon sun. It was an enriching, healing experience. It occurred to me later that Chris realised that although he was powerless to heal me of my recent loss, he was able to help me to rebalance myself, through snorkelling. Chris reminded me that there are other experiences awaiting me and another world which had been invisible to me, such as the underwater world of snorkelling.
At first I bent his ear with stories of my recent relationship while he patiently listened. After a month I spoke less of my past partner and more of my life as it was. This is a classic example of soul mates. They remind us of our deeper purpose, often without knowing it. Chris was aware of what he was doing to help me and I am grateful to him for such practical assistance when I desperately needed it. Soul mates often say or do things that help us to remember our purpose without ever being aware of the effects of their words or actions. Sometimes even tactless words or reckless actions awaken us to a lesson.
Occasionally, soul mates meet in unexpected circumstances. In the 1980s I studied classical ballet for five years and one morning after a private lesson I asked my teacher how he had met his wife. A private man, he nervously glanced away towards the tall bay window to avoid the question. His wife smiled, before urging him to tell me the story. He hesitated, as she poured his espresso into his favourite cup. Mikhail gestured towards the chocolate brown velvet sofa, but there wasn’t any room for me, as it was covered by a pair of Newfoundland dogs, slobbering and scratching themselves.
It turned out that Mikhail had been a dancer and eventually a choreographer in Europe for many years, and feeling restless, he decided to emigrate to Australia. He reasoned that it might be a chance to start a new ballet school in a new territory. What he hadn’t considered was the location, the language barrier and that ballet might be less popular in Australia than it was in Europe.
Five years after arriving, Mikhail was depressed. His limited English skills severely curtailed his plans, and he began drinking. The months slid past in a blur, and slowly, day by day, he forgot his goals. He gradually became more and more lonely. Every few days he’d collect two empty 2 gallon bottles and stroll down to the liquor store to replenish his stocks. The more he drank the less he danced, until he lost his ballet slippers under the sofa. Late one morning as he collected his empty bottles, he heard some music playing in the downstairs flat. He vaguely recognised it, but couldn’t name the piece. As he descended the stairs, the classical piece of music grew louder, swirling around in his head. It began to frustrate him that he knew the piece so well, but couldn’t place it into context in his life. After collecting his wine at the liquor store, Mikhail headed home. Suddenly it hit him. The classical piece of music was the score for the final act of the last ballet he had choreographed in Russia before departing for Australia. Memories of those years flooded back as he walked home. The triumphs, the strain of managing a competitive troupe of dancers, the joy he felt when the audience roared with delight, appreciating his months of persistent effort.
Mikhail decided that if the music was playing when he returned home, he’d knock at the door and ask if he might borrow the record and tape it for his collection. He strained his ears as he approached the grand old home, now divided into four flats. He recognised the music and quickened his step. Despite his exhaustion from the walk, Mikhail strode upstairs to drop off his alcohol, before approaching his downstairs neighbour.
He stood in front of the door listening to the music for a few minutes before summoning the courage to knock. It seemed an eternity before the door was opened and to his surprise, standing before him was a young woman in a ballet tutu, wearing ballet slippers and panting from her recent dance efforts.
In the weeks that followed, Mikhail spent most of his days downstairs with Jascinta, discussing dancing techniques. Eventually she convinced him that his dancing days weren’t over. At this point Mikhail gave up alcohol and resumed dancing. Three years later they were married and soon after they founded their ballet school. His eyes filled with tears as he explained how Jascinta had effectively saved his life. I looked at her and said “You know, this would make a riveting ballet.”
© 2012/13 Paul Fenton-Smith
photo from bigstockphoto.com
Taken from Paul’s book Finding Your Soul Mate (Academy Publishing 2011). Click here to read more about this book.