Most of us know or have known people and animals with whom we feel connected by deep inner ties. Nothing in life is more valuable than such relationships. If we neglect or abuse those bonds, we hurt ourselves and others. Respecting and nurturing soulful relationships can bring the deepest fulfillment life can offer.
Your Eros and your psyche or soul are inseparable. Eros is something much more than sex. As I use the term, Eros refers to our capacity for relatedness and oceanic merger with others. It is what Martin Buner called an “I-thou” relationship, as compared to an “I-it” transaction.
Pornography is unerotic sex on the level of the genitalia, while a sufficiently deep platonic relationship could be highly erotic.
Infatuation can deceive us into thinking that our ties with another are more significant than they actually are. Infatuation usually means we have fallen in love with a split-off part of our own soul. It’s also quite possible to become infatuated with someone who is a soulmate.
The path we follow with our Eros usually parallels the overall trajectory of our soul. Someone could succeed in athletics, finances, career, or in an area of tunnel intelligence while neglecting or abusing their Eros, but this will likey result in hollow success.
What advantage is there in gaining a lot of sexual conquests and I-it pursuits if you lose your soul in the process?
You must also be true to your unique Eros rather than one shaped by conditioning.
Some conflate soulmate with ideal romantic partner. Not every romantic relationship is between soulmates, and not every soulmate relationship is romantic. There are as many variations of soulmate relationships as there are sentient beings capable of them. For example, a soulmate relationship could involve unreciprocated romantic longing but where there is still a deep bond. You could also have a soulmate relationship with a historical figure or author you’ve never met in person.
And to state what should be painfully obvious, soulmates do not necessarily mean “happy-ever-after” relationships. Indeed, soulmates are still subject to every human vicissitude and may reject, betray, and abandon each other. If this surprises you, then you have been heavily conditioned by the Western Myth of Romantic Love and the idea that there must be one perfect soulmate intended for us. See: No Tristans Allowed Beyond this Point — Looking into the Western Myth of Romantic Love.
What soulmate relations have in common is that two entities are connected by deep, inner ties. Soulmates do not have to be members of the same species. For example, soulmate relationships between a human and a cat or dog are quite common.
Soulmate relations offer some of the greatest opportunities for fulfillment in life, but also some of the most acute suffering. Soulmate relations bring higher highs and lower lows to your life.
Soulmates hurt each other and can become separated via betrayal, abandonment, and death. Sharing your soul with another is a perilous process that can create metamorphosis and fulfillment, but also great possibilities for dependency and torment. Soulmate relationships make you more vulnerable to the vicissitudes of life while also making life worth it.
The most common mistake people make about soulmates is the delusional, selfish, and exclusionary belief that there is one true and all-encompassing soulmate to be found. Unless your incarnation is highly impoverished socially, soulmates should be plural, not singular. Some people will focus selfishly and obsessively on finding that one special romantic soulmate in a way that causes them to miss many opportunities for love. Soulmate relations are often not romantic, and when we excessively romanticize soulmates, we tend to blame them for the collapse of our idealizations and then abandon them as we resume the search for that one true ideal soulmate. Even if you found your greatest opportunity for a romantic soulmate, having such an attitude would likely overburden and possibly destroy the relationship.
Instead of thinking about finding “my soulmate” think instead about recognizing your “tribe of soulmates,” many of whom you probably already know.
Finding Your Soulmate Tribe
If you are reading this card, then it is overwhelmingly likely that you are incarnating as a social mammal. As a social mammal, so much of the suffering, meaningfulness, and fulfillment of your incarnation relates to the other social mammals in your life. No amount of money or sexual conquests will ever begin to compensate you for a lack of soulmate relationships.
Relating to random acquaintances and relating to soulmates are two entirely different dimensions. Many people make the mistake of taking their profound inner longing for deep connection and projecting it onto the fantasy of finding that one, all-luminous romantic soulmate. But it would make for a more interesting, varied, and developmental incarnation if you had multiple soulmates and many different kinds of life-affirming relationships.
What you are looking for are those to whom you are connected by inner ties. All other attributes may vary with the fantastical variety of human individuality. There is, however, one aspect I especially recommend you evaluate in prospective tribemates — commitment to consciousness. The other could be at a very different level of consciousness (in that case, one of you will likely mentor the less developed one). If you want to grow, it will be wise to have some tribemates who share your level of commitment to consciousness. There may, of course, be all sorts of asymmetries in every other aspect, such as age, wealth, looks, and even more fundamental asymmetries in religion, sexual orientation, god concept, worldview, optimism, and pessimism. But if there is a shared level of commitment to consciousness, there is great potential for developmental symbiosis and a synergy of minds, hearts, and souls.
An empowered spiritual ally can provide you with meaningful feedback. They can “mirror” you, but not merely in the narcissistic sense of affirming your ego identity. A spiritual ally can be an interpenetrating mirror that aids in the revelation of hidden aspects of yourself, aspects of both your shadow and your inner light. It would be ideal if you had several such spiritual allies in your life to avoid becoming dependent on the perspective of just one.
It’s become a cliché to say that “it takes a village to raise a child.” That might be what it takes to raise a child, but to raise a mutant takes a tribe of fellow mutants who can act as spiritual allies.
If you have such relationships, nurture and appreciate them and acknowledge the value and significance they have in your life; they are like planets in a complex orbit with your planet. If you presently lack such relationships, stay open and alert to the possibilities. If you are solitary, you must be an amazingly good spiritual ally for yourself. Also, don’t limit yourself to social mammals; there may be other sorts of entities, some of whom may once have been social mammals. A historical figure or great author from the past can serve as a spiritual ally. For example, my mom, Bernice Zap , had a lifelong connection to the Vermont novelist, Dorothy Canfield-Fisher, whom she called her “third parent.” My mom got one exceptionally profound letter from DCF in response to the one she sent, but they never met.
It can be too desperate and dependent to go out prowling for such relationships. You cannot force them to happen, nor can you predict or control when they may happen. Those who are connected by inner ties manage to find each other, and the most improbable synchronicities often assist that process.
Like life, soulmate relationships are mysterious and beyond control. The more we try to control them, the more they slip through our fingers. If you suffer because of soulmates or their lack, know that you are not alone with such feelings. They say, “aging is not for sissies.” Deep relationships and life itself are also not for sissies.
There is no treasure life can offer greater than soulful relationships. If you are blessed with any, don’t neglect or take them for granted — give them the time and life energy to keep them alive.
In the final scene of the heart-centered movie Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, an old woman is reflecting on a long and fulfilled life and sharing her wisdom with a middle-aged woman.
“You reminded me about what the most important thing in life is. You know what I think it is?”
“Friends, best friends.”
Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30:
“When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish’d sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.”
see Stop the Hottie! and
Casting Precious into the Cracks of Doom…
No Tristans Allowed Beyond this Point — Debunking the Western Myth of Romantic Love
and other documents in the Eros: Love and Sexuality category of this site.
Soul mate relationships can be hard to grasp in the abstract. All the major characters in my sci-fi epic, Parallel Journeys, undergo metamorphic soulmate relationships that involve ties that can transcend time and dimension. Parallel Journeys can be read free on this site. If you prefer Audible, Kindle or physical versions, those are all available on Amazon.