be still, my beating heart...
Love is the most mysterious emotion in life, yet it is the most readily recognized. Love seems inaccessible, yet it is the most common of human experiences. People write songs about love, people write poems about love, people analyze it endlessly. Everyone is looking for love, whatever it is, and everyone is looking for their perfect partner, their soul mate. But what does the concept "soul mate" really mean? Does it mean that there is one and only one person for each of us. Let us examine three types of soul mates: the Karmic Soul Mate, the Task Companion, and the Twin Flame.
Most love relationships occur between Karmic Soul Mates, people who have karmic ties, either positive or negative. In one way or another the partners have known each other before, probably many times before. Basically, they have "unfinished business." One or both owes a "karmic debt." Sexual attraction is one of the best ways to induce us to get involved in repayment of karmic debts. Sex is the lure, the bait, that induces us to feel and not to think. As a result, Karmic Soul Mates can have intense, but not always positive relationships. Usually, these relationships tend to be turbulent, even obsessive. We move through them, and sometimes we grow.
A second type of soul mate is the Task Companion, a project-oriented partner. The partners get together in order to accomplish something. The task may be outside the intimacy of the love relationship or it may be that each seeks to help the other. Task Companions have positive karmic ties. When united in a love relationship, they tend to be companions and best friends. Their relationship will be more mellow than that of Karmic Soul Mates. This type of love relationship usually provides a stable, healthy environment for raising children and, indeed, that is often one of the shared tasks. When the task is complete, this couple may feel an emptiness in their relationship.
The third and most sought-after type of soul mate is the Twin Flame (also called the twin or counterpart). Your Twin Flame is the person with whom you most perfectly belong in this lifetime. Your Twin Flame is someone with whom you have strong, extremely positive karmic links. If you are lucky enough to meet your Twin Flame, the pull to unite in an intimate love relationship will be extremely powerful. It may be so powerful that it will transcend social barriers of age, race, or religion. This is the most beautiful, most compelling love of all, but it also can be the most dangerous. Twin Flames can build a relationship so strong, so all-encompassing that it becomes its own entity like a third person and each partner is sacrificed to it.
With all the risks and dangers involved in love, everyone still wants it. Everyone is looking for the perfect love. Why? Love integrates us. All our attention focuses on the love. The result is a deep experience of unity, of wholeness that we long for. Love is a blissful, magical feeling. It is a feeling of being totally absorbed, of being totally focused, of being totally present. The feeling of being totally focused in love is liberating. It frees you from inner conflicts and fears, it frees you from tensions, it frees you from hesitation, it frees you from doubt... at least temporarily.
Therein lies the problem. That overpowering magical feeling, that euphoria, does not last. What most people feel when they believe they are "in love" is attraction. True, that intense attraction gives you a sense of integration, but the integration is illusory. You will feel integrated only as long as the object of the attraction is available to you and under your control. Basically, love that is caused by something or someone outside of you will always be complicated by issues of availability and control. That makes it illusory and temporary, even when the object of the attraction is your Twin Flame. Lasting love, true love is an outward expression of your existing integration within. So, in a love relationship, each must love the other with the intention to develop and reinforce his or her own inner integration. If both partners love this way, then the love between them becomes an ongoing, luminous, spiritual experience.
But if love is so beautiful, why is it also so painful? In a love relationship, two individuals are merging at a very deep level. By the very intense nature of this union, we will experience extremes. We definitely experience extremes of closeness, but we also may experience feelings of distance and pain. In a love relationship, two separate beings are attempting to merge in terms of personality, personal habits, backgrounds, likes and dislikes everything. The challenges of merging are further complicated by the romantic notions with which we are bombarded.
