04/28/2006 08:25 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

What's Up With All This Talk About Soul Mates?

I love talking about relationships; I love hearing people's stories about where they are insofar as romance. I love how their eyes light up and they sort of snap to attention when trying to get their mind around the concept of "soul mates." I can't tell you how many times I've heard the questions, "How can I find the One?" or "How do I know if I've met the One?" There is some serious obsession out there about the One -- that oh-so-perfect partner -- and I think I know why.

I think we have some kind of innate memory about intense and unwavering connectedness, and that memory makes us dissatisfied with superficial surface stuff. We know there is something more. Maybe the memory is passed down to us from generations who went before and lived great loves; or maybe it's part of our biological make up which harkens back to before we were bodies. But it's in us; the knowledge that we are part of some great interconnectedness lives in us like a promise. And because we want that magical mystical experience so much, we become willing to do whatever it takes to get there.

The context of the romantic relationship serves, therefore, as a curriculum for our unfolding as human beings. It is fertile ground for learning the lessons required for enlightenment. When we hunger for something (marriage, sex, or stability, for example), we are pushed to confront everything that stands in the way of getting what we think will make us happy. We have to move through the obstacles and learn to be better at love. And if we go about it consciously, we inevitably arrive at some pretty profound spiritual lessons: surrender, forgiveness, magnanimity, to name just a few. We begin to realize that if we want to have blissful soul mate love, we have to become more awakened, more enlightened people. It is as simple and as complex as that.