By Ritu Khanna
There is no doubt that somewhere, possibly in the deepest recesses of our heart, we are all looking for a person who will make us feel complete. It could be your spouse, parent, sibling, friend, guru, boss or even your pet dog
The search for a soul mate is becoming an obsession with many, its sole reason being that they are convinced that finding their soul’s ideal counterpart will lead to undreamed-of happiness and fulfillment.
‘He is my soul mate,’ declared Pakistani columnist Nadira Alvi, 38, at her wedding dinner, recently held in London. ‘He is someone I have always looked for. I am madly in love.’ Her soul mate and new husband is none other than author V.S. Naipaul, 63.
Another writer deeply interested in finding his soul’s, well, mate, was Richard Bach, who immortalized his three-year hunt and subsequent marriage to actress Leslie Parrish in The Bridge Across Forever. Aware that nothing happens by chance, he abandoned his illusions, sold his biplane, kept his life on hold, and went looking for the Perfect Woman, a full-time quest for his ‘dear unknown’.
There were doubts aplenty in Bach’s mind: Is it a gamble? Is love a passport to disaster? Is it possible for soul mates to meet and then separate forever? Is the only true soul mate to be found in many different people? Am I making a huge investment of hope to one human being? Will I lose it all?
In Parrish, he eventually realized, he had found the person he had never met but had been missing all his life. And Bach’s views have not changed, for, almost a decade later, he writes in Running From Safety: ‘My wife is a loving and beautiful woman, the soul mate found after I had given up searching.’
But, to disappoint the forever romantic, a soul mate is not necessarily linked with love and marriage. According to American psychic Edgar Cayce, there are three kinds of soul mates: Companion souls, with whom you share a spiritual relationship; you have a mental relationship with twin souls (Mary and Jesus would fall in this category, felt Cayce); and soul mates, with whom you share a strong bonding.
The last could have developed over many rebirths together and is physical, possibly leading to marriage.
Twenty years into her marriage, Bangalore-based Prema Seshadri, 44, has some clear views on the subject, though she confesses to having revised her opinion many times. Observes Seshadri: ‘The search for a soul mate is essentially a search for balance.’
Seshadri began her research on soul mates when she found that things were not going well for her and her husband: ‘I had been married for 14 years when I started to question: Who is this man? Am I bonded to him? Why to him? And so on.’
She details some other findings: ‘Soul mates form a process of completion—the yin and yang balance. We are all moving around in life doing several things required for living, but fundamentally we are in search for that balance. Then comes the concept of marriage.
Living and growing together, man and woman achieve balance within. The process is thus complete, both are one.’
It is not so simple, with its ‘finding unity and hence living happily ever after’ kind of conclusion, admits Seshadri, who now considers anyone who helps you grow spiritually to be a soul mate. ‘Actually a husband could be an adversarial soul mate. On the other hand, your father or brother are supportive soul mates.’
Seshadri regards some of her friends as her soul mates, as well as her daughter, Aarti. Eleven-year-old Aarti, however, has already found one soul mate (a very close friend) and is in search of another: ‘Any animal, preferably a dog.’
From puppy love to a more intense, all-embracing one—psychoanalyst Erich Fromm has written about love in its many manifestations in his 1956 book The Art of Loving. He feels that love is the answer to the problem of human existence, for without it a human being is alone and alienated and not fully alive. Fromm refers to the various kinds of love born of maturity, self-knowledge and courage: Romantic love, love of a parent for children, brotherly love, erotic love, self-love, love of God.
Each kind of love could, in turn, lead to the finding of a long lost soul mate, so to speak.
A soul mate could be a missing half of your soul. It could take many reincarnations for the souls to meet and come together. Then again, a soul mate need not be a part of your soul, but someone with whom you share an affinity, possibly developed over many lives.
He or she ‘vibes’ completely with you; even the unsaid is understood, almost instinctively, by the other. Or, as a journalist friend eloquently put it: ‘ A soul mate is someone to die for.’
Whatever the definition, there is no denying the fact that most people are simply ‘dying’ to find their soul mate/s. So how do you go about attracting one?
Reiki master Shalini Loganey, who also conducts personal growth workshops, has a step-by-step, an almost D-I-Y approach to finding your soul’s mate. She conducted a two-day seminar on soul mates in Delhi last year and also holds personalized sessions for those interested in the subject. Some of Loganey’s tips:
• The first step is to be happy with yourself. Do not consider that you are in a needy position.
• Do exercises on self-esteem if required, but you must have this feeling of self-worth. Only then will you be worthy of any relationship, especially a soul mate one.
• Do things you love to do. It is much easier to attract a soul mate if you are a fulfilled person.
• Identify what exactly you are looking for. A lot of things will get concretized once you acknowledge your dreams and your approach is more focused.
• Attend meditation-oriented courses that help clean the negative aspects in your other relationships. This helps remove mental blocks, if any.
• Practice creative visualization techniques.
• Experience a feeling, then surrender to it.
• Do your own research. Look for inspiration from others who are happy, those who appear as ‘made for each other’ couples.