Our culture tells us that we should long for the perfect other, but never defines the perfect other. And we are left to wonder is the perfect other a mirror or a complement? Well, it is not easy to find a clone of yourself. You may find someone similar, but there is only one unique, special you who feels, thinks, needs, and acts exactly as you do. So, is it realistic to expect the significant other in your life, the beloved, to know exactly what you want, exactly when you want it, and exactly how much you want of whatever it is that you want? It is not only unrealistic, it is impossible even for a Twin Flame. Many people, sensing this, seek their opposites to complete them and then find that the differences keep them from merging. This too is an impossible predicament, an unrealistic burden for the concept of love.
Love, real love, begins within you. The love you seek already exists in you, in your spirit. You must find within yourself the sense of integration and wholeness that you are seeking. You must find it at your own center, rather than depend on someone else to provide it for you. No one can bring love to you from the outside.
Now, what if you do not find that love at your own center? What if you insist on finding someone else to make you feel love? What happens when you do find that Twin Flame someone who makes you feel so loved, so loving, that it is beyond anything you have ever experienced? It feels wonderful. Indeed, it is so wonderful that you may come to depend on that love. You may come to need and rely on the love of the other to make you feel whole, to make you feel complete, to make you feel integrated. It is a perfect situation. . .as long as it lasts. And therein lies the problem! When you come to depend on that love to give you those wonderful feelings, you will not want to lose it. You will begin to fear losing that love so much that you may become manipulative and controlling in order to hold onto it. Then the love stops being love and turns into fear; whatever mask it may wear, it is fear.
Does that mean that we should never seek a loving relationship? Not at all! The Masters teach that the only real love is divine love. Consider the Hindu chant: "Om mani padme hum." Hail to the jewel of bliss in the lotus of consciousness. The lotus of consciousness is the body, the temple of our lives. The jewel of bliss is that spark of divine love within each of us. So, a beautiful, intimate love relationship is really only a reflection of that inborn divine love. On the other hand, there is a lot to be said in favor of building a loving relationship. Love can be the means, the key to unlock the jewel of bliss. A loving relationship is how we can learn to open our hearts to divine love, and to find that integration, that wholeness within.
But, and this is the big BUT... How do we do that? How do we function in an intimate, loving relationship without becoming dependent on it? The best way, the only way, is to accept yourself and to accept the person you love. When conflict arises, do not blame the other person, your beloved, and do not blame yourself. Understand that the intimate relationship is invariably designed to teach you everything about yourself. Through the intimacy of a deep love relationship, you will learn things about yourself that nobody else could show you. This is true whether your beloved is a Karmic Soul Mate, a Task Companion, or a Twin Flame.
Your beloved cannot cause you problems or give you solutions. It is all within you, already there, and the presence of another just stimulates it. Each of us must begin to take responsibility for who and what we are. We must accept ourselves exactly as we are in a compassionate, detached manner. No guilt, no self-rejection. See the divinity within yourself and let all the other "stuff" come to the surface without judging yourself for it, without labeling yourself with it. Physical beauty, intelligence, positive and negative personality traits are merely overlays, traps of the ego. They are not the real you.
Similarly, the circumstances and challenges in your life are not the real you. To deal effectively with these external circumstances, we must be detached from them. Observe what is in your life without judging, without being for it or against it. Just let it be. Detach yourself from it and just be with it. The moment you are for it, the effort to hold onto it begins; the moment you are against it, the effort to run away from it begins. And both struggles take you out of the present moment and into the future, into worrying about the future. This divides you within yourself; this divides you against yourself. When you are detached from the "stuff" in your life, you can take responsibility for it. You can act upon it, or you can just let it go. You can even truly enjoy it. You can live undivided—in the present moment.
In a loving relationship, each partner must live undivided in the present moment, not judging, not possessing, not controlling. Each partner must permit and experience joyous, boundless, unconditional love to flow from the heart and embrace the beloved. Then your intimate love relationship reinforces and develops your own inner integration. Then your intimate love relationship becomes a true expression of your own inner integration. And as your partner is doing the same thing, you grow side by side, together. The love between the two of you becomes an ongoing experience, a beautiful experience, a spiritual experience.