Are we still looking for love in all the wrong places?
I’ve always felt like a soul mate would make my life complete. I used to dream about the day I could tell a lover, “You complete me,” just like Jerry Maguire. But the Universe doesn’t seem to have the same dreams as I do.
I’m 50 years old and divorced. I’ve met a plethora of individuals I would have sworn were my soul mates, but I never felt totally complete–which might explain why I’m still single.
Looking back over all my intimate relationships, the Universe seems to be trying to teach me a lesson. Understanding this lesson changed my whole view of relationships, love, and life. From my perspective, the truth of relationships is simple: Soul mates are not meant to complete me; they are meant to teach me how to let go.
The soul isn’t looking for completion, companionship, sex, or love. It is always already complete, interconnected with all that is, and unconditionally loving. The soul is begging us to remember, realize, and embody our true selves. If we spend all our time looking for someone to complete us, then we will never look inwardly to find out that we are already complete.
In Resurrecting Jesus, Adyashanti analyzes the scene where Mary Magdalene visits Jesus’s empty tomb. Jesus says to her, “Whom are you seeking?” Mary who mistakes Jesus for a gardener, ask him to tell her where her lord is. When Mary finally recognizes Jesus, he says, “Do not cling to me.”
Adyashanti points out that when Jesus asked Mary whom she was seeking, he knew the answer. He was trying to teach her something. Who we are really seeking is inside us. Do not cling to soul mates, lovers, or teachers. Let go and surrender to your true nature, your Divine being.
Like Jesus, soul mates are meant to leave us, often in tragic, heart-breaking circumstances. One of my friends was accused of embezzling by her wealthy, over-privileged bosses. When she ran out of funds to defend herself, she was put in prison for a crime she never committed.
Just last week, her husband passed away. She called me from prison and told me that she now sees that incarceration was preparing her for this moment. “We were inseparable, Kozo. I couldn’t be away from him for more than a few hours. Being in prison forced me to learn to survive alone. If I were out there, I don’t know how I could handle this loss.”
Not only our soul mates, but the whole Universe is conspiring to teach us to let go. I do hospice care for a 94 year old bedridden woman. For the last 6 months, I’ve watched her and all her family and friends learn how to let go. Of course, one of the final letting goes is when we pass to the other side.
In my own life, I’ve been letting go of everyone I see as a soul mate. I honor their presence and love them deeply, but I’ve tried to cut all strings of attachment, clinging, and neediness. Someone once told me that being in a healthy intimate relationship is like being an ice skating dancer. To be an ice skating dance couple, both people have to dance well on their own. I imagine the train wreck that would happen if one skater clung to the other during one of those triple spin jumps.
One of the subtle forms of clinging that I’ve noticed occurs when I scheme to let go because I think that will help me get a soul mate. I rationalize that if I just let go for a few days, months, or, God forbid, years, then my desired lover will come to me with open arms.
True letting go has no future. We have to be willing to let go of not only a potential lover, but even the possibility of any lover whatsoever. I’ve struggled to embrace the reality that I am alone and that I may be alone for the rest of my life. But when I do occupy this uncertainty, I open up to the miracle of aloneness being all-oneness. If we are all one, then I alone am every-one and everything.
In a circuitous way, I’ve found that when I redefine soul mates as individuals who assist me in learning to let go, I stop seeking. I realize that I am already one love.
Photo: Flickr.com/Ojie Paloma