• Go through books and magazines, find your role models.
• Maintain a scrapbook. It should have black pages, for the photographs to really stand out. Paste pictures of what you are looking for—a caring husband, a Mercedes, a house, children, candlelit dinners, whatever. Keep adding to this scrapbook, it keeps your dream alive. Look at it many times a day.
• Prepare your own audiocassette. The tape should contain at least 30 affirmations. An example of an affirmation: ‘I am now attracting a man who is honest, sincere (list the qualities you are looking for). I now attract the right man who is in complete harmony with me. I can give him love, peace, joy.’ Play the cassette regularly. These affirmations, ill sets of three, are to be repeated 70 times a day, for three weeks, since it is generally believed that it takes 21 days for a habit to form.
• Be prepared to surrender the timeframe, though. Finding a soul mate, as Richard Bach discovered, too, is not deadline-oriented. In all likelihood, your search will meet with success when you least expect it, or when you have given up looking.
• Trust the universe to provide you with what you want.
Keep in mind that there will be problems, warns Loganey, but they are easy to surmount if the bond is strong. Loganey, 28, has recently found her soul mate (‘it was love at first sight’), and this is what she has to say of her experience: ‘A soul mate relationship keeps getting better all the time, you both grow in it. Also, it brings out the best in you for you feel happy and energized. ‘
Says counselor Aradhana, 26: ‘Shalini’s seminar and sessions have helped me to be complete in myself. I learnt that if you really want something—or someone—you have to let go. Just surrender to God.’ Aradhana has also recently found her soul mate: ‘I am totally comfortable with him. A true soul mate is someone special.’
To find this someone special, you can even turn to advanced reiki techniques that use hands to transfer energy to channel with your soul mate. Explains Loganey: ‘You can use reiki symbols to connect with your soul mate. By giving channel reiki, you release the blocks that are preventing you both from coming together.’
You are, in a sense, reaching out to the heart chakra of your soul mate.
‘Anybody anywhere could be your soul mate,’ observes Bimol Rakshit who teaches the Silva Method in India. ‘ A person could have even three or four soul mates. It really depends on what you believe. First ascertain whether there is a life after life. I personally believe in rebirth. We die, some of our wishes our fulfilled, others are not. We take birth again, we restart—the cycle goes on. In different lives, we have different partners.’
Rakshit is quick to point out that there are no special techniques in the Silva Method for finding a soul mate, but you can try the goal setting and achieving exercises. These depend on visualization and mental gymnastics to get you what you are seeking.
Elaborates Rakshit: ‘The techniques work at a deeper level of the mind, and can help bring two energies together. If they are compatible, there is no winning, no losing, just the uniting of two people. They may have had some connection before, for everything is predestined.
‘You can visualize a soul mate, probably one that goes back many lives,’ he adds. ‘You instinctively know that he or she is right for you, it is like a gut feeling. Yes, you can say it is almost illogical, but then it is like there is a master program at work, we often have no choices. With rebirth, a person can change one’s sex. So a soul mate can be your brother, father, friend, anyone with whom you are at peace.’
Agrees past-life therapist Aparna Jha: ‘Any meaningful relationship can be a soul mate one. It could be with your friends or relatives, it does not necessarily have to be romantic.’ In fact, Jha feels that the very concept of a soul mate is incorrect since it is based on the premise that there is one perfect person for you in this world. She explains: ‘This leads to wrong expectations, for virtually anyone can be a soul mate.’ Jha does believe in parallel lives, however, which 1 assume that one soul subdivides to become several people. Says she: ‘You may or may not meet your parallel self/selves, but it helps in understanding yourself better.’
Jha helps you in this search of your parallel self through induction—steps that lead you from a state of relaxation to an altered one, to a higher level of consciousness where you can access information about your other selves, and hence find and identify them. These selves are not soul mates, she reiterates, for she does not believe in this concept.
But people on the Internet certainly do, for there are many sites that can be accessed to help find a soul mate from any corner of the world. Exclaims Prasanto Kumar Roy, editor, PC Quest: ‘Why, there are almost a million sites on the Internet for online dating.’
Of these, there are about 2,000 sites in which people are looking for soul mates.
Roy goes cruising on the Internet: ‘There is a soul mate bulletin board…an I.soul mate address…a soul mate web site…then you have a soul mate connection site…someone is looking for ‘my past, my self’…another soul mate site is web personal…’tall lady from Hawaii is looking for a soul mate into spirituality and integrity’…there’s a soul mate home page…there is another message—’your soul mate is out there, maybe it is me, respond and see’…there are poster messages, rejoinders…’
You may try finding your soul’s counterpart/s with the help of computers—or astrologers, psychics and other experts. You could attend seminars or read books on the subject. Or you could simply rely on your instincts to lead you to your soul mates. To take a broader angle, we all may be soul mates, for Edgar Cayce had noted that the ultimate soul mate is God, the universal consciousness of which every soul is a part.
Whatever the definition, for a soul mate means different things to different people, Leslie Parrish’s explanation probably holds true for all: ‘A soul mate 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…
‘Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.’
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