In my work as a professional astrologer and tarot consultant over the past twenty-five years, the most frequently asked questions have consistently been about love. Where is it? When is it? Who is it? And, why isn’t it working out perfectly? The experience of falling in love typically sweeps us off our feet, but when a relationship ends in separation or divorce, the result can be a thundering catharsis, unleashing multiple layers of emotion: some positive, others extremely painful. Feelings of defeat, failure, shame and disappointment can haunt one’s inner life at such time, especially if the Myth of the Soul Mate has informed one’s search for love.
Through two marriages and divorces of my own, I have had first-hand experience with the detrimental effects of embracing the Soul Mate ideal. Consequently, I have come to understand that the preoccupation with finding a Soul Mate comes from an innate fear that we will never be loved the way we truly want and need to be loved. Unfortunately, we seek a solution to this problem outside ourselves in the form of a perfect Soul Mate, a perfect font of love, when the only real solution resides within in the form of union with perfect, divine love.
Breaking the Myth of Soul Mates
In their book, Embracing the Beloved, Ondrea and Stephen Levine offer a relevant teaching from Zen master Achaan Chah. His message is essentially this: “The glass is already broken.”
Achaan Chah held up a fine crystal goblet… He said he liked the goblet very much: the sun splayed rainbows onto the water as it passed through the glass, the fine crystal rang when tapped. But when the sleeve of his robe brushed it from the table or the wind blew it from the shelf and there it lay in its new incarnation, its light broken into a hundred shimmering shards, he was not disappointed or surprised. Because he knew the glass was already broken. Even when first seeing the glass, he had acknowledged its impermanence and appreciated it ‘for all it was worth.’ He recognized that ‘the goblet’ was just one moment in its process—one name in a thousand shapes and incarnations from dust to pearl.
So what does this notion that “the glass is already broken” mean when applied to the Soul Mate issue? Ultimately, it means that two people who imagine they have found in each other a perfect Soul Mate are going to be disappointed, because like all things that exist in our third-dimensional world, the Soul Mate ideal has no enduring substance. It cannot be sustained forever. Therefore, it will inevitably shatter, causing one to feel bereft and heartbroken.
Most people haven’t learned how to plug into the unconditional source of love that is always and everywhere available to us, so they go around with a gaping hole inside themselves. When they meet someone they’re attracted to, they basically say, “Can I plug into you?” If the other person says “Yes, if I can plug into you,” then we call this agreement “falling in love.” But what’s really happening is they are each mistakenly plugging into the other as the source of perfect love.
The good news is that at the stage where one’s heart is broken “true love” may enter into the equation. This is accomplished when the two people in question unplug from each other and plug into the true, unconditional source of divine love. Unfortunately, most of us bail out of our relationships at this juncture between pain and love: the tipping point toward compassion and acceptance. In the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, my favorite line reads: “A broken heart is an open heart.” In this tale, Beauty finds true love when the “eyes of her heart” become stronger than the “eyes of her ego” and she is able to see the Beast as he truly is. Indeed, the love that exists within herself is realized, so she is truly able to love another.
Indulging in the dream of a perfect Soul Mate is a sure way to give your power away to another. Busting the Soul Mate Myth sets us free to explore the perfect love within. There are actually hundreds of people in the world with whom you could have a healthy, loving, romantic relationship, once you truly learn to love yourself from the inside out. This myth-breaking perspective is needed more today than ever before. We cannot afford to waste our time looking for love in all the wrong places, especially in another. The mature adult takes responsibility for becoming loving and compassionate, as well as for setting loving boundaries in order to support the highest good for all concerned.
Most relationships dissolve due to power struggles, judgments and unhealed traumas and wounds from the past. Individuals in conscious relationships search intently for the pearls of wisdom that can help them understand why their relationships aren’t working. If, after long and sincere self-reflection, one’s relationship moves toward completion, it becomes crucial to accept closure and healing as the next step toward finding true love. It is often during such painful turning points that we dig deeper for the real essence of love within and the soul truly mates with love.
The spiritual path is all about choosing true love in the face of fear. Letting go of one’s attachment to finding the perfect Soul Mate requires courage and determination. The following are a few important actions that can be taken toward that end:
- Feel your own pain.
- Make a conscious decision to learn and grow.
- Take note of the false beliefs that are causing suffering in your life.
- Tune into your own higher guidance.
- Take action from your higher guidance to improve your life.
On the theme of the broken goblet mentioned above, the Hanged Man card (Trump #12) mirrors Achaan Chah’s wisdom. The process of emptying out and surrendering to the infinite sea of self love and compassion is the theme of this card. The planet Neptune rules the Hanged Man, offering the potential to realize truth beyond illusory longing. The Hanged One says: “You are never a victim. Make sacred the way of your life and empty out the pockets of the ego.” The card invites us to trust that as we empty ourselves of our past, we cleanse our heart and soul. The sorrow and grief that arise out of relationship pain can be stepping stones into the labyrinth of our deep self where the true treasures reside.
The Judgment card (Trump # 20) is another card that commonly shows up during a relationship crisis. Its appearance encourages us to heal the judgments we cast upon one another: the stuff so many hurtful relationships are made of. The Judgment card serves as a mirror to our ailing Self, prompting redemption and revelation. Our own petty thoughts and personal trials may dissolve to be replaced by deep understanding.
I am a great fan of love. I am also a great fan of the soul. Let’s get radical and love ourselves so deeply that we are never, ever again in desperate need of another to insert the missing pieces into our own “puzzle of love.” Remember: When you are complete within, nothing but wonder will arrive at your doorstep.