We’ve all heard stories about people who lock eyes across a crowded room and know for sure they’ll marry each other. They are soul mates, right? Could be. But that’s not the only way you meet them, and it’s certainly not always instant love. Toss your preconceived notions about soul mates and learn what the experts say. It may surprise you.
Soul mates are matches made in heaven. According to Yale Chaplain Rabbi James Ponet, traditional (Judeo-Christian) ideas about soul mates are summed up in this 2nd Century story:
A wealthy Roman matron says to a rabbinic sage, “Since your Creator God made the universe in seven days, what’s he been doing since?” The Sage replied, “He’s been making couples.” The Roman woman says, “I can do that!” She proceeds to command one hundred slaves to be coupled off and sends them to a great dwelling. After one night, the place is in shambles; the couples have fought and degenerated into chaos. In defeat and shame, she goes back to the Sage and says, “Oh, that’s no minor thing that your God does.”
And that’s why it is common to believe that marriages are made in heaven. In Hebrew the word is B’shert — roughly translated as “beloved” or “The One.” This is where the basic idea of soul mates originates.
I am a: Man Woman Seeking a: Man Woman Near: Soul mates are not a one-shot deal. Don’t panic. You didn’t miss meeting your soul mate when you skipped going to that party last weekend. Soul mates find you if you’re open to them. Besides, you don’t have one great love — you have many potential great loves. According to New York Minister and Psycho-Spiritual Counselor, Susan Lemak, soul mates are profound soul connections in your life. When you’re with one, you stop looking, so you’re not aware of the other potential soul mates around you. While you’re thinking how hard it is to find The One, the reality is that it’s hard for you to choose. A soul mate is someone who reflects or matches your energy and your path in life. A soul mate is someone whose power and potential are complementary to your own. And you’ll find them in the most unlikely places. Lemak adds, “You know that great person sitting near you at work? The one who makes you laugh, but might be 10 pounds overweight? Maybe not the coolest person — but dig a little deeper. You could find a soul mate in there.”
Soul mates are about work, not play. The word “soul” opens a gigantic can of karma. While dating and light relationships are all about fun and playfulness, soul mates are all about deep emotional support, trust and faith. When you choose to go deeper with someone, you’re opening yourself up — you become emotionally vulnerable. Susan Strong, San Mateo-based astrologer and metaphysical counselor jokes, “Sometimes our soul mates become our cross to bear. You marry someone who is your soul mate and, over time, you realize you’re connected not just through chemistry, but because you are there to help each other.”
Most guys don’t think about soul mates, no matter what The Bachelor says. Strong also considers the very concept of soul mates a more feminine event. “Men don’t look for soul mates nor do they really think about meeting their soul mate. Sure, a man can be in a happy, committed, connected relationship, but he won’t necessarily tell his friends that he’s with his soul mate.” Women are more aware of a soul connection because they are more introspective in that way. Women need to feel a deeper connection with a man. That soul connection is there — but men just don’t define it.
Soul mates are not necessarily permanent. Like the ending of a fairy tale, we’re often raised to believe that a soul mate is our “happily ever after.” How old were you when realized that fairy tales don’t come true? Soul mates are certainly considered the prince charming and his princess of modern romance. Yet what happens if your romance goes sour — that soul mate turns out to be a mismatch? Of course you’re not out of luck. You move on, heal, and open up to the next soul mate. If you look at the traditional idea of soul mates, your beloved, you’ll realize that a higher force may have more than one love in store for you. To love someone and be loved is a deeply spiritual state.
In the words of St. Theresa of Avila, “Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.